We may or may not have refreshed BBG

So it looks considerably different, but in many ways this refresh is just setting the scene for a whole mess of upgrades we've been waiting to unveil. Not to say I'm unhappy with the new look, complete with our sterile new logo (thank you) and the retro-modern background by the talented (and annoyingly handsome) James White of SignalNoise.com that looks like something we'd have found on the cover of a science textbook in 2070. It's not all just twerpy looks. The page should load much faster than before, thanks to endless hours slashing through Movable Type templates by our own Rob Beschizza. (Who really did 99% of the heavy lifting, bless him and keep him.) There's also less metadata cruft on the front page, although we make up for that with even more metadata on the permalink pages. The "Stars as comments" thing might be irksome, and to be honest I could be persuaded that they're dumb—maybe. I like the way they look, for one. I like the implication that comments are a sort of positive vote, or at least an indication of activity. But I'm certainly open to discussion, provided you don't get upset when I decide to just stick with it. We really are trying to build the site around providing more content to you with a minimum of hassle. Images and videos can now be even larger, while tiny reblogs posts, when we simply want to pass on a link or embed an MP3, can be done without taking up a whole lot of space. Scannable, but readable. We may end up putting less posts up on the front door, however, because larger pictures mean larger pageloads—and we're already pushing it. If it were up to me, we'd just make it so we loaded more content when you scrolled to the bottom (and we may!), but there are issues with that, too. In the meantime, the headlines-only block at the bottom will continue to be fleshed out. It's been my dream for five years to try to figure out how to get people to click on to read Page 2 of a blog. It's one of the great mysteries of blogging. Anyway, welcome back, and thank you very much for reading.
netscape4now.gifBest viewed with Netscape Navigator 3
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118 Responses to We may or may not have refreshed BBG

  1. Anonymous says:

    Wordguy, it doesn’t look like Sci Fi Scanner at all. Bizarre.

    People hate change.

  2. mockturtle says:

    I like the redesign — really differentiates Gadgets from the regular boingboing blog, which I think is a good idea. And of course I am delighted to see SignalNoise artwork for the background.

  3. Clay says:

    I can’t help but think a dark gray would have worked better for the background and about half of the elements that are currently black of darkest night.

    Then again, I’m addicted to #333333.

  4. Blue says:

    Do not like. The white text boxes on black are ugly and clunky looking.

    Little to no elegance, wit or charm now.

    Plz change back or consider a further re-design (preferably change back while you re-design).

    The new look dissuades me from reading BBG.

  5. anonymous says:

    You know what?

    The new look is too generic.

    Now you look like other sites instead of yourself.

    I know you won’t go back but BBG has lost it’s personality with this ‘refresh’.

  6. hohum says:

    Not sure where to say this, and not sure if this is even related to the redesign, but clicking a commenter’s name in the comments seems broken for me right now… It brings me back to the same post, rather than a list of that commenter’s other comments… Which I was about to say makes it tricky to see if I think I should report a comment, but now I realize there’s no report comment button either so… Now I’m all kinds of confused!

  7. Mister N says:

    hmm.. guess that it still looks black and white. I really don’t like this design at all. I agree with all the comments that it just dissuades from reading BBG. That sucks but oh well..hopefully you guys do something about it.

  8. kattw says:

    I’m not a fan of changing the boing-link bar (the links to boingboing motherblog, gadgets, video, and offworld). I like having them all reasonably large and placed at top, like motherboing does, and gadgets used to. Playing hunt the link is one of the reasons I don’t visit offworld much. That and lack of spaceship, anyways.

  9. kpkpkp says:

    Overall, not bad, but the old style was a bit of a sigmature, and this new style makes BB look like any other blog.

  10. Felix Mitchell says:

    So what IS that rainbow background?

  11. Wordguy says:

    @ 24 Anonymous — You’re right. SciFi Scanner uses a gray gradient for the background which is easier on the eyes than this all black eyesore. Plus, SFS’s comment link is on the bottom.

    I must have been confused by the Carl-Sagan-Cosmos-esque / rainbow logos.

  12. techdeviant says:

    User’s names aren’t linked to their pages anymore in the comments. At first I didn’t like the black background, but I think if you added some padding to the text inside the main column, it would look better overall.

