Welcome to the new Design*Sponge!

Good morning evening everyone and welcome to the new Design*Sponge! A year ago this month we started working on the redesign of the site with the design team at ALSO. Working with them has been one of the most inspiring and special parts of my job and I trust and admire them immensely. After several ideas and revisions (I’ll share the evolution process this week) we landed on this final look and I knew it was our new home. As much as I have loved, and will always love, our linen background (which ALSO designed in 2007), it was time to grow and change and try something new. I wanted the site to feel like the “older sister” of the current site: something more sophisticated, cleaner and reflective of the change all of us here at D*S have gone through over the past four years. I started this site when I was 23 and now I’m about to turn 30, so I wanted the look and feel to be a better representation of what I love at this age and place in life. In addition, the content had so outgrown the navigation system that it was nearly impossible to find old posts that you were looking for. So we decided to not only overhaul the look, but the way the site works from the bottom up. Rather than assume we knew best, I worked with a fantastic UX expert (hooray for Matt Derby!) to help us come up with a way to make content flow and be easier to use.

Then came the hard part: tagging the site so we could use an improved filtering and search system. Over the past seven years of posting at Design*Sponge we’ve amassed over 11,000 posts- all of which had to be opened, evaluated and re-tagged. Thanks to my dream team of Amy Azzarito, Kate Pruitt and Kristina Gill we got just about all of it done (we’re still feverishly tagging as you read this) so you can now narrow content in each category by a huge range of options. I’ll go into this in greater detail below (and the video above), but I wanted to give a little shout out to the lovely ladies above who gave up many long nights and this past holiday weekend to help make this all happen. They are quite simply the best.

While we were tagging, the designs were handed over to our coder/designer/builder extraordinaire, Joel Oliveira. I’ve been lucky enough to work with Joel as my trusty WordPress expert for a while now and he did a fantastic job of translating ALSO’s designs into a living, breathing website. If you need someone to build, design and thrive in WordPress, Joel is your man. Despite the fact that I had to put the redesign on the back burner for nearly six months because of D*S Book work, Joel hung in there with us and is still hanging in there with us (even on a holiday) today as we launch and work on bugs that pop up and that you guys catch. Thanks, Joel.

Last but not least, I wanted to say an extra special thanks to two amazing women, Deanne Cheuk and Julia Rothman. Deanne designed our new logo based on my request for an updated spin on the original that felt ladylike, but still more grown up and she nailed it. Thanks, Deanne. Julia Rothman helped us put a handmade spin on the logo, contributed some beautiful illustrations for the Columns landing page and joined me on epic trips to M&J Trimming in the city to buy crazy amounts of ribbon- all while working with my insane deadlines. Thanks, Julia.

Now for the fun part: let’s talk about the new layout, design elements and how to use them all! Including all the new filters that let you narrow each category based on the terms you’re most interested in. I’ve broken all this down in a quick video above, but I’ll write it in text form after the jump below if you don’t feel like watching. xo, grace

*P.S.: I forgot to mention, we’re finally home at DesignSponge.com! The site will automatically redirect (as will the RSS feed) but there’s no more pesky “online” at the end.

NAVIGATION

Let’s start with navigation, since the structure has changed a bit. To begin, ALL of the primary navigation on D*S now takes place at the top part of the page. All the major sections have links here. I’ll break them down below:


This is the primary navigation bar- here you’ll get links to all the new landing pages for sections of content on D*S, from home tours (SPACES) and city guides (PLACES) to biz ladies and videos. Each of these pages opens up a landing page with tons of filtering options (more on how to use those below)


This is the secondary navigation bar- here you can find out more about D*S, our team and how to contact us (and submission guidelines). You can also get info on advertising and the annual D*S scholarship.


This is the third part of the navigation- your search bar, links to the RSS feed and our social networking pages.

CONTENT SECTIONS

Now that you know how to navigate the site, let’s break down where all the content actually lives. There are three main columns on the site now, all of which have content. I’ll break them down below:


Meet your main blog column. This left column is where all the posts will live. It’s where all the “live” content will appear.


In the the left column, above each post, you’ll see a bubble for comments (how many and where to click to leave one) and a linked author name. That name is the person writing the story and you can click their name to see all their recent and archived posts.


