So, recently, the entire Gawker network got re-designed. It went from a news-style site to… well… something else.
The general consensus? IT SUCKS. Horribly.
Here’s what happened: Originally, the Gawker network had a very simple style. You went there, they normally had a nice large image to illustrate the story, a little blurb, and then you could read more. The design was not perfect by any means. I can’t tell you how many times I tried to search for something in that “TIPS” bar! But, other than that, there really wasn’t anything bad about it at all.
For the redesign, they made it a complete mess. It now looks like something you would view on a tablet computer instead of a desktop, but the general complaint I’ve heard from tablet owners is, surprise surprise, it SUCKS on tablets!
So when they were essentially called out for having a website that was now hard to navigate, was awkward to use, and not entirely pleasing on the eyes, they came up with excuses.
Whenever, I repeat, WHENEVER YOU HAVE TO DEFEND A DESIGN’S FUNCTIONALITY, YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG!
I’ve dealt with clients and people in the past where, yes, I had to defend something because they may not have agreed. That doesn’t mean I or most people were doing it wrong when we have to do the same with our clients. But if people have a hard time navigating a site, if the way content is present is bad, no one, I repeat, NO ONE will want to go to your site.
They say that “Content is King”. In the world of SEO and the internet in general, yes, Content is King. At the same time, Design is the Dominating Queen that keeps the King in line.
You could be freaking CNN, but if you made it nearly impossible to read anything no one will care! NO ONE!
Why Design Matters
Design keeps things in line and makes them easier to understand. It helps readers to enjoy the content and get informed without hurting their eyes or confusing them. There are a TON of articles out there on good web design, and whoever it was who either designed this site or whoever it was who AUTHORIZED the redesign must have never read them.
Good interactive design is all about interactivity and usability. If someone comes to your site and doesn’t know how to use it almost immediately, you’ve failed.
At the same time, defying standards and norms is what, in a way, great design is all about.
In my humble opinion, Gawker is going to see the writing on the wall and get rid of this abomination.