Auto Load Responses: 
Font Size: 

March 14, 2011

12
P.M.

Ask the Post: Managing Editor Raju Narisetti on The Post's online redesign

Total Responses: 68

About the hosts

About the host

Host: Raju Narisetti

Raju Narisetti

Raju Narisetti is a managing editor of The Washington Post.

About the topic

Post Managing Editor Raju Narisetti was online Monday, March 14 to discuss the recent changes to the face of washingtonpost.com.
Q.

Raju Narisetti :

Thank you for joining us today. We at the Post are excited that our new website, the first top-to-bottom rethink of washingtonpost.com is formally unveiled today. If you haven't explored it, the best way to figure out whats new, better, different is by going to this page.

 

It is nearly a decade since washingtonpost.com has had a top-to-bottom redo. We know some of it will be confusing until you get used to it. We are looking at these changes as only the first stage in a continuous effort to make it easier for you to find, read and react to Post content. As in, we don't want to wait another decade to make the site more user-friendly. So, please continue to come and look for ongoing enhancements throughout 2011, such as an improved search capability that opens up The Post's archives well beyond the current 60 days and a new video player.

For now, chances are that in the first few days and weeks you will find odds and ends that seem like work-in-progress. It is. And that's because we haven't just changed how washingtonpost.com looks. Behind the scenes, we have essentially replaced the entire publishing system that supports the site, also an effort to help The Post respond faster to news and your news needs. In some ways, and because we couldn't have taken a break from the 24-hour business of providing you relevant news and information to swap out the publishing system, it is similar to changing the engines of an airplane mid-flight.

We look forward to your feedback—what you like, don't care for and what else we can do to keep you coming back to washingtonpost.com. Even after this chat, feel free to write to us at ideas@washpost.com.

 

Q.

Huge improvement

Your new home page layout is a huge improvement over the decade-old format it replaced. It went live while I was reading another section, so you can imagine my surprise when i went back to the home page and saw it! At first I wondered if it was a phishing site or something, it was so different. Great work!

A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thank you very much. Part of the goal is to make Post content more engaging and easier to use and respond to. Obviously the homepage is a key component of the change and we will continue to monitor feedback and continue to tweak it to make it better.

– March 14, 2011 12:02 PM
Q.

Redesign

Regarding the redesign, all I can say is "What the . . .?" As in, why make the homepage undergo such a radical redesign? Do you think you were losing readers who kept saying to themselves, "Gosh, I hate going to washingtonpost.com. They haven't completely changed the homepage design in years!" I mean, really? As it stands, there are many things no longer on the homepage. For example (and perhaps most important to me), the drop-down menu for the editorials, opinion, and general columns is gone. Instead of a one-stop place to find all that, I have to go scouring throughout the website to find these things. In fact, the Post editorials don't even show up on the homepage anymore (as far as I can tell). What gives? Bring back the drop-down menus!!!
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thanks for the question. Actually our Opinions and editorials section has been significantly improved and is now noted in all caps OPINIONS right at the top of the homepage. The new PostOpinions section also has some very easy to use sub-sections such as Left-Leaning and Right-Leaning, that groups content in related buckets. You can in fact bookmark or make that section your Start Page by clicking on that link on the section here

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions

Opinions are also featured prominently on the homepage under Featured Opinions.  Scroll down past the Japan earthquake package (being a big story it is taking more depth than on a normal news day) and other headlines to find it.

– March 14, 2011 12:03 PM
Q.

Blogs

Where are the blogs now? That was one of my favorites features for quick up to date information. I thought having it one area was a great way to showcase all the reporting.
A.
Jodi Westrick :

The Washington Post's blog directory.

– March 14, 2011 12:03 PM
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Each section actually has a separate listing now in the Navigation for Blogs & Columns so you can look for blogs by section, something we didn't offer before. But all the blogs are also available in one directory here:

 
– March 14, 2011 12:03 PM
Q.

Slow website

The redesigned site is unusably slow. Why?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

It shouldn't be and isn't showing up on our internal logs as slow. There could be a variety of reasons why your experience seems a bit slower. One option is to see if it behaving any faster with a different browser? We are getting a fair amount of traffic between the ongoing Japan story and interest in looking at the new site but nothing that our servers can't handle.

– March 14, 2011 12:05 PM
Q.

Font of New Webpage

Countless studies have shown that sans-serif fonts are much harder to read than fonts with serifs. Now the whole website switched to a sans-serif font. Why? Also, the very best thing about washingtonpost.com was the chats. The chats have been significantly reduced in recent months and now apparently do not even appear on the home page. Why?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

We have done a fair amount of experimentation with fonts focusing on the user experience and haven't found our font to be hurdle. I will definitely have our design gurus look more closely at this issue.