The middle column on D*S is brand new. This is where we’ll highlight the most recent posts in our major categories (homes, diy, before & afters, products, recipes). This section will change regularly but will be all about bringing original content written recently back up to the top of the page. Some of our original columns involve months of planning so I hated to see them slip off the home page without ever reappearing. This will solve that problem and give you a new place to check out “heavier” content.


The right hand column used to be reserved only for ads, but no longer! Now we have featured most units here that will allow us to highlight great posts and popular discussions or content. I’ll break down the units below:


Not everyone coming to DS wants to scroll around for hours (though I hope they will every now and then), so we created this pretty widget to get down to business- fast. If you’re looking to do something very specific, these links will take you to search pages that have been organized to suit that need. Whether you’re planning a party or want to cook something, this express navigation widget will help.


This featured post widget lets us highlight especially exciting content or something we want to call more attention to. This will change on a regular basis so keep your eyes peeled for something you may have missed earlier :)


You guys have been asking for a “most read” feature for a while now and we finally have one- a list of posts that are most popular any given week or month. Click away and join in the conversation!


One last content section exists at the very bottom of the site- if you scroll down to the very bottom of each page on D*S you’ll see a new section called “recently on”- it displays recent content, organized by day. There’s a tiny bug in them right now which makes it start with Thursday rather than Monday, but we’ll have that fixed asap.

DRUMROLL, PLEASE: THE SEARCH AND FILTERING CHANGES!!

I’m trying to curb my exclamation point use, but this is such a huge deal for us, guys. We re-tagged all 11k posts so you can search, sort and filter by just about any term you need. That way you can find houses that are say, only small-sized rentals in California. Or only DIY projects that are cheap, easy and use recycled materials and stenciling. You can get as specific as you like in the major categories. The point is- you can finally FINALLY use the archives in a way that’s helpful and lets you narrow to your heart’s content. Alternately, you can just select one filter level and see a wider range of posts. Here’s how it works:


Each landing page (spaces, places, diy, before & after, entertaining, videos, biz ladies) has a center column that’s UNIQUE. It’s specific to the content in that category and the search terms you’d need there. So you won’t see “technique” under houses, but you will see it under DIY projects and B&As.


Here’s how you use it. For the sake of example let’s say you’re moving to California and for inspiration you want to see small spaces that are rentals. The first thing you’d do is click on “Rent” to narrow the home tours down to rentals.


Then you can narrow further by clicking “small” to see small spaces.


Then you can narrow further by state, city or country. Here I chose California because we’ve found people most often look for states (over cities and countries) when looking for home tours. This will give you a much smaller search result of homes that suit ONLY your specifications. You can even narrow further by style if you want!

BUT WHAT IF YOU WANT TO SEE MORE RESULTS?


To “un-filter” something just un-click the X box next to the term you’d like to delete. This will gradually widen your search results to include more things. You can unclick till you’re back up at the top level where nothing is clicked and you’re seeing the full archives. Or you can start by picking one broader filter like just “Modern” under home styles. No matter what, you can always un-click something if you don’t want to search for something very specific.

NEW AREAS ON D*S

As part of our work with Matt the user experience expert, we created some new content areas to help things flow better and/or give you direct access to the most popular parts of the site. Here’s how they work:


The more we’ve grow, the more we realized that we’re covering a wide range of entertaining topics without really grouping them that way. So rather than have a seperate heading for food, drinks, events, etc we decided to create an official Entertaining section. What lives there? Anything you need to entertain: Recipes (food and drink), Event/Party ideas (weddings, picnics, etc) and Flowers. We’ll continue to refine these as the content area grows, but to start out this should be a good home base if you’re looking to have people over and need some inspiration.


One of the things about D*S I’m the proudest of is our depth of original content. I knew that would be the area I wanted us to grow into and over the past four years we’ve created over 20 original columns that appear on a weekly or monthly basis. As much as I love products and trends, I really love being able to invite writers with unique points of view of interests to join us here. And their work is what really makes me be proud to publish the site every day- their original columns are creative, unique and always the result of lots of hard work. I wanted you guys to have a place to find this original column and your favorite writers’ content, so this is their new home base. You can find a link to this landing page in the main navigation bar at the top of the site. (Julia Rothman did the cute illustrations for this page)


Last but never, ever least is our new team page. Here you can meet all of the writers who contribute posts to D*S and read their bios, see their pictures and click on their recent and archived posts. I’m so lucky to call all of these people my friends and colleagues so I hope you’ll get to know and love them as much as I do.

