Rackspace Tech Showcase – NewCity Begins with the End-User Experience

Like reporters on assignment, members of the NewCity team began work on a new web site for the International Reporting Project (IRP) with two ideas in mind: probing questions and a deadline.

International Reporting Project site design by New City Experience The IRP, based in Washington, D.C., is a fellowship program for professional journalists covering critical issues in some of the most under-served regions of the world. The program is hosted by the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at John Hopkins University.

According to William Colbert, IRP communications coordinator and webmaster, over the past 11 years, the program acquired quite a catalog of incredible material by journalists, including written works, video, audio, and photographs. “NewCity understood our dilemma from day one: How do we bring these stories, once hidden on the old IRP site, to the forefront? This mutual understanding allowed us to hit the ground running,” said Colbert.

At NewCity, every project begins with the end-user in mind. For the IRP, the end-user included editors, journalists, as well as readers. According to Melissa Beaver, User Experience (UX) project lead, “In our research for this project, we found that the author was as important as the content. People read a news blog because they like the blogger. The subject is the primary draw but it's a personal connection that keeps them reading.”

Another way the NewCity team connects the reader to the story is through an innovative story map browser that unites geography and journalists to their stories, creating what Beaver refers to as a “sense of place for the reader.”

“The new site has exceeded our expectations,” says Colbert. “The site's contemporary look, improved functionality, and simplified navigation places the IRP in a position to continue its longstanding tradition as pioneers in non-profit news.”

Pioneering experience design is the foundation for NewCity projects where the end-user experience is where work begins.


An example of the work of the International Reporting Project (IRP):  IRP reporters visited Lebanon and Syria in 2004:


Like what you read about tech companies in the Blacksburg, Virginia area?  Rackspace Email and Apps has openings for developers.


Managed hosting, cloud hosting, and email hostingThe Rackspace Tech Showcase is sponsored by Rackspace (R) HostingRackspace Email and Apps is a division of Rackspace located in Blacksburg, Virginia. 

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