The announcement of our redesign last month received an overwhelming number of comments, with the majority expressing negative feedback. The main concerns raised were that the new design was too dark, lifeless / boring and lacking in fun, spirit and character.
As previously stated, the main reason for the redesign was from a functional perspective to allow us to expand the site and take it forward. The reason that the old design was removed, and not simply recoded to make the functional changes required, was in fact due to a number of negative comments I had received about the previous design since taking over the site in July 2009, however following the large number of comments received over the last three weeks in support of the previous design, it is now apparent that these negative comments were not representative of the views of the majority of our readers. With this in mind I have made the decision to temporarily reinstate the old design whilst considering the best way to move forward with the site.
Have Your Say
Taking into account the feedback received from you the readers, I believe there are two options to take the site foward:
1) To recode the current theme, keeping the overall look and feel of the site, but making the necessary functional changes.
2) To hold a design competition, allowing you the readers to submit potential new designs for the site, as suggested by a number of comments.
Please let me know your comments / thoughts on the subject below.
You can skip to the end and leave a response.
That’s a good news :)
It’s important to keep in mind that if you hear feedback, it will most likely skew negative. If people are happy, maybe some will give words of appreciation and/or encouragement, but most will be content to just silently use the site to accomplish their goal. If people are unhappy—when something isn’t going their way—they’ll tell you about it in the hopes that you’ll fix it.
Jeffrey has a point in that people hate drastic change. My favorite examples are the numerous complaints from facebook users *every* time the interface is updated. However, I believe that when the change is in the right direction, people will get over their knee-jerk reactions and end up getting used to The New Way. I hope that three weeks was enough time to gauge whether the change was in the right direction or not.
Chris, I think you should get started on option #1. When you make the necessary functional changes, then you can worry about a redesign.
4. Get back to publishing articles about CSS3 and fit in #1 when you can. Seriously, I’ve been reading lots of articles and seeing sites relating to CSS3 lately, but none of them have been mentioned here. http://css3please.com/ is a good example.
Well done for listening to your audience, Chris.
I’d be suggesting you recode this one but take it forward a bit too. e.g. it needs more whitespace – it’s a bit cluttered and in some parts (such as below header) it struggles to breathe; and you might want to refresh colors and graphics to something more contemporary (it does look a little 2008) but maintain the same overall look and feel.
As a few others said, smaller changes.It’s a good design, it just needs to a bit of buffing every now and again.
If (and when) you were to do another total redesign, you’ve got to have the primary goal as being a leading edge feel. You want a design that people want to copy.
It’s funny we’re all full of advice but none of us have suggested #2. :) We all know how difficult a redesign is.
I vote option 1.
Why option 1?
The current white/blue is beautiful and fresh while still leaving a lot of room for the content.
Yes, dont forget the content; You don’t need to have lots of css3 in the site design. Feel free to, but don’t make that a main goal – after all, the demos are a lot more useful for seeing exactly what one specific css feature does.
Why not option 2?
Because there is no need to spend hours redesigning something that works well. Instead, spend that time adding more quality content and clear examples, not to mention keep the existing articles up to date with regards to browser versions and support (some are quite dated). That content is what we are here for.
I vote option 1. This is a pretty cool design. The dark design wasn’t -bad- per se, the main problem was that it’s not memorable. This design is very memorable, and it clearly helps further the brand of this blog… even down to the logos this difference is very apparent.
With all of that said; the vast majority of comments you’re going to get on anything will be negative. Don’t let us, the great unwashed masses, get you down.
I just got here. What did the other site look like? please post a link to a screenshot or something so I can compare.
Please Note: I have been in the tech business for a looooooong time. People always complain about change and it is not always because the new thing is worse. Usually it’s because they just aren’t used to the change yet.
As John hints, I would expect the site to be a CSS3 playground, use what you write about. As for the design, why not take a stand, alright there may have been some negative feedback, but the beauty of CSS is that the design is separate from the function, so address issues people may have using the topic of the site!
As for “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it comment”, there’s the old saying that if Henry Ford had given his customers what they wanted, they’d have asked for faster horses.
Be bold. Its the content I’m here for.
PS – I hate this design! But that’s just an opinion!
People always complain, just consider how people react when there’s a change on facebook…I’m kind of a nazi, but you shouldn’t ask them what they think, and impose your own view, as anyway, there will always be a minority complaining and a majority not caring…And this minority is basically the one that will come back regularly. So to me, just make sure the ergonomy is ensured, and then, do whatever you want…
Thanks for reverting to this design!
