Guardian.co.uk, Software design

Series: One nice thing about three new sites

Today we’ve launched three new sites on Guardian Unlimited. Well, more correctly, we’ve redesigned and rebuilt our Science, Technology and Environment sites. Working for a media organisation, I can rely on people much more articulate than me to tell the stories better — see Alok Jha on Science, Alison Benjamin on Environment and (with more technical info than you can shake a memory stick at) Bobbie Johnson on Technology.

So I won’t repeat what they’ve said. Instead, I want to point to one tiny new feature which I’m unfeasibly excited about. It’s series. You know series. They’re those things which appear regularly in a paper or on a website.

Flagging that it's a seriesNavigating through a seriesIn our redesigned sites we’ve introduced series as a specific and distinct concept. For example, Bad Science is a weekly series by Ben Goldacre on pseudo-science. Ask Jack is a series in which Jack Schofield helps people with their computer problems. In the old world these articles would be gathered into their own sections and left at that. But a series is a little bit more than this. For one thing when you land on an article in a series it’s nice to know that it is one of a family. We now flag that at the side of the piece. For another thing, you should be able to navigate to the next and previous articles in the series. Again, this series-specific navigation appears with each piece.

It’s a very small thing, but to me it shows something fundamental and important: the software we’re producing really does match the way our writers and editors think. It is, for those in the know, a result of domain driven design. For everyone else, it’s simply software that does what you think it should do.

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