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144 DESIGNING THE EDITORIAL EXPERIENCE
TEXT
Steve Motzenbecker
Director of
User Experience,
NYmag.com
As New York magazine’s director of
user experience and design, Steve
Motzenbecker is responsible the
expansive NYmag.com platform and
its brand oshoots Vulture (TV and
entertainment), Grub Street (food
and dining), and The Cut (fashion and
women’s interest). All share the same
high-quality genetics but have varying
personalities and structures. Motzen-
becker has worked for New York Media
since 2004, originally as a production
designer on the print magazine. He
taught himself web design on the side
and transitioned to the digital team in
2007 when Ian Adelman, now digital
design director at NYTimes.com, took
on the role Motzenbecker now holds.
The online strategy that he has helped
to implement has been an iterative
one, rolling out new products and
features quietly, for the most part. One
of New York’s biggest developments
has been The Cut, its first responsive
site. Featuring extensive slideshows
of zoomable, hi-res photography,
The Cut is more of a sub- or mini-
magazine than simply a blog, with its
own creative direction and editorial
scope. Here, Motzenbecker speaks to
the ways that The Cut stands apart
yet within the New York ecosystem.
We spoke in January 2013, before the
New York iPad app existed, and before
NYMag.com’s responsive redesign of
its home page.
Could you explain the structure of
NYmag.com and The Cut?
While in many ways we think of The
Cut as a separate site, it actually
still lives under the NYmag.com
domain. It’s likely to move to its own
domain in the future but doing so
would result in a significant, although
temporary, depression of our search
engine rankings. We chose not to
complicate the launch with it.
For the most part, The Cut looks
and behaves as its own website with
its own branded experience. So, to
most users the distinction between
The Cut and the rest of NYmag.com
is clear and deliberate.
Before: NYmag.com’s home page pre-October 2013 relaunch. This version splinters o content from its Daily Intelligencer, Vulture, The Cut, and
Grub Street blogs/sub-brands, using their graphic identities prominently.
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