I don’t know how messy the code for this theme is but I’d say tidy it up slowly and change it in increments to implement the features you have in mind. This way we can give you feedback along the way instead of saying at the end of your work “No, thanks”.
Evolve/recode this design.
The ‘redesign’ you just had used css3 but was a really poor/dull design.
This design has a nice ‘feel’ but it feels weak like it was never really completed. You should keep the direction of this design and move it along.
Use as few ‘hacks’ / images to achieve the build via as much CSS as possible.
You should practice what you preach and one thing that really lets this site down for me is that it doesn’t. It could be easily changed.
You could do both. :) A competition sounds fun, and I think this audience would come up with a lot of cool options. You could even present the best ones that don’t win as alternate style sheets! But to do that, you need them to have a common markup structure. So I’d say, start with this design, tweak it until you get a markup structure that’s fully functional, request some pre-competition feedback from would-be participants on the structure, and then open it up for design.
I am very pleased to see the new design back as well. And I’m sure the coding should go well, as development and design are separate. A theme shouldn’t affect how a site works, functionally. Different themes will load different backgrounds and maybe cause some slowdown when it comes to load time, but it can work out alright. Just make sure it’s very CCS3-ish when complete! :D xD
I vote for one. The design looks really nice. I had the tab for the box-shadow with the old design open for 2weeks now and was really happy to see the site didn’t go into the new design when refreshing.
I double Josh’s comment for the new code to be VERY CSS3-ish :)
Although I did not send an email to let you know I really didn’t like the design. Now the main reason for it was not becaue it was ugly (it wasn’t ugly), or even that it was flat and dull (which I think it was), but simply this: it didn’t feel like CSS3.info!
I would argue that CSS3.info has become a brand of sorts, one with a warm personality. I hope you attempt a redesign again, but keep this in mind this time.
I hope you haven’t been to demotivated by the negative reactions, doing redesigns is no easy thing! I hope you don’t do a competition, but work closeley with some talanted designers (or simply yourself), and make a new site that is fresher and newer, yet still have the warmth and personality that we love in the current design of CSS3.info.
I wish you the best of luck!
Some useful comments, too many to say I agree with etc..
But i think going for option #1 of recoding it will work best. Echoing previous comments – small gradual changes are better rather than the full blown re-branding and re-design with the last attempt.
Redesign the site, but dont rebrand it.
I’ll be looking forward to the next one :)
When I first found this site, I was captivated by the bold, clean colour and simplicity. The theme is a masterpiece.
You could even change the basic structure of the site, while keeping the colourful header graphic and the colour-scheme. Those are the most important bits, in my eyes.
I was pleasantly surprised to find this beauty where I expected that ugly, dark, blog-looking thing.
(And that’s a thing, too: this theme doesn’t feel like a blog; but rather like a CSS3 home with some recent news on the front page.)
Please stick with the old design: It’s colorful, friendly, simple, and timeless, and has become part of your identity, as someone else already pointed out. CSS3 is supposed to make our lives as designers/developers easier and our websites more beautiful. The “new” design with its dull colours and office-style typo (especially those huge, ugly Arial headlines) rather had a feel of C++ ;-))
Maybe you could increase lineheights to 150% to allow for more breathing space and increase legibility.
Why don’t you hold a competition, and have the users vote between designs. You can include the current design in it as well. I am sure that most of us will be willing to create something, even if there is no prize involved, as long as we get recognition.
I am not the best designer, but i can recreate the current design, with no images (just some SVG)
This is probably all water under the bridge now, but I vote for (1) too. I remember reading the negative comments after the first redesign — I felt quite sorry for whoever had done it. You have an original and memorable design — keep it. Just evolve and tweak it as you go along.
I feel like citating Jacob Nielsen, who says “Typically, a fresh design will be a worse design simply because it’s new and thus breaks user expectations. A better strategy is to play up familiarity and build on users’ existing knowledge of how a system works. ”
Read and learn.
And another generel rule:
“Don’t fix, what is not broken!”
You know w3c.org had had a new design and I hated it from the beginning. Its desorganized, and impossible to find anything. And the reason is, I am used to the old design. Why do I have to learn a new navigation, just because W3C got tired of looking at it?
My conclusion: Do not change the design on this page. Add new content instead. What happened to the idea of a CSS3 gallery? I think it’s a nice idea. Something like CSS-Zen Garden, but with CSS3 instead. I could use it to promote CSS3 myself in the forums I write.
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