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Redesign Preview - Early Version

newlookpreview.jpg



Jeff Harrell, who is the designer working on the new look for Wizbang, sent me a mock-up that's getting closer to the final version of the front page. There's still some detail not shown and the lower half, and what content is there was pasted in from an older mock-up. but it should give you a general idea of where we're headed. All of the sites will use a variant of the new look, but we're still working out the details of how that will look. One of the other new features not shown is a post rating system, where readers can push stories up (or down) the page.

Lots more detail to come...

Update: The full size links are now resizable so you can see the whole page. The only difference between the looks is one has a top story with photo and the other doesn't.

Update 2: Perhaps I got a little ahead of myself on the post rating system. It's definitely part of the plan, but it's really targeted at the (unannounced) news section. So when I said "push stories up (or down) the page" I should have qualified that to "push stories up (or down) SOME of the pages."

What you're seeing is a conceptual layout of the Wizbang front page, where the ratings will probably affect only a subset of the stories from the aggregated sections. There's a strategy behind this madness; in which the Bomb Squad site, the Podcast site, the Pop! site, the Tech site, the news site, and other unannounced sites all fit. There will still be a blog here, it's just that now there is so much more as well. The challenge is integrating a massive increase in content in a usable and accessible fashion.

If we do our job correctly you'll be able to read chronologically, categorically, or by popularity all within the same framework. There's a lot you're not seeing yet at the front page, section, and story level; so do give us a chance to layout more of the look before tearing it completely to shreds.

I do appreciate the comments and critiques, so keep them coming.


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Comments (24)

Very nice design. LOVE the ... (Below threshold)

Very nice design. LOVE the two-columns in the content area. Pleasing placement of ads. Two opposible thumbs up, here!

Oh. And another thing...muc... (Below threshold)

Oh. And another thing...much better color scheme!

Congrats on the new look. V... (Below threshold)
johnd01:

Congrats on the new look. Very professional and clean. I had to double check to make sure it was actually Wizbang and NOT CNN. Soon the MSM is going to be stealing your design and re-branding it as thier own.

...so how much is the monthly subscription going to be?

You're going to have to cli... (Below threshold)
Village Idiot:

You're going to have to click like crazy to read the site then. People will mostly just read the "headline story", which is the one with enough text posted that you don't have to click to read on... That's reality

Agreed! Very nice design.<... (Below threshold)

Agreed! Very nice design.

Just wondering, is the site... (Below threshold)

Just wondering, is the site preview image in a different language or just random text to show how it will be laid out? (I know, silly question, but kinda funny)

I guess I am old fashioned ... (Below threshold)
LibraryLady:

I guess I am old fashioned but I prefer the current format. The new ones are too stark and look a lot like other sites. I come to Wizbang because it isn't like others.

For what it's worth, I pref... (Below threshold)
cubanbob:

For what it's worth, I prefer the current layout.

The new layout would be fin... (Below threshold)
jpm100:

The new layout would be fine with two exceptions.

A handful of stories will mini-blurbs seems kind of annoying which was raised before. Perhaps that just the example.

Also the narrow columns are a pain as well.

It would be great if I used this site occassionally and I came here to find one story out of many. But I read many of the stories posted and come here often. Those two issues above make that cumbersome.

I know that blows the whole jist of the new format. I'll admit it is purdy and clever, but doesn't seem to have the best functionally (for a frequent user anyway).

Yeah, now that you mention ... (Below threshold)
johnd01:

Yeah, now that you mention it, I prefer the "Keep Scrolling" method over the "Keep Clicking" one. That way I wouldn't have to figure out which stories I've read and which ones I haven't (over a few days). It must be some sort of chronology expectation I've adapted after reading so many blogs for so long. But with that said, there is still RSS for the date-based method.

I say CONTENT is king on th... (Below threshold)
Steve H.:

I say CONTENT is king on the Web and your site has it in spades. I'll be back no matter how the site looks or feels. I like the new layout, BTW. Also, if others prefer the old layout, can't you set it up as a 'Lite Version' of Wizbang to appease those who prefer the old format vs. the new format? Just my 2 cents........

I like it. But, remember t... (Below threshold)
JAT:

I like it. But, remember this...you can please some of the people sometimes, but not all of the people all of the time.

