I’m a little behind the times, but better late than never!
Techcrunch, a technology blog covering ‘web 2.0’ and internet start ups had a bit of a redesign earlier this week. As a blog that I keep track of all the time, I’m really pleased to see it move away from its previous, cluttered look to this clean and fresh design.
Features of the new look include a much more integrated navigation including links to other blogs from the Techcrunch. network, more consistent advert space, links to most active and recent comments, and a move away from full posts on the homepage.
The new navigation brings a much more consistent feel across the website. Links to the other Techcrunch blogs (CrunchGear, MobileCrunch, TechCrunchIT etc) have moved from their previous location at the bottom of the old advert column to the very top of the page, making it easier to navigate across the network. However, TalkCrunch (the network podcast) and CrunchNotes (Michael Arrington’s personal blog) are notably missing from this list. Other links which a regular reader wouldn’t use very often but are still important (such as About, Contact, Advertise etc) have been moved to the right of the logo. While they are still obvious, it means they do not take up as much valuable real-estate as the previous layout.
The new design loads much quicker than before. The old site took an age to load (it was almost worth going to make a cup of tea while waiting for it to load), however the new design is pretty much the same as every other blog in the world. I can only assume this is mainly achieved through a simpler layout and improved code.
One of the way’s the speed has been increased on the homepage is by switching to an excerpt scheme (only showing a small extract rather than full articles). From a web design point of view, this is a big improvement – it increases page views (because you have to visit a dedicated page for each article), and it can increase your Google rank (because you no longer have duplicate content on your site). But from a user-interaction point of view, it requires many more mouse-clicks, and makes it difficult to just scan through a series of entries. I’m torn as to which is best and have been considering a similar switch on this blog – comments from readers would be much appreciated.
In general I think this redesign is a big success (although a fair amount of the comments on their website seem to disagree with me). Mark Hendrickson (who announced the re-design) explained their intention to roll this design out to other parts of the network, an aim which would bring consistency across the board. However, I’ve heard this before. CrunchGear has had two designs over the last year, both of which were supposed to be rolled out across the network and never were, and more recently new layouts have appeared on TechCrunchIT, TalkCrunch and CrunchNotes. If, however, this does happen, all the blogs will be much more pleasant.
Other recent Techcrunch layouts.