Reactor, formerly known as Tor, is an online science fiction and fantasy magazine published by Tor Books, a division of Macmillan Publishers. They engaged Barrel to redesign & build an elevated editorial experience for Reactor on WordPress using UX and design best practices as well as brand storytelling that appeals to the entirety of the Reactor community.
The new website allows the Reactor community to easily discover, digest, and engage with the content that they're most interested in, and encourages the purchase of books they've learned about on reactormag.com.
To kickoff the project, we started by interviewing key website contributors, authors, community members to better understand their experience on the site. We also sent out a survey to their dedicated readers to learn more about their current site pain points. We received over 2000 survey responses from Reactor's dedicated and engaged community. This informed our website strategy which mapped the foundation of the new website.
To better showcase the full scope of Reactor’s library of sci-fi content, we designed a guided content discovery experience through the navigation highlighting columns, fiction, books, movies & TV, and trending topics.
We improved the way that the categorization is managed to better organize their robust library of content. This made it easier for users to find the content they are interested in and keep discovering related content while they read.
Knowing how the community is critical to Reactor’s long-standing success, we made it easy for readers to engage with articles and content across the site. This included a save-for-later feature and a robust comments section built through WordPress’s BuddyPress app. We also enhanced the account experience for their existing users giving them the ultimate customization. This included expanding the options and customization available within Reactor's content management system, so Reactor can be more agile in featuring content of interest to their community.
To further encourage discoverability, we created a unique landing page for their series index, making it easier for users to find the exact episode of a show featured in their rewatches.
As an extension of our relationship with TOR, we are also relaunched their book publishing site for TPG, which hosts a diverse collection of science fiction books frequently featured in Reactor.com articles.
Check out the website here.