WILLMAR -- The West Central Tribune launched an updated Wctrib.com earlier today, with new features to improve the experience of our digital readers.

Based on feedback from user studies conducted by a third-party firm, web technology professionals at Forum Communications Co. identified high-priority features, including a streamlined navigation, a live video ticker, a "latest" and "trending" news content module and an overall improved user interface.

"Wctrib.com's new design includes an improved digital readership experience," said Tribune Publisher Steve Ammermann. "The focus of all of our products -- print, digital, e-edition, magazines and newsletters alike -- is content."

The first step in the project was obtaining feedback from the company's most valuable audience -- its readers. Considering readers' responses and analytical data, new features were identified as priorities and developed for Wctrib.com.

"We're excited to offer a better online experience for readers, making the site easier to navigate, offering better visibility of the most recent content available, and enhancing accessibility to the visually impaired. These changes offer readers the ability to engage with more content," said Troy Feeken, product manager at Forum Communications." I'm especially proud to work on this product to support the West Central Tribune and keep up to date and connected with the people and events of my hometown."

After identifying top priorities, the web technology team developed the updates to Wctrib.com and other company websites.

The new website is developed on a new multichannel publishing platform called CUE that enables the Tribune and other Forum Communications Co. sites to innovate their content and adapt to the ever-changing media environment. The new system brings together for the first time the system used for creating content and the web publishing system in one platform, simplifying the content process for the newsroom.

"The new Wctrib.com is a great platform for our readers to find the content they want," said Tribune Editor Kelly Boldan. "Our online site also is the first place the newsroom files breaking news stories."

With the launch of the Wctrib.com update, the West Central Tribune's e-paper will have free access for all readers for the next two months. Readers can click on the blue e-paper button on the top right of the home page of Wctrib.com. The e-paper transforms the Tribune's print-first content into rich, interactive online content.

The new Wctrib.com is a collaborative effort among the Tribune newsroom, Forum Communications technology staff and the website's audience which will continue to evolve in the future, Boldan said.

The features added with the new Wctrib.com aim to meet readers' everyday needs, including finding the content they are seeking more easily, discovering trending articles and accessing video content more quickly.

"The West Central Tribune remains committed to the future of journalism in Willmar and west central Minnesota," Ammermann said. "This latest investment in Wctrib.com allows our media company to meet our mission of providing news and information of importance quickly to our readers."

Please log in to Wctrib.com this week to see our new digital platform. Please share your thoughts on what you see by emailing: news@wctrib.com or calling 320-214-4331.