29 Aug 2012

Channel 4 News future proofs its online presence

Using groundbreaking responsive technology we will become first UK-wide news programme to resize online content for any platform.

Channel 4 News has announced that it will become the first UK-wide news programme to use responsive design. The site will automatically reorganise its content for optimum viewing on any platform, from mobile to tablet to a resized browser window. The redesign will also ensure www.channel4.com/news is looking ahead to future innovations in converged TV.

Last month Google said: “Sites that serve all devices on the same set of URLs, with each URL serving the same HTML to all devices and using just CSS to change how the page is rendered on the device” as its recommended configuration. Reasons for this include the fact that sites configured in this way are more easily indexed – and more likely to be linked to and shared. (Source ) Last month ITN announced that the site for its video content would use the technology, and Scottish broadcaster STV has also introduced responsive design to its site, but in the UK, it is used more extensively in retail.

Vicky Taylor, Commissioning Editor, New Media, News and Current Affairs at Channel 4 explains: “We are the market leaders in experimentation with news content, and this investment will ensure we remain at the forefront. We have to ensure that our news, commentary and analysis is available on any device – those that are available now -but also those that are currently in development.”

Online brands such as Jon Snow’s Snowmail and Cathy Newman’s award-winning FactCheck will remain key features, and International Editor Lindsey Hilsum, Social Affairs Editor Jackie Long and Health & Social Care Correspondent Victoria Macdonald will join the list of correspondents with specialist blogs. Liam Dutton’s weather site will be more closely integrated, with a personalised homepage widget. The Special Reports will remain, showcasing the very best Channel 4 News journalism on topics ranging from NoGo Britain (an interactive investigation into disabled access to public transport) and the end of Sri Lanka’s civil war.

Designed by ClearLeft, the new design will also incorporate new features such as a “Live from the Newsroom” rolling blog. This will be a feed of constantly updated multimedia content – combining video, text and social media. And the 7pm programme will now be streamed live through the website so viewers can watch online live, as well as through the existing catch-up function.

Anna Doble, Acting Head of Online at Channel 4 News says: “This is a fantastic way of combining the lively social media activity of our team with the brilliant journalism they produce in a live, dynamic feed. It will make the most of our content, and ensure that our relationship with users and viewers continues to extend beyond the 7pm programme. It will also mean we are better placed to respond to breaking news online.”