Our popular chats, some of which used to be flagged on the homepage, now have their own section and you can actually go to it directly off the top of the homepage by clicking on Conversations. Or you can also bookmark this link:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/conversations

We have trimmed some chats but we continue to also add new ones. We know they are popular--and the Post was a pioneer in online chats--so we have no intentions of pulling back from chats that are popular with our audiences. Thank you.

– March 14, 2011 12:05 PM
Q.

Slow motion

My computer is several years old, and the new comment system is unworkably slow for me, to the point that my browser (whichever one I try) hangs almost every time I try to load comments or type one of my own. Is there a bare bones version I can opt for, or are those of us on older computers simply locked out?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

It may also have to do with your software versions I imagine, especially if your computer is several years old. Could you email ideas@washpost.com with some details about  your software/hardware so someone can respond specifically to your issue. Thank you.

– March 14, 2011 12:06 PM
Q.

More Chats

Please consider returning Paul Kane to the weekly chats -- he provided a unique view of congressional action and inaction. Also, he's one of the fastest typists ever to participate in the chats, and answered more questions, in detail, than anyone else.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thanks. I will forward this message to our Interactivity group that handles chats. We keep a close eye on audiences for chats in making decisions on which ones to continue, add or stop doing.

– March 14, 2011 12:06 PM
Q.

Firefox

Any plans to make the site fully compatible with Firefox?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

It is and ought to be fully compatible.  Email ideas@washpost.com with specific issues you are facing and your version of software so someone can see if it is a localized problem or something broader. We haven't heard of broad issues with Firefox today and many of us use both Firefox and IE to keep tabs.

– March 14, 2011 12:07 PM
Q.

New Post Website Looks Awfully Familiar

Mr. Narisetti, thanks for taking our questions. Is it me, or does the Post's redesigned website look a lot like the New York Times' website?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

The Japan story, which everyone is following very closely, could potentially make it seem like everything looks the same. I think there are significant differences in both sites from a presentation and a news sensibility point of view. There are many things that the NYT site does very well--I amadaily user and a fan--and there are some things that we do differently and better. Looking alike wasn't really a goal for sure.

– March 14, 2011 12:09 PM
Q.

Great changes!

Don't really have a question. Would just like to say that the changes are fantastic. I usually don't like websites that I frequent to change. I like clicking on Today's Paper giving me the visual of the paper that I loved reading every morning when I lived in DC. Whoever designed the basic website and all of the changes - GOOD JOB!
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thank you. On Day 1, I am expecting--and getting--a fair amount of complaints in the sense that change, especially a top-to-bottom change is not easy to get your eyes and head around. But am happy to also take the kudos. We agree!

– March 14, 2011 12:11 PM
Q.

Homepage

When I load the homepage- I have to scroll half way down the page just to see news. Can you fix this and move the pictures? It's a pretty ridiculous that a newspaper is encouraging the dumbing down of America by putting news below pictures. We're here to read and inform ourselves. Let people that have a shorter attention span go somewhere else- but you need to keep the old format of having news be the number 1 priority on your webpage.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

One of the good features of the new site is that it is a set of what are called modules that essentially are operating on "rails" if you will. So nothing has to be fixed. Today, the world and a majority of our readers are really fixated on Japan and the crisis there, both in terms of stories, video and images. That is the reason why you are seeing a large photo gallery at the top. On a less event-driven day, chances are there will be a lot more headlines in that space. Focusing on the biggest human tragedy isn't really dumbing down of America, in my view.

– March 14, 2011 12:13 PM
Q.

The Look and Feel of the Site

I Don't Like it, put it back the way it was, it looked like a news paper before. Not sure what it looks like now. Why change a good thing? KAC from Arlington
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Have you tried Today's Paper link? In fact, we have made that much more like the actual newspaper experience for those who prefer that approach. Our site is updated 24 hours, has significantly more images and multimedia and interactive graphics so we want to make sure that the site experience conveys all those aspects. More than 80% of our audience doesn't come from areas where the printed Post is distributed and by today Today's Paper and the normal web look, we are trying to make sure we appeal to both audiences.

I see that you are from Arlington...we have great deals on the printed paper by the way!

– March 14, 2011 12:14 PM
Q.

Discussions?

I can't seem to find a link to all the chat/discussions of the day. I remember with the last redesign they dropped way to the bottom, and now they seem to be totally gone except for the 2 featured discussions that were this one and Hax. Also, it looks like most of the things I used to click on have disappeared. Where will the links to all the blog posts like Click Track, Celebritology, Reliable Source, etc be? It appears too many things are now hidden and behind the little arrow clicks that cycle through stories, but make it hard to read and you don't know whats there unless you bother to click, and generally I'm not going to click unless I am way bored and have lots of time.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Hi. In addition to the featured ones, you can actually get all of them by clicking on the Conversations sections right at the top of the homepage. Plus each section now has Blogs & Columns so they are all arranged  within say Lifestyle or Entertainment than being lumped together in Arts & Living as was done before.