That’s about it for the basics! We’ll continue to refine, de-bug and improve the site as we go along, but if you see any bugs, glitches or otherwise off-looking parts of the site feel free to leave a comment here. We’ll be de-bugging all week until we get it right. xo, grace

  1. David says:

    I’m a relative newcomer to DS–I’ve only been reading for a month or two, but I absolutely love the site, and people are very accurate in saying the content of this site (and the obvious care put into the creation and presentation of that content) is top-notch. I love the redesign! I really appreciate how it became more sophisticated, yet retained all of the charm and uniqueness of its predecessor. Also–the new tagging/sorting features are utterly brilliant. The site transformed from a blog to a veritable encyclopedia of design + lifestyle inspiration overnight (literally!). I can’t imagine the amount of work that it took, and it is so refreshing to see someone care about their readers and content so much to put all of that time and effort into such a project. The careful, thoughtful craftsmanship shines through and allows the content to be even more accessible. Great, great work, and keep it up!

  2. bethany says:

    i’ve been reading d*s since the beginning and i think the new site design/color scheme is lovely and i am enjoying the re-organization of the content! but…i just can’t get past the main ad at the top, it totally junks up the site. it’s completely distracting and ugly. it tarnishes the d*s image.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      hi guys

      just a quick note: adblock is a great piece of software (for readers) if you don’t want to see ads on sites you read:

      http://adblockplus.org/en/

      as a producer of content it’s tough to pay your writers if you don’t have ads, so i’m not in love with anything that blocks them and prevents us from being able to pay people. that said, if it truly upsets people enough to stop reading, the quick install above will block them from your browser entirely.

      grace

  3. Brittany says:

    I love the new functionality, but I was really hoping with the new design that I could read the entire blog post in my google reader, instead of having to click “more” and launch the Design Sponge site. This is the only blog I can’t read in it’s entirety through google reader. That being said, this is my favorite blog of them all!

  4. Aurelie says:

    Love the new look – beautiful and classy. Really makes the photos pop!

  5. claudia says:

    dear design*sponge team!
    maybe i’m a little stupid or i am missing something, but where can i find the overview of all sneak peeks (or all recipes for example) on one site, like there was on the old website? i often visited this overview/start page if i couldn’t remember one specific sneek peek, and there i found it (because of the picture or the name i suddenly recognized). the same with the recipes/”in the kitchen with”section (in case you should once not know what too cook or bake, the pictures are really inspiring ;) i also tried to find a a nice pasta recipe from 2010 or 2009, but I cannot find it, using the new site (with category and the search terms).

    p.s. i really love the new design!

    1. Amy Azzarito says:

      Hi Claudia –
      Everything is still there! For the peeks, just click on spaces and you’ll get all the peeks there – now you can filter by size or place or style (http://www.designsponge.com/category/sneak-peeks). The recipes are all located under entertaining – they have new filtering options too!
      Cheers,
      Amy

  6. Jamie says:

    I know this had been said a hundred times already…but the giant banner ad at the top absolutely kills the entire site. it’s the first thing you see, it hides half of the ribbony thing you have going on and it just seems to cheapen things. the focus is now that giant corporate ad and not the content…even the google ads on the sidebar are just devaluing the medium in my opinion. I love seeing new shops and artists through sponsored blogs…but when the ads are dominating and for Sears and other giant corporations that are not a part of the blog’s community…it’s just a huge buzz kill.

    :(

  7. abby says:

    I’m sorry, I don’t understand what all the gushing is about. I see more ads, an irritating banner ad covering up your new look ribbon thing at the top, and the photos, that used to lure me into the topics now seem to take second seat to the background and wording.Even the logo doesn’t feel fresh or unique like your old id.

    I will probably try a few more “look-see’s”, but based on my initial reaction, I won’t be back much (and I was almost a daily visitor).

    Glad for you that I am in the minority (maybe the only one?); I have so very much enjoyed, visiting your site in the past!

  8. Angela says:

    Looks great….
    but please take out the ad smack dab in the middle of the top of the page – directly on top of your design . Why have the beautiful ribbon (I’m and M&J Trimmings fan too!) if you cover it with a big ‘ol ad? Hmmm….

