Today I was going to start my Being the Hype Series, but seeing how the web’s most important design site was redesigned from the dead I figured there was no way anyone would pay attention to me. So I figured I would see if we could have a honest discussion on the new redesign and you could share your thoughts.
I am not looking for praise and I am not looking for people to bash it, but maybe we can approach it from a design point of view that is constructive. What works? What doesn’t? Did they reach their audience? Does the branding make sense?
First off, for anyone wishing to announce a redesign of a site, please wait till the DNS propagates so myself and many others can type in http://alistapart.com/ instead of http://alistapart.textdrive.com/. I understand the excitement of re-launching a new site (for the fourth time?), but just a litte more patience would have been appreciated. And that’s my biggest complaint.
As for the design, I like it. Of course I always like the simple-beautiful type of designs, but I think they did a great job of this. The line-height seems to be a bit generous, but maybe that’s only on my screen. There are small details of the design that fascinate me (font choices for metadata), but you do have to wonder what took this design so long because it really isn’t overly complicated. I can only assume building a brand new CMS from the ground up had something to do with it.
With longer articles I can see there being a problem for me to read them in one viewing. All the headers are the same so there isn’t much of a break for my eyes. For example, Joe Clark’s article on PDF accessibility was impossible for me to read without taking a break after only a couple of paragraphs. I don’t know if it’s the white background or all the black text, but it’s just hard for me to do.
IA wise I am surprised to see a lack of focus on the discussions going on with the articles. There is not indication on the frontpage that any of the articles have comments and even on the article pages themselves you aren’t made aware of the fact that there are comments being written. ALA thrives on its community so I am surprised to see that it doesn’t put a much greater focus on it.
I really don’t have much else to say about it. I’m not going to gush about it because it’s a nice design, but nothing extraordinary and I won’t clown it because there really isn’t anything wrong with it. Of course it being ALA we have to throw in a little bit of hype for it and our perspective changes quite a bit.
Like it? Hate it? Meh?