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Posted at 05:54 PM ET, 08/28/2012

Welcome to The Grid

Stories are more visual and social than ever. The Grid (Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention) is our destination for telling the story during live events. It’s there to bring together the new normal of event coverage: live video, blogging and the best content curated from social stream.

It’s hard to limit coverage to one kind of template, especially for an event as complex and long as political conventions. We already reach for our phones to check Twitter or Instagram while watching live coverage on TV, so why not create a space with a stream of everything in one place?


Here is a little more of our thinking behind The Grid:

Discovery

The Grid format allows for readers to discover for themselves what they want. Try scanning through The Grid during a speech — you can watch the video or scroll down while listening to the audio to see the flutter of tweets around a certain phrase, photos from around the convention floor from various sources and points of view all mixed in with the blogging and analysis by our reporters.

You’ll notice we do not limit ourselves to Post authors. Our articles are purposefully right alongside tweets from other news organizations and Instagram photos from attendees. Our coverage exists in the context of the conversation happening around the live event.

Lenses

Part of discovery is customizing your own stream of coverage. And we have given readers a few ways to filter the stream on the page. First, you can sort by content type: video, tweets, photos and articles. Second, you can explore a few specialized groups: delegates, politicians and news organizations. Our hope is to offer useful ways to parse the larger conversation.

We also try not to overwhelm readers by defaulting to a curated Editor’s Pick view. The “all” tab allows readers to launch into a full stream.

Mobile forward

We designed the interface to be accessible and optimized for all the places people want it. We started with the experience we wanted on smartphones, then scaled up to desktop browsers. With such an ambitious coverage plan, this really helped prioritize what we really needed to offer our users and the order in which it appeared. What we ended up with was a simple, clean layout, lead by streaming video, where every content item appears in a flexible stream based on recency. You can read through the entries from left to right or scroll down the page to scan the scene — it’s best viewed during a big event.


First Draft

This is the first iteration of The Grid. We have plans to add several features to the framework as we move forward. We will develop social sharing for each item, direct linking to specific times and days and an improved schedule of events and chat experience. We’re also looking into additional feeds and geographic views to populate the experience.

We are always in beta, so please let us know what you think! We’d love to know what you like and don’t like so we can continuously improve the experience for our users.

Comment below. We read every comment or e-mail us with feedback at grid@washpost.com.

The Grid is the product of a lot of hard work by a big group:

Product Design, Direction and Presentation: Amanda Zamora, Sarah Sampsel

Embedded Developer Team:Greg Franczyk, Joey Marburger, Will Van Wazer, Jude Bowman, Dakota Williams, Ashish Laghate, Ryan Baer

Grid Editors: Sara Carothers, T.J. Ortenzi

National Digital Editor: Ryan Kellett

By and Sarah Sampsel  |  05:54 PM ET, 08/28/2012

 
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