The Las Vegas Sun is known for having one of the best websites of any newspaper in the country. The reputation is warranted.

In my experience as a web developer, I’ve found many sites that do a few things well. A site might have a nice homepage and a few cool features, as an example. However, it is a very unusual to find sites that deliver consistent excellence through the whole experience. To take care of the details that are so important in delivering a great experience. The Las Vegas Sun website does that.

Following is a list of some of those details that make me really appreciate the Sun website, as a web developer.

(1) The Header


Most newspaper websites are generic in their design, offering no hint as to the city they serve. The header on the Sun site features a sun logo as well as the iconic Las Vegas sign and silhouettes of a few Strip hotels. In other words, it conveys in an instant that the paper covers Vegas. The header also includes nice value adds like the current temperature, the date and the hours that have passed since the site was last updated.

(2) Attitude in the Source Code

If you view the source code on any page of the site you’ll be greeted by a small piece of ASCII art that proclaims “Las Vegas Sun – This ain’t our first rodeo, boss.” Awesome. Below is a screen grab.


(3) McCarran Flight Delay Calculator


I’ve had my share of bad experience at McCarran International Airport, so I appreciate this cool interactive feature that calculates how often certain flights into Vegas are delayed. It also lets you select a day and time and look up approximately how long it will take to clear security.

(4) High Quality Video

The videos on the Las Vegas Sun website feature original content and are shot at HD quality. The result is a video viewing experience that takes advantage of broadband download speeds and today’s larger monitors. The only downside is that you may have to wait for the videos to buffer at times.

(5) Panoramas

The Sun website features a series of photo panoramas that allow users to take in a 360 degree view of select events. Check out this feature from the Nevada Caucuses.

(6) Topics Pages

The Sun website features a Topic section that provides in depth coverage of ongoing stories. As an example, the topic page on Construction Deaths aggregates all the paper’s content on that topic and includes a great interactive features that catalogs all the deaths that have occurred the last few years.


(7) Las Vegas Strip Map

Part of a larger piece on the History of Las Vegas, the Strip Map allows you to select a hotel and get a quick history of the place. It also links to any stories about the hotel that have appeared on the site.


(8) Page Slugs

The Las Vegas Sun uses the search engine friendly page slug naming convention for most of its URLs, ensuring that the URL of every article includes relevant keywords. Most blogging software supports page slugs, but most media organizations haven’t adopted the convention as of yet. See the New York Times and Washington Post for examples of old fashioned URL structures based on dates and numbers.

(9) Event Alerts

When you view an event on the Sun website, you have the option to send yourself an email or cell phone reminder a few days before the even occurs. Great little value add.

I could go on. The site highlights great photos, innovates in the way it breaks news, uses Google Maps smartly, etc.

Anyway, check it out. The Las Vegas Sun is a great example of what newspapers should be doing with their websites.

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.