On Saturday, EL PAÍS concluded an important cycle in its transformation process, aimed at tackling the most immediate challenges both in terms of its editorial and business strategies. The launch of an ambitious new online design arrived this weekend a year-and-a-half after a digital subscription model was implemented, along with a new technology platform on which the newspaper’s website runs. EL PAÍS now counts on a new look, although the reality is that this is a much more substantial and transformative change.
In a world of news that is chaotic and incessant, and that is prone to creating bubbles, the newspaper is committed to taking its own view, a more selective and ordered one, where in-depth reporting and exclusives sit side-by-side with breaking news, and also with discoveries. Journalism where sacrificing quality is not an option, and that seeks to continue to attract new readers without sacrificing a shred of rigor or high standards.
Over the 17 months since the subscription model was launched, 120,000 readers have become digital subscribers to EL PAÍS, joining the nearly 35,000 who are subscribed to the print edition, as well as the community of millions of citizens who read, watch or listen to the media outlet the world over.
With nearly 400 journalists and editions in Spain, America, Mexico and Brazil, EL PAÍS is the major reference point in Spanish, according to the Reuters Institute, as well as being the most-read in the world in its language. It also publishes content in Portuguese, Catalan, and of course, in English.
Since the last redesign, which was launched nearly six years ago, online newspapers have experienced accelerated change. Video has matured, audio has exploded, infographics and data now have more importance than ever, newsletters have become the new blogs, Instagram is another place to showcase our best journalism, and big data and artificial intelligence are starting to set out a path for the future.
The redesign of EL PAÍS highlights some of these changes and makes preparations for what is to come. The old paradigm of the internet in which speed and high levels of production dominated have made way for the emphasis on a unique personality while making use of the tools of the internet and the knowledge of the audience.
When the EL PAÍS team began to work on this project a year ago, thinking about what the newspaper should be in the times in which we live, it was clear from the very first meeting that the axis around which the entire redesign had to revolve was the reader – in particular, the faithful reader of EL PAÍS, with their interests, needs and aspirations.
How does that reader navigate the website? Via the front page, the sections, the articles they find via Google, or using social media? Do readers prefer us to surprise them or do they need a traditional hierarchy inherited from the print edition? And what can we contribute, as editors, as curators, beyond their demands? Do they need all of the information that we offer today or is our job now to be more selective with what we offer? How do we take care of subscribers and persuade those who are yet to sign up? How do we balance out the different sources of income to make the whole project sustainable?
These and other questions have been addressed over recent months by a multidisciplinary team from EL PAÍS. On the way, we have also been accompanied by experts and professionals from relevant areas of society, who have made a contribution. And we have always moved forward hand-in-hand with the readers.
It’s a continuist design in visual terms, but structurally it’s newFernando Hernández, director of digital art at EL PAÍS
When you, the readers, log on to EL PAÍS via your desktop computer, your laptop or your cellphone, you will find a website that takes greater advantage of the different screen sizes. You won’t get lost, because the classic sections remain. But, at the same time, you will discover more space for flexible areas that will be changed as the days pass, and are designed for tailored content and not the same sections.
You will also find the Opinion section higher up, bringing you columns and analysis. And you will get to know a little better the journalists who write the stories, with their image and short biographies. You will see text, but there will be more and more audio, quality video, fewer photos but a more relevant selection, and many visual narratives that combine everything to benefit the stories.
“It’s a continuist design in visual terms, but structurally it’s new,” explains Fernando Hernández, director of digital art at EL PAÍS. “It’s easier to navigate, clean and simple, with the idea that the reader continues to feel at home. The content is the protagonist, and not the visual flair.”
The newspaper’s font has also evolved, based on the current Majerit, but more stylized and created for better reading on screens.
In this redesign process, we are not only launching a new image, but also have worked to increase the speed of the page. The launch will be completed in the coming weeks with new applications for Apple and Android, and from EL PAÍS we will be collecting the opinions of the readers in order to continue to improve the user experience.
English version by Simon Hunter.