Ypulse Youth Website Profile: Seventeen.com [Post-Relaunch]

seventeenWe’ll dive into the print pages of the October issue of Seventeen for the Ypulse Monthly Teen Mag Roundup later this month, but today I thought I’d call attention to some of the major digital changes happening as of late on Seventeen.com.

What it is: According to the press release : “The upgraded http://www.Seventeen.com gives the teen consumer the power to access and share information with friends anywhere she is and everywhere she goes. The redesign will include more impactful visuals, improved navigation and will put a greater emphasis on video” Translation: An effort to cater to Seventeen.com visitors as an audience distinct (though not mutually exclusive) from Seventeen readers—i.e., more social media, dynamic content and interactivity.

Who it’s for: Seventeen’s reported 13 million magazine readers, 200,000 Facebook fans, 80,000 Twitter followers, one million iPhone app downloaders… and all of their networks.

What works: True to the mission that inspired the makeover, Seventeen.com definitely feels a lot more like a stand-alone site than a semi-static advertisement for the print mag (which, as Emma pointed out in last month’s Teen Mag Roundup, is virtually absent from the site in terms of cover art, table of contents tabs etc). The new offering reformats the typical fashion/celeb/college content into more frequent updates (lots of synonyms for “new” on the homepage), exclusively digital features (virtual makeover, anyone?),  a whole lot more video and is ridiculously easy to share with friends on Facebook or Twitter thanks to the ability to drag-and-drop on a new nav bar powered by social network Meebo. The tool also lets visitors directly message friends on Facebook or AIM without leaving the site. The shift is a full-court press towards becoming more of a hub for its teen community that, to some degree, embraces the prescient call for reader empowerment we heard from a former Ypulse contributing editor back in the day (2007).

Challenges: While fun fare like flirting advice and new hair ideas will always have its place in the DNA of the teen mag,  I was disappointed that there wasn’t more of a balance between style and substance that we’ve seen in the print version. I would have loved, for instance, to see a content tab devoted to causes, issues or personal stories to go along with the current selection of Quizzes, Beauty, Celebs, Prom etc. Given the interactivity and ability to share,  I feel like these could be especially powerful forums for teens. When I clicked over to check out the defunct-mags-revived-as-blogs CosmoGirl and Teen, I was surprised to find that the difference was limited to subtle changes in the tone of the content with the actual page design looking nearly identical to the Seventeen page. To me, it seemed like a missed opportunity to diversify by channeling the look and feel of the bygone print versions that former readers have been missing. On a technical side note: I clicked through to some pages where the video started playing without me pressing play—a major personal pet peeve of mine that made me wonder if teen visitors would feel the same.

For more coverage of YA books and publishing, check out the Ypulse Books & Print Channel sponsored by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, publishers of Ghost Hunt.

1 Comments

  1. Ypulse Monthly Teen Mag Roundup | Ypulse

    [...] This month's issue of Seventeen is, as the cover would indicate, pretty heavily focused on "Fall fashion." Never mind the fact that most schools have been in session for at least a month; it's never too late for back-to-school style guides — especially ones geared toward girls on a budget. This issue is packed plenty of cheap accessory ideas, hair how-tos and bargain makeup buys, as well as codes for free movie and concert tickets (Nicki Minaj, anyone?) The latter is a particularly smart move, especially as many of these promos require the reader to check out Seventeen's website, a newly interactive forum whose relaunch we covered just the other day. [...]

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