Beautiful new city homepages

Sep222008

Since we launched EveryBlock in January, we’ve always considered our city homepage (e.g., Chicago’s homepage) to function as a search engine’s does: it should get people to their relevant block/neighborhood pages with as little fuss as possible. So, from the start, we designed it to be a pretty basic, search-heavy page:

Old homepage screenshot

However, as we’ve gotten to know the various ways people use our site, we’ve realized the homepage could be much more useful — both in giving people information they’re interested in and describing the awesomeness of EveryBlock to brand-new visitors. We weren’t doing a good job of showing people the depth and breadth of local news that we publish.

With these goals in mind, we’ve redesigned the page. Here’s what it looks like:

New homepage screenshot

The address search is still the most prominent element of the page, but we’ve added an EveryBlock-y zeitgeist of the city:

  • A map of the most recent news articles and blog entries we’ve found. This is a really cool and useful way to see what parts of the city are in the news.
  • A “featured neighborhood” box. Here, we pick a neighborhood that’s been in the news recently and give a few sample articles — plus, a “Public records” tab that shows sparklines for the types of information we publish in that neighborhood.
  • Sparklines and number totals showing the number and frequency of information we’ve published across all sections of the site — crime, street closures, movie filmings and everything else.

What do you think? Click through to your city’s homepage and use the feedback form at the bottom of the page to submit some quick thoughts.

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