Praise for positive changes, made to serve a purpose

Have you noticed it yet? The absolute best new feature of our recently updated website? If you haven’t, I’ll give you a hint — you don’t have to search very far to spot it.

OK, that was a terrible near-play on words, please forgive me, but I want everyone to notice that you no longer have to search for the Search function on our website — we give you that little magnifying glass at the top of the page, right next to the (clearly labeled) Menu button.

That improvement is far and away my favorite for this update, and there were actually quite a few contenders this time. There’s the Subscribe button, also readily available at the top of the home page. There’s the categories list right under our name at the top of the page, so you can jump right to what you’re looking for. And there’s the more engaging layout.

I like the layout when I look at the site on a computer, and when I look at it on my phone, I still like it.

Wait, you probably don’t understand what effusive praise that is, coming from me. I’ll explain: I have a Windows phone, and not Windows 10. I have some older, often unsupported and much maligned version that has a terrible success rate when it comes to trying new things.

So let me try that again. Even the mobile version of our website is easy to read, detailed but not cluttered, and with loads more photos than the previous version displayed. It’s a little bit like carrying an actual newspaper in your hand. It’s useful.

That usefulness is the driver behind most of the redesign decisions. Readers, us included, like to see photos or short introductions on stories before we click or tap on a headline.

We like to see our information stacked up where we expect to see it, too, so the actual organization — News, Opinion, Sports, Life — won’t change on our site, but we can add subcategories if they seem useful. I expect we’ll need subcategories for some of the hot topics now in front of us, such as the hospital’s potential affiliation with Astria Health, the proposed development of the former Weyerhaeuser mill site in Snoqualmie, or the North Bend weigh station debate and the I-90 and S.R. 18 improvements that prompted it.

Just like the regular categories, the subcategories will collect all of those connected stories together. To see them, just click (or tap) the tag, under the headline, next to the date of the story.

Another change we made for readers is so simple, it’s funny that we’ve never done it before. At the bottom of each story, there are Previous and Next buttons, so that you can find something else to read. Or you can check out the More In section or the Most Read list underneath a story. So much for the Back button.

Maybe the last noticeable change you’ll spot on the website is our comments section. We are returning to the Disqus tool for comments. As with the previous tool, Civil Comments, you will need to create a login and password before you can add your words to any comment box.

That’s enough about the website, but I still have some praise to pass out. It’s a little overdue, but still necessary. It’s for the candidates and their armies who, starting Nov. 8, set to work to collect all of their campaign signs and restore our roadsides and medians to their normal, if a little boring, states.

These signs are colorful, effective, and to reuse a word, engaging, but on Nov. 8, they are unneded distractions. So I want to thank all of those candidates who recognized that the drudgery of removing all your campaign signs after the election was also part of what they signed on for when they decided to run for office. Good job.

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