It is an absolute, hard-and-fast law that whenever a high profile site undergoes a significant redesign, the reaction from regular readers will be one of outrage.
Not puzzlement, not measured criticism, but full-on outrage — as if they’d woken up to discover that someone had crept in and rearranged the features of their wife’s face.
And so it was with some trepidation that I visited TechCrunch a few minutes ago and found that our much-vaunted redesign had “gone live”, complete with gigantic headline fonts, weird underlapping images and — oh God — a new logo. A new logo that, to my artistically untrained eye, looks like it was drawn with the sharpened tip of a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle.
Lead designer Dave Feldman posted a spirited, preemptive defense of the redesign here, explaining how it meets the demands of the “bold, raw, fast-paced” AOL-owned technology blog that is TechCrunch. I found Dave’s post fascinating, not least because I had no idea that someone called Dave Feldman worked at TechCrunch. (Hello Dave!)
As for the redesign — frankly, I’m not certain how I feel about it. I’m not sure if I like the fact that the top headline is yelling at me. I’m undecided whether the animated logo thing at the top is bold, raw or fast paced. And I’m really in two minds about the “ALSO ON AOL TECH” box at the bottom right.
But that’s kinda the point: it’s really far too early for me — or anyone else — to judge whether the new design is better than the old one. Like learning to use a new cellphone, it’ll take us all a few days to get beyond the newness of the thing and figure out whether it’s actually easier to use. And it’ll take even longer than that for us to have the objective measurements — page impressions, load times; crap like that — to determine whether the new look is a “success”.
And yet none of that should — nor will — stop you, our valued readers, from weighing in to tell us how much you hate every single thing about the new design. Some of you have already chipped in with useful feedback on Dave’s post, variously describing the design as “hideous”, “horrible”, “the worst redesign ever” and “not even in the same league as Gizmodo” (ouch). But what about the rest of you? If I know anything about Dave (and I don’t) it’s that, having worked for months on this new thing, he simply can’t wait to hear how much you hate the fruits of his (and his team’s) labors.
To make it even easier for you to share your thoughts, I’ve created a handy copy-and-paste note for you to customize and mail back. Simply paste the text into an email, check the boxes that apply, and then send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
<START COPYING HERE>
Congratulations on your redesign. I just wanted to drop you a quick note to let you know that IT FUCKING SUCKS. Seriously, this is the ugliest piece of shit redesign I’ve ever commented on — and I’ve commented on hundreds: Gawker, Last.fm, MySpace and every AOL logo change since 1991.
Specifically, I hate the… (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
Oversized fonts [ ]
Obnoxious images [ ]
Links to AOL in the footer [ x ]
Incomplete meta tags [ ]
…but most of all I hate the new logo. Put bluntly, it… (CHECK ONE)
Sucks [ ]
Really sucks [ ]
Sucks balls [ ]
Sucks ass [ ]
Sucks both ass and balls at the same time [ ]
And what’s with all the… (CHECK ONE)
White space [ ]
Lack of white space [ ]
I mean, I get that this is, like, the third time TechCrunch has been redesigned in its history, and that I’ve been complaining for months about how slow the old site was — but as a… (CHECK ALL THAT APPLY)
Professional designer [ ]
Self-important asshole [ ]
…I could have made this look so much better. What’s more, for reasons I haven’t entirely thought through, I hold…
AOL [ ]
Arianna Huffington [ ]
Rupert Murdoch [ ]
The Roswell Aliens [ ]
….responsible for this whole mess. You guys have really sold out. In fact — you know what? — this is the LAST TIME I’M VISITING TECHCRUNCH. I’m deleting you from my RSS feed. How d’ya like THEM….
APPLES [ ]
ANDROIDS [ ]
Seriously, I’m gone.
Don’t try to convince me to stay.
Lalalala I can’t hear you.
PS I love you guys!
<STOP COPYING HERE>