A few days ago, on November 11th, we celebrated our 6th birthday here on WDD by revealing our latest redesign.
If you visit often, you should easily notice most of the changes, however, if you just drop by once in a while the site will feel similar yet different. In fact, if we did our job right, it should feel more minimal, more elegant as well as easier to read.
When we set out to redesign WDD, we wanted to achieve a better user experience by embracing a more minimalist approach, simplifying and speeding up the site.
We considered a magazine layout for the new design, but it felt impersonal and overwhelming with way too much content and looked somewhat messy as well. We went through countless iterations before deciding to follow this direction. Around the web, we’re seeing more and more content being displayed these days on sites (especially tech sites) that overwhelm the users with too much choice. We believe that this new layout feels more intimate, personal and easier to browse, being somewhat like a cross between a traditional blog and a magazine style site without overpowering the user experience.
The sidebar has been minimized. It’s now narrower and even the 200x125 ads, which are now displayed one at a time, seem to breathe easier with ample white space around them. Originally we removed the larger 300x250 ad on top of the sidebar in order to create a super tiny sidebar with just the 200x125 ads, but this created a problem for some of our sponsors who advertise heavily in that top spot.
We also experimented with removing the sidebar altogether, yet when trying to integrate the sidebar content and especially the ads within the content into a single column, the layout became heavy and disorganized. If WDD was free of ads (one day?), we would have probably taken a sidebar-less approach. For now though, ads are still necessary to run the site and pay for the bills, but with this approach we feel they’re less obtrusive and serve both our advertisers and readers best.
One of the ideas that we wanted to integrate early on was infinite scrolling. We asked our readers through our social channels for feedback on this and did some thorough research and found out that it would be mostly negative for our purposes. We believe that infinite scrolling will work best for sites with mostly images, but not necessarily for a blog where it seems to result in less user engagement (readers just scroll and scroll, yet they engage less with the content). Of course, there are always exceptions, but for WDD for now, we’re sticking with a traditional pagination approach and saying “no” to infinite scrolling.
[pullquote]We believe that this new layout feels more intimate, personal and easier to browse, being somewhat like a cross between a traditional blog and a magazine style site.[/pullquote]
We wanted WDD to have a perfect balance between what we perceive to be masculine and feminine design elements. You will notice extensive use of masculine shapes such as sharp corners, squares and rectangles but also lots of circles are being used throughout the site to bring a softer more feminine side.
In addition, we added many diagonal lines throughout the site, and even made our headers in italics to carry that diagonal component throughout. The site feels more connected to all forms, sizes and shapes, just as design should be. This also represents the diversity of the content we carry on the site, the different authors, the multiple points of view, and so forth.
The idea behind the alternating text and images layout on the main pages is to create an equal balance of both text and images on both sides of the main column. We opted, once again, for not having a featured post on top, which we felt would rather invite our readers to explore more and you might actually find yourself pressing ‘next page’ more often than before, as the site should feel more inviting to browse and explore.
The headers are now in LFT Etica and all caps. We got rid of the Adelle font for this redesign as we wanted to minimize decorations and a sans serif font was just a better fit for this. The extra heavy bold style makes the titles really pop and easier to read. WDD has always been ‘bold’ in its approach to its design, but this one is possibly our boldest design yet.
For the body text we are using Proxima Nova Soft, which changed from Open Sans in our previous design. The roundness of this font felt appropriate for the site as it adds a more feminine feel, while the headers appear more masculine. Again, we were looking to create balance in all aspects.
There are new animation effects, rollovers, text links and little touches here and there that make the site feel more modern and snappier. Some changes were also made in the backend to improve loading speed and optimizing the site as much as possible. We also have a new 404 page! :)
We hope that you enjoy the new redesign and especially that you continue to enjoy and share our articles.
We work hard to make WDD a great destination for all of our designer and developer friends and this redesign is just one more step in our journey with you.
Feel free to leave us any feedback below with suggestions or any questions that you may have. We hope you enjoy the new WDD!
WDD staff are proud to be able to bring you this daily blog about web design and development. If there's something you think we should be talking about let us know @DesignerDepot.