The website iefimerida.gr is one of the most popular news sites in Greece with thousands of daily visitors and a very heavy flow of news updates.
WHAT THEY NEEDED
The front page the main focus. A redesign would make possible for the visitor to absorb a maximum of information at the minimum time, above the fold. There was also a need for graphic details that would add an aesthetic touch on an information based homepage.
The first thing we did is install a new, more journalistically bold font typeface in order to emphasize on the titles. We redesigned certain blocks of content and we aimed at refreshing the general image of the website. The most important change was that we replaced the carousel with a single top-story block, combined with some additional titles. We also added a slideshow and a news selection tool, covering the basic need for a fast and comprehensive display of the heavy news flow, while not taking away the focus with a slow carousel.
As mentioned above, a very heavy news flow is added by the editorial team, almost hourly. In order to cope with the impressively growing traffic, we used CDN by AKAMAI, caching the Drupal pages. Even though AKAMAI solves the problem with anonymous users, we noticed delays when an article was uploaded by the editorial team. The delay was caused by many slow queries, existing on almost all pages with Views. We located the problem at the filter which was limiting results in a single vocabulary. This led MySQL to use as primary board, the term_node, while node should be the one. By replacing vid with tids, MySQL changed its execution plan by using onwards the node board as primary and we saw an impressive amelioration in timing. The last step was increasing APC memory size from 64 to 96MB because we noticed many fragmentation errors causing 500 error codes.
The outcome of the whole redesign was to double iefimerida.gr's visitors within four months.