  9. Liz says:

    Lovely – striking and sophisticated! I just used the search box and found the exact post I remembered from a few months ago. Easy, peasy. But when I clicked a link in the post to take me to an external site, it opened in the same browser tab, not opening a new tab like I expected.

  10. Rachel says:

    I must say I don’t like it at all. The color scheme is great, but I feel like the content is greatly minimized by the presence of the ad smack dab at the top and the overall feel of trying to be a website vs a blog. Maybe that’s what you’re going for? I’m not super crazy about the ribbon motif, but that I could live with if I could actually see it! The logo is so-so, could be TONS better.

  11. hilary says:

    Congratulations on completing such an enormous undertaking.
    I am on the fence about the new design and need a couple of weeks living with it to become well enough acquainted with it to really get a feel for it.
    At first glance – I agree that the top ad compromises the impact of your brand.
    The new logo is so small and discreet and easy to overlook – the ad really overwhelms it.
    On my mac in Safari it is extremely slow to load almost 3x slower than the old site.
    Aesthetics are so subjective – for my taste I find the re-design visually confusing. Rather than a move towards a more sophisticated look the content and visual style appears limited – more like a party planners site – and the ads and archiving are so prominent that the editorial content is diminished. I am concerned that the dark, slate board trend will be over sooner than you will want to re-design the site again and I am not sure what the ribbons have to do with your content. It is really graphically disturbing to have them cut off by the ad.
    I love your blog and will continue my daily perusal. I expect I will grow accustomed to the re-design and learn to love it in spite of myself.

  12. Jillian says:

    Congratulations Team Design*Sponge on a beautiful redesign. I love your description of wanting the new site to look like an older sister to the old site. Let’s be honest — we’re all getting older together so it’s nice to see Design*Sponge grow and change with me (and it’s tons of other readers, too)!

    As a graphic designer, I just wanted to write a note saying how much I am enjoying the redesign, the color palette, the fonts, and the use of ribbons (I recently wrote a post about M&J and their wonderful selection of ribbons, too. Isn’t that store the best?).

    Great job on the look of the site. The improved user-friendly factor is an added bonus, too!

  13. Leah says:

    Sorry Design Sponge. not at all enjoying the new design. The ribbons? I adore ribbons, however, they are very distracting from the post content. For a blog I turn to for inspiration, creativity and trendy design–the new look is lacking. The colors of the ribbons distract from the images in the post. All I see is peach.

  14. amber says:

    i really love the colour scheme, it’s sophisticated and attractive (I loved the old one, too, though), and I love the grey.

    I think things would be loads better without the obtrusive ad bar across the top, it really minimizes the impact of your header image and distracts me from the content, and since I know D*S content is awesome, I don’t want to be all “mmrmm. Stupid advertisements!”

    Also, when I clicked onto read these comments, the middle menu bar disappears (I’m using chrome), and I think they should stay as then I wouldn’t have to go back and find them, they’d be right here. On the first page of the site, the red ribbons + content are there, but not when I go into a post (well, this post). I think it’s cool they are on the dark grey, just wish they were here, too!! :)

    also, I’m finding the mottled background disappears around the ribbon images, it almost smoothes out?

    Gosh, I sound like the bearer of bad tidings, but you know, the question was asked. Anyway! I do love the colours, you seem to have made me appreciate peach (the bric a brac is peach on my monitor, and I’m kind of in love with it!)

    great job :)

  15. CarmenCru says:

    Love the new look!!!! IMHO, it was worth the effort and time you’ve put.

    Thanks for all the new features too!

    PS Hope you won’t mind me saying this to everyone, but thanks to Firefox and Adblock Plus, I see no ad banners and I get the full lovely look of it without any distractions!

  16. LINDSAY U. says:

    Grace,
    I wanted to applaud you for many reasons – first, I so admire you desire to continually update the look and organization of Design Sponge. It is incredibly hard to redesign a site as successful as yours, and even harder to settle on a final product. I admire your enthusiasm, flexibility, confidence and dedication to your readers and to the integrity of your mission and philosophy behind your blog. Of course, there will always be necessary edits and debugging – but overall the redesign is GORGEOUS, well thought out, and true to the identity of Design Sponge. Kuddos to you for being so receptive to constructive feedback – this is why your blog is so successful! You have such a mature and flexible outlook on the feedback and this is so appreciated by your readers – it makes us feel as if our voices are heard – while you continue to stand behind your decisions. Here’s to many years of continual change, re-evaluation, excitement, creativity and fun on Design Sponge!!!

