The Volante’s design refresh

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Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

Steve Jobs

The Volante has been the student’s voice since 1887 at the University of South Dakota.

Now in our 128th year of operation, we are still changing. Every day.

I was just chatting with Mary Jo Hotzler, a former editor-in-chief of The Volante and now the vice president of content at Forum Communications Co., about our digital past. Check out some of the earliest designs for The Volante Online, and see how far we’ve come.

[Best_Wordpress_Gallery id=”1″ gal_title=”Past Volante Websites”]

In April 2014, The Volante adopted a mobile-first mindset that continues today. In January, we launched a web show called Verbatim to bring the stories of USD to a new medium. Today, we are launching a redesign of our site designed with you in mind.


  • Clean Design/Homepage: We have changed the first thing you see on our site with a revamped homepage. Everything is new on it. From the story placement to the colors. We show you the stories that matter and the stories that are trending. The navigation even has a slight nod to USA TODAY’s color palate. Why? Because Al Neuharth, the founder of “the nation’s newspaper” served as an editor-in-chief at The Volante.
  • The Timeline: We are not a weekly newspaper anymore, we are a daily news source. The timeline shows stories as they are posted to our site. When there is breaking news, you will know about it.
  • Comments: In 2008, The Volante editorial board made a decision to moderate all comments because some of them were getting out of hand. Starting today, we have installed Facebook comments. Instead of moderating, we are encouraging a responsible, transparent and open discussion on our stories. The Volante wants to hear from you. We believe strongly in the First Amendment that is anchored on our building. Our comment policy still remains strong and we will delete comments if they go against our policy.
  • Blogs and Vlogs: We want to hear from you. Share your opinions with us and write a blog or host a vlog. Coming this month, we are launching a new series called “That’s My Bad.” If you’re interested in getting paid and sharing your voice, let me know.

There are many more subtle changes to make the website look better, but also load faster. We also recently launched on Apple News, one of the many new initiatives we are taking this semester.

To say that we have an idea about what the future of journalism holds would be a lie. The industry is at a turning point. Our goal is to be ahead of the curve and this is just one way to do it. We couldn’t without our readers. I would encourage you to share your feedback in the comments below. Don’t like something? Tell us. Think we can do something better with our digital content or design? We want to know about it.