If you've stopped by io9 before, you'll notice that the front page looks quite a bit different these days. We've got one big story that takes up most of the page, and a list of today's headlines in a column down the right side of the page. At last we have a way to display big, gorgeous images and videos on the front page of our site. That's the point.
We realize that things have changed a lot, and that right now the design is buggy, but we want to help you become master navigators of the new layout. That's why we've put together this helpful guide on how to make the most of our new design.
A few updates
Since we launched the redesign last week, we've been combing through your feedback and have already started to make a lot of changes. A few things you should know right away.
1. If the site isn't working with your machine and/or browser and/or accessibility software, this is not because we hate you. It is a bug. Please send us all bugs - weird layout, things not scrolling, etc. - to email@example.com so we can get a sense of what works and what doesn't. This feedback is invaluable and will help us fix the site for you.
2. We know the site is still loading slowly for everybody, and that it doesn't look right on smaller screens. Our tech team is working on it.
3. We now have commenter forums set up - you can find them by clicking the "forums" link at the bottom of every page. There are still some bugs, but basically they are working. We should have direct messages and friends functionality back in the next couple of weeks.
4. We know that you can't share stories easily on Facebook and other social networks right now. We're working on fixing that, but for now there's a simple way to make FB sharing work. All you have to do is take the #! out of the URL you want to share.
So this URL:
Becomes this one:
And then it works.
5. We will soon have a scrollbar for the side scroll.
Now for the more basic stuff.
How to scan through stories
When you come to io9, usually you want to scan through a lot of stories at once. Now you have three ways to do that: Classic blog view, flipping through pages and scrolling through headlines.
Our basic display buttons are at the top of the page. As you can see in this screenshot, there's a little box you can click that will take you to a classic blog view of the site - complete with images and some introductory text for each post, and page scroll using the scroll bar on your browser. Or you can stay in the redesign, and change what you see in the right-hand scroll bar. The home icon gives you the day's stories. The flame icon gives you the most popular stories of the moment.
If you like the experience of flipping through stories and glancing over the full text, video, and pictures for each one, you'll want to use our "next post" button. It's on the left side of the navigation bar at the bottom of the page. Clicking it takes you through the day's stories one at a time. You can even flip through the pages right from your keyboard: Just use the right and left arrow key to page through the day's stories, or use the gamer's choice navigation with j/k. Try it!
If you'd rather just scroll through headlines, you can use your scroll button or up/down arrow keys to move through the stories in the right-hand column, which are displayed in reverse-chronological order. There is also a "next headlines" button at the bottom of that column, for even quicker scanning.
What's in it for commenters?
Just click on a headline if you'd like to read the story. The headlines will stay with you in the right-hand column no matter what story you're reading. No more clicking back to the front page when you're done reading a story. When you're done reading a post, you can go back to scrolling through the day's headlines, or start flipping through stories one at a time.
There's also a big, generous space for your comments now - they're no longer scrunched into a small column. That means your commenter name is bigger, your comments are a lot easier to read, and there's more space for your pictures and videos that you've uploaded.
You'll also find that it's easier to change comment settings. The big navigation bar at the top of the comments section makes it a lot easier to choose whether you'd like to see all comments, or just one featured comment thread.
Comment forums will also be much more readable and flexible, but the address you'll use to find them has changed. Here's how you get to Observation Deck, our discussion forum:
Same goes for any other forum you want to reach:
If you'd like to know where all the forums are, click the "forums" link at the bottom of the page.
Why did you do this to me? Change is scary!
We wanted to make the front page lighter and simpler to scan, while also emphasizing big feature stories that we've written. The fact is that we spend a lot of time creating cool, original articles for io9 - but sometimes they would get lost in that long, long blog scroll. This way, we can splash them as big as we want! And not sacrifice load time.
For a more in-depth explanation for the redesign, you can read this post by Gawker Media publisher Nick Denton. (Gawker Media is io9's parent company.)