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Welcome to the new Kentucky.com

Fifteen years ago this week, the Lexington Herald-Leader announced that it had begun “delivering the news in cyberspace” with an Internet service known as Kentucky Connect.

Today, as we celebrate that anniversary, we invite you to try out the Herald-Leader’s newest online evolution.

Kentucky.com is getting a whole new look and feel — one we hope you find more inviting, less confusing, less cluttered and easier to use.

All of your favorite features will still be there, including breaking news, watchdog journalism, lifestyles stories, business, sports, entertainment, editorials and columnists. You’ll still find searchable public records and databases, photo galleries, video and bloggers like John Clay on sports and Rich Copley on the arts.

But the new site is designed to be more streamlined — and to make it easier for you to find and enjoy all of those things.

In the last 15 years, the Herald-Leader’s online presence has gone through more changes than anyone could have imagined. The name long ago changed to Kentucky.com. And the site is no longer just a reprint of the day’s newspaper, but instead includes breaking news updated all day, interactive features, blogs on everything from sports to the arts, photo galleries, video, searchable public databases and freestanding sites like Lexgo.com, KentuckySports.com and Bluegrass Moms.

Through the years, one of the biggest complaints we’ve heard from our readers was that the site had become too cluttered and difficult to navigate. The new Kentucky.com has simplified navigation, and an improved search function that will make it easier to find stories, sections, photos and other material that interests you.

Right away, you’ll also notice the site is designed to better showcase the stunning photography and visual journalism produced every day by the Herald-Leader’s talented photo journalists.

And on the home page, you’ll find additional emphasis on features you’ve told us you like — such as the ability to see what stories are most popular with other readers, and a constantly-updated feed of the newest posts by Herald-Leader bloggers.

This newest online evolution will not be finished with today’s launch. Think of what you see today as version 1.0 of the new Kentucky.com.

In the coming weeks, you will see additional changes and improvements on the site that will allow you to interact even more with the news of the day, and to set your own priorities for how you consume news about Lexington, Kentucky and the world.

This redesign also comes on the heels of significant changes in how we handle reader comments on Kentucky.com stories.

As heavy users of the site no doubt have noticed, we recently upgraded the commenting system on Kentucky.com to promote greater accountability for those who leave comments on stories, and to allow readers to connect their use of Kentucky.com with their use of social media like Facebook and Twitter.

Again, this change was in response to feedback from readers, many of whom have expressed concerns about the tone and tenor of anonymous reader comments on some stories.

If you have specific questions about the new Kentucky.com, check out the question-and-answer file that will be at the top of the site Tuesday morning.

Please let us know what you think of the changes via our feedback form

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