Helping steer the restructure and redesign of rnz.co.nz as it shifts from broadcast radio to anytime web

Evolving a strong sense of identity

Everyone involved in this project felt it was critical to give the new RNZ both a visual and editorial difference in the marketplace – an ‘ownable’ aesthetic that would be as instantly recognisable in a Facebook feed as on the site itself. The previous colour system was based on stations, and made little sense in the new mixed up reality; instead we went with a limited palette, no-nonsense typography and a distinct image treatment that could be easily rolled out.

Unpicking some knotty content problems

RNZ audio is now consumed in lots of different ways – not just broadcast radio. For audio and other content, our challenge was to unpick many schedule-based structures and create a web-centric architecture. Our plan was to establish a big ‘soup’ of all the amazing content, which could be consumed in the many different ways people want.

We introduced more structure to the metadata of those stories – for everything published we wanted to know locations, subjects, formats, medium, longevity, tone and more!

Building with lego

A media site has relatively few basic building blocks – mostly you’re working with stories, grids of story teasers or lists of story teasers. Within each of those, however, is a great deal of variation in content and layout. We created a component-based design system to provide varied, interesting ways to explore the site – and to give authors simple but effective tools to extend their storytelling.

Groups of stories can be displayed in ‘pods’ with varying numbers and layouts. For smaller screens we implemented a horizontal overflow so that visitors who don't enjoy Lithuanian choral music don't have to scroll for miles past a Lithuanian choral music pod.

The site’s getting good press

Since its release, the website has been a talking point both on and off the airwaves. Here are some of the comments that have come back to us, both from content creators and lovers of RNZ:

  • “It looks absolutely gorgeous! Well done!!!! I love it. Looking forward to filing some copy ASAP.”

  • “Your new website is simply brilliant – simple to follow, brilliant in its clarity & functionality.
  • “You obviously listened to your reader's feedback. I was one who responded to your questionnaires on how users attempted to locate content – the results have far exceeded my expectations.”
  • “Just wanted to say what a great job you and the team did on the redesign. It looks clean, fresh and easy to navigate and it's super duper on mobile.”
  • “Accessible sites don't have to be bland. The hot new @RadioNZ site is visually pleasing, and accessibility is exemplary. That's inclusion.”

We’re absolutely delighted with the site’s new modern face and the reaction from our audience. We are already seeing the benefits and want to keep building on the big improvements.

Glen Scanlon

Head of Digital Media, RNZ