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Vox’s new homepage, explained

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Warren Schultheis/Vox

Vox.com has a fancy new homepage.

It's pretty good looking, if I do say so myself (and I can say that because I really have nothing to do with the design, except for the occasional, "Ooooo, that looks nice!" comment).

But more than just a pretty face, we're hoping the homepage delivers up information to our readers in a way that works for them.

The initial homepage designs and requirements on a white board. (Warren Schultheis/Vox)

Vox is partly based on the idea that the newest story isn't always the most important story. So we've built a homepage that's designed to link together the stories we've done over time. If the slots look unusually tall to you, that's because they are: they're designed not for one headline, but for many headlines. That way, if something happens in, say, Ukraine, we're able to offer both our newest story on the topic, but also the stories leading up to today.

I'll be honest: I have no idea if this is going to work. It'll require a different type of curation and we need to build a robust taxonomy behind the scenes. And even if we get that right, there's no guarantee that readers will want to consume our stories this way. But if it doesn't work, we'll change it.

Some other things of note: There's a basic latest news display for those who just want to see the latest stream of our published content. There are some new permanent doorways into content we know you like to find — such as the latest posts from your favorite writers or our latest videos. And there's a whole lot more emphasis on the display.

We know some of you are reading this on a phone, others on a giant monitor, others on some sort of tablet. Whatever way you look at it, it should look great. We built a display that shifts according to the type of content on the page and according to what device you're on. The layout algorithmically generates each time and the system may run through up to 1,000 different options to find the best one. (For more on the technical background, we took inspiration from some of the great work happening at Flipboard.)

In media circles, there's been a lot of talk of late about whether or not homepages are dead. We're certainly not seeing that at Vox: traffic to our homepage has risen steadily since our launch. But the homepage, like everything else on the web, will need to continue to evolve. This is one idea for a direction, and it will change as we see how you like it.

I'd love to hear what you think. You can always reach me at melissa@vox.com.

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