Revamped Herald site launches today

A radically revamped New Zealand Herald Website debuts this morning, reflecting what Wilson and Horton's new media development manager Chantal Dunbar says is a 'totally new attitude towards business' at the publishing giant. The new Herald site contains relatively little additional content, but has received a complete facelift, along with new database functionality which for the first time allows the newspaper's editorial staff to manage the site and post stories quickly when required.

A radically revamped New Zealand Herald Website debuts this morning, reflecting what Wilson and Horton's new media development manager Chantal Dunbar says is a "totally new attitude towards business" at the publishing giant.

The new Herald site contains relatively little additional content, but has received a complete facelift, along with new database functionality which for the first time allows the newspaper's editorial staff to manage the site and post stories quickly when required.

One new feature is a weather feed showing forecasts for Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, updated four times daily. The weather icons also function as buttons linking through to the MetService Website.

Dunbar says the site was "overdue for a facelift" and that the redesign has improved on its look and navigation, making it more dynamic and attractive "so people get value out of going there."

The site design was managed by former Xtra art director Kostia Shinderman, who will start full-time with Wilson and Horton early next month, working on the Herald online classifieds project, which is due to debut in February. Dunbar also left Xtra during the Telecom ISP's controversial restructuring earlier this year.

Dunbar confirms that development on the classifieds project, which Wilson and Horton originally said it would conduct in-house, and then recruited Hamilton company Webmasters for, is now with Auckland's Clearview Communications.

Dunbar says Webmasters "helped us out with creating a functional spec and looking at our strategy and our business model - they're a great company," but the job was transferred to Clearview for economic reasons.

Clearview first worked for Wilson and Horton in 1997, when it carried out a salvage job on the W&H corporate Web presence created by former Telecom subsidiary Digital Video Productions, and also developed the publishing engine behind National Business Review's online presence.

The new Herald site was built in the Cold Fusion CGI scripting environment Clearview has made its specialty, and it may be that the Auckland company's ability to deliver such a turnkey solution made it more financially attractive than Webmasters. Whitewater Technologies has continued to carry out database work for the forthcoming classifieds site.

Dunbar says the ad site will see all the herald's classified offerings placed online and that "we have some surprises up our sleeves" for its launch.

Meanwhile, Wilson and Horton IT manager Tim Barrable, who first hired Clearview and has been guiding the company's progress online, has returned to the UK for family reasons. His job has been filled by Australian Gary McKenzie.

The new Herald site is at:

http://www.herald.co.nz

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