19 July 2016

Screenestate: Site redesigns... (Part 3)


So, today (or maybe last night depending on your time zone) Ars Technica finally revealed their revamped 'new' design. The above is not 'it'. Above, you can gaze upon the wonder that is the updated 'white-on-black' theme (which is much easier on my eyes than typical 'black-on-white' themes of websites and windows programmes). 

This is gorgeous to my eyes:

  • It's relatively information dense
  • Makes use of the horizontal space available quite well with a dual column design
  • Minimises the menu bar and empty space between posts
  • Is chronological in posting order
This is everything that is good in website design!

Let's take a look at the 'real' website:

Well, you can't win 'em all...
Okay, this obviously isn't my preference. I think this would look great on a touch screen mobile device like a tablet or mobile phone. However, on the desktop it looks pretty terrible:

  • Information sparse; not enough posts and too much picture per post
  • Minimises the menu bar and empty space between posts
  • Makes use of the available width of the screen
I don't really have anything else to say about it. I guess it's functional in the loosest sense of the term... The fact that I can only really see two posts is really a useless site design and makes no sense: reducing usability.

To my sensibilities and my design understanding, it's clear that the first picture shows a site that allows its users to understand what is going on and to navigate effectively. I think it's also clear to whoever designed the Ars Technica website too because they are using something very similar for the mobile site design... counter to what I would expect considering the second image.

Like I said in part 1: It's pretty damming that your mobile site, designed to be read on a 5-7 inch vertically-orientated rectangular screen, is more readable than your default website design for expansive 19-30 inch horizontally-orientated desktop screens. Even worse when you provide a 'hidden' (or at best, not promoted) option to view it similarly on your own website...

I wish there was a thumbs up/down option for the available website designs like there is for the user posts on Ars' site. I think it might be quite telling (either way!).

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