    Also ditto on moving the comment link, and delineating the user comments from each other.

    In general not a bad change, maybe just needs some tweaking. Definitely loads faster!

  13. Dillenger69 says:

    As long as the articles and the commentary are up to snuff the look of the site would have to get pretty ugly for me to go away. I’ve been reading BoingBoing in various formats and flavors since the ‘zine days.

  14. lovemoose says:

    Got to say I’m not liking the vast swathes of black. I’ve given it a few days, and it’s still making me feel slightly morose.

    I usually leave it to Radiohead to do that to me.

  15. randalll says:

    I have to agree that the comments need to be at the bottom. That is one thing I never liked about Offworld.

    My kneejerk reaction is that I also don’t care for the black background, but that is a mere aesthetic choice that I’m sure I will get over if it’s not changed.

    My $0.02

  16. artbot says:

    Why have you renamed the blog “660”?

    And what’s with the “best viewed with netscape navigator” button? Fer realz?

  17. therevengor says:

    AAA my eyes.

    Mve bylines to top, please. Helps me understand the posts as part of the greater narrative of BBG.

    Also, serifs, please. No high school textbook went without serifs.

    Or, maybe consider green text on black?

  18. Felix Mitchell says:

    Can I suggest the ‘Recently on Offworld’ posts are contracted as well?

  19. aaron says:

    I like it. If anything, I’d like to see it look MORE like a 70s science text book.


  20. w000t says:

    This is just to let you know that the new font is seriously tiny on OS X 10.3, Firefox 2 (I know, I know. I’m getting a new machine soon so updating the OS ain’t worth the bother and FF3 needs 10.4+).

    Anyway, here’s two captures at default text size for your reference:

    Safari – http://imgur.com/m4pOk.png
    Firefox – http://imgur.com/3zB8F.png

  21. kaosmonkey says:

    My only comment is because my eyes aren’t what they used to be after years of staring at a monitor. That stark contrast between the black and white is literally painful after a couple of minutes. It won’t be anything personal, but if it stays like this it’s getting added to my list of sites that I can’t visit.

    Please consider toning down the contrast. I visit this site every day and don’t want to have to avoid it.

  22. O_M says:

    …Otay, here’s a solution: Make the text area white text on black. That way you don’t get the massive contrasting that seems to screw with some people, and it actually harkens more back to the days of old computer displays.

  23. jitrobug says:

    I don’t get stars, I get little character symbol boxes with numbers in them.

    using firefox & ubuntu jaunty

    (my initial reaction to the redesign isn’t terribly positive, but I can give it some time.. I think I might like it better on my iphone than the old design tho – especially if it loads faster)

  24. freshyill says:

    I like it. The comments form could use some cleaning up for sure.

    Here’s a big usability fix that you should make sooner rather than later: Increase the space between paragraphs in comments.

    The comments in general are pretty ugly. They need some work, but seriously, fix the space between paragraphs asap.

  25. Anonymous says:

    There’s no star in my browser (Ubuntu/Firefox), I just see a unicode square with “2605” in it.


  26. dculberson says:

    I like change, it’s fine to me! I also don’t think the black is ugly.

    And thank you for not doing the fixed-image-background that Offworld (occasionally) has. Although it’s neato, it slows scrolling down significantly. And that’s on a halfway decent computer with a 3/4 decent GPU. (Maybe it’s just a Firefox thing.)

    The star thing is a little confusing for a new person. I like stuff that would be intuitive to someone that’s never seen it before, and that’s definitely not the case there. But really, do we want those people here? (Just kidding!)

  27. elix says:

    Has anyone actually pulled out a copy of NN3 and tried it? Joel? :D

    Also, #99.

  28. SamSam says:

    Another vote for the comments link at the bottom. In reply to Anonymous #10, who said that the star location doesn’t matter because the posts are all so short, I count four posts on the main page, including this one, that are long enough that I have to scroll down below the title to get to the bottom (on my 1440×900 monitor).

    I would also prefer the names at the top — I like knowing who wrote a piece as I’m reading it, because I associate different editors with different styles and opinions — but that’s not such a big issue for me. I do think, though, that you’ll get fewer people reading your names, so from a pure ego perspective, I would think you’d want your names at the top.

