On June 24, after months of preparation, the Sun Advocate and Emery County Progress unveiled newly redesigned websites.
While many of the changes are immediately apparent, others are more subtle. Many features have been improved and a number of new features have been added to improve the overall quality of both websites.
One of the biggest improvements can be found in the new archive viewer, which lets readers select the content that matches the exact type and combination that they want to see. With only a few clicks of the mouse, for example, readers can quickly see all the sports headlines and opinion articles that were published in the months of April and August.
The site search feature also received a major overhaul. The advanced search options now allow searches to be made by publication date, section (like sports or opinion), author name or by keywords.
Both websites now offer a completely redesigned breaking news service that can report major news immediately after it happens, long before the next issue of the paper is printed.
Yet another new feature automatically displays headlines that may be similar or related to the article the reader is currently viewing.
But one of the most anticipated new features is the introduction of RSS support. To some, RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" and to others it is "Rich Site Summary."
Regardless, RSS allows readers to view the latest news headlines on their computer without having to periodically check the website for updates.
RSS subscriptions are provided in the form of a data feed. Once the RSS reader has successfully subscribed (linked) to the feed, headlines are automatically downloaded periodically as they become available.
Most popular browsers already have built-in RSS support. Mozilla Firefox, for example, uses "live bookmarks" to display subscribed RSS feeds. All the reader has to do is click on the RSS feed link on the website and Firefox will bookmark the feed as a live bookmark.
In fact, Mozilla Firefox users will find that once the live bookmark is in place, it works exactly like the "latest headlines" feature that comes pre-installed with the web browser.
Readers can subscribe to as many RSS feeds as they choose. Each feed covers an individual section of the website, like news, sports, opinion and breaking news.
Once the feed is bookmarked, the headlines will appear inside the live bookmark, which updates dynamically as new headlines are made available on the website.
In the coming months, the websites will be expanded as new features are added. Features like article comments and event calendars are already in the works, while other features are being planned.
To visit either website, go to www.sunad.com or www.ecprogress.com.