New LA Times Site and Your Next Newspaper

The new LA Times website went live today at 2 AM Chicago time. I managed the project team that built it. It's been a very long and difficult road to launch. Within minutes of going live we got negative feedback, but as more and more people have seen the site the comments have been generally positive, which is gratifying. We're scrambling to fix some small issues; overall, though, the site is performing a bit better than we expected. 

The new site has lots of bells and whistles, in particular the infinite scroll, an exclusive to the site. The most significant change is the least noticeable: the mobile and desktop versions of the site have been merged. The previous version of the LATimes.com offered up separate sites for desktop and mobile devices. The new site serves up the same content for all devices, although the content will lay out differently according to screen size. (In web development parlance, it's known as a responsive site.) Having one site for all devices–a highly complex technical task–is significant because at some point this year mobile device traffic will overtake desktop traffic.

This change, in turn, points to an even more profound change coming: devices themselves will disappear. We will access the Internet through screens only. Data and computation will occur in the cloud. Your access point will be an ordinary piece of glass illuminated by a light bulb that projects. Or your access point will be your kitchen countertop, your glasses, the palm of your hand. This is not a far-fetched prospect. The technologies already exist. They just need economies of scale to make them practical. The next LATimes.com redesign could appear on your bathroom mirror, or even a piece of paper.

In the meantime, I'm going to get some sleep. It's been a long day. 

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