    Finally, I’d like to reiterate Nelson.C #20’s point that the text is a little too close together to be easily legible. I’d space it out a little more or find a different font.

    But change is good! Hope and change!

  29. SamSam says:

    …oh, and I’m guessing you know that the css for the confirmation page is all screwy? At least it is for me (Firefox 3.0.10 on Mac OS X 10.5.6). Weirdly empty, an odd empty square, and half the text way over on the right side of the screen.

    It’s not exactly broken, it just doesn’t look finished.

  30. It looks fantastic Joel, great job.

  31. Gronk says:

    Yeah, with Firefox on Ubuntu you get unicode code boxes instead of the star thing.

    I don’t have any problems with the text size (hey, I can simply adjust it), but the black on white on black contrast is a bit harsh. After a while my eyes start hurting.

    Regarding the position of the byline (poster’s name) and the star thing, I’d like to second the motion to move the byline to the top and the star to the bottom. Since there are so very different writers on BB, I always check the author first; and having to scroll back up after having read the post in order to go on reading the comments is very annoying. Please, at least a secondary link down there.

  32. hohum says:

    Names up top, comments down below!

    Other than that, I like how it jumps out of my screen to bludgeon my brain.

  33. Shannon says:

    I liked the slightly-awkward classic BB look better personally… The slick new style looks very generic and boring.

  34. SamSam says:

    (sorry, final post on the subject) Here is what the confirmation page looks like for me: http://img.skitch.com/20090514-gsd2i1uw4tac6muy5gauapbcwq.jpg

  35. Gronk says:

    Oh, another: I totally love Helvetica, especially the lower-case letter “a”. It’s certainly not the best font for screen use, but it’s much easier to read than most all serif fonts. Talking bout on-screen only, here. A bit more whitespace would help, though, what with all the blackspace this design now has; text looks a bit cramped.

  36. george57l says:

    To the guy who said it looked like something designed by his 13 year old, and to Joel:

    In my email to Joel I said I (= meant to say) that adblocker caused big empty white blocks at the top of the page and adblocker never disrupted the old design (come on people – own up – how many have FF and adblocker as default for all browsing?) and that it looked childish (I chose an 8 year old not a 13 year old – I bow to the superior knowledge of the 13 year old’s father) by which I meant the whole design looked childish – though it is worse in this respect with adblocker.

    (That’s what comes of trying to knock off an email in the 3 minutes before being due in a meeting and when comments submission is broken – sorry, Joel)

    And having read 80+ comments here now my eyes hurt and it is starting to feel like one of those contrasty optical illusion things.

    If I stare at the white long enough will a unicorn appear in my peripheral vision on the now-shimmering/pulsating black strip on the right? Cannot think of any other reason for this awful design.

    It was not broke so don’t fix it. Most fixes when things aint broke are immediately and obviously retrograde – is BB the place where people used to occasionally take the mickey out of companies wasting resources on pointless logo redesigns and rebranding exercises? Maybe I imagined that. But you guys are about to become another case study to join them, because the old design really WAS a case study in elegance, ease of use, layout, design, etc.

  37. scissorfighter says:

    I agree that all caps headlines are less than friendly. If you’re going to do all caps, at least use a seriffed font. But I’d prefer mixed case by far.

    And the black background is pretty harsh, but I’ll probably get used to it.

  38. devophill says:

    I like the tweaks! Star or speech balloon, either way, but the placement of the credits & the comments are much better this way IMHO.

  39. devophill says:

    Hmm, but where is the favorite button? That could be a star, ala flickr.

  40. Gronk says:

    Right, at least the comments graphic now shows up as it’s supposed to. The link at the end of the twitter posts (linking to gadgets.boingboing.net/somedate/tweet-somenumber.html#more) still shows up as a unicode number-in-a-box for me, as, I suppose, it does for quite some users of a certain linux distribution, at the least.

    The other changes are all for the good. With the increased leading the text is much easier on the eyes and the location of the comment bubble is better. One might wish for the byline to be located right beneath the headline instead of above it, but I suspect this was done to increase the space between the black and the headline. It is slightly annoying, as the headline is of prime importance and you stumble a bit over the byline before getting to it, but I guess we’ll grow used to it.

