Usually a decent bastion of journalism (although Gizmodo’s stolen iPhone 4 coverage last year was a bit chintzy) it’s obvious that no one at Gawker is directing artwork or UI experience, as their brand new sites demonstrate.
To be fair, the old Gawker sites always looked as if publisher Nick Denton had bought some cheap blogging foundation and over the years, stapled on more and more crap as they needed expanded functionality. It appears that absolutely nothing has changed with the new layout: a visit to each site presents you with a generic grey, quasi-Apple-in-2004 schema. It’s a wonder that they (supposedly) tested these sites at all before unleashing their great blandness onto the world: below, the Gizmodo logo obscures a portion of a video and the comment counter. It looks awful. These are amateur mistakes.
Formerly a slate layout like any other blog site on the web (including our beloved FleshEatingZipper), Gawker decided to bend the norm by having content scrolling in independent panels designed to expedite exploration by not having to reload the entire site with each new click.
This is – to put it swiftly – shit.
Oh sure, the main body content in the left two-thirds scrolls great, the problem is with the clunky backlog panel that is not only bereft of information and harsh to scroll, but works similarly to fabricating an igloo in Siberia in your skivvies. The entire experience is poor, featuring tech that simply doesn’t work. It takes all of thirty seconds attempting to navigate their sites to realize this was a stupid decision. How many people at Gawker had to absolutely fail at their day jobs before they unleashed this travesty upon millions of visitors? Far too many.
Between sites, the experience gets worse as each one decides to take this generic notepad of a scheme and form their own article layouts. This was on top of the fact that each individual writer thought it was cool to create individual masthead images in their own unique style, color, and typeface, which looks absolutely rubbish. The below examples were bad, but Kotaku has it even worse…
I suppose it doesn’t really matter because nothing’s going to change (based on Denton’s comments on the defensive) and we watch as their traffic dwindles because they can’t figure out how technology can be used to gain the visitor’s trust, not abuse it.