With help from the PD Media Lab, The Sonoma Index-Tribune launched a new website on Monday, Sept. 9. The address is still sonomanews.com, but readers will find a more elegant design that’s easier to navigate.

“This is something we’ve wanted and worked on for a long time,” said David Bolling, Index-Tribune editor and publisher. “It should be better for our readers, thanks to improved navigation and greater opportunity for community interaction.”

First and foremost, the Index-Tribune separated its newspaper content from its national SONOMA magazine content, to create a more cohesive experience for users.

Readers will still find the same sections, including news, local sports, schools, food and wine, entertainment, opinion, obituaries and real estate, but with a sleeker design that allows for better photo display and readability. Photo galleries will be prominently featured on the homepage, and regularly updated with the best of Sonoma Valley’s sports, fundraising events and community moments.

“We have stellar photography of life in the Valley, and this site will allow us to display those great images in a more meaningful way,” Bolling said.

The site is also optimized for mobile devices, meaning users can read it on their phone or tablet devices and the content will reconfigure itself accordingly, providing maximum ease of use. The comments section on articles has also been improved, allowing for immediate discussion with fellow readers on issues facing the Valley.

“Readers can login through their existing Facebook or Twitter profiles to join the conversation,” Bolling said.

The site also features a new calendar system, “Zvents,” utilized by a majority of newspapers in the North Bay. From school events to fundraisers, event organizers can upload the details of their occasion by clicking on the “events” link at the top of the homepage.

The Index-Tribune’s archives will continue with News Bank, which has 134 years of the I-T’s newspapers uploaded into a searchable database. Click on the “archives” link at the bottom of the new homepage to find old editions.

The Index-Tribune is eager to hear feedback on the new site, and hopes users will communicate what they’d like to see more of or how the site could be further improved. Email your thoughts to emily@sonomanews.com.