Monday, February 07, 2011

Gawker sites latest to destroy themselves in search for elusive “new hotness”

I’m not sure what they were going for, but the Gawker sites (such as Gizmodo, LifeHacker, Jezebel, io9, etc.) have updated to a new format that is just unbearable. They used to have a fairly simple layout where you could just scroll down the page and see all of the articles / posts in a synopsis view and easily decide which of those were interesting to you, middle click the ones that were and they would open in a new tab for your reading pleasure. As all folks have different interests, I would typically find 1 in 6 interesting on say LifeHacker, maybe 1 in 8 on Gizmodo, etc.). Now, with their new layout, they have only one story per page. You have to go through a rigmarole of arrow keys to get to the next story – which probably isn’t even one you are interested in. They’ve added a “pane” on the right side that supposedly shows the latest stories, but lacks the size and impact of the previous blog style (pictures are tiny and synopsis too short). That pane on the right was taking over a minute to load earlier this morning, but it seems like maybe they have it fixed or at least implemented some sort of temporary workaround to get it to load more quickly.

Like the Digg users abandoned Digg in droves with the last redesign (I’ve rarely been back to that site which I used to use daily), it may be Gawker’s time to lose a lot of users. For now, they all seem to be supporting a “classic” view which, while not as good as their original view, is less of a pain than the new view. Classic doesn’t have the large size images and full synopsis that was available on the original sites.

I had tried to post my thoughts on the design as a comment on the Gizmodo article about the changes, but it looks like they removed Facebook Connect yet again (which you don’t find out until you have spent some time creating a thoughtful comment – only to find you can’t actually post it.

Here’s hoping that Engadget won’t follow the trend of making their properties less valuable to users; for now I can still visit that site and get a blog style view that works.