In another move to grow the NPPA’s position as the voice of visual journalism, the nppa.org website has undergone a redesign that launches in April. The new look improves navigation, upgrades the ability to display video and multimedia and puts visuals at the center of everything.
NPPA Secretary Seth Gitner was the project manager, guiding priorities to migrate from an underwhelming design into something that could display cutting-edge multimedia and also be agile enough for new features as the site evolves.
“I have been involved with the NPPA’s technology since I was elected to the board in 2014. We knew we needed a redesign even then, but it was really important for us to get a handle on all of our technology issues and there were plenty,” said Gitner who also serves as the NPPA technology chair.
The online presence for Monthly News Clip Contest, the TV Quarterly, Best of Photojournalism and other NPPA competitions became the first priority and was redesigned in 2016. Gitner said that successful project will remain on a subdomain at competitions.nppa.org.
The nppa.org redesign started soon after. Visuals are the centerpiece on the new homepage and breaking news from NPPA will be more easily displayed. The Job Bank, member profiles and Find a Photographer are among the features that remain.
The design will also include a digital version of News Photographer. Previously, a PDF of the magazine was uploaded to the site but now the stories will be formatted for better display of visuals and the inclusion of video.
The project was challenging, in part to size of the membership database and the news archives.
“There were a lot of legacy issues that we’ve had to deal with all along the way; from costly servers to a monstrous member database, to a design that did not display photographs very well at all,” Gitner said. “It wasn’t until we really got in there and took a look around that we were able assess all that needed to be done.”
The technical work of the redesign was handled by Winter Creative, a full-service digital agency based in Truckee, California that specializes in design and data-driven development.
"This was a massive overhaul and should help position the NPPA for the future,” said Winter Creative President Justin Winter. "I'm proud to have helped build something that can help feature the amazing talent of the NPPA.”
The NPPA team worked directly with Winter and his developers along the way.
“Working with Winter Creative has been great. We did not have to go through an account sales representative. We worked directly with a web developer who knows when you ask the question whether something is doable or not,” Gitner said. “Plus, Justin has a background in photography. He knows imagery and how to play it well on-line.”
Showcasing outstanding photojournalism was the central purpose of the new design.
“This gives us so many options to share outstanding visual journalism,” said Tom Burton, editor of the NPPA. “We need to be as creative as our membership in publishing the NPPA’s stories and this site is the perfect tool.”
Burton said that the new design will allow for more videos on the homepage from NPPA members.
“Photojournalists working in broadcast newsrooms and the growing number of multimedia journalists are doing amazing work and we need to be able to display that,” Burton said.
Many of the site’s features will remain exclusive to NPPA members through their logins. During the launch, most of the features will be open to anyone as a virtual open house, but will be behind the user login access soon after.
“I think the NPPA membership will notice a big difference right off the bat and be able to see that the NPPA is keeping up to date and will remain a relevant advocate for visual journalists,” Gitner said.