I wish I could say I am a devoted reader of The New York Times every Sunday, but perhaps I can add that to my list of New Year’s resolutions for 2008. This Sunday, however, I instituted a “stay as far away from the mall as possible” rule, so I was able to enjoy reading the Times at home. I usually start with Sunday Styles and then move to the Magazine section, but this week, the Travel cover and title “The 53 Places to Go in 2008” grabbed my attention first.

I quickly skimmed the 16-page section to discover which wonderful place I should go to in the coming year, but felt a little frustrated. Something in the story or the layout didn’t feel cohesive, but I couldn’t pinpoint exactly what was missing until Monday morning, when I clicked on nytimes.com. Under their Most Popular (most emailed) list of articles, I stumbled across this:

Problem solved! The presentation and design of the article in its digital form addressed what had been nagging me the day before—wanting to see the entire list in one place. And this digital list featured an entire page of stunning photographs, which encouraged your eyes to jump from one to the next and back again. My frustration was gone. I wanted to click every link.

This is a case in which The New York Times embraced the flexibility and capabilities of their online platform to enhance their reader’s experience and engagement with the article. The simple change of showing photos of all 53 locations transformed the story.

Now back to my travel wish list for 2008…