As of today, Gawker has a brand new look that has many scratching their heads. The new look is a simpler 2-pane design the defies the default blog-style layout. The landing pages for sites like Gawker.com, Jezebel, and Lifehacker now show a single featured post with a list of other content down the side. Gone is the reverse-chronological order of posts that greets your on most blogging sites.
“It just feels inevitable,” Denton says. “We have a crying need to showcase both exclusives and visual posts. The visual posts are now at least half of our top-performing stories. And audience growth on sites like Deadspin and Gawker has been driven by our most sensational scoops.”
Images now dominate the Gawker network, which makes for an easy to look at experience, except for one problem. The Gawker.com site isn’t displaying anything. Neither is Gizmodo. Visiting either gives you something like the shot below.
While Jezebel, Lifehacker and others are simply having a few design glitches here and there, Gawker and Gizmodo are completely blank except for the list of stories down the site. Clicking through to an individual post on the right, or clicking Next Post at the bottom brings you to the content but, for the moment, many visitors are just confused. If you would rather view any of the Gawker sites with a standard blog layout, hit the button immediately left of the Home button at the top of the right sidebar.
Many were none too thrilled when Essence redesigned their site a while back. Twitter completely revamped their homepage, forcing many Twitter developers to completely change their strategy. MySpace has also had a recent redesign aimed at capturing a younger audience. When Google tweaked Google News, many users were plain angry about it, while the NAACP site redesign made it easier to use and stepped up their media game. Let’s not even get into the numerous changes Facebook has gone through, fighting their users the entire way.
It’s a daring move any time a web property does a redesign. Some will like it, most will probably hate it. At the end of the day, you at least have to make sure it doesn’t completely break your site. Even if it does, you would think a popular site like Gawker would have had a Plan B already in place.