Gizmodo redesign follows in the path of Digg, views down 36%

There is something to be said about a design of your webpage, a great design will encourage traffic and help maintain loyal followers, but a poor design can have devastating results. Gizmodo recently unveiled a new design which was immediately met with a lot of criticism. 

When Digg upgraded their front end to V4, it had devastating results as readers left the site in vast numbers. The Digg example showed what happens when you mess with a proven format, it seems that Gawker did not learn from this mistake.

Gawker's new design is bold and different from anything else on the web. While it can be argued that it could be that users need time to adapt, their stats suggest otherwise. According to Alexa, a well respected web traffic analyzer, Gizmodo's new design has resulted in more than a 36.3% drop in readership over the past month. A clear indication that the bold new style is backfiring on Gawker media.

The big question at this time is will Gizmodo go back to its old formula. It is one thing to have a vision to create a new layout but it takes even greater guts to admit that it didn't work and go back to your old format. 

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The main problem I'm having is that on Gizmodo, occasionally the main frame will be greyed out. A page refresh fixes it but it's still a PITA. As for the redesign itself, I didn't like it at first, but now I'm getting used to it and it does make scrolling through the stories easier.

Remarkable how many web users act like a bunch of old fogies every time a page changes its design. Life is change and change is life, people...

blackcat77 said,
The main problem I'm having is that on Gizmodo, occasionally the main frame will be grayed out. A page refresh fixes it but it's still a PITA. As for the redesign itself, I didn't like it at first, but now I'm getting used to it and it does make scrolling through the stories easier.

I've been experiencing this as well, and it's really annoying! I've been having to open the stories themselves in a new tab because the main frame stays grayed out.

I don't think they layout is that terrible. There is just not clear delineation as to where one article ends and the other begins.
Also... it's not really a "new and never seen" layout. They basically copied Twitters new design with the static right-pane.

KuroZaru said,

as for the new US version its just horrible, if i wanted a ipad/iphone friendly website id own a ipad/iphone of which i do not. so i hope they decide to get there act together and stick with the old layout not this unfriendly new thing.

I visit the site on my ipad, and before today it was unreadable. So the new layout is definatly NOT ipad friendly ( as of today my ipad is forced to the mobile version on all the gawker sites except fleshbot, it still uses the old layout )

The worst thing is that they ruined the community of #whitenoise, who were avid readers and commenters - and really nice and funny people. There are two community websites now as a shelter for the awful redesign of the entire Gawker, but they've killed the 'spark'

Goto: uk.gizmodo.com for the old format... Not sure if its 100% up to date but is a hell of a lot easier to read!!

I didn't know what the furor was about and then I visited Gizmodo for the first time in a while. It's horrible. To scroll the left pane you have to use the scrollbar on the far right of your browser but to scroll the right panel you use the scrollbar immediately to the right of that panel. Huh? This site looks like it was designed by someone with NO previous website experience. I can usually look at a website and figure out the intention of the design but in this case I have no clue. It is like it was designed by someone who had never used a browser before.

Wow is it that bad? When Facebook changes their design even though people complain I don't think the traffic decreased.

thnok said,
Wow is it that bad? When Facebook changes their design even though people complain I don't think the traffic decreased.

facebook does minor changes.. it causes a few stirups but nothing to drastic as this. Gizmodo's entire layout has changed. it SUCKS!

thnok said,
Wow is it that bad? When Facebook changes their design even though people complain I don't think the traffic decreased.

The difference is that Gizmodo took the intention with HTML for clean and structured pages, crapped on it, then raped it, and uploaded the new result. It barely even feels like a normal web site to me anymore. It's like a mix of scrolling panes in iframe land. WTF were they thinking.

My Opera AdBlocker blocks ALL the content on their sites which made the decision to finally stop visiting them very easy. No big loss.

Wunderground resigned their website and it blows. Probably why they have classic.wunderground.com new site is worthless. can't view things at a glance

This is why I like to offer users the multi style design. The ability to rollback the design including new features is something that most users will like, even though that retains change....

I pretty much dropped all of the "gawker" sites. That new redesign blows.
I might check them once a week, where before it was 1-2 times per day.

While I find the new design innovative and at times pretty handy, it is difficult to use. The separate scrolling sections is maddening. I have yet to figure out how to comment on a post since I all I ever see is reply icons, but nothing about "Add Comment", somehow ppl are adding them though.
It does not appear as though they beta tested it, or if they did, ignored any comments regarding issues with it.
Just some tweaks and it might have been fine, but the way it was released wasn't fine. I go there often and suddenly it was just there, no warning! Would have been nice to even say, hey we are switching, try this out and see what you think, but no 'bam!" Bad marketing there.

I still go there once a week, but I feel like I'm having a chest pain whenever I'm at there site. It's just f***ing awful site design, makes me want to have a heart attack and hoping it would go away.

I've noticed I tend to get redirected to the UK site more often nowadays rather than the .com one (Since the upgrade at least) I wonder if it's them attempting to stem the bad press whist they sort out the issues with the new page, if it's even possible to fix such a mess.

