Design

Rushmore Drive’s New Design Focused on Search

Time may be running short at black targeted search engine Rushmore Drive, amidst a negative earnings call by parent company IAC, which reported a first-quarter net loss of $28.4 million, compared to a profit of $52.8 million in the same quarter a year ago. The company is now more than ever focused on their goal of making Rushmore Drive the premiere destination for Black people, and Rushmore Drive’s new design might be evidence of how they plan to accomplish it.

The question I am asked the most when showing people Rushmore Drive (RD) for the first time is… “What is it?” Rushmore Drive’s new simplified design attempts to answer that question by drawing attention to their core search business.The site has removed the random badges that once littered the front page and drew eyeballs away from the search bar, and has instead opted for oversized buttons that once rolled over, triggers a JavaScript effect that displays the underlying content. The old badges aren’t completely gone though; instead they have been relocated to the “feature” section, on front page, rendering them almost useless. I discussed this problem with Kevin Mcfall, VP of Product and Content who assured me that these were only the beginning of changes to come to Rushmore Drive’s front page. “The features section will be addressed with the launch of a new navigation bar in the coming weeks.”  The new design also highlights Rushmore Drive’s top searches, a cool feature that was added during the last redesign, but stood unnoticed because of the clutter of the previous design.

I was hoping that Rushmore Drive’s new design would address their news section. It seems to me that there’s still way too much overlap between all of RD’s content sites. Detour, which was once labeled “Our Views” and later changed to “Our News”, is now being re-branded as “Black News” to keep consistent with Rushmore Drive’s mainstream content section “Latest News”, which includes content from leading mainstream publishers including The USA Today, Washington Post, and fellow IAC site the Daily Beast. The Detour section is a collection of mostly opinion driven articles from RD’s contributing writers and content partners including TheRoot.com and TheLoop21.com. This section helps highlight RD’s core business by using Rushmore Drive’s search technology to produce image and video galleries, as well as related searches based on information it gathered from the article. The Daily Drive on the other hand, seems to be Detour’s, less attractive, not so intelligent, annoying step sister. The blog consists of a mixture of embedded YouTube clips and links to articles from Detour, and sites outside of Rushmore Drive. When asked about the difference between the two sites, Mcfall explains, “Detour is more like a magazine. It’s feature centric and the content is more evergreen. The Daily Drive’s content is usually a lot less formal.” All of Rushmore Drive’s content sites still seem quite overwhelming, and with no true value add, I would suggest that RD consider either merging the Daily Drive with Detour, or maybe consider decommissioning it all together.

Rushmore Drive’s focus on offerings outside of their core may have derailed the company slightly, but their new focus on the search business seems to be a giant leap in the right direction. But is it too little too late? Will the new additions buy Rushmore Drive enough time to weather the storm, or will a down ad market seal their fate?

14 Comments

Comments

Julie99 says:

prom gowns that are sure to make a lasting impression at yourformal,pageant,or special occasion.

I like this idea, Without new design people do not seek the product.

Barry says:

Something tells me we could hear about rushmoredrive in the next few hours/days 😉

Barry says:

Something tells me we could hear about rushmoredrive in the next few hours/days 😉

Thanks for commenting Cybersurfer (or lurker at RushmoreDrive)! I agree, I do like the current design better, the previous design was horrible in my opinion.

While I agree with most of Markus' thoughts a good web product needs a balance of great UI (design) and the technology that powers it. In the case of RushmoreDrive the new design pointing out search is great but part of the overall user experience that needs to be accounted for is if the user can actually find what they are looking for when they do search…regardless of how the search box is designed. If anyone has ever tried to do a search you will see what I mean.

Also as a journalisim student when you get into the workforce you will learn that balancing your personal beliefes and philosophies with your coullegues is something that you will have to do, especially for someone who is in a “creative” field.

Black Web 2.0 covering RushmoreDrive is not unethical at all. If you take a look at the archives you will see that I have never written about RushmoreDrive, even our podcast with Johnny Taylor I was absent from for this reason. In fact this comment alone is probably the most anyone has seen or heard me speak of RushmoreDrive on Black Web 2.0. We'd never want to do anything unethical hear, I can assure you i take Black Web 2.0 very seriously and would never want to compromise or have any question about whether or not we are ethical. Great questions and statements though, I can see you will be an awesome journalist when you grow up! 🙂

I'm not a journalist, nor do I aspire or want to be. My conclusion was drawn from the very tough IAC Q1 09 earnings call (link was provided in the post) and based off the fact that IAC in their Q3 08 earnings call mentioned they were considering shedding some of its emerging businesses and planned on “rethinking” some of their original investments. It doesn't take a genius or in this case a journalist to see the writing on the wall.

I also reached out to Kevin Mcfall, a VP @ Rushmore Drive for comment, you can see the direct quotes in the article.

If you want to read a journalist's coverage of Rushmore Drive, check out CNN or NYTimes…Oh wait they don't care about Rushmore Drive enough to cover them. We do! So please don't mistake my opinions of Rushmore Drive for lack of support. I care enough about them to talk about them, lets just hope they care enough to listen.

Rushmore Drive was/is a good idea, but at the end of the day, it truly has a large hill to climb to make itself relevant in the day to day lives of Afican Americans.

DigWiz says:

This is the problem with blogs. Aspiring (i.e. wannabe) journalist with no clue how to write a piece with fully researched information. The opinions and speculation associated with this post are very dangerous. While the speculation may be fairly grounded, one should be careful about the speculation posted here, especially if you are a so called supporter of products like RushmoreDrive, GlobalGrind,etc. What is clear about the benefit of BlackWeb2.0, is that it is a great place to foster discussion about the African American online space, but the responsibility that the site has is also a big one in being diligent about what is reported. Good luck to RushmoreDrive. BlackWeb2.0 and the entire AA digital community.

Cybersurfer says:

I like Rushmoredrive's new design. It looks so much better than the other one that looked like a kid designed it. I'm a college student and I felt like we could design better than that. It was way too cluttered. I agree with Markus. Presentation is everything and the initial design was terrible. I'm a journalism major and hope to work for a web site after I graduate. Is it ethical for you to be posting anything about Rushmoredrive since Angela Benton, owner of Black Web 2.0 used to work there?

Jonnie says:

OMG! RushMore and Globalgrind = same ish. Adwords funds won't last forever.

markusrobinson says:

I agree with you to a certain extant. The technology is important, but so is presentation. They will never be able to sell keywords if no one is searching. The new design is a lot less distracting and hopefully gets people searching more.

AfroLANTIS says:

They are Wiggity Wack Jack. How can you be search engine and not be able to sell key words? That would be the game changer for them. That would set them apart or put them in the game with the big boys. Until they do that. I don't see how they can make it. Stop focusing on what makes you pretty and work on developing or creating technology that works. I agree with your analysis Markus. I want to see them win because I believe it's a good idea. The people in charge are running the business in the ground.

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