San Diego Reader

Website Overhaul for Largest Alternative Newspaper in the U.S.
Dreaming Spanish
Expert Team

About SDR

The San Diego Reader is an alternative press newspaper in the county of San Diego. Published weekly since October 1972, the Reader is distributed free on Wednesday and Thursday via street boxes and cooperating retail outlets.

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The Problem

Being confined to a decade-old website in today’s modern world is difficult. Old websites don’t adapt well to the variety of devices people have in their pockets and are not user-friendly, especially for high-volume websites like the San Diego Reader. This news publication has set its mark in the alternative newspaper world and has risen to the number one spot. The one thing lacking was a modern website that lives up to the technology standards of today. The previous website was not mobile-friendly, which made it hard for users to reach all the great content on their website. Not being mobile-first also inhibited search engine rankings now that Google’s algorithm takes mobile-friendliness into consideration when deciding what’s going to show in the search results first.

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The Solution

The San Diego Reader website was built on top of the Ellington CMS product; Ellington CMS was the very first product built with the Django framework. Because AppEvolve is a Django shop, this was very exciting! Because of the website’s large volume, there are a lot of safety precautions that need to be taken to avoid interrupting the users. This website is over ten years old and has thousands of pages, so we had to plan the design carefully. Because so many users viewed the website from their mobile phones, it was imperative that AppEvolve built this website with mobile as the first priority. Ellington has been updated many times over the years, so this also had to be taken into consideration. Not only did the design need to be updated, but so did the technology. For this case, Vue.js was used for the front end; AppEvolve also had the opportunity to help improve the back end of Ellington. Be sure to check out the beautiful new design and implementation at

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Tools Used

  • Ellington CMS

  • Django

  • Vue.js

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