  41. dculberson says:

    Oh, I forgot to add:

    Rob, I definitely noticed the page loading faster. Thank you!! The main page for sure, but it even seems like the individual pages are loading faster. It could just be the new design rocking my socks off.

  42. Jimmy says:

    This feel like Infomerica – only worse.

  43. sumi says:

    For me, it’s really harsh on the eyes. Tried to comment on that yesterday, but got the error mentioned above. A pity, really, as I like to come at least once a day and read through all the posts and comments, but the white on black, with red text in the side panel, limits the time I can spend reading.

  44. Halloween Jack says:

    I think that this is a huge improvement over the old look. When will you convince the mothership to switch?

  45. airship says:

    CHANGE!!! And for the best possible reason, too: for change sake.

  46. osc says:

    Strikes me as readable, esp. w/ the sans-serif typeface used in the text body, and despite the larger size.


  47. HeatherB says:

    Comments need to be moved to the bottom for sure. That did throw me a bit and it is a bit irritating scrolling back up to click on it.

    Otherwise, I love it. I do like the all CAPS titles because it draws the attention and I feel I can “flip through” posts easier.

    I like the black and white. Reminds me of my beloved APA format. Easy to read and navigate. God how I hate MLA.

  48. Rob Beschizza says:

    Yes, we’re still twiddling and tweaking throughout based on the comments and complaints in this thread.

    Some of the objections are quite bizarre, though, or at least impenetrably subjective.

    But that’s why we love you.

  49. NV0U says:

    I normally like change, but this is horrible. Honestly, I hate everything about this design.

  50. Downpressor says:

    New look is nice. New logo is better.

  51. Ogg says:

    Ogg not like change! Ogg like meat. Ogg confused by “star” thing. It not in sky with other stars. Ogg click “star” with club. Ogg make comment! Ogg still not understand star.

    Ogg like rainbow. Ogg think page does not taste like meat. Ogg sad.

  52. Downpressor says:

    But the comments submit dumping you off to a fugly page with no good way to get back to the top page still sucks.

  53. remmelt says:

    Comments bottom! I have to echo the other comments that state title -> author -> content -> comments as the logical reading order.

    That’s all.

    I like the logo and background! And the Wii-like “missing corners!”

  54. SamPieter says:

    I just realised that I always look at the the author’s name before I read a post. But in the new design, the author’s name is at the bottom of the post.

    Can you change that back to the top?

  55. mappo says:

    Like a mashup of Offworld and Bloomberg News. The black isn’t so hot.

  56. K Nilson says:

    Honestly, I think this update is one of the worst things to happen to this site. The backend upgrades are certainly worthwhile but at least tweak the theme and UI to match the old BBG.

    All of the changes you’ve made KILLED the charm this site had. The sterile, easy on the eyes white with grey, black and red accents have made way for high-contrast white on black with a rainbow orgy. The old classic logo with the pixel art and a rich history has been replaced with modern lettering with NO MEANING OR PURPOSE. The all-caps headlines with uniform x-heights are all but unreadable when the old layout with serifs and mixedcase worked unbelievably well. The byline should be at the top and the comments should be at the bottom, ideally small with the word “comments” next to the number.

    Overnight, you’ve transformed your site from an example of good design I was proud to show off to an example of exactly what not to do for a blog. I haven’t ever seen such a drastic change for the worse in a site. Make your links usable and display them proudly at the top, keeping the ads to the side. Make your headlines legible and enjoyable. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MAKE YOUR SITE DESIGN NOT CAUSE INTERNAL BLEEDING! I pray that these changes are temporary and that BBG soon matches BB once more.

  57. Miles Beck says:

    This is great. At the bottom of the post is this:

    “Best viewed with Netscape Navigator 3″

    That’s a tad outdated. Navigator 3 was released in 1996.

  58. ianm says:

    Really not into the new design. Sorry. Gave it a try, and I dont usually bitch about website updates, as they are often for the better, but I am not fond of this new direction.

  59. becw says:

    I think this new design is way too flashy. I appreciate the original simple, nerdy design of boingboing (and boingboing gadgets) because of its readability and emphasis on content. This design feels crowded because of the small margin between the blog text and black background.

    As far as loading more content when you scroll to the bottom: I find this behavior frustrating because when my browser inevitably crashes, I lose my spot in the archives and there’s no URL in the browser history to get back there.