Wow. Are they really using iframes? I generally find it ridiculous when people refuse to go to a site because of a redesign but the new Gizmodo is truly awful. Whoever designed that/approved that to go live needs to be fired immediately!

Mantra Locust said,
Wow. Are they really using iframes? I generally find it ridiculous when people refuse to go to a site because of a redesign but the new Gizmodo is truly awful. Whoever designed that/approved that to go live needs to be fired immediately!
No, divs with overflow set to scroll.

I like the art design, but the interface isn't too great. They just added that scroll bar to the frame with the list of articles, which makes it so much more navigable. I suggested that when they were just doing the beta (months ago), and they finally added it.

Also, as others have said, you can go to ca.gizmodo.com (or ca.gawker.com) to get the old layout. Now that they added the scroll bar to the articles list, though, it's really growing on me. They still need to update the user features (hearting, for instance), but it's getting there. This is nowhere near as bad as Digg was.

I stopped viewing their sites because the mobile views simply do not work. I don't mean they're bad, they literally don't work.

Gawker's new design is bold and different from anything else on the web.

You're kidding me?! That's a total ripoff from the Twitter new page design!

This is in absolutely no way surprising. The page is simply ... confusing, at the very least, and it probably only makes sense on an iPad at best, but otherwise seems plegued with complexity, as well as ads that, more often than not, take over.

I absolutely despise the new design. It feels claustrophobic. I like being able to choose a news article out of a few, not have one blown up in my face. And the scrolling mechanism on the right side of the screen is impossible for me to scroll through on my Mac. One flick of my finger on my Magic Mouse and it scrolls through at 95 mph.

Sucks.

terrible design, true.
I cannot even open articles because it adds 'uk.' to any link and that takes me to main page ... have to delete that part 'uk.' manually from address bar to make article loading ... which is ... for GS so stupid, not mentioning design not working well with all browsers, some articles loading slow, some not loading at all ... ffs ... would love a way to previous design

not sure what the website looked like before.. but one thing for sure looking at it now, i wont be coming back its horrid, i have no idea whats im looking at. I'll just stick with the trusted Neowin.

what said,
Gawker have really shot themselves in the foot with the new design. At least you can still access the old one at http://uk.gizmodo.com/ or http://uk.kotaku.com/ (etc) but I have just removed them from my bookmarks altogether.

Only because all were just different installations and just same database. (:

I read elsewhere that due to the amount of ajax used on the site it registers a single session as one pageview rather than multiple views. I'm not defending the redesign - it's horrid, however I think this explains a lot of it. To be honest, I'd expect their to be an increase due to the amount of people that flocked to it to see how bad it was.

empty said,
I read elsewhere that due to the amount of ajax used on the site it registers a single session as one pageview rather than multiple views.
also, after a lot of ajaxing, surfaces are so scratched up, they collect mold, and become nearly impossible to scrub clean. ;*p

Very hard to follow the news with the new design. Readability is very poor. I myself stopped visiting the site as well...

Whoever designed that site just blows. When you want to innovate in designing, you don't sacrifice such vital parts of it.

from a designers standpoint it looks nice, but it is not right for the content nor the audience. one of the number one rules is always keep your audience in mind. I can see the layout being implemented for other design related websites, but not for the tech crowd

wv@gt said,
from a designers standpoint it looks nice, but it is not right for the content nor the audience. one of the number one rules is always keep your audience in mind. I can see the layout being implemented for other design related websites, but not for the tech crowd

True designer's goal is to make something usable. Design is not about gradients or gimmics.

And let that trend continue... don't worry, I'm in the works on making an alternative site similar to what Lifehacker was all about, but just need more people to work with me on it so we can get articles up like crazy

NeoDecay said,
And let that trend continue... don't worry, I'm in the works on making an alternative site similar to what Lifehacker was all about, but just need more people to work with me on it so we can get articles up like crazy

A site name and URL would be nice

I hate the new Gizmodo format. It looks like a jumbled mess; too hard to see what's there. I like to be able to scroll down chronologically through a news site to see what I've missed since I last visited. That's impossible on the new design.

JonathanMarston said,
I hate the new Gizmodo format. It looks like a jumbled mess; too hard to see what's there. I like to be able to scroll down chronologically through a news site to see what I've missed since I last visited. That's impossible on the new design.

But that is what the side bar is for. Alternatively there is the "Switch to Blog view" option at the top, to the right of the logo. Finally, there is ca.gizmodo.com if you must have the old layout

Sraf said,

But that is what the side bar is for. Alternatively there is the "Switch to Blog view" option at the top, to the right of the logo. Finally, there is ca.gizmodo.com if you must have the old layout


Blog view is not the old view. It's still laggy, and when I go back to the main site after reading a story it's sometimes missing the top 5 or so stories. It's just a horrible total design that not only looks bad but more importantly works bad.

I hate the new design: When I use the Mouse Wheel, the inner sidebar scrolls separately from the content (and the sidebar has No Scrollbars to inform me it's scrollable!!!

