As you can probably see, we made some big changes to the look and feel of the site this weekend. The new design was put together by Get10Up.com and we want to thank Taylor, Jake and the rest of the team for getting it all into place and making this happen.
We did not hate the old 9to5 design, but we wanted to start from scratch on so many different aspects due to Retina devices proliferating and the move toward mobile. Some improvements you will notice:
1. All of the design elements are optimized for Retina displays. In addition, we are able to display images and video over 700 pixels wide in this new format (1,400 pixel Retina). This allows us to bring imagery and video clarity that has always been hard to deliver (without “open in a new window”). Our CMS/Hosting partners WordPress VIP are also jumping on the Retina train with new additions that will allow us to deliver Retina quality imagery without compromising load times for those without Retina displays.
2. Mobile. We have been through a bunch of mobile designs before, which we were not particularly fond of (and neither were you!), but last year we gave up and decided we were going to start fresh. If you are reading this on a mobile device, you will hopefully like the changes at hand. Desktop users: Have a look…or just resize your browser and notice how the responsive desktop elements fall away into a mobile experience.
3. Load times. Even with Retina images and design elements, we wanted to bring load times down. The team at Get10Up was able to pull this off with their mastery of WordPress, CSS and some front- and back-end “magic.” No matter what device you are using, you should notice significant page load time improvement.
4. We are a blog and proud of it. Recently, many of the bigger blogs attempted to change formats from their roots in the reverse chronological format into something like a magazine or newspaper. We played with the idea, but we found that we really, truly enjoy the traditional blog format whether we’re on an iPhone, an iPad, or our Macs. With that said, we also enlarged our Top 4 Feature Stories to spread across the page. In addition, we are improving our “asides” as smaller, title-only lines on the front page. We love these for small, quick bits of news and hope you do too.
5. Hooray for Authors! We gave a little more space to Mark, Jordan, Elyse, Jake, Mike, and all of our contributors who do a great job of delivering Apple news, rumors, reviews, and opinion to you first. You will see their faces on stories so you will know who is delivering your news.
6. Sharing buttons: Nowhere and everywhere. We labored over the decision about whether to include sharing buttons. On one hand, they are very helpful when you want to share a post with your social networks. On the other hand, they take valuable load time, are ugly, and they get in the way of the flow of content.
We think we came up with an elegant compromise: There are no social buttons anywhere on the site, but sharing buttons will load with counts (now including Pinterest!) if you hit the ‘share’ text on top or ‘share this’ text on the bottom of a post. They are a little harder to find, but we think you will have no problem sharing if you should decide.
7. You! As you’ve probably noticed (see @inadarei above), we’ve been embedding a lot of reader Tweet reactions to posts recently. Besides just calling out great comments, embedding allows us to share the conversation. If you have something to add, include the post URL and cc @9to5mac on the tweet for consideration.
We also pushed updates to 9to5Google.com and 9to5Toys.com, which should unite the experience. 9to5Forums.com and our commenting engine also got a big pickup this week from VanillaForums. It improves voting/order of comments, spam removal, and a host of smaller improvements. 9to5Forums will move to the new design shortly.
We really hope you like the update and it improves your experience at 9to5 (more on the way too). We love bringing you your favorite technology news!