    Faster load time is great, though.

  60. pork musket says:

    Thanks for moving the author to the top and the comments to the bottom.

    Like a few others I am not a big fan of the black background as it makes me strain when I read the black text. Not a big deal for me since I usually tweak the CSS of whatever site I’m on a bit anyway and I’ve turned it off, just offering my input.

  61. CoquiELF says:

    Hmmmm… it does load faster. I like the bigger type. I’m “old school” tho, so all caps still feels like someone is shouting at me.

    However, I’m very much an UNfan of compressed stories with “Read More>>” I am absolutely frustrated by that feature in the Gawker properties – especially on Gizmodo – and it cut down my traffic on Giz by 50% or more. If I have to spend a lot of time clicking through to even get the salient facts I will be disappointed.

    And in response to yesterday’s tweet: Two-dot URL’s are fine. You are who you are.

  62. xzzy says:

    I like it. The new logo and the prism background thingy makes it feel very 80’s, though I will concede that part of this impression may be caused by the image of the ZX80 being up there too.

    I say you take the 80’s motif and run with it.

  63. Rob Beschizza says:

    Yeah, the ads are now all kept in in a div of their own right at the end of the html.

    What this (should!) mean is that browsers will render the content while waiting for the ad servers to respond, instead of waiting for the ad servers to respond before rendering content.

  64. Anonymous says:

    Rob, the page loads MUCH faster!!! You are like a GOD to me!

    And might I be the first to say, people who kvetch about minutiae of color schemes on web pages need to get a life. Here, you can thank me later: http://www.getafirstlife.com

    I personally prefer bright orange full-serif lettering on a pure black background, in at least a 14 point type. Actual expensive government-funded research proved that such a scheme reduces eyestrain and headache by improving readability. Try it and you’ll see that it’s true. Plus, you can read it in the dark without feeling like you have a floodlight trained on your face.

  65. Garr says:

    While I like the new design in general, I’m sad that it has now become harder to read. That goes for the headlines as well as the text bodies themselves (in both cases, the font’s the culprit).

    I thought I’d share my 2 cents, even though I’ve been waiting quite a while wondering if you’d ever give this issue it’s own post. Since I can’t expect things to change based on my opinion alone, I’ll probably have to write a userstyle to fix it to my liking.

    And what’s this star-thingie everyone’s talking about?!

  66. Rossi says:

    Change frightens and confuses me. Until it doesn’t.

  67. Lonin says:

    Stars as comments will take a little bit of getting used to, probably more because of the placement than the star look.

    I like the overall design, but the big white blocks on a black background make it look weird, like pieces are missing. Some sort of border or fade-in, or even something other than white, would be nice. Then again, I’m not a designer, so take it for what it’s worth.

  68. Rob Beschizza says:

    You should also view it at at least 800×600 in 256 colors!

    (And we are listening to everyone. Much design work is ongoing)

  69. georgelazenby says:

    Have to be honest, though I love the idea of a wider main column, the black is hideous.

    To me it really is as simple as that. All the breaks in the old format were hidden by the white background, but now my BBG looks like badly drawn graph paper with these black lines criss-crossing what I want to look at.

  70. squishy_brain says:

    I know that all of you guys are in your 20s or 30s, so you may not have noticed, but as someone who’s approaching fifty, the contrast between the large black borders and the white text field leads to a fair amount of eyestrain (the pupils dilate, overexposing the white). Maybe this is a strategy to keep us older readers away, akin to how shop owners keep teenagers from loitering around their shops by using mosquito noises or acne-revealing pink lights. Or maybe I’m being overly sensitive.

    Seriously though, it would be nice if there was an option available to switch the dark background to something less contrasty.

    Glad you moved the author tagline to the top. Now I know whose voice to read the post in.

    Otherwise, I enjoy the retro feel along with the other changes you’ve made.

  71. Javan says:

    The only thing I don’t like about the ‘stars as comments’ system is the placement, as noted in another comment. Reading down the website, it seems odd to have to scroll back up the page to check the comments on an entry….

  72. Steve says:


    See what I mean? Also, the black and red is something my 13-year old might do. The site is quite hideous now. Hopefully, you’ll go for something more pleasant.

  73. tuckels says:

    The new look could look very nice with a bit of tuning.

