Much schadenfreude to be had this last few days, as Gawker Media started rolling out betas of their new website designs. Seems that Gawker want people to see their brand – sites such as Kotaku, Jalopnik, Gizmodo and others – as serious news outlets, not blogs. Seems like ‘blog’ is a dirty word now.
Unfortunately what they have actually done – apart from make it obvious that the readership doesn’t actually give a fuck about their favorite site being a blog or a news site – is alienate a big fat chunk of said readership. The new design takes away the ability to browse and cherry pick interesting articles and instead offers you a bland list of headlines with only one article readable at a time, Many of the headlines don’t give you any clue to the article that lies within. Before, you could browse the site and only click on stories that interested you. Now, you have to click all over the place just to see if shit interests you or not. The new, improved experience is anything but. It’s more hassle, takes longer to load up and to navigate, and frequently crashes out.
Hilariously the outcry in comments and on Twitter and various other outlets has been such that over the last few days they have backed down a little and changed the design to once again list stories on the main page and to allow images in the menu column – which is funny because that then makes the whole headline bar on the right totally redundant and removes all justification for the redesign. Bless, they really haven’t got a fucking clue. After the debacle of Gawker user’s profile information (much of which included information handy for those into indentity theft) being hacked and leaked en masse, the laughable 1990’s state of security on Gawker sites and the revelation in hacked internal chat logs that staff see the readership as the proletariat, it would make sense that they would keep their head down and not piss anyone else off. Oh well, guess they are not that smart. Well, let’s be fair – they have a tiny bit of sense. Kotaku, one of the busiest Gawker sites, is as yet untouched. The last thing you want to do is piss off a fuckton of vocal gamers.
In the grand scheme of things it’s not that important, I know. But it is a shame when I have to stop frequenting sites I enjoy because they are just too awful to use. Here’s hoping they just give in to, you know, the people that keep them in business, and kill the beta altogether.
On the grip hand though, HAPPY 100 STRIPS! Thanks for sticking around, we fucking love you.