Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 26th Dec 2012 00:32 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes Now that the holidays are upon us (happy holidays!) and the year is about to end, we at OSNews thought it time to finally lift the veil a little bit on the next version of OSNews - OSNews 5. I've hinted at this next version of OSNews here and there in the comments, but we think it's time to make it all a little bit more official by taking in some initial feedback.
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by Moochman on Wed 26th Dec 2012 15:27 UTC
Member since:

Here's my feedback on the redesign mockups, in no particular order:

(Disclaimer: not that it necessarily gives me extra authority, but I am an interaction designer in real life.)

1) Color scheme: The green is a tad too edgy for my taste. I actually like the current green (though I just noticed it doesn't *quite* match between the "Search OSNews" color and the "News" box headline -- I'd go with the current "Search OSNews" color in order to keep things mild and maintain the brand while not veering too far into chartreuse territory...) As for the background, I also prefer white to gray in the name of contrast and overall "friendliness". On the other hand, I'm glad you got rid of all the dark gray elements from the top of the site -- they were just needlessly darkening things IMHO.

2) The logo -- where did it go??? What I would really love to see is the current (and much-beloved) logo, but all-green (the same green as mentioned above, of course). That would be a nice brand identity!

3) The menu bar at the top left -- the most important actions should be more clearly given precedence. For instance, probably less than 1% of readers are interested in the menu item "Advertise" -- so why should it be given such importance, as opposed to a small link e.g. at the bottom of the page or underneath another banner ad? And "Support" -- really how often do we readers need support? It's not like it's a home electronics company here. Wouldn't it be enough to offer a link to a support e-mail on the "Contact" page?

Also, I'm not convinced that the "Topics" and "Originals" really need their own menu points--after all, both of them are "windows" on the Archive, so they could just as well be implemented as filters within the Archive page.

4) The user account controls on the right-hand side: The fact that this tiny box takes up all the space on the right-hand side strikes me as wasteful. The current UI of having other news items listed along the right-hand side is much more useful, if a bit distracting/cluttered. However, this is IMHO due to the current way it's implemented. The current clutter could potentially be reduced by showing only the first few lines of text per article followed by ellipses (...), and by responsively docking the news column to the right edge of the browser / hiding it when the browser window is too narrow.

As for the points within the user menu: Where are the links to comments, settings, and submissions? IMHO the current "My Account" menu is near perfect (aside from the fact that it requires mouse hovering as opposed to a more usable and touch-friendly click-to-expand). Baby/bathwater and all that...

On the plus side, I recognize the benefit of the fact that this user controls menu is (I'm guessing) designed to float and be available regardless of scrolling on the page. I applaud that. However, it could just as well be integrated in the top bar and the entire bar floated, as on some other sites such as Ars Technica.

5) The search field ... It needs some kind of "Search" button for touchscreen users, and IMHO it would make more sense at the top since that's the current established convention on web pages. Again see Ars Technica for a good example of this.

6) The comments:
a) In just about all modern OSes aside from Windows, as well as most web apps, the "Submit"/"Continue"/"OK" button is on the right, and the "Cancel"/"Back" button is on the left. This makes a lot more sense from a web conventions perspective as well, since the right side is associated
with moving forward and the left side with moving backwards. So I would advise to switch the button order.
b) As I mentioned in another comment, the distinction between comments and the ability to identify the speaker is important for the "conversational" feeling of the comments section. I believe it is possible to maintain a minimalist aesthetic while still clearly demarcating comments and commenters from each other. And this is important. Historically OSNews has been a kind of "community" because its membership is somehow small enough to easily recognize many of its members and get a feeling for their personality. When you recognize a funny user ID or a cat picture or what have you as an avatar, it gives you a warm friendly feeling inside to see someone you "know" and it makes you feel like part of the community to involve yourself in conversation with them and have yourself be recognized as well. This is one of OSNews' strengths and should be supported, not repressed. IMHO.

Anyway, I like the minimalism and the general aesthetic, I love the fact that comments are going to be in-line, and I am *especially* relieved to hear that the news submission process will be improved. That's my feedback for now. Keep up the good work. ;)

P.S. I'm generally available to contribute a critical eye or a creative hand to the design process, with or without pay. ;) So feel free to hit me up for this as you feel might be beneficial, if you ever just want a quick round of feedback without taking it to the general readership...

Edited 2012-12-26 15:36 UTC

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