  17. m says:

    I’ll chime in with a few words of praise and comments about the design. Kudos to Deanne and Julia for the logo and the ribbon details, it adds to the handmade, diy theme. Also, the comments treatment next to the blog title is a nice touch visually, however I have no clue about when the post was made, which in my opinion is more cruicial than how many people commented.
    The gray background is a really poor color choice, it really weighs the entire site down, especially when the content only takes up about 500 pixels, it makes it feel even smaller. I think if it was white, or off white it would make the entire site feel much more open and elegant. It’s also strange how it breaks in the middle – ie. on this particular post. I think it’s a very simple solution that could really make the site feel fresh and alive, rather than drab. Anyhow just my two cents

  18. Sarah B says:

    The site is beautiful. I can’t wait to dig in!

  19. Hanneke says:

    Hi, I think it looks great, so congrats with that. One thing though, I use IE7 at my laptop (which runs on Windows 7) and the site won’t load properly. I can see the top of the page but when I try to scroll down it doesn’t react at all, it seems it keeps loading and reloading all the time no matter how long I wait. I have firefox on another computer, but I’d gotten so used to checking your site on my laptop daily.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      hi hanneke

      sorry about that, ill tell our tech team that and see if they can replicate the error and fix it :)

      one quick note, if you’re able to upgrade to the current version of IE (version 9) it may help solve the problem. we’ve tested the site on the most current 2 versions of each browser out there without any problems. there were pretty large changes made between IE 7 and IE 8 so you may be running into some of those with the loading issue.

      grace

  20. I did a double take when clicking on your website this morning. You gals are headed in the right direction for change – and change is never easy!
    Having said that – I’m a 60+ yo reader, so I wondering if it possible to change the font in the main column? it’s difficult to read — in Google Chrome it was teeny-tiny. Firefox & Safari a bit easier… (I’m using a week old MacBook Pro) OR perhaps a cleaner-looking font similar to your headings (even Arial Narrow would be easier on the eyes).
    Is there a reason to have the middle column? that information is getting squished — the columns appear to be uneven width, so your eyes jump all over the place, trying to figure out what is going on. Can the middle column be inserted on the side giving more room for the eyes to take in the “wonderfulness” of your site… Even though ads & content would appear on the side, I think it could solve the crowded feeling. AND, we all are scrolling to the bottom to check out the articles anyway, so I don’t think you’d lose any viewers for those buttons. I know you are working on the ad at the top! That’s what prompted the “omg moment” for all your readers… what a way to shake our worlds…
    I also am not able to read all the info at the bottom-it’s getting cut off. The format for the bottom section is awesome! I love! LOVE!! being able to check out the highlights of the week.
    Kudos to change! in another week – this will all be “water under the bridge”… hang in there! Appears you have a great team of writers, designers & proofreaders (us) helping to make your site bigger, better and appealing for the majority of your readers….

  21. Kele Smith says:

    Hi Grace, I’m a web designer and I wanted to commend you on being bold and following your gut. There is only one constant in the world of web and that is change. It’s not just a good idea, it is absolutly necessary to stay relevant. To all that complain about the ads, just remember they are a neccesary evil. As for the complaints about the size of the ads, standard, universal ad sizes appear to be used. In order to stay up with best practices one shouldn’t really deviate from those. One solution if they bother you is to use a feed reader (Sage add on for Firefox, for example). I have 1 comment and 1 question Grace. You mentioned that Julia Rothman put a handmade spin on the logo- what was her contribution to the logo- the ribbon I take it? My comment is that I’m noticing spellcheck isn’t working on the comment box (using IE8) (gasp, I know but this is my husband’s laptop).

  22. Susan says:

    I’m sorry but this is really lacking still. I know you’re working hard but yikes. A gigantic ad is the first thing I see – over the ribbon header. It does not go away. Loading the site is beyond slow…it’s the only site I have problems w/& I’m used to big sites.

    So many ads are blinking & flashing – I didn’t seem to have a problem w/that before. Maybe the dark background highlights them more.

