‘Gawker redesign tries to accomplish the impossible’

Poynter.org
“It forces readers to focus on one editorially selected topic while the norms of the online world make everyone into little hummingbirds, flitting from link to link, site to site, and story to story,” writes Latoya Peterson, who was a contributor to Gawker Media’s Jezebel.com. “The online world is built and based on distractions.” (Read Gawker boss Nick Denton‘s memo after the jump.)

From: Nick Denton
Subject: A quick guide to getting through Day Two
To: edit@gawker.com
Date: Tuesday, February 8, 2011, 10:33 AM

* splash the regular roundups like Jezebel’s Dirt Bag and Jalopnik’s Morning Shift, which contain lots of links

* splash themed packages like Remy’s Journalists in Peril roundup of news from Egypt: they create a sense of excitement

* put up splashes in full, usually, otherwise the front page can feel thin

* longer descriptive headlines, which will bear some of the burden that excerpts carried

* regular use of bigpic and galleries to ensure the sidebar remains visually enticing

* more quickposts to keep up frequency

* use standard tags to indicate that quickposts are quick, e.g. IN BRIEF or QUOTE MARK

* rotate quickly through splashes

* stay cool: we’ve been through worse backlashes

Nick

———

> Nicholas Jackson: Denton’s sort of given up on the redesign already
> Gawker redesign doesn’t exactly thrill the Internet

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  • Anonymous

    I’d love to know how much their traffic has dropped in the last 4 days. The redesign is an epic fail.

  • Anonymous

    Having been a regular reader of five of the gawker blogs this, along with the whoring of political posts to non political blogs, makes leaving them all a lot simpler. Adios.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504633504 Dan Mitchell

    Ah, but hold on: Gawker has a “classic” view for those of us who prefer non-bewlidering Web sites: http://gawker.com/#!classic

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=504633504 Dan Mitchell

    I was already drifting away from Gawker, despite its many strengths, because of its misleading headlines and display copy (making stories that aren’t stories appear to be stories) and it’s growing propensity to sensationalize to a degree even beyond what’s acceptable for a gossip site. I gave the redesign a couple of days and many tries. It’s just a complete failure — a confusing, bewildering mess. It is, in every way, the opposite of intuitive. It even uses what are essentially frames! Frames were widely rejected in about 1998, for good reason. I’m not sure why the new design wasn’t tried, and at least tweaked, for a considerable length of time first on one of the smaller sites to see whether it worked. It doesn’t.