Designer who critiqued New York Times website accuses critics of ‘libelous journalism’

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Andy Rutledge, the Web designer who posted mockups of a redesigned New York Times website to show that “digital news is broken,” has posted a response to his critics. In it, he says that his post was misrepresented as a redesign of the Times site when he stated that he was using it as an example of what’s wrong with news sites in general. “As for the authors of these articles, most of their words reveal that they simply looked at the mockups, scanned a few sentences or bullet points, and then made some assumptions…which then formed the foundation of the thesis straw man premise that they then each attacked in supposedly-authoritative articles. For those of you scoring at home, this is called irresponsibility. It’s also called libel.” (The ellipses and strikethrough appear in the original.) Rutledge says the “lies and distortions” have damaged his reputation and cost his business hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential work. ||  Earlier: Pushback to ‘redesigned’ New York Times website.

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  • Marc Levy

    Wow. Andy Rutledge does not come off well in this exchange — not in the redesign concepts, which are interesting if limited, but in his reaction to criticism. Now there’s a whole bunch of people out there who, in addition to thinking he doesn’t understand online news, know he doesn’t understand what libel is.

    I suspect he should have quit while he was ahead, and at the very least should get out of this debate now.

  • John Rusk

    I think the big
    money and big money politicians of all walks of theivery have clamped
    down so hard on the news media to control it, that it is akin to the
    nazi’s trying to rewrite history.

  • Anonymous
  • Mike Bell

    Oh wow… so criticizing someone’s design is now libel? That redesign didn’t cost him any money and probably brought him in some business. However, this new attitude of threatening others with lawsuits will sure lose him some customers who don’t like assholish behavior.

  • Michael Donohoe

    Andy seems to cry wold on that he clearly said this was not a “redesign” and how people conflated his “redux” with that. Well, if you look at his past “redux” he often uses “redesign”. I think its easy to see that for many reasons people felt this was a redesign of sorts.


    “Here’s my take on a redesign. I wanted to address both basic aesthetics issues and usability issues.”


    Quote: “I’ll even implement a very standards–y and CSS–y look in my redesign suggestion, just to appeal to all of your Web 2.0 fans out there. ”


    Quote: “This redesign effort is not at all about what I want, but about what the majority of internet users likely want. ”


    Quote: “Carefully study the examination of the current site first to better understand the changes instituted in the redesign example.”


    Quote: “I did not apply any significant redesign to the structure of the main content, but I did add some contextually appropriate content elements.”

    Quote: “A quick glance at the redesigned page may not reveal much in the way of design revelation. But the changes are relevant and effective. A revised  design for the books page (and by extrapolation, all pages) needs to address the current shortcomings and enhance the overall shopping  experience. True, a real redesign should take into account loads of  information I’m not privy to, but I can address the obvious, general issues examined thus far.”

    That last line is interesting. Something I felt he forgot with his “news redux” (he brings it up to in his redux too).

    Quote: “Aesthetic choices aside, the redesigned page should work far better than the current one for all of the reasons cited above.”

    Quote: “I’ve put together a sample, but very cursory, redesign of the NRA website.”


    Quote: “Aesthetics certainly matter, but as this redesign was hastily accomplished I did not devote much effort to them.”


    Quote: “Anyway, with this redesign I wanted to eliminate chaos and introduce a specific information hierarchy”

    I am sure there are more, but I haven’t checked further. To be clear, there is a lot of text and “redesign” doesn’t come up often but it comes up enough to believe that very poften even when Andy says its a “redux” that he himself is thinking of “redesign”.

    Check for yourself, Google it: