One design, any screen: Introducing paidContent’s new look and feel

GigaOM phone

You’ve no doubt had the experience of reading a site on your mobile phone and wondering why half the headline is chopped off, or the font size is so small you can’t read it. It just seems like the content doesn’t fit the site.

Today, we launched phase one of our new responsive site design, and the changes we’re introducing to paidContent and GigaOM will ensure that doesn’t happen to you here. At a time when readers are using so many different devices, one big challenge for digital publishers is retaining the quality and consistency of the reading experience not only across devices but also across different operating systems and browsers.

Now, whether you’re on a desktop or a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, our sites will automatically adjust, rendering the content in the way that best fits that particular environment. We know, for example, that it’s harder to hit a target on the page with your finger than with a mouse, and so if you’re reading us on a tablet, we’ve enlarged the target to make it easier to strike. Similarly, rather than try to cram our entire site onto a 4-inch smartphone display, we’ve removed some content from the mobile view so as to focus the presentation of the most essential information. In all cases, the site simply readjusts to fit the real estate on the screen that you’re on at the time.

Below, you can see how the presentation of an actual story changes as the screen shrinks.

GigaOM laptopGigaOM tabletGigaOM phone

Those aren’t the only improvements that we’ve made. Among the other things you’ll notice about paidContent and GigaOM:

  • More curation: If you’re time-stretched, our new “Must Reads” section tells you what you absolutely shouldn’t miss.
  • Easier sharing: We’ve made it easier to share not only whole stories and also pieces of content within stories.
  • Better performance: Because the pages are lighter weight, they will load faster.
  • Crisper display: We’ve added blur-resistant icons and new text-size controls, so there’s no more squinting to read text or straining to hit a small target when navigating the site.
  • A cleaner look: We’ve ditched a lot of widgets that had simply built up over the years but no longer serve their original purpose.

For phase one of the redesign, we’ve intentionally simplified the look and feel of the site — it’s more akin to updating the plumbing in a house than redoing the facade. But without reliable plumbing, a house isn’t very habitable. These upgrades pave the way for subsequent phases of this redesign over the next few months that will include more changes in how we present our content.

Finally, I wanted to thank the fantastic team that has been slaving away on the redesign for last several months: our head of product management Raza Zaidi; engineers Casey Bisson, Matt Batchelder, Zach Tirrell and Jamie Poitra; designers Stephen Engert, Arlo Jamrog and Jonathan Koshi; and our product guys Adam Kazwell and Ian Kennedy. They’ve worked long hours — and tested countless iterations in QA — and we think the results are great.

We’d love to know what you think. If you have suggestions or comments (positive or negative), please leave them in the comment thread in this post.

Thanks again for being loyal readers.

Images courtesy of PlaceIt by Breezi.

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