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Sarasota Thursday, Nov. 11, 2010 9 years ago

The Observer welcomes season with new features

by: Emily Walsh Publisher

If you’re one of The Observer’s eagle-eyed loyal readers, you might notice a subtle change in the look of this week’s edition. Five years ago, The Observer introduced a complete redesign of its look. This year, it was time to update that design.

Our flag, that’s our nameplate on top of Page A1, is larger, and we turned our “O” red (it’s read everywhere, you know!). Some of our type fonts are a bit more modern in look, as well.

We’ve added some new features, such as Sporting Life, which includes an Athlete of the Week, Sports Photo of the Week and sports scores and news. We’ll be reintroducing our popular Neighbors feature in future editions.

Diversions, our recently renamed Arts & Entertainment and Black Tie section, was redesigned and introduced in the Oct. 7 edition. Check out the new, weekly food columns by Molly Schechter.

The one thing that hasn’t changed in The Observer’s 32-year history is its price: It’s still free. And, that’s priceless in this economy.
Nearly a year after expanding to include daily news updates, real estate trends, blogs, an expansive business directory, community calendar and coupons, in addition to its already comprehensive Black Tie photo galleries and calendar, The Observer’s Web site,, was acknowledged for its efforts with the award for “Best Site Architecture and Overall Design” in the Suburban Newspapers of America’s 2010 Community Website Contest in June.

Since then, has almost doubled its number of unique visitors and pageviews from the previous year, bringing the number of people visiting the site up from 20,000 people a month up to almost 40,000.

Much of this success is due to’s creation of the Contest button in the toolbar. The Contest button leads users to the Contest page, which directs them to’s successful online contests.

At summer’s start, Your-’s reporters were just beginning their video coverage. Now videos accompany many of’s news stories.

Most exciting is our new way to view photo galleries. Photo galleries can be viewed in thumbnail form at the top toolbar, but you can also watch the photos in a slideshow. Click on the “Buy This Photo” button and you can purchase all photos seen on in a myriad of ways. Not only can you purchase prints in a variety of sizes, now you can buy products like mousepads, mugs, T-shirts, canvas prints or simply download the digital photo.

Finally, if you’re searching for one of The Observer’s many special sections like Season magazine or Health Matters, just scroll to the bottom of the homepage and click on “Read The Observer’s Other Publications.” You’ll be taken to a page where you can browse all of The Observer’s special sections in a virtual page-flip format. Page-flip formats for weekly editions are also online.

But that’s not all … stay tuned for The Observer’s new eNewsletters that will feature daily headlines and weekly updates for Black Tie, A&E and Real Estate, as well as the weekly E-editions of each newspaper.


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