Say Hello to the New New GigaOM

96 Comments

Two winters ago, we unveiled a new design for GigaOM — today, we are launching another one. Whereas before, our focus was on design, this time around we’re aiming to bring you a unique user experience.

Our product guru, Jaime Chen

The biggest change at our company in the intervening two years, of course, has been in the growth of our network, which now totals seven blogs: In addition to this site, we also have TheAppleBlog, jkOnTheRun, NewTeeVee, Earth2Tech, OStatic and WebWorkerDaily. In short, we generate a lot of content that adheres to the basic ethos of GigaOM.

While I remain a big believer in specialist niches, I feel it’s also important to surface more of the quality work being produced across these properties, such as the Car 2.0 coverage by Josie Garthwaite on Earth2Tech or Simon Mackie’s web working tips. So about six months ago, I asked our product guru, Jaime Chen, to come up with a game plan that would allow us to conduct a complete overhaul. Her mission was to:

  • Better showcase new content and related articles so that we can overcome the limitations of the blog format without really moving away from it.
  • Give readers an easy way to go to other GigaOM Network properties so that they can discover the work of our entire team of writers.
  • Focus on super simple content consumption and discovery.
  • Enable us to be more social.
  • When it comes to actual blogging, take us back to our roots.

Jaime, instead of taking my word for it, went out and talked to a whole lot of our users — nearly 1,000 of you shared your feedback and insights with us. And you were not shy about your dislikes. As it turned out, most of what you wanted was already on my wish list. So we got ahold of our old friend Ryan Freitas and the ace design team of Shane Pearlman and Peter Chester to turn what we learned into a unique experience. They quietly toiled away for months and now, here you have it: The first step in the network-wide overhaul.

What we’ve tried to do is strike a fine balance between what is a blog and what would be an online magazine. We have done this by adding a Featured Posts block at the top of the home page, while toward the bottom we’ve added topic pages and special reports. The rest maintains the typical blog format, but with a focus on extreme discoverability — the most-requested feature amongst our readers.

To that end, many of you asked for a list of three bullet points that summarize the highlights of longer posts. You got it. A list of related posts was another common request, so we’ve implemented that as well. And for those of you that wanted the GigaOM Team to point to great blog posts we might have read across the web and found useful, we’re rolling out that feature later this week. It’s pretty simple — we don’t have a monopoly on ideas, and since our business is based on your attention, it’s our job to make sure that your attention is being put to good use. And that means helping you save time and finding you stuff that you might find useful.

A note about typography: I wanted us to make reading an easy experience, so I opted for white spaces, bigger fonts and some elements that you would typically see in a traditional print publication. I’ve been reading the test site on an older, smaller screen (1024 x 768 ThinkPad) and my eyes don’t hurt — yet. In addition, some of the typographic stylings come to our blog courtesy of font technologies from San Francisco-based startup Typekit. We’re using the FF Clifford font, which is specially licensed through FontFont and being served using the TypeKit technology (Disclosure: Typekit and Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, are backed by True Ventures, investors in GigaOM and where I am a venture partner).

In the end, I want us to be closer to my grand vision of what I see as the future of blogging — more visual, multimodal, interactive, real time and social. We’re not there just yet, but we will be in a few months. Today you can share our stories on Twitter and Facebook; you can also connect via Facebook Connect and leave comments on the site. It might come as a surprise, but this entire operation (including a fairly advanced publishing system) was built on top of WordPress.com, the on-demand blogging service based on the open-source software, WordPress. Without going into the dirty details, WordPress Jedi Mark Jaquith, our in-house coding champ Chancey Mathews and our dev team of Kelsey Damas, Nick Ohrn, Dan Cameron and Matt Wiebe and designers Reid Peifer and Brandon Jones — many of them spread across different time zones and geographies — helped us put together the whole back end for the new site (and our blog network).

Now all this design and user experience is only as good as what we are supposed to do: create content you actually want to read. On that front, too, we have some good news. Liz Gannes, who till recently was the editor of NewTeeVee, has joined the GigaOM team as senior writer, where she will closely follow consumer web technologies and startups. She will be editor-at-large for NewTeeVee, where she will be contributing her insights into the world of online video as well. Liz is going to be joining me and Stacey Higginbotham, who has also been made a senior writer for GigaOM.

Given her work ethic and deep insights, Stacey’s promotion is well deserved. She will continue to track broadband (including policy), the FCC and cloud computing. So there you have it: the GigaOM troika. We are going to be focusing on all the things we love, with a renewed emphasis on innovation. Thankfully we have our editor in chief, Sebastian Rupley, giving us his perspective on technology all the time — his experience brings a much-needed realism to the go-go nature of Silicon Valley.

96 Comments

Amit

Good. Very Clean theme, makes the content look more important and readable.

One quick suggestion…the featured post section takes too long to switch, somewhere around 30-35 secs between each post. You may want to make it faster…say may be 10-15 secs…

Thanks.

.

Love the new design Om. Very reader-friendly. Not as linear as a blog. More interesting to explore. Great work Jaime!

Anonymous

Have been getting used to the new design for the last few days. My reaction to the design is mixed.

Old homepage was much better. Landed on the homepage and could get much more inputs as to which post one would like to get into first. Many more post headlines with some description could be seen in a glance and a scroll.

However, the new design is great once you enter the article. Its good. Thums up to the GigaOM team.

However I have a question for them, hope someone from the team takes it on.