  74. mdh says:

    IMHO, the mix of posts and tweets on the main page really works. Good show.

  75. retrojoe says:

    I fear change and will now start a Facebook group called “One Million Strong to Bring Back the Old Boing Boing”.

    Actually, this is kind of harsh looking.

  76. devophill says:

    Looks like warmed-over Offworld. Not a bad thing, IMHO. I agree with some of the already suggested tweaks.

  77. TJ S says:

    I love that it’s easier on my computer, but definitely don’t like the harsh contrasting black.

    So, other than the color scheme, great redesign.

  78. twofedoras says:

    The leading in the headline typeface needs to be enlarged. That being said, the mechanicals are great. I think I like the stars as people who are frequent readers are really the one’s who should be making up the majority of comments, it creates a small barrier to entry to “noobs”.

  79. TJ S says:

    Oh. It seems that the comment confirmation page is FUBAR. Now watch it be fine, now that I’ve said that…

  80. tw15 says:

    There’s this thing called usability testing, and I don’t think this redesign has gone anywhere near that.

    The big white blocks on a black background make it look weird
    The stars are meaningless and give no clue as to what they mean.
    The wider column is an improvement.
    The graphic is so big I have to scroll down the page before there’s any text.

    Grab you’re wife, mum, granny if you need to, but please do some usability testing.

  81. gouldina says:

    Speaking of usability testing, I’m doing some right now and I can report that the link to boingboing doesn’t go anywhere.

  82. Rob Beschizza says:

    We have an unfortunate technical issue with the dynamic pages (comment preview and comment submission) and they’re basically not getting styled. It will be fixed once we have consulted with the consulting consultants.

  83. The Gunner says:

    er… this might be horrible. Ugly and unsmooth and weirdly low-rent corporate – in fact cunningly contriving to be everything that the pretty damn wonderful BB isn’t!

  84. Anonymous says:

    I figured out the star thing pretty quickly, but I would prefer to have the author’s name with the article, rather than having to wait for the great unveiling on the expanded article/comments page. Oh, yeah, I ain’t wild about the black background but I do like big pictures!

  85. OneLastTry says:

    Some sort of delimiter between comments would be nice. Also, for some reason, Opera displays a huge white image that completely buggers the layout instead of http://gadgets.boingboing.net//style/logo_bbg.png . It seems to be the double slash that does it. I only ever see the comments pages thanks to Google Reader. Also, a big fat error on the preview screen:

    Publish error in template ‘Comment Preview': Error in tag: error in module Comment Detail: Publish error in template ‘Comment Detail': Error in tag: Unknown tag found: CommenterLoginName

  86. Anonymous says:

    I love the sharp design and contrasts. I am sick of pastels and muted low-contrast text. Especially, I like the big text. These are real-life usability benefits, for me.

    In reply to mr. usability, it’s obvious what the stars are for. They are expanding on the usage at daring fireball, presumably. Also, the content begins higher up than before, as you can verify by comparing to the main boing boing homepage, which still has the old web design. You are just complaining because you like to complain.

    As do I. The headline lists for the other properties are confusing. On the homepage, I also don’t like having to go to the bottom of a post to see who wrote it. I don’t like having to do click on a post to see when it was published.

    But I like the look: reminds me of old computer manuals!!!

  87. HarshLanguage says:

    It’s interesting to see the Offworld-style design tweaked here. Does this mean the motherblog will be changing to match at some point? Anyway, I love the background image, just wish it wasn’t covered by the giant ad. I like the black background, which helps divide the posts visually in a nice way. The profusion of ALL CAPS IS VERY HARD TO READ, especially in a sans-serif font. Two little bugs I noticed: The “More things you could be reading” section is about 2/3 full with repeats of the front-page headlines. There’s a little misaligned rounded-corner graphic in the lower-right corner of each post’s box (in FF3 on XP).

    The stars thing is just too awkward. Stars = rating, not # of comments. Usually a little dialog bubble icon is used for comments, I’d really suggest trying that instead.

  88. Anonymous says:

    Wow! OK, as for reading page2, Offworld is not the template of choice, as it refuses to load (page2 I mean) on WiiOpera, and probably a lot of other embedded systems. If a goal is accessability, a scalable month/day/post structure (ala mother boing) would be better, and a new-flash-check suppression better still (what is that, a couple lines of code?)