– March 14, 2011 12:15 PM
Q.

Links to chats

Wow...I can not believe I was able to find a link to the chats. It was extremely difficult. No access from Washington post homepage anymore? You guys really do want to kill these things don't you.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Hi. Right off the top of the homepage under Conversations is now the central place for you to find all chats, in addition to finding them via Featured chats in the middle of the homepage. Why would we kill chats when they are very popular? Doesn't make both news and business sense.

– March 14, 2011 12:16 PM
Q.

Small suggestions

Hi there - I generally think the re-design is okay. I just have two comments for you. Hopefully you'll take these as constructive! First, it took me a while to find the "Post Magazine" online this weekend! It used to be a link under the "Arts and Living" drop down menu at the top of the homepage. But, this weekend, I had to navigate around for a while before I found it. Second, the main photos on the homepage (currently Japan earthquake) don't have their own captions. They just have a generic caption covering all the photos of that topic. I found myself wanting to know more about the individual photos though. ie, what town is this? who is this? what is going on in the photo? Perhaps this is just specific to the Japan photos and perhaps if I had clicked through to the official gallery, there were more specific descriptions. But still, photos on the main homepage should have a caption.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thanks for the comments. Post Magazine stories will run in various topics and the entire Magazine itself will be available in Today's Paper every Sunday, when it appears in print. A vast majority of our readers don't get the print paper--most haven't even seen Post Magazine as a section--so in many ways by putting all the magazine stories under that label, we were actually hiding them from many who had no idea what that meant. Now, the "print" version will be available every Sunday in Today's Paper for those who are familiar with it and for the others, the stories will appear in relevant sections such as Lifestyle, Entertainment, Politics, depending on what the story was about.

– March 14, 2011 12:19 PM
Q.

I noticed you seem

to have more videos. Do you think your readers are too stupid to read or do you like being able to get in a commercial before anyone can see the story?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

There is significant demand from our audience for videos. I actually think we don't have enough videos on our site compared to many other news sites and would like to do  more. I agree with  you in the sense that those interested in articles or in photos should be able to get those without feeling like they have to go through a video gauntlet. In that sense we aren't forcing anyone to watch videos unless they want to.

– March 14, 2011 12:21 PM
Q.

teeny fonts

Why is the font for comments so tiny? We're not all 18 any more. Can I make the fonts bigger?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Will make sure the design/comments team looks into this issue. Thanks.

– March 14, 2011 12:21 PM
Q.

Tell us how to find what we want

Please just give us a link or a box explaining where to find things in the new layout. For example: this feature used to be here, now you can find it here. thanks
A.
Raju Narisetti :

We have a notice on the right side of the homepage pointing to this page where you can find all the changes.

 

– March 14, 2011 12:22 PM
Q.

blog comments

Can we have the option of viewing comments top to bottom in chronological order?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Will forward your suggestion to the Comments team. Thank you.

– March 14, 2011 12:23 PM
Q.

Arlington, VA

One question -- I can find your chat because it's listed as "featured," but I don't see anything about all the other chats. I subscribe to the paper, so I look to the website mainly for breaking news and chats -- but now I can't find the chats!
A.
Jodi Westrick :
– March 14, 2011 12:23 PM
Q.

Ex-Postie Here

What is being done to overcome the arrogant and dismissive attitude of the Post towards their readers? I appreciate the challenge you have in beating back this sense that as journalists you are all smarter than your readers, and as we know that perception has been historically deeply ingrained at the Post. But what can be done? Is there any hope for the Post?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

As an ex-Postie I imagine you know how the newsroom works in terms of there not being any widespread mandate or encouragement of journalists behaving badly. The Post is one of few papers with an Ombudsman who acts as an independent internal critic and a voice for the readers. We have dramatically speeded up our corrections, we have made it a lot easier for people to reach us via emails that are printed for every writer in the paper and online and we routinely do the kinds of chats I am doing now and forums in town. And we run pages full of letters and comments from readers. And at the highest level in the newsroom, we take it very seriously if readers complain that they legitimate issues are being ignored by anyone on the newsroom. All in all to say the Post doesn't have any monopoly on acting high and mighty. But as an institution, can we do a lot better--absolutely. But that applies to all newsrooms. Journalists have long lived in the happy illusion that if their story ran on A1, all 600,000 readers have read it. We need to get past that to the reality of how we are being read/viewed and there is plenty of data on the web to help this process. If we are don't act as a business that loves its customers (both readers and advertisers) we won't have a business that those customers will support.