Twitter doesn't confuse me with their clear split-layout.

But Lifehacker and Gizmodo breaks your habits. Poor poor usability there.

Sraf said,

But that is what the side bar is for. Alternatively there is the "Switch to Blog view" option at the top, to the right of the logo. Finally, there is ca.gizmodo.com if you must have the old layout

They took a risk and failed.

If that panel on the right was on the left, it would be tolerable. The trouble is that because the right panel is right next to the scroll bar you expect the panel on the right to scroll down when you use the scroll bar. Doy. Solution: Move the panel to the left.

thenonhacker said,
I hate the new design: When I use the Mouse Wheel, the inner sidebar scrolls separately from the content (and the sidebar has No Scrollbars to inform me it's scrollable!!!

No kidding, who the hell wants TWO scrollbars for that matter?

JonathanMarston said,
I hate the new Gizmodo format. It looks like a jumbled mess; too hard to see what's there. I like to be able to scroll down chronologically through a news site to see what I've missed since I last visited. That's impossible on the new design.
they pretty much copied twitter

I dunno why the big fuss, i actually like it with points taken away for certain things. The same can be said for just about anything out there. Neowin.net has some little issues too but for the most part it's all good

SHoTTa35 said,
I dunno why the big fuss, i actually like it with points taken away for certain things. The same can be said for just about anything out there. Neowin.net has some little issues too but for the most part it's all good

It would certainly help if the site wasn't broken to begin with though. Half the people posting in the comments there are bitching about the layout, and how the pages aren't loading, half-loading, or loading with an overlay that makes it hard (if not impossible) to read without refreshing the page. It also functions rather slow, clicking a topic, then the list of topics scrolling down... why does it have to scroll at all? Just bring up the damn topic!

Honestly, it feels like there's just way too much code at work to do the simplest of things. I'd rather have basic html iframes that at least load properly than this garbage.

dead.cell said,

It would certainly help if the site wasn't broken to begin with though. Half the people posting in the comments there are bitching about the layout, and how the pages aren't loading, half-loading, or loading with an overlay that makes it hard (if not impossible) to read without refreshing the page. It also functions rather slow, clicking a topic, then the list of topics scrolling down... why does it have to scroll at all? Just bring up the damn topic!
The greyed out loading overlay is indeed very irritating, with it failing to load pages properly most of the time and you end up having to refresh. And the lack of any proper way to scroll the list of topics.

Ficman said,
New page blows...

The new design gave me an excuse to delete my Gizmodo favourite (I'd pretty much given up on them due to the poor quality of their content but the redesign sealed the deal). Then today I found a link to them on a work PC and followed it to see if they'd fixed the site. I was shocked to find that they've persevered with the new design despite the fact that it's just broken.

It's incredible how bad the site design is. I could only see one article and there was a big long list to the right of the page but nothing happened when I dragged the scrollbar down. The whole thing just appears to be broken, poorly laid out and completely unintuitive.

I'm not surprised that they're down 36%. If anything I'm surprised they have any visitors.

Ficman said,
New page blows...

Anyone want to team up and make something better than what these majors make because they're gonna mess things up eventually and we'll have no where to go.

The problem is they don't give user's a chance to evaluate before permanent release.

TerryGFX said,

Anyone want to team up and make something better than what these majors make because they're gonna mess things up eventually and we'll have no where to go.

The problem is they don't give user's a chance to evaluate before permanent release.

The new design was in "beta" for quite a while, too bad it seems they didn't do any bug reports because it's really bad, and they knew it was bad way before going "live"

z0phi3l said,

The new design was in "beta" for quite a while, too bad it seems they didn't do any bug reports because it's really bad, and they knew it was bad way before going "live"

Very true, but they should of followed Twitter's move when having themes, same thing for MySpace when they both had options to go back to V2 or V1

The scrolls bar don't work right because you are meant to use the scroll wheel on your mouse on each "pane". It is fine for desktop users (though many I see never use their scroll mouse) but for other people it is difficult to figure out, especially if no scroll wheel.

ghos said,
The scrolls bar don't work right because you are meant to use the scroll wheel on your mouse on each "pane". It is fine for desktop users (though many I see never use their scroll mouse) but for other people it is difficult to figure out, especially if no scroll wheel.

I hate the dual-scrolly arrangement, quite a lot. I mean, it works ... but I hate it passionately.

Their new site may be objectively attractive, but to me it's less functional. I go to sites like Giz (or not) for content. When it reaches the point where the decoration crowds out the content, or navigation becomes too unintuitive, I drift away. And so it goes.

Ficman said,
New page blows...

Yeah, but Gizmodo sucked before this, with basically the same content as Engadget, but with everything Apple augmented and everything Microsoft ridiculed. I stopped reading them long time ago.

z0phi3l said,

The new design was in "beta" for quite a while, too bad it seems they didn't do any bug reports because it's really bad, and they knew it was bad way before going "live"

*wrong post*