The Baltics Today

A New Design for a New Era

Much has happened since the last major redesign of the Latvians Online website back in March 2004. Facebook was only one month old, Twitter wasn’t conceived until 2 years later and the mobile Web only took off when the first iPhone appeared in 2007. Today we live in an Internet world dominated by social networks and accessed by an increasing proportion of mobile devices including tablet computers. The Internet is appearing everywhere – on desktops, phones, tablets, watches, glasses and even cars. The Internet speed has also increased hundredfold.

In response to your feedback from the survey late last year we set about redesigning the website to focus on what Latvians Online does best – produce quality content on topics ranging from news, politics, language, education, music, sports, food, culture, travel, history, traditions, technology, events – in both English and Latvian. The goal was to display this content in an easy-to-use, easy-to-navigate and easy-to-search environment and that could also easily adapt to new and emerging technologies.

With the ever-changing landscape of devices, browsers, screen sizes and orientations Responsive Web Design was employed to create a flexible, fluid and adaptive website. This means that a mobile user gets a totally different user experience to someone who is sitting at the desktop or laptop computer. To see the Responsive design in action slowly shrink the browser window and watch how the page automatically rearranges the page elements moving from desktop to tablet to mobile screen sizes. Or simply open our website from your mobile device using the same Web address and enjoy the experience.

We are embracing the latest Web technologies including HTML 5, CSS3, JavaScript and AJAX which not only supports the new Responsive Web Design, but also provides a better and cleaner user interface with visual cues, animated menus and a powerful search facility. If you need to print an article, a printer-friendly version will be created for you automatically. If you want to share an article with others, click on either the Facebook or Twitter icon. If you need to search for a particular article, enter the keyword or author and the website will quickly return results from the database of over 2500 articles.

Ten years ago when more than half of the Internet connections were dialup we had to design Web pages with optimized, small-size graphics in order for the page to appear reasonably quickly in the Web browser. Now that most users are enjoying broadband Internet speeds the new design employs screen-filling high-resolution graphics that look stunning on the new Retina technology screens. Advertisers are no longer restricted to certain banner sizes and can create compelling and interactive marketing messages at just about any size.

The new content management system provides more flexibility and features to prepare us for the technologies of tomorrow. We can run the website from our iPhone or iPad, authors can directly submit their articles for approval and publishing and sections of the website can be easily adapted for either the English or Latvian languages. Using the Application Programming Interface and Web services you will be able to create your own Latvian magazine (for a great example of how this works open up @latviansonline from the Flipboard App), develop a customized iPhone or Android App or even push content to your future iWatch or in-car entertainment system.

We hope you enjoy the new-look Latvians Online website.

The post A New Design for a New Era appeared first on Latvians Online.

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