Delfi Estonia completes a major technological and visual redesign

Estonia’s largest news portal Delfi launched a layout with a revamped design and technological changes today.

In the 18-month development project, Delfi re-designed its homepage, the visual layout and structure of all other pages for mobile and PC viewing, made navigation between sub-portals smoother and harmonised the structure of the article view. In addition to changes in the visual layout, the portal’s technological platform and internal tools were also upgraded. In addition to upgrading the administrative module of photo, video, multimedia and text entry, the administration and moderation of the comment section was also totally overhauled in order to facilitate sensible debate culture in the comment section and simplify removal of unsuitable comments. To simplify the work of moderators, an application based on a text analysis was embedded in the administrative toolset.

“The whole media sector is undergoing a major digital transition and a significant business model change. For more than 20 years, Delfi has pioneered the development of Estonia’s digital media and been an uncontested market leader. This has been achieved thanks to a clear vision, speed and courage in covering complex social issues. In the last two years there has been a massive shift towards digital subscriptions and developing media as a service provider. During that period, the number of our digital subscribers has roughly tripled. In addition, the time spent by our readers in our portals has also almost tripled. We play a major role in shaping a digitally developed, open and informed society and hence we need to have a very high level of technology. All this triggered the need for major development investments,” said Argo Virkebau, CEO of Ekspress Meedia, summing up the innovation drive.

The biggest driver for changing the business model has been the growth of paid content that has reached almost 20 percent. This requires a different user journey and navigation between different types of content and channels.

“With the Delfi complete package we are building an ecosystem where every adult resident of Estonia should be a subscriber. The subscription provides access to the most diversified content, whether the reader is looking for feature stories, reports of investigative journalists, exclusive video content (rally, tennis, basketball), learning videos that help students to prepare for graduation exams, recipe books or timeless face-to-face interviews. In addition to creating content we also provide more added value to our subscribers through the synergy of other business areas, for instance, offering discounts for attending large events organised by us,” added Virkebau.

The ongoing transition of readers from PCs to mobile devices meant that there had to be changes in the technology and user experience in subscriber journeys. As almost two-thirds of users are reading Delfi from mobile devices, the biggest design changes were made in the mobile platform. Overall, the revamped portal is visually cleaner, less noisy and offers smoother article viewing as the user no longer needs several clicks to open an article.

According to Tarmo Paju, editor-in-chief of Delfi, the goal in upgrading the homepages of Delfi and its sister publications was to re-design them visually, to speed up user experience and to improve the logic of displaying key contents, taking account of the familiar “journey” of hundreds of thousands of users of Estonia’s most popular news portal.

“We harmonised the logic of content blocks for mobile and PC viewing and by reducing the number of different sections we cut the length of the Delfi homepage that had become extensive over the years almost by half and made it more compact. These changes will help our readers to find the content or topic that they are looking for. Our new administrative tools give more flexibility to our editors in consolidating different subjects and content of various publications in our homepage.

“It goes without saying that, like the city of Tallinn, the development of the Delfi homepage will never stop. By no means are today’s changes the final destination of new and exciting developments. We are closely monitoring the behaviour of our current and future users on the homepage and are looking forward to receiving feedback today, in the near or more distant future that we can use when making our next changes and decisions.

The new Delfi logo and visual branding was developed by the creative agency Andstudio. The new Delfi logo is more dynamic, more digital and friendlier,and it is rooted in the brand identity. The new logo will also be implemented in Delfi Latvia and Delfi Lithuania. The new web design of the portals has been created with in-house designers.