And yes, lots of hope for the Post. In print, online and mobile.

– March 14, 2011 12:29 PM
Q.

HALLELUJAH!!

It looks like the Post has finally dumped that horrible mobile version. I can actually read the paper on my phone!! Thank you!
A.
Raju Narisetti :

We do still have a mobile version and it remains popular even as we need to really revamp it (many people come to our mobile website) but glad that you are finding your mobile engagement with The Post improved. Would love to get specific feedback from you on what you would like to see us do better on mobile...can you send some ideas to me at narisettir@washpost.com so I can talk to the mobile team. Thanks.

– March 14, 2011 12:31 PM
Q.

On-line chats

Are on-line chats being ended? if not, how do you find, on the new webpage, the listing of current chats and the archive of recent chats?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

No. It seems to have become a bit of a Washington Post urban myth that online chats are ending. They are hugely popular, we were pioneers and we continue to prune and grow them at same time. You can find them right at the top of the homepage under Conversations

– March 14, 2011 12:33 PM
Q.

Disappearing WP home page nameplate

A minor quibble, but when the cursor is slid over the top home page menu (News, Local, Politics, Opinion, Sports, etc.), the Washington Post nameplate disappears!
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thanks. Will tell the tech guys to look at it. Can you email what browser you are using to ideas@washpost.com?

– March 14, 2011 12:33 PM
Q.

Broken Links

I'm finding a large number of the links on the new website to be broken.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

I am sorry about that. Chances are that in the first few days and weeks you will find odds and ends that seem like work-in-progress. It is. And that's because we haven't just changed how washingtonpost.com looks. Behind the scenes, we have essentially replaced the entire publishing system that supports the site, also an effort to help The Post respond faster to news and your news needs. In some ways, and because we couldn't have taken a break from the 24-hour business of providing you relevant news and information to swap out the publishing system, it is similar to changing the engines of an airplane mid-flight.

Some feeds are broken but a bunch of our tech folks are on it.

 

– March 14, 2011 12:36 PM
Q.

a NEED FOR AUTHOR OF OPINION PIECES IN NEW EMAIL FORMAT

I am an avid reader of the twice daily news emails we receive from The Washington Post. PLEASE adjust the new morning format to include the AUTHOR of the opinion pieces - why should I have to open each to see if it was written by one of my favorite writers (i.e. Eugene Robinson, Ruth Marcus) or by someone whom I'm not as interested in reading in the brief amount of time I have to myself (I am the full-time caretaker for my husband who has severe Parkinson's Disease). This change should not be difficult. Thank you (in advance).

A.
Raju Narisetti :

This is a good suggestion. Am going to forward to the group that handles our newsletters. Appreciate you writing to us about it.

– March 14, 2011 12:36 PM
Q.

Not so sure about the changes, DC

I guess it will take some getting used to but it has been difficult locating some of the regular sections that I would visit on the WP website. I prefer the listing of the chats and their times on the front page . I am also wondering what happened to the blog listings.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Hi. This does seem to be a common theme so clearly we needed to communicate better. I have answered this a few times with the specific links. Look for chats under Conversations section right at the top of homepage. Each section also has blogs & columns as part of the nav.

– March 14, 2011 12:38 PM
Q.

Redesign - Better designations for sections

Generally speaking, I like the redesign. It is a much cleaner homepage. However, I hope you will consider labeling the sections on the home page, similar to what you have done for the Featured Opinions. Some of us still like to read the paper by sections and don't find the drop-down tabs as easy to use.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Hi. If you scroll down to Elsewhere on the washingtonpost.com part of the homepage, you will see they are grouped by sections. And Today's Paper link at the top of the homepage  is all by actual print sections as well.

– March 14, 2011 12:39 PM
Q.

Fix face off ?

I like Fix face off and love the Top chef vid with Bonnie and Joe. they could go on the road together. Will there still be videos?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

That would be a good pairing indeed especially as we head into a Presidential election year. There will always be videos and hopefully more videos if I have anything to do with it. Thanks

– March 14, 2011 12:41 PM
Q.

Why mess with a good thing?

I realize that change is a necessary, healthy thing, but in this case, I didn't feel that a redesign of the Post's website was warranted. What you had heretofore worked, so why mess with a good thing? Why mess with something that wasn't broken?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

The site really hasn't been updated in a decade with a lot of patchwork fixes that actually made it a lot harder to find Post content. I can imagine on the first day it feels like nothing is where it was but the end-goal, which we believe will be achieved with some playing around with the new site--is to make it easier to find, read and respond to Post content.