    As the GimpWii, I am prejudiced to my own situation, but surely cellphone browsers suffer similarly.

    I love Rob and Joel, especially at their quirkiest, but Offworld drives me nuts! The best way to generate comments that are not based on the blog text are to put them before the article.

  89. spike55151 says:

    Your Rainbow Rays are lovely!

  90. Rob Beschizza says:

    Thank you everyone for the remarks!

    If Motherblog gets the new layout, with the roomier content column and end-loaded ads, it will retain the the classic, minimalist design.

    I think we’ve settled on allcaps headlines, but the permalink/comment star could well become a # or something else. Joel is hot for unicode. A snowman, perhaps?

  91. registradus says:

    The new logo is sterile.

  92. icky2000 says:

    Could you please change the design of the site weekly? It’s just so amusing to read the comments from the folks that assume their personal preferences are universal and sound as though this redesign will ruin their lives.

  93. w000t says:

    I miss the “OLDER” and “NEWER” links on the permalink pages.

  94. registradus says:

    I actually just stopped reading BB through Google Reader because I missed it. (The old look). And the serif fonts.

    Oh well.

  95. TheFirstMan says:

    There aren’t nearly enough blinky things.

  96. larsrc says:

    Love the new look if it, but…

    Eeep! I can’t seem to find the favorite button anymore. How will I now remember the best of BBG?


  97. Brian Copeland says:

    I’ve got small, stupid, nit-picky things:

    1) Well, the first one isn’t. Your RSS feed doesn’t seem to be working.

    2) Your links at the bottom to the other BB’s are a bit off. Clicking Home brings me to Offworld. Also: no link to BBTV at the top?

    3) Minimalism looks great and perhaps these were design decisions, but no about page or author info page links on the homepage? When I go to a new blog and there’s no about page, I get frustrated. I’m 90% more likely not to subscribe to a blog if I can’t figure out what the blog’s all about.

    4) Still no way to get the news faucet through RSS?

    5) The TeX people make a very convincing argument that no line of text should be more than 66 characters long. You guys are clocking in an average of 100. Probably to late to slim that down, but thought I’d throw that one out there.
    S’all I got. Looks good otherwise. Like the new text size and style.

    I love the blog and these comments are out of love and the want for perfection, not criticism.

  98. mogest says:

    I agree that the comment star being placed at the top is a bit of a strange location. If you want to read the comments of an article, you’ve got to scroll up. I think there’s a reason comment links are at the bottom!

    Aesthetically, not a fan of the very harsh black + white contrast, but I’m sure I’ll get used to it. The mouseover blur effect is pretty trippy though.

  99. shouldbeworking says:

    I argee on the the black background. It does look weird, like the page didn’t load correctly. And I am definitly not a fan of all-caps-headlines.

  100. Skwid says:

    The white on black is very stark, but that’s a design choice. It would be nice to have comments be more visually distinct from each other, and of course everyone griping about the comment link being at the top of an entry is perfectly correct about that being horribly unusable.

  101. AahMyEyes says:

    Aah!! Put the comment’s STAR at the bottom of posts please.

  102. strider_mt2k says:

    Interesting, but indeed sterile.

    I hope you can do something to warm things up a little.

  103. Justin Ried says:

    I love it. The science textbook graphic is delicious!

  104. tp1024 says:

    Perfect. I love it.

    No long winded explanation why, because things can be wrong in a lot of ways, but right in only one.

  105. Nelson.C says:

    I’ll point to comment #1 to start. Then #7 and #9. Then I’ll reiterate that the black is really ugly. And I liked the simplicity of marking the comments link as ‘Comments’, it’s obvious and clear if you’re an occasional reader. And the design as a whole is reminiscent of Offworld, which I don’t go to often, partly because of the design. Except BBG is uglier.

    Besides all that, I’d like a point or two more leading in the text, it’s all a bit squashed together and harsh to read.

  106. Joel Johnson says:

    I just had someone vent to me in email that the design looks “childish” when they have adblocker on. They were very upset!

    Thanks for taking a look, everybody. (Even you dumb dicks!)

