BostonGlobe.com wins major design award

Except for the Pulitzers (which are being announced next week), I try to stay away writing about journalism awards. There are so many that this could become little more than an awards blog if I opened the door.

This, though, seems worth an exception: BostonGlobe.com has just been named the “World’s Best Designed website” by the Society for News Design. Here is some of what the judges had to say:

The re-launch of BostonGlobe.com decisively raised the bar for digital news design. The Globe’s intrepid embrace of responsive design rewrote the equation of our industry’s expectations and ambitions and defined state-of-the-art across the Web. Most importantly, the site embraces the increasingly chaotic ecosystem of devices without sacrificing thoughtfulness or splintering user experience.

“Responsive design” refers to the fact that the Globe’s website senses whether you are using a computer, a tablet, a smartphone or some other device and automatically adjusts its appearance accordingly. I wrote about that last fall for the Nieman Journalism Lab a few weeks before the site made its debut.

Coincidentally, last night my Reinventing the News students at Northeastern visited the Globe Lab, where they heard from several members of the Globe’s technology team, including Miranda Mulligan, design director for BostonGlobe.com and Boston.com.

BostonGlobe.com is at the heart of the Globe’s efforts to persuade readers to pay for online content. The paper is off to something of a slow start in that regard — about 16,000 digital-only subscribers at last count. But its technology is innovative and excellent. It’s nice to see that being recognized.

BostonGlobe.com wins two major Web awards

A little more than two months after its launch, BostonGlobe.com has won two major awards from the trade journal Editor & Publisher: Best Daily Newspaper Website and Best Overall Website Design. The Globe’s Boston.com site also won an award, for Best Entertainment Website. All three prizes were in the category of newspaper sites with at least one million unique visitors a month.

The so-called EPPY Awards are a recognition of the Globe’s innovative approach in designing its new paid site — a reliance on “responsive design,” based on HTML5, that allowed programmers to put together one website that adjusts itself to fit a variety of devices, from computers to smartphones.

In using the site, I’ve found that I have to do more clicking and scrolling than I’d like. It’s fine for reading a few stories, but not necessarily the whole paper. I’ve even reverted to GlobeReader on occasion, despite its being somewhat long in the tooth. But BostonGlobe.com is startlingly fast, which makes the clicking easier to deal with, and the design and usability have been improved here and there since its debut.

The real story, of course, is how many readers have signed up for paid digital subscriptions. And that’s a story that, so far, has yet to be told.