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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: November 5, 2009 @ 10:19 am

    What are ‘Life’, Society’ and ‘Culture’?

    Hugh Linehan

    No, it’s not a philosophical question. Starting today, we’ve reorganised the way we present some of the content on the site. Up to now, the Life and Culture section contained all the articles from the daily Arts and Features pages of the newspaper, along with weekly supplements including HealthPLUS, Motors, Property, The Ticket, WeekendReview, the Saturday Magazine and Go.

    For the most part, these articles were published on a rolling daily or weekly (whichever was applicable) basis. So when you clicked into Life and Features, you’d find the relevant content from today’s newspaper, along with the most recent edition of the various supplements.

    The problem with this was that articles on related subjects were scattered willy-nilly across the various sub-sections. A piece on, say, issues affecting families might appear in Health, in Features or in the Magazine. An interview with a film director or a novelist could be in one of five different sections. And these sections remained static and unchanged on the site for up to a week. While this makes sense for a daily newspaper, it’s not particularly user-friendly for online readers.

    We’ve now grouped the content thematically under three main sections:

    Life covers subjects such as style, consumer issues, food and drink, homes and property, motoring, fashion and articles about the way we live today.

    Society encompasses major social concerns including health, education, family matters, science, the environment and people and issues in the news.

    Culture, pretty obviously, includes all our coverage of books, films, music, art, theatre, art, design, architecture and media.

    Within these sections, we’ve subdivided the content into broad categories such as features, comment, news and reviews.

    So, if you’re interested in food and drink, you can now go here for the most recent Tom Doorley restaurant reviews, Domini Kemp recipes or John Wilson wine columns, along with any other current foodie stuff.

    Or you can find all our books coverage – reviews, interviews, exclusive extracts – here.

    You can still find a full index of today’s newspaper articles section by section here.

    Over the next few days and weeks, you’ll see these new sections fill up with the broad range of content The Irish Times publishes. I hope you’ll find this new presentation more accessible and useful. Please bear with us if there’s a couple of glitches in the first few days – and please do contact me if you spot one. And, more generally, it would be great to hear what you think.

    • Hi Hugh, this is a great improvement. It’s terrific to be able to look at books, visual arts and music under their own banner. Thanks to all concerned.

    • Darragh says:

      Very, very interesting Hugh and definitely a move in the right direction, web navigation wise. I really look forward to seeing the depth of content that you offer now – I think people might be pleasantly surprised by it!

      I assume it will be similar if and when you launch your mobile portal (hint hint)

    • David Mahon says:

      Really user-friendly. Very impressed, Hugh!

    • robespierre says:

      Next stage is to go Web 2.0 Hugh and start linking your book reviews to Amazon or Waterstones etc. and recipes to on-line supermarkets etc.

    • emer says:

      It’s really great to see culture and the arts given prominence like this. BBC could learn something from this — they hide the arts under “entertainment”… Well done!

    • Fergal says:

      Definitely good changes, but have you reduced the possibilities for commenting on articles from the same day’s newspaper as part of the changes?

    • Vinny Murphy says:

      This is truly good news. Great work, but are those three headings the best way of dividing it up – I’m just trying to start a debate…

    • Hugh Linehan says:

      Thanks for those positive reactions.

      Fergal – the reduction in comment options is entirely unrelated to the changes. It’s just sod’s law – we had major technical problems with our comment service provider and are struggling to resolve them as quickly as possible.

      Robespierre – sounds good to me

      Darragh – hint hint indeed. Remember that Christmas is coming

      Vinny – OK, let’s start that debate. Obviously the answer to your question is yes. But others may beg to differ

    • Vinny Murphy says:

      There’s no argument. Of course the answer’s yes. I don’t really want to start a debate.


    • ROBERT BROWNE says:

      Hugh “The reduction in comment options” is entirely unrelated to the changes. I would really like to believe that, we look forward to the matter being resolved. I don’t know what “Sod’s law” is must look it up!

      As a contributor I cannot say I ever experienced any of the “technical problems” you refer to. It seems then, that we cannot comment at the moment on news articles of the day? If, the immediacy element were to be lost it would be pretty pointless to comment at all. As there is little point in commenting on what would be stale news. The Telegraph, Times On Line, Tribune, etc all allow readers to comment in real-time. Subject only to moderator approval.

    • Claire says:

      Vast improvement. The Ticket used to be barely readable online – now we can enjoy it without frustration!

    • aidybop says:

      Much improved from a navigational point of view..Perhaps there are plans afoot to launch an i phone app/ browser…is that the same as a ‘mobile portal’ (mentioned above)?.like the New York Times? Trying to read the IT on the phone is like trying to walk across a booby trapped room in the dark.

    • Ian says:

      Am I missing something or is it no longer possible to click on a supplement icon to view it in a user friendly format as opposed to a list of articles.
      Can’t seem to view the ticket supplement properly i.e. Article from it are mixed up with other stuff.

    • Hugh Linehan says:

      Hi Ian,
      As I said in the post, we’ve decided to move away from presenting the supplements as such on the web. So yes, there may be a disadvantage for someone who wants to know exactly what’s in The Ticket today and nothing else. But it seems to make sense to, for example, to group all the film coverage together – after all, it’s written by the same people on the same subject. Just because a film feature is in WeekendReview doesn’t make it in some way different from The Ticket. And you still have all the other elements – news, reviews, listings – prominently displayed.

    • Paul McCarthy says:

      Sorry Hugh but these changes have made the Saturday edition of the paper a nightmare to navigate. Previously the Weekend and Magazine sections matched the contents of the printed paper. Now they are separated, cast to the four winds and require major effort to locate as only article names are displayed in the ‘Todays Paper’ listings. May I suggest categorizing these contents also (e.g. TV Review – Article Title, Books -Article Title’). If the current layout remains I fear my tradition of reading the Irish Times every Saturday will end and I’ll start buying the local Melbourne broadsheet ‘The Age’ to get my cultural fix. As a relatively recent emigrant to Australia, and a paid subscriber to the on-line Irish Times for years, I am very disappointed.

    • Blánaid says:

      Where does cycling fit in ? – I mean city / slow cycling, not the sport?

      Is it under transport, culture or health ?

      Irish Cycle Chic

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