Gigaom has 1.1+ million followers on Twitter with a corresponding number of 3K+ on Facebook. While aesthetics is an important objective of any redesign, driving traffic to and within the site are also important objectives. Will the site redesign impact the skew in the numbers in any way?

bunty

Seemed cleaner to look at, at the same time confusing. Deviations from the standard blog format may repel new users.

ariel

Liking the new design — like the focus on the personalities of the writers.

Joe Pahl

I do like the new design. Much more enjoyable on the eyeballs, easier to read, comments look great.

Only problem is that it’s eerily similar the the Cutline Theme. I see that it is not the same, but it’s close enough that I had to do a double and triple take. Cutline is great (I’ve used it myself), but it is extremely common. Not very original… http://cutline.tubetorial.com/

Vishal

Om…

Been a big reader of GigaOm, for a long time now… But my first impression (7mts) of this new site design… is not very good…

a. makes me feel like I have come to a new place… not one where I would check in twice a day.

b. less content on one page more clicking less scrolling… you trained me to scroll

c. Seems like content is being prioritized and organized for me…

d. the banner on top takes a lot of real estate for no reason… looks like a best buy advertisement

e. speaking for myself I think that the “Giga Om Topics ” and “Across the Network” Sections are good things but they are at the bottom. While I am use to scrolling for content your site I am not use to scrolling for navigation.

Just some thoughts… only because I really like the content, and I am aware that I have very little understanding of your motivation for change…

I know its easier to find problems then to solve them so in that sprit my suggestion would have been to make the new version more twitterish… feed me what you got and let me expand for details if I care… this way I can also see cross network content assets being leveraged better.

I wanted to give you my impression without reading other comments…so if the rest of the world loves it… great…. I could be completely wrong.

An avid reader.

Ginger Lennon

The new design is awesome — just the right amount of content and white space!

One quick thought on the “Pulse” page… since this is such a great stream of “what’s new with GigaOM”, it would be helpful to see the date/time of each Tweet/post so we can jump into the conversation! Always good to know when the Tweet was posted so we’re not late to join the party :)

heath

The design is fabulous. I second all the kudos everyone’s posted. Using flat, opaque elements to create dimensionality, space and a sense of welcome is pure design magic — and very difficult to do. The new design reminds me of the delightful spaciousness of Ukiyo-e prints. Fantastic work. And it loads fast! :) The heavy black bar in the title is fine. All the space requires a few eye-stoppers, otherwise the reader might skid off the screen.

Gautam

Awesome design. Looks pretty and close to what we all want. A lot of white space to breathe in. Only superfluous thing is the top bar above Blue GigaOm logo with Page behind a Page. Can’t understand the need of it.

Still it rocks!!

rohit

i thought that was a floating bar that would stay while the ‘content’ scrolled… guess not.

James

I find it ironic that the 2 “news” stories alternating in your featured posts box at the top are “Say hello to the new new GigaOM” and “AOL Reveals Lame new look and logo”.

Pretty interchangeable.

Scott

I guess I’m the only one that doesn’t like it. To me it seems like content has taken a back seat to design. The recent Engadget redesign has given me the same impression.

I’m on a 13″ MacBook for the most part and what I see when opening the site is a single piece of content, the gigantic article banner. I can wait for this to slideshow through the items but that defeats the purpose. I might as well scroll down. The hover dropdown over the authors is cool but again, I’m moving the mouse just to see more than one piece of content. Also, I come here for all of the authors, not individuals.

Scrolling down presents another problem. With the typeface so large each article snippet takes up most of the screen real estate and contains less content to get me interested in clicking through.

I’m guessing on a big screen these issues go away. I found that to be the case with Engadget as I have a 22″ monitor at home and the new design is much more usable. That being said, I now visit Engadget less often because the content is not as accessible on a small screen. The level of effort is greater compared to Gizmodo, as an example.

Om, love the content and just wish that was more front and center.

heath

@Scott, Google is releasing the Chrome browser for Macs next month. Chrome’s look is very spare on top. It’s my preferred browser for a 10″ netbook because of that.

Hahnfeld

Agree with the others, nice job.

I’d also take this opportunity to dump the characature avatars, I never cared for them to begin with (cheesy), but now they also seem dated. Simple, no-frills photography for me… you don’t work for Schwab…

Eideard

OK. Just diving in.

Primo – for me – is wandering easily through the GigaOm landscape from blog to blog.

I already know the content is waiting.

fritz

all I can say is gigaom just got hotter and sexier ;)
congratulations are in order for the entire team :)

Tariq Ashraf

Keeps on getting better and better… GigaOm made it to my homepage last week (LinkedIn lasted for Two years), what a nice surprise this morning.

Great job all you, welcome to Liz, and Kudos to Stacy for her promotion (how is your Daughter doing, with her broken arm and all?)

Thanks Om for all your work.

Tariq

Tariq Ashraf

Glad to hear that Stacy. Actually I got mixed up with the leg and the arm… sorry about that.
Maybe I should check on those kindergarten books: this is my hand, this is my leg etc…

Patrick D'Alton Harrison

Nice design, very clean and loads quickly.
I still prefer to read sites, rather than feeds.
Feeds give you the information, but none of the site personality or feel.

The only issue is the “shuffled paper” bit of the design, seems to distract the eye from the content when the page loads.

  • probably just me.
ffcode

love it the new all white look! thanks Malik saahb for making things more clearer! it’s not that i didn’t like the earlier look, that was a great one too with readable fonts size and type and thanks for adding wordpress.com connection too

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