We tweaked our news pages. Did you notice?
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Hi! Gamasutra news director Frank Cifaldi here.
Last week my boss Kris Graft blogged about how we're all trying to be a little more transparent about what's going on behind the scenes at Gamasutra here on our Featured Blogs section. And given that we've got an update to my domain here on the website today, I thought I'd personally tell you guys a little bit about it.
We've given our news pages a facelift to make them more readable, clean up some clutter, and kill off some of the outdated design decisions from the past 17 years of this website's existence that have been annoying us internally.
Most of the changes are "minor" in the sense that I doubt most of you would have noticed them without me pointing them out, but I think you'll find yourself reading our articles more often and more comfortably than before without even realizing why. And for those of us who stare at these articles and critique them every single day of our lives, the changes here are a breath of fresh air.
First, so that we may accurately compare, let's take a look at what our old design looked like:
It's certainly functional, and it serves its purpose of providing a readable article, but there were some things I just wasn't crazy about.
For starters, that gigantic green "News" text on the top of the page was irking me for three reasons: it was taking up valuable real estate, it was totally unnecessary, and frankly, I find the term "news" outdated now that we have neat little mini-features like the above in that same format.
We also weren't fans of the way that our square inline image was a totally different width than the ad right below it. We called this the "staircase" internally.
Now, let's look at that same article with our new design.
That huge "News" banner is gone forever, with that prime real estate now reserved for the most important part of the page: our headline, now significantly larger and more eye-popping than before.
We've also moved our square image to the top of the page, eliminating the "staircase" and putting a little more eyeball emphasis on the article itself.
You'll note that we've managed to clear up a whole lot of clutter by putting some of our metadata and social networking buttons (which, by the way, are new and improved) above the ad.
And if that wasn't clean enough already, we can now take things one step further:
What better way to show off our new monster-sized images than with my article about giant monster fighting games! I now have the option to display a large image right at the top of our articles, which means I will no longer have to be sad about having to reduce some gorgeous video game art down to a little 200x200 image in the corner.
My favorite new feature, however, is what comes after the article:
I've never been happy with our page flow from our news stories, I feel like we've never given our incoming readers a place to go after they've read an article. Now, our top stories of the moment -- the things we feel that you must read -- are displayed for you immediately after the article's conclusion.
This isn't the end of the tweaks we're making to the website: we've got a whole lot more in the pipeline, and I'm thrilled that the rest of Team Gama is as passionate as I am about making this website shine.
We've all got our opinions on what could use some tweaking, but I'm curious to know: what do you, the Gamasutra reader, feel we should address? I'm asking strictly from a design perspective, as our editorial direction is a whole different conversation that we'll continue to be having with you all.