Sep 13, 2022 - Economy

The Verge goes after Twitter with new redesign

The Verge

The Verge has redesigned its home page and user experience to include a Twitter-like feed of content that's editorially curated by its top editors and reporters, executives told Axios.

Why it matters: "I think that the core realization for us is that our competition is not Wired, our competition is Twitter ... and other aggregators of audience," said Nilay Patel, The Verge's editor-in-chief.

  • The idea is that the feed will make The Verge's own scoops and reporting more relevant to its audiences by highlighting conversations happening around them, and it will help build trust with The Verge's audience by elevating original reporting from other outlets or creators.

Details: The end-to-end redesign features a new, edgier logo and more colorful, modern fonts and graphics that are meant to be cleaner and easier to read.

  • The new homepage feed, called Storystream, allows Verge journalists to more easily aggregate content across the web that's relevant to their audience in one place, where they can add commentary or additional reporting.
  • The feed allows select editors and senior reporters to aggregate any media asset, from TikTok videos to Reddit AMA threads, into the feed, alongside The Verge's own reporting, analysis and multimedia assets.
  • Eventually, The Verge plans to add comments and other forms of audience engagement into the feed.

From a business perspective, the redesign is meant to capitalize on the engagement from The Verge's most loyal readers, said Helen Havlak, publisher of The Verge.

  • "One of the most valuable assets we have at The Verge is a direct relationship to our audience who comes to our homepage," she said. "If I can just get people to the last point to refresh our site one more time a day, that is a huge lift to my business."
  • The Verge soon plans to launch an infinite scroll feature, which will allow the outlet to serve highly engaged users more ads, in addition to custom ad formats for the new homepage experience.

Be smart: Patel estimates that the feed format can save 20 hours per day across its entire team by eliminating the need to write aggregation posts. That time instead can be used for original reporting and analysis.

  • "I fundamentally believe we are going to spend as much time pointing to other good work on other platforms and other sites, as we will spend pointing to ourselves," Patel said.

Flashback: The new feed is a reflection of The Verge's blogging roots. The site, which turned 10 last year, has expanded in recent years to include podcasts, an OTT app, subscription newsletters, product reviews and events.

  • But Patel believes that the simple power of blogging has become more important as social media fatigue intensifies.
  • "I 100% think we can revolutionize the media with blog posts," he said. "We're kind of going back to basics moment" of building communities around writers.

The big picture: The website is the first Vox Media outlet to run on a new front-end platform called Duet that unifies all of Vox Media's back-end technology in a way that makes publishing more seamless.

  • Eventually, Vox Media plans to migrate all of its sites onto Duet so that it can run on a single, optimized front-end platform. Patel called Duet "a major technological achievement" for the company.

What to watch: Tech publishers are investing more in products that help connect their hyper-engaged digital audiences to their writers.

  • Earlier this year, The Information launched a series of networking features on its site, including a Reddit-like news feed (with up- and down-ranking for articles), direct messaging and a directory.
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