    Also, why should anyone have to take a tutorial to go thru the site?

    I have more to say but probably others have said it. This is really disappointing. I hope it gets better soon. I was a regular multi-times/day reader but it’s too annoying now. I am sorry.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      susan

      you don’t have to view the tutorial, it was intended to show people who were interested how they could take advantage of the new features. there’s a pretty advanced filtering system on the site (that no other design blogs are currently using) and i thought it would be helpful to show it in action.

      as i mentioned above, we’ve had rotating ads for at least 3 years now, so those are not new. we did however increase the editorial content on the homepage by 40%, so i’m sorry if the top ad distracts from that, but sadly that ad is necessary in order for us to keep providing free content.

      grace

  23. eliza says:

    As someone who loves good design and read your site daily, I have to say you’ve lost me with the redesign. It’s cluttered and the ribbons look totally tacky. I’m so surprised and feel it’s a real shame. It looks cheap.

  24. jody says:

    hi d*sers, i wanted to make a suggestion re. the much-maligned banner ad. i think that if you could just shimmy that top ad so that it doesn’t cover over the ribbons, lots of people would feel better. the ribbons – love ‘em or hate ‘em (i think they are lovely) – are what makes the site feel ‘real’. like the linen, they bring a sense of the tactile and sensuous to the page. the ad banner over the top belies this imaginary realness in a way that, i think, makes readers/lookers feel duped or cheap. i suspect that if there is any way to remedy this while still funding the site – what if the ribbons rolled OVER the ad! how cool would that be! or even just scootch things a teeny bit so that there is room for ribbons (maybe smaller ribbons?) and the add – lots of readers’ issues, whether with the number of adds or with the ribbons themselves, would be resolved! cheers,

  25. Suzanna says:

    I am having a very hard time finding a specific sneak peak since the updated website. I have looked through 50 pages of past sneak peaks and can’t seem to find it. I’ve also gone page by page backwards looking for it and no luck. Wondering if anyone can help me? I’m specifically looking for a kids bedroom that the mom painted a replica of a (scandinavian?) wallpaper design. It was only done on the wall behind the kids bed. It was harlequin style, multi-colored triangles. Would love if anyone could send me the link! Thank you!!
    spoonling@yahoo.com

  26. Lydia says:

    Gorgeous redesign and still evocative of the original spirit.

  27. a belated note to tell you how wonderful the new site looks!! the old site was SO hard to navigate… this is much improved and looks beautiful! great work to all involved!

  28. kb. says:

    The site re-design is much appreciated, I can only imagine the time and effort that went into it- great job! I love reading through the articles for new inspiration and try my best to view the accompanying photographs, like with ‘sneak peaks’. However, having to load a new page for each additional photograph and then having to go back to the main page, then scrolling back down to find the article, to then again click the following photograph, to then load another page, can be somewhat time consuming and not so user friendly. Have you considered using a pop-up viewing window, or some sort of click through viewing method for the additional photographs? It might make the extra photographs that much easier to browse through.

  29. claudia says:

    @ Suzanna
    I have the same problem too! I cannot find specific sneak peeks since the update. Before you could see all sneak peeks (thumbnails and names) in one overall view, it was easier to find something you looking for. Now I have to search/go page by page backwards – the filtering options don’ t help. Or is there an “sneak peek overall view” I don’t see? :)

  30. Alpha says:

    Oh dear!

    I used to come to Design Sponge daily. A source of inspiration, a sorta ritual. But ever since the re-launch, I’ve only been to the site twice. That’s it, twice. I find it very distracting, poorly designed, and most of all— the navigation from a user experience is just awful. I’m sorry DS, but the old website had a fresher and more creative appeal than this one by a long shot!

  31. Jess says:

    The design is certainly eye-catching and the layouts are attractive, but I find navigating your new site and actually locating the content I’m searching for is a pretty cumbersome process. Certainly not user-friendly.

    On top of that, all the extra stuff and ads in the sidebar make your blog load slowly (and I’m on a pretty fast fiber optic connection). I realize those ads are part of your revenue stream, but when you reach the level of success that you have (bravo to you on that!) you have to consider your readers experience on your site before all the other stuff.