– March 14, 2011 12:43 PM
Q.

Why the change?

Just a front page aesthetic tweak or what else in the subpages?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Lots of changes actually. You can find all the details here.

– March 14, 2011 12:43 PM
Q.

Why persist with comments?

Unmoderated comments on articles - and you must know this - are a field of unintelligible, often hateful, often irrelevant junk, with the occasional thoughtful bit of perspective lost amidst the drivel. Why persist with the noise of the uninformed, a noise that drowns out the possibility of alternative perspectives? There has to be a better way to moderate and filter comments.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Comments have been the Holy Grain of news sites in recents years and we are no different and perhaps have more issues on our site since we are often seen as a proxy for what is wrong with Washington. The switch to a new comments sytem is aimed at improving the discourse. Ultimately, no amount of technology will make conversations on the web more civil but a combination of technology, tiering, badging and human curation could go ways in making the conversations both more civil and more engaging as well as interesting.

– March 14, 2011 12:46 PM
Q.

top of the page

Nice job with the redesign. But I really don't like the big play that one story gets at the top of the first page. I like to scan for stories and visit the page several times a day. With the new design, every time I do, I see the same thing. I realize the events in Japan are significant and changing quickly, and maybe that's the reason for how the site looks now. In that way it unfortunately imitates hardcopy newspapers - rigid, repetitive. Thanks.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thanks. It is true that Japan is currently taking up a lot of footprint and might feel the same even if stories are being constantly updated and news images and video are being added. It is a bit of a challenge since that is the big story everyone wants to track. Which is part of the reason why we have really added a lot more elements to the homepage for you to scroll and also significantly beefed up our other sections and are giving the readers the option to make those sections their "start" page as well. So you could go to Politics or Sports in addition to coming to wp homepage if you feel we are currently all Japan all the time at the top.

– March 14, 2011 12:48 PM
Q.

New Layout

I'll get used to it ... I hope :) So what was the major reason for the change?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thanks. I hope so too and that it won't take a long time either. At the end of the day (well not today maybe but soon) you should find it easier to use, read, see Post content. Major reason--the site looked tired, it was clunky and made you work very hard to find stuff. It is a different matter that many readers got used to that but it still was a poor experience.

– March 14, 2011 12:50 PM
Q.

Chats.

Not Conversations. Chats. You guys are shooting yourselves in the foot if chats are not prominently displayed.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Hi. Chats are conversations. We have called the entire section Conversations and it includes Discussions & Debates (daily chats)

– March 14, 2011 12:52 PM
Q.

redesign

Like KAC, I don't like the redesign either! I don't need to have the Washington Post pick and choose which articles are important but rather be able to choose what I want to read!
A.
Raju Narisetti :

You can choose whatever you want to read. The entire paper is in Today's Paper by section and the site has everything updated too. How it is presented is indeed decided by the Post but that is the case with any website in terms of what is presented first and what comes later.

– March 14, 2011 12:53 PM
Q.

Discussions

"Hi. In addition to the featured ones, you can actually get all of them by clicking on the Conversations sections right at the top of the homepage." Um, there is no Conversations section at the top of the homepage
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Hi. it is at the very top where your name shows up (if you register) and says Sign Out  Subscribe  Mobile  Conversations Today's Paper. If you are still having trouble finding it, here is the link.

– March 14, 2011 12:54 PM
Q.

P_McP

What is your stance on "trolls" who invade the various blogs spouting nonsense? There's this one joker on Natinals Insider who (while always right about what he says) tries to put down the Natinals while hyping up the Orioles.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

We all need a "joker" or two in our life! But, seriously, if this person is violating commenting standards, do flag him/her and those who monitor chats will make a call. Putting down a team while hyping another seems rather par for the course if you are a true sports fan. It is how this person is doing it that might not meet standards and the team can check if you flag the comments.

– March 14, 2011 12:56 PM
Q.

Arts and Style

Any particular reason for burying your features coverage at the bottom of the home page?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

No. It is a function of news and Japan hogging a lot of space. Each of those modules can move up or down and nothing stops those making the call on the  homepage, based on news priorities, in flagging features high up.

– March 14, 2011 12:58 PM
Q.

Be honest

What percentage of questions and comments coming in to this chat are negative? Because I can't believe that anyone---except you, I guess---could prefer this new format.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

As you can see from the answers to questions I am posting, quite a few. And as expected actually given that change is not easy especially changes to a news site. The goal isn't to hide since not addressing any reader's questions/concerns isn't a smart way to engage and keep that reader.

– March 14, 2011 1:01 PM
Q.

Raju Narisetti :

Clearly we need to work on the showcasing blogs and chats much more than we have as many of you have raised them as an issue in the questions that I have answered and those that I haven't yet.

