BlueJacketsXtra site redesign

Website redesign / UX/UI design / HTML / CSS

When The Columbus Dispatch needed a redesign for its website covering the Columbus Blue Jackets hockey team, the editor-in-chief turned to me. In addition to a visual update and better organization, the site was to be relaunched with paid content and a social-media component called The Blue Zone.



I reorganized the BlueJacketsXtra’s navigation along the lines of free and paid content, with free stuff on the left in blue and paid content on the right in red. I also rebranded the site using official Blue Jackets’ colors, but with a slab serif typeface that resembled its sister site BuckeyeXtra, The Dispatch’s website for Ohio State sports. The 960px grid for the site established the primary content area in the center with promo columns to the left and right.


The Blue Zone has a different feel to it because its tools came from Kick Apps, a vendor that specialized in creating social media sites and widgets. To drive visitors to the new Blue Zone, I built a promo box on the top right and a page explaining the points system designed to encourage engagement. A Kick Apps representative told us the point page was the nicest he’d seen.
The Blue Zone was built by the vendor Kick Apps, but was skinned using my design. I designed and coded BlueJacketsXtra myself, using HTML and CSS atop The Dispatch’s Open content management system.


The redesign was well-received by Dispatch management and by its readers. The Blue Zone thrived with the help of a social media manager, but later withered on the vine when resources were reallocated elsewhere. The same can be said for the premium content on BlueJacketsXtra, which never materialized due to the teams’ lackluster performance on the ice.