    Regardless, I still appreciate all the hard work that your whole team puts in to the site.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      hi jess

      please see my comments above, re: loading times and site layout. we only have 2 extra ads so that’s not causing any loading delays. we used user stats and paths to determine layout, so i promise we paid attention to how people use the site :)

      grace

  32. zoe says:

    I really loved the old site and am having trouble with the new one. It seems that there is more blank space – the text is smaller to read and I have to go through more clicks to browse through the postings. I understand that you added more search features – but I mostly “window shop” when I’m on this site vs. searching for something in particular. I loved being able to go to the old “before and after” and scroll through all of the posts – now I seem to have to click on each link to see the feature. It’s doesn’t feel nearly as intuitive as the old site did.

    1. Grace Bonney says:

      zoe

      i’m sorry it feels that way. the home page is actually exactly the same as before, accept that the images are actually larger now. but there aren’t any fewer images above the jump as before.

      the landing pages for categories didn’t exist before, so hopefully as you get used to this format they’ll become helpful to browse. you can still click and scan away as much as you like, but now you can just do that in a much more specific way, like by technique, cost, or style. if you want higher level browsing (ie: no filters) you can just scan the b&a home page. you’ll need to click in to see full posts, but you can still scan based on the most recent posts.

      grace

  33. CarmenCru says:

    +1 to the suggestion of featuring the date the article was written on the top of the article.
    I often see this issue in blogs and it never fails to bother me. However, in some cases it could just be the template they are using. Since you have done so much work on customising D*S, I believe it should not be a problem. At the same level/line that the number of comments, category and writer’s name are featured, but on the right side would be perfect, practical and it would visually balance the “header”!

    Thanks again for the opportunity to provide feedback and be heard.

  34. k says:

    I’m with Zoe on the before and after section. It’s incredibly frustrating to go to the archives to scroll through the B&As and only see one picture (generally a “before”) with each archived post; in the past it seemed like there were enough pics before the jump to allow me to judge whether I wanted to click through to the whole post. I doubt this was the intention, but the current structure *feels* a little manipulative, like DS is trying to force me to click through to a post that may be a waste of my time (since I end up being uninterested in the “after”) just to increase the number of click-throughs that the blog can track and present to potential advertisers.

    It’s souring the experience for me, unfortunately, as is much of the visual re-design. I definitely respect the time and effort that went into re-structuring the site and improving its functionality, so kudos to the DS team for all their hard work. But the home page is so visually cramped that it’s giving me a headache if I attempt to stay more than about 2 minutes. I feel like one of my favorite sites has gone from a cozy but welcoming boutique to an urban coffee shop with dark, square metal tables crammed wall to wall – one that offers very little space to relax or breathe, and recently suffered a violent attack by ribbon-pelting guerillas.

    I’ve been trying to get behind the re-design, but I just can’t get there. DS is quickly moving from one of my top 10 sites, and my primary source of inspiration, to something I visit as a secondary source when I need to research something specific. Sadness. :( Still, props to you all for the hard work you’ve done and the effort you made. I hope other readers are responding more positively, and that the blog’s success continues to grow.

  35. Amanda B. says:

    Wow! I’ve been away too long! LOL. I signed into designsponge and got a shock! I had to make sure I was on the right page! I went back 19 or so pages to find out when it was introduced! (almost 30 days ago – bad me for being away so long! – but maybe thats good – alot of bugs will be worked out by now! LOL)

    Grace and team – thank you for being willing to grow and improve your site and to continue to make it available to us for free. I know that change is hard and especially if something belongs to you (this is your livihood afterall) – so thank you for being willing and able to move designsponge forward. Thank you for looking at how the majority of users use the sites, and having read a lot of comments on previous posts and this one I have to say you guys do a great job of allowing freedom of expression (for better or worse) and listening and addressing peoples concerns on the new site design and other issues in the past. BIG THANK YOU!!!

    I’m going to have to take some time and play with all the new features!

    Keep up the good work!

  36. Susan says:

    I’m back after a couple of weeks & things are not better. I am so sorry about that, too. One thing I can recommend to people is to sign up for d*s email. I look at it to see if something is intriguing enough to come over.

  37. Susana says:

    whenever a website changes, especially if I really enjoyed the design, it is SO difficult for my eyes to adapt, this was a very radical change and I love the old design so much! may this be a lesson for me on embracing change <3

LEAVE A COMMENT

Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.