When it comes to communications technology, The Herald is all thumbs.
And that’s a good thing.
For centuries, newspaper customers did their reading while holding wide sheets of paper in both hands.
For more than a decade now, many people have been getting their news from personal computers.
And today, more and more people get all kinds of information from cellphones — looking at a small screen with a limited number of buttons, while using their thumbs to move from page to page.
Earlier this year, The Herald began offering news and advertising information formatted for cellphones. It has a site for all mobile users, plus special applications — “apps” — in beta testing for smartphones and Apple iPads. Cellphone users can reach the mobile site at www.heraldnet.com. And smartphone and iPad users can download HeraldNet apps at no cost.
“There are a lot of news sites available, but this will be the first one to focus on news that is important to Snohomish County residents,” said Kelly Hulin. director of Marketing and Interactive Media.
As The Herald worked on the design of its mobile sites, Hulin said, it became apparent that “it all comes down to thumb movements. We wanted to ensure that the most important features, news, sports, weather and traffic, were just a touch away.”
Doug Parry, HeraldNet Web editor, agrees. “The mobile site is a lot easier to navigate with your thumbs and see with your eyes,” he said. Until now, people reaching our site on a cellphone had to do “a lot of zooming in and out … a lot of contorting to read the articles.”
Jorge Rivera, Herald operations director, said consumer preferences make it clear that company needed to introduce sites for cellphone and iPad users. “Mobile is the fastest growing media consumption device in the world,” he said.
To make the move quickly, Rivera and Hulin led The Herald’s efforts to find an outside vendor who could work efficiently and integrate the rich assortment of Herald news and advertising content into a mobile format. And that is why the sites are operated with technical support of Verve Wireless.
These sites are still works in progress — with added features like Facebook integration and comment posting still to come. And Parry hopes the site will add additional visual elements like photo galleries and opinion cartoons.
Hulin and Rivera are generous with praise when asked to identify co-workers who helped the Herald make the leap into the mobile world. In addition to Parry, the Web editor, they single out developers Kelsey Weddle and Reshma Seetharam. Hulin said that when the project team encountered obstacles, “they did a great job of overcoming those challenges quickly and creatively.”
Each week, Here at The Herald will provide an inside peek at the newspaper — its people and the work they do. Is there something you’d like to know? Send you idea to Executive Editor Neal Pattison, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Try our apps (all in beta testing):