We are looking at the changes we have put in place--including a change in the way the site is published, which makes it faster for us to respond to news and events--as the first stage in a continuous effort to make it easier for you to find content you like and want to engage with.  As in, we won't want for a another decade to make the site more user-friendly. I will talk to the Comments and Blog teams as well as the design team so we can look at the feedback and see what we can do to improve, not diminish, your experience.

At the end of the day we are in the business of keeping and growing our audience so want to put an end to the notion that we will kill something (blogs, chats etc) that is popular with all of you.

 

Q.

Content management system

So why did you guys go with Eidos as your CMS instead of building one on your own? Just sort of wondering what the thinking is, and why you'd want to be stuck using a vendor instead of actually owning the product.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

We "owned" the previous web publishing sytem that we acquired from someone a while back. It was terrible for the last few years. The Post's core competency is content. It makes little sense for us build a publishing system given the enormous change that is happening in digital technology. We will never been able to keep investing in it enough to keep up. Eidos is an XML-based system that will allow us to work with many emerging technologies and platforms a lot faster than we would otherwise be able to.

– March 14, 2011 1:10 PM
Q.

Market Summary

The Post had a nice summary of the market showing the actual number of the change at any given time during the day. The change by the percentage at the end of the day would be OK but the actural number is preferable. Would you consider changing the current format to show both?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Will have the business editor look into this suggestion. thanks.

– March 14, 2011 1:11 PM
Q.

credit to you for taking the heat

I really, really don't like some aspects of the re-design, but you had the guts to show up and explain, which counts for something. Just fix the Chat listings and I'll go quietly.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Would prefer you don't "go" anywhere, quietly or otherwise. And the end of the day our goal is to engage you more fully and have you spend more time with Post content. So happy to explain, take feedback and apply it when it makes sense.

– March 14, 2011 1:13 PM
Q.

Real estate chat

Please return the real estate chat. As a homeowner and a landlord, I am very interested in keeping up-to-date on real estate issues. At least once every two weeks would be enough.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thanks. It was not an easy call to end it. The problem is somewhat simple. As our industry has shrunk, we have had to reduce our resources. This has meant refocusing existing staff on work that has a broader appeal. There were several chats that we discontinued because they were either not growing their audience or the audience--however loyal--was too small to justify putting that ahead of doing other chats. Left up to me, I would love to keep every chat--even if it had just 50 loyal followers--going. But I have to do what is right for the Post, both in terms of what the larger audience is asking from us as well as what makes sense for our business.

– March 14, 2011 1:16 PM
Q.

Post Points

I couldn't find a handy link to Post Points and ended up doing a search for it. Before the update, I could at least find it at the bottom of the Local page.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Hi. It is right at the end of the home page in what is called the footer. Under The Washington Post header. The fourth link.

– March 14, 2011 1:17 PM
Q.

Reason for change

Aside from your excuse "It's been 10 years"... why the change? Had you noticed declining hits/visits? Was it not making enough ad revenue so you wanted to upgrade it? Changes should never be made without a reason. If that were the case, I would think you would fire your staff every 5-10 years, because, well, why not?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Actually 2010 was the best year for washingtonpost.com since July 1995 when it began as a website. But that was akin to driving a 15-year-old car down the freeway with all it had. And the end it would fall apart. We had gotten to that point with the technology supporting the site.  You wouldn't believe how long it took for an editor to change something on the homepage before you saw it. We don't wear our clothes until they all become tattered and changing them adds to the cost and doesn't necessarily increase our income. But the time had come (actually was a few years overdue)

– March 14, 2011 1:21 PM
Q.

Washington Post

Love the Today's Paper feature!!!! I love my newspaper, and I want to READ it, I don't like the trend of more video on some news sites, although I know that others like it. Now I can see my paper if I don't finish it all in the morning. Thank you!
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thanks. We are expecting a bit of a love hate relationship initially on that new feature as readers get used to finding a paper version of the Post that is static--as in it isn't updated beyond what was in the paper--and a vibrant, constantly updated website. In the past there was no difference between the two..what we called Today's Paper then was really updated web stories not the definitive print version of that story. But glad to see the love as well. Thank you.

– March 14, 2011 1:23 PM
Q.

Like!

I know a lot of people are probably resistant to change but when I opened up the Post website this morning, I thought it was great. I was quickly able to find where most things were and I think you guys did a great job with the redesign. There will be a learning curve for all of us as we adjust but I think it's a good one! Thanks!
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thank you.

– March 14, 2011 1:24 PM
Q.

