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Meredith’s Parents.com Gets Tech Savvy Relaunch

Changes include responsive design technology, enhanced SEO and rewrite of JavaScript delivery system.

In order to meet the needs of their digitally inclined audience, Meredith’s Parents magazine is getting a new look and feel for its website. While the cosmetic changes of a more whimsical design have been added to provide a more emotional response for readers, the back end has also changed in an effort to make the site more user friendly and ultimately increase interactivity.

One of the changes that fall under the relaunch includes personalized daily content—a new feature “Recommended Just For You,” specifically targets content based on the age of a user’s children, as well as articles the user has read or previously searched topics.

“If you look at the macro picture, our audience is the millennial mom—women 18-35,” says Dana Points, editor-in-chief of Parents magazine. “This is a generation that expects customization, they are curators of content, sharers and distributors of content.”

While the website is responding to their user’s content preferences by streamlining their experience, the brand is also a responding to reader’s physical reading preferences with this relaunch.

Parents.com is one of the first women’s lifestyle sites to incorporate responsive design technology, which offers consumers one website that’s optimized for multiple screens. Responsive design is usually done in HTML5, but they’re not inherently connected. Responsive design is a way to code, while HTML5 is the coding language, but other languages can be coded in the responsive format. Cascading style sheets or CSS—what makes a Web page styling correct—is what makes the responsiveness happen, not HTML5 per se.
The additional changes under the hood included a variety of architectural improvements, a rewriting of the site’s JavaScript delivery system—a key to making the site behavior different for different devices. With the rewrite, a click works the same with a mouse on desktop functions, as it does a touch with a finger on a mobile device. Additionally, the site is enabled for a click through the lead carousel with a mouse on a desktop, or a swipe with your finger on a mobile device. The tech team rebuilt the CSS from scratch to support this responsive design.

“Responsive design is a natural extension of the goal of personalization and customization,” says Points. “We know this is a highly mobile audience. Research surveys we’ve done for the Parents network called Momtrak, which tracks digital and media consumption of moms, shows that 71 percent of millennials have a smartphone and 81 percent of trailing millennials (18-25) had a smartphone in our sample group. We know they’re coming to us mobily so we wanted the full mobile experience that could be adapted to the phone, tablet, portrait and landscape view.”

This is the first responsive design site that Meredith as a company has undertaken. The relaunch, with new coding, has also helped make the website more SEO friendly.

Points says that the brand did do some research on the old website when it came to interaction that aided in the content and functionality decisions. With the technical relaunch also comes a significantly expanded video program, an increase in original content from Meredith’s Parents Network and heightened social media integration. Content from other Meredith titles, including Family Fun, American Baby and one of the company’s Spanish language titles, Ser Padres, are also integrated with the Parents site.

“We’re also surfacing more news content on the site,” says Points. “With the old Parents.com, the daily updates from a dozen contributing bloggers and our staff weren’t easily surfaced or visible. We’re bringing more news front and center so there’s a higher sense of freshness.”

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