Oh Hell! It's your site, you do want you think is best. I'll still visit every day.

My 1 1/2 cents: I like the ... (Below threshold)

My 1 1/2 cents: I like the current.

In your current graphic the... (Below threshold)
sissoed:

In your current graphic the "bang" is a fireworks burst, which is upbeat and festive. The new look features a bomb. Lose the bomb, keep the fireworks. You do not want that in an era when there are so many terror bombings.

I think sometimes we place ... (Below threshold)
Corky Boyd:

I think sometimes we place too much emphasis on appearance vs. content. The content of your site is excellent and doesn't really need a total makeover. In many ways changing the appearance of a site or a publication can hurt more than help. Example:

In the mid seventies the Chicago Daily News, sister publicatioon of the Sun Times, was experiencing a dropoff in circulation. In reality the problem was that it was an afternoon product, not it's appearance. But the powers to be hired a pair of new editors, who in turn hired a graphics design firm to jazz up the paper's appearance to appeal to a younger audience. A major facelift was done overnight and the results were disastrous. What they failed to take into account was it is far easier and quicker to alienate existing customers than it is to attract new ones. Result: The older readers, the backbone of the Sun Time's readership, bailed out in droves. New readers did appear, but at a far slower rate. The paper closed down in less than a year. The editors were more interested in making names for themselves than rescuing the product.

Contrast this to one of the finest newspaper editors ever, Jim Bellows, who prolonged the life of two papers, The NY Herald Tribune and the Washington Star. Both papers eventually succumbed to competitive pressures, but their finest days were under Jim Bellows' leadership. His concept was to decide what he wanted the final product to look like, but gradually institute the changes without the reader noticing it. He often said if you look at the paper day to day or even week to week, you won't notice the changes. But if you compare papers three months apart the changes are dramatic.

Just something to think about. Often, graphic design firms are more interested in establishing their reputations than looking at the downside of a remake. Again, your content is great. Don't let graphics changes dominate your strategy.

OK, I just looked again, I ... (Below threshold)
sissoed:

OK, I just looked again, I see it is currently a bomb, I just never noticed it because the graphic of the bomb is so faded into the background that I only saw the sparkling burst. But I still say lose the bomb and make it just fireworks. Fireworks are what I thought it was and I liked it better.

For what it's worth -- I li... (Below threshold)
mdc:

For what it's worth -- I like the new design but not the new layout. Color scheme and logo look great, but like johnd01 I prefer a chronological listing of stories. With stories listed by "rating" I think it would be too much trouble to find stuff I hadn't read already -- call it blog induced ADD. Because of content, I'd still come to the site - but I'd do so far less often.

Having the "top rated" story at the top with the other stories listed in chronological order would be a better compromise.

As long as my Jeff Harrell'... (Below threshold)

As long as my Jeff Harrell's doing it, it won't suck. Trust me on this one, naysayers.

I do not like the click app... (Below threshold)
JimK:

I do not like the click approach to a blog. Much prefer the current function. However, I like the new colors and graphics. There. That's about $0.02. ;)

Please, please leave it lik... (Below threshold)

Please, please leave it like a blog and not a news site.

Leave it so you scroll through the new till you get to the old - that way I won't miss anything.

And please DO NOT put a rating system on - by pushing stories out of order it will really screw things up, I know many will be like me and glance at a story and think the site hasn't been updated and will leave.

Not to sound too negative, but this looks kinda like the mess Pajama had when they first started - who wants to have to keep clicking on each story in order to read it. I rarely have time to read the linked stories so I don't. I won't have time to click on all of these either and will miss out on lots of great content.

The new colors are great, but why change if from a blog to something that is definately NOT a blog?
DKK

One word.Tits.... (Below threshold)

One word.

Tits.

I disagree with both- I rea... (Below threshold)
Phil:

I disagree with both- I really prefer English to Latin. Please reconsider.

Lookin good!Maybe I ... (Below threshold)

Lookin good!
Maybe I will get off my bum and redesign my blog soon too... It's been hanging over me for months now...

I'm willing to give the new... (Below threshold)

I'm willing to give the new layout a chance, but it's only fair to point out that on my blogroll right now there are only traditional chronological-layout blogs, and there may turn out to be a reason for that.




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