Yesterday, Aol’s big tech blog unveiled a major redesign that, admittedly, is probably the best thing they’ve done since Topolsky and crew left. The content is still pretty light, I’m not a fan of ripping out review scores, and they’ve been chasing features other sites have actually done proper, but this part they got pretty right and you should check it out for that part at least. What did they improve? Well…
It’s Simpler. And Fast. Engadget’s previous design was produced under the watchful eye of then-EIC Joshua Topolsky who managed every graphic to the pixel and had plenty of those graphics made. Current EIC Tim Stevens brags that many of the graphics are text-based instead of pixel-based, saving not only a lot of download time, but taking up less CPU cycles as well. On the flipside, you look at The Verge’s site and despite its elaborate fixtures, it’s a big, bloated web site that doesn’t scale well at all.
Getting Rid of The Old Crap. I don’t know if you’ve been reading Engadget lately, but a lot of their sidebar content sported ancient featured articles from years ago. As in, someone created different spots to fill in the panel with specific articles and they’ve been running for just as long. It was silly to look at.
Responsive design. This is still a relatively new thing in web site design, but this is very cool. Unlike most other sites – ours included – Engadget doesn’t have separate desktop and mobile versions of their pages. It simply loads one site and scales up or down depending on which device you have. Load the site on your phone and it loads a simpler, condensed view. Flip your phone to landscape and it loads the bigger version. It works great and eventually most sites will work like this.
It’s nice to see Aol and Engadget are looking forward with this kind of design. Sometimes simpler is deceptive: simpler can also mean less content. I hope more sites begin to adapt this style, a la Polygon.
Like The Verge.