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Coming soon: New look for hclocal.com

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By Jonna Spelbring Priester

If you visited our Website over the weekend, you may have noticed something different.

It was a brief, unintentional unveiling of our new platform. As the platform wasn’t supposed to debut until Dec. 4, the old website was put back up almost as soon as we noticed the faux pas.

There’s no denying that our soon-to-be old website left quite a bit to be desired. In fact, we were more than a little embarrassed by it. It was not the professional product we wanted to deliver to you.

But over the course of the last year, our parent company — who acknowledged the difficulties of the old platform — put in a lot of hard work to help us, and our sister papers, to deliver to you a website that is a lot more user friendly. And, not to put too fine a point on it, the new website just flat out looks better.

I, for one, am beyond delighted with the results of their efforts.
So what’s new? Lots. So much that we’re still learning it all.

First and foremost, the new website will be interactive. Users will be able to add (and edit) calendar items; comment on stories (a considerably under-utilized function on our old site); take part in forum discussions; submit a pet for our new Pet of the Week feature; and much more.

And while we love it when you take time out of your day to visit our office, you can submit your engagement, wedding, anniversary and birth announcements online, as well as letters to the editor, news tips and sports. There are no forms to print out, no hassle.

For those of you who have been frustrated by the inconsistent timing of the updating of our site I have good news: our new platform comes with a timer that we can set for stories to update automatically.

You’ll also be able to renew your subscription and purchase reprints of staff produced photos through the new website.

While we provide the content, the key for a successful website is the interaction with you, our readers. In the reader forum, you can post questions and interact with other readers.

New features also will include easy to use slideshows of pictures, video and community blogs.

We’ll still have a poll question, though for now it will not appear on our homepage, as it has. Beginning Saturday, you’ll have to go to the opinion tab to see, and vote for, the poll question.

We’re pretty excited about the new website. We hope you’ll take the time to check it out this weekend, and let us know what you think!