Redesign of web homepage

Washington Post, While change is always exciting, both good and bad, I regret less information 'above the fold.' Why did you go this route? Or, is it because of the major breaking story out of Japan that perhaps isn't giving us what the homepage will really look like day to day? Signed, Newspaper Nation/World editor who checks in often during a shift.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

More about Japan than anything else.

– March 14, 2011 1:24 PM
Q.

don't lose your core customers while attracting new ones

Yes, I'm almost 60. yes, I'll subscribe to the paper edition as long as it exists. I hope you guys are giving SOME thought to retaining people like me as you revamp for the new world of 25-year-olds or whatever you're (rightly) aiming at.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Very much so. As you know we recently added nearly 16 pages to your Sunday paper. At at some point when newspapers figure out a way to easily charge for the web/mobile apps, I would very much like to reward our print subscribers, such as yourself,  for your loyalty. And thank you for continuing to buy and read the paper. Much appreciated.

– March 14, 2011 1:26 PM
Q.

I think I might like it...

I'm in the minority, it seems, but I think I might like the redesign. Sure, it's hard to find some things now, but we're just not used to it yet. I don't know that anyone can fairly make a definitive claim or love or hate for the entire concept just yet. And, as always, there are things to be done better (the chats not being on the homepage rankles me, too)... Anyway, to the person who said all the comments are negative, that's typically how any feedback session occurs - people are way more likely to discuss what bothers them that what is going well. Human nature, I suppose.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thank you. But I am happy to focus on those who are finding the change not entirely satisfactory since the goal for any change is to make it better than make it worse.

– March 14, 2011 1:28 PM
Q.

format

Well now, I've sat for an hour and listened> Question: Do you really think it is now easier to "scan" the paper for interesting stories as used to be the case?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Honestly, yes. What you thought was "scanning" the paper before wasn't really that. It was called Today's Paper but essentially was all the latest web versions of those stories.

– March 14, 2011 1:29 PM
Q.

Mobile site problems

I was surprised by the poster who said the mobile site was better. I find it more full of bugs every day. (I'm a Droid user.) Text is often dropped in the advice/discussion columns (there will often be an answer with no question), and now all of the photos are pixellated. Those are somewhat minor quibbles, though. I like that the stories are still categorized by newspaper sections. That makes a lot of sense to me.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

I agree. We have work to do on our mobile site. Will be glad to get some direct feedback on what you would like. Email me at narisettir@washpost.com

– March 14, 2011 1:30 PM
Q.

Washington DC

Is the Weingarten chat actually happening today? It was scheduled for 3/14 at noon, and yet I'm not seeing any activity (in three different browsers, plus I'm obviously seeing this chat, so I'm guessing it's not technical issues on my end)?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Sorry but apparently Gene felt like it wasn't right to do a humorous chat while there was such bad news coming from Japan.

– March 14, 2011 1:31 PM
Q.

Grey Buttons Not Working

I cannot seem to access any sections of the site - when I click on the buttons on the grey navigation bar, they lead to a site with the page title and nothing else. I can't even access blogs when I Google them. Don't you think you should have worked out the kinks BEFORE you launched? Maybe a beta-testing window, or for us sticklers, a link back to the old site for a few weeks, while you guys work out your issues?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

We are really not getting any complaints of similar problems. Can you email your browser and computer information to ideas@washpost.com. It could be an issue at your end too.

– March 14, 2011 1:32 PM
Q.

Blog postings versus Stories

It used to be that blog postings and news stories were fairly easy to distinguish, because the layout for each was different. Now it seems that they are presented with the same format. Does this signal an editorial decision that blog posts and stories that may have run in the paper have equal editorial weight, even though blog entries seem to not have the same gravitas, for lack of a better word?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

We try and apply the same standards of reporting and writing to our news blogs and almost all of them are done by those whose writing ends up as news "stories" in the paper. It isn't a deliberate signal but my view is Post content should hold up whether it is presented as a blog or as an article.

– March 14, 2011 1:33 PM
Q.

Re "Why the Change?"

I just spent this weekend redesigning the homepage on my own (very, very modest) business website. Why? Because cumulative additions and deletions over the past few years had rendered it clumsy to read, aesthetically less pleasing for visitors to view and a bit more confusing for them to use, and harder for me to update. My own new and improved homepage now looks "cleaner" and better-spaced, with hyperlinks easier to find. There's always an adjustment for users to make whenever something new comes up, but after a little while the improvements should outweigh the getting-used-to phase on both my little website and your huge one! Oh, and don't be too proud to make small fixes that your discover need making.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Agree very much. Thank you.

– March 14, 2011 1:35 PM
Q.

