You may or may not be aware that the Gawker media network (you probably know them for their Gizmondo and Kotaku sites but they have 8 altogether across various demographics, from geeks, to tech to gossip) has had a radical site re-design.
Personally I think its hideous, mostly because I’m not sure how to use it now. Fortunately the main page came with a “manual” for the new site. Folks on Twitter were quick to accurately point out that if you need to have an instruction manual for how to use your website you’ve done something wrong. User Interface 101 should be that your website is intuitive. If you’ve made it more complicated, that is the opposite of improvement.
They even claim that it now “loads quicker” which is only because now it only shows one story at a time on the main page with all the other stories as headlines on the right. Oh and don’t get me started on how Gizmodo, a tech and gadget website which has the audacity to proclaim it has a site re-design when said re-design is incompatible with iPad.
Now if we’re to give them the benefit of the doubt, they must deem the site re-design as a positive step, which us peons are too ignorant to understand. They could have run legions of tests and usability studies to determine that this is THE optimum design for a news blog website thing. This could be the Dvorak keyboard and us philistines are busy sticking with Qwerty, what fools are we. But similar to Dvorak, while technically and logically the superior option, getting people to actually use it was another matter altogether. People who’ve never used the internet before may go to the new Gawker sites and see them for the perfect experience they were designed to be, the rest of us however..
Anyhow, this whole post is all fluff and nonsense, an excuse to get me to embed the video clip below. Earlier today I considered the situation of a product radically “improving” itself only to be met with a backlash and naturally I thought of “New Coke”. Now while most people have heard of the “Pepsi Challenge”, few (outside of the US at least) are aware of just how seriously Coca Cola took it, changing the taste of Coke and how they made a mis-calculation of epic proportions – though Gawker can look on the bright side as after seeing the error of their ways, Coca Cola switched back to the old flavour and became even bigger than before.
Is the Gawker re-design the “New Coke” for the web 2.0 hipster generation? Only time will tell, in the mean time here is an extract from a documentary about New Coke, but first, some words from Bill Cosby!