    We know there are a lot of rough edges, but we also figured that we’d best hammer them out live on the site than with another month of fiddling. If we had the time and resources we could design by the Apple model, but we’ve got the budget for Microsoft.

    Brian Copeland: Great list. Expect changes to the news faucet (and more!) today. We sort of needed to get this live to start implementing them. RSS should not be borked, naturally.

    I’m actually debating the text width with Rob right now. 640px worth of text obviously looks better as it is aligned under 640px images, but I worry for its readability, as well. We may have to play around with it. I’m a fan of narrower, New Yorker-style columns, but I don’t know how well they work with this huge images.

    The comments stars/permalink thing I am more confident that I like this morning. I don’t agree that not having a comment link at the bottom is necessary, but I might be able to compromise and give you guys a smaller comment link down there, too!

  107. SamSam says:

    Waddya mean “Best viewed in Netscape 3″??? You haven’t dual-optimized it for IE 2?? I’m using IE 2 and everything is funky. Where are the tables???

    IE rules and Netscape drools!

  108. lovemoose says:


  109. Brian Copeland says:

    I couldn’t put a finger on it before, but that’s exactly the issue: The 640px width pictures are a fabulous change and the 640px width text below it is a logical choice. Problem: the text below an image that is the same width is called a caption.
    The problem (which you seem very aware of) is that the entire article becomes a caption for the accompanying image.

    I am nowhere near creative enough to know how to strike a balance. Best of luck.

  110. Wordguy says:

    OK first one reds the headline, which is harder when it’s in all caps. Then one reads the article. Then, if one is interested, one reads the comments. So the comments indicator is more natural at the bottom so one doesn’t have to scroll back up.

    I also prefer to have the author’s name at the top. FWIW.

    Even without those quibbles, the design is boring. It looks corporate. It looks like a ripoff of AMC’s SciFi Scanner.

  111. O_M says:

    …Everything works *EXCEPT* the “Stars” link for comments. Sorry, but it needs to be explicitly stated as “Comments”, otherwise n00bs will be totally as confused as us old hands.

    That’s the only fix. Everything else about the new format should stay as-is.

  112. Mister N says:

    Good day to you guys , Joel and Rob. I am an avid reader of BBG, and here are my comments about the new look:

    1. The black background doesn’t work well. It’s adding tension with the white column where the context is. The previous white design allowed for an easy flow of the eye.

    2. By changing where the comments link were, it made me look around for it or even wonder if the comments were removed. Until I saw a black star and a number. I thought it was the comments then, or a digg it function with a different look.

    3. I do like that the new graphic with all the colours.

    4. I think, the look of the BBG logo was for that 70’s look ( Space Odyssey, Space era and 70’s graphic rendering ). I think it needs a bit more polishing to get there.

    5. For Usability testing, I do read a lot of content of BBG. The contrast is too much ( black background ) and makes it harder to read the content. That’s why I read this website over Gizmodo, or Engadget or other blogs. Because it WAS easy to read, Joel build a name as a good editor and Gagdgets writer, and I really like Boing Boing.

    As I am writing this content and look up to read your #57 post, I find it hard to follow what you wrote. It’s seriously annoying. The black background has to go. Or tone it down to a mid gray or something.

  113. wimbledon says:

    I feel like the headline typeface doesn’t match the site’s informal, self-effacing prose style. It’s kind of hilarious, but too ironic to cosy up to everyday. That’s my opinion that I have.

  114. osc says:

    Oops, I meant *less* readable in my comments above.

  115. Rob Beschizza says:

    The server at imgur.com is taking too long to respond.

  116. MadJeweler says:

    Here’s another data point:

    Ow. The white blocks of text on black are painful.

    The all caps headlines are yelling.

    Using Chrome, I don’t see stars, but a single square box next to the number of comments.

    Don’t waste space telling me what’s new on Offworld. If I cared, I’d go there.

    Cute retro logo, but the black background says “mid-90’s porno site design”

    On the plus side, faster page loading rocks!

    Going away to rest my eyes now. We’re not all 18 anymore.

  117. Bryan Price says:

    No stars, and when I tried to comment yesterday, I was getting an error.

    Publish error in template ‘Comment Preview': Error in tag: error in module Comment Detail: Publish error in template ‘Comment Detail': Error in tag: Unknown tag found: CommenterLoginName

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