Q&A Schedule

Hi, overall, I like it. I echo the comments about not being able to find the chats. However, something that hasn't been mentioned; the live Q&A Scheulde for the week -- the time is so much bigger than the date, that it's hard to read which day which chat is happening. thanks.
A.
Jodi Westrick :

This page is a work in progress and the Interactivity team hopes to have it more visually pleasing - and informative! - soon.

– March 14, 2011 1:35 PM
Q.

FINALLY!

What took you so long to center your web site? Did you think that "center" thing was a fad and every one would go back to 1995 and "align left?"
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Don't know. Have only been at the Post for two years and sometimes it does take that kind of time to redo a major website!

– March 14, 2011 1:36 PM
Q.

Small feedback on the Today's Post feature

Love how this works now, but here's one small issue: Go to Sports, and see the nice picture of Knuble after he scored. Click on the picture to see it bigger. Presto! A new area appears with the picture...exactly the same size. It should be bigger.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Should be. Will flag sports. Think it is a bug.

– March 14, 2011 1:37 PM
Q.

Love it

Its clean and simple. I love the sidebar too! I think the font is fine too, one can always zoom in by pressing ctrl and '+' if they think its too small. Also like the 'Diversions' pane. I only have good things to say!
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thank you. But do keep giving feedback on what is not working as well. Ideas@washpost.com is the place in the future.

– March 14, 2011 1:37 PM
Q.

Captions Pls

Hi Raju - Thx for taking the heat today. My gripe is about the lack of photo captions. Like the photo of the child lying prone in Japan while someone gazes worriedly at him. Is he deceased? Orphaned? Who is looking at him? A caption would be welcome as you increase your photo content. And also, pls fix the chats per others' comments.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Trust me, I am responsible for the photo dept as well at the Post and I feel the heat even internally. We will get it fixed...

– March 14, 2011 1:38 PM
Q.

Browser Compatibility with the new website

I use Firefox and there are compatibility issues. How about publishing configuration tips for those of us who don't use Internet Explorer?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Good idea.

Meanwhile, if you want to send your email to ideas@washpost.com I can ask someone from tech to help in this case. Let us know what the issues are though.

– March 14, 2011 1:39 PM
Q.

"Gene felt like it wasn't right to do a humorous chat"

So nothing's changed, really...
A.
Raju Narisetti :

It seems like a valid point. I would have liked my team to put a note up saying so though.

– March 14, 2011 1:40 PM
Q.

Topics on home page

When we know what we're looking for, we might try to find it. But I worry about items that others may never see because they're not listed on the home page. The Capital Weather Gang is a good example. It's wonderful, but if people don't see it on the home page, they won't know such a thing exists! The home page really needs to list as many articles and features as possible. Web readers aren't going to scan the whole site.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Agree. The issue isn't they have disappeared. The issue is we haven't done a good job flagging them. If  you click on weather in the main nav--the image of clouds, temp--it takes you to our local weather including the Gang. Will figure out a way to flag them more.

– March 14, 2011 1:41 PM
Q.

Blog formatting

In an unrelated issue, some of the blogs, Dr. Gridlock and Faster Forward, have been having the text run into the ad on the right-hand side and that 1/4 to 1/2 inch of text disappears. It leaves the reader to decipher what is actually typed. Could you look into this?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Yes. will flag the tech team. Thanks.

– March 14, 2011 1:42 PM
Q.

I like the look

But I hate how much space is taken up by that rail with ads and Post promotional stuff. And why is it so much easier to find the Civil War tweets than your Sunday magazine?
A.
Raju Narisetti :

It is interesting  you say ads.  There is actually just one paid ad on the home page now (the BMW one right at the top). The rest of the modules in under the ad are all news/content related and managed by the newsroom.

– March 14, 2011 1:43 PM
Q.

TODAY'S PAPER

I just took a quick glance at the "Today's Paper" feature, and I think it is awesome that we can see online the layout of the print version of the paper and how the stories are presented in that format. I am one of those readers who mostly reads the print version of the paper, although I am on the Post website almost every day as well. I love it when I 'm reading the paper and turn the page and find a story or picture that I might not have sought out or found on the website, but because it is in front of me and has caught my attention, I'll learn something new.
A.
Raju Narisetti :

Thank you. Awesomeness was what we were going for too with that feature.

– March 14, 2011 1:44 PM
Q.

Raju Narisetti :

Thank you for taking time our of your busy day to give me your thoughts, comments, feedback and angst.  I really appreciate it and we will regroup on some key common issues that have surfaced.

Meanwhile, do go to this link and see all the changes. I agree not everything is explained at the top of the homepage--would have been hard to do in a news site--but all the details are here.

I have a more detailed personal note and hope you will continue to give feedback by sending your comments to ideas@washpost.com.

 

Thanks again

Raju

Q.

 

A.
Host: