Today's the day we flip the switch, and make our new homepage design live – with an opt-out for those still unsure of the layout.
We've been gradually redeveloping the front page over the summer, and we will continue to do so, pushing out fixes, nudges, and features here and there. What you see today is not its final form, though it is close to what we will eventually settle on. There are bits and pieces to deploy, and time to rethink any choices we've made, so your, ahem, constructive feedback is welcome.
Rather than dive head first into the refresh, we've been trying to, like journos in the pub on a Monday night, pace ourselves, and slowly roll out the changes, gauging each time how much you lovely readers love or hate each of the adjustments. At some point, we've got to throw the lever from opt-in to opt-out, and so here we are.
Tell me why
Why are we doing this? One reason is to consolidate the desktop and mobile versions of the website into one design that responds to whatever size screen you're using. Depending on the time of day, you're either all visiting us from your PCs and Macs on your desk, or staring at our work from the train or sofa or couch or bar or cafe from your phone or tablet. Since it's 2018, we want to make that all one responsive design, which also helps us protect the whole site by default with HTTPS.
Another reason is to introduce elements that reflect the day's goings on. If there's a big breaking story, some exclusive insight, or a feature we're particularly proud of, or even a photo exclusive, we'd like to be able to highlight that more on the front page. The new design gives editors a modular grid to play with, so they can slot in these sorts of interesting elements as required on the day, and making it clear what's important to readers, and crafting a more dynamic landing page for El Reg.
A lot of us have a background in newsprint and magazines, where you live and die by your page one or front cover. As such, we want to build a website that, in true Register fashion, grabs you by your cable labels and thrusts the news in your general direction. We want to be able to create attractive and fresh designs that suit the day's events. We may be a cynical and sarcastic bunch, but each of us is fired up to write about technology and science, and we want to make the biggest impact we can – visually, and editorially.
I hate it
Everyone hates change. I hate change. You possibly hate change. Well, I like some change. I like faster computers. I like less buggy software. Perhaps it's that we hate change for change's sake. I know who does like change for change's sake. Psychopaths. And I don't think any of you are psychopaths. That's my unprofessional opinion.
If you don't like the new design, for the time being you can click on the opt-out link at the bottom of the homepage – and bam, you're free.
Alternatively, if you just want a list of articles, then check out the week-by-week summary, which has the very latest stories all the way down to what we wrote as long as seven days ago. We also have RSS feeds.
We'd also like to let you know that we're working on a "compact mode", which will be a user preference setting for our logged-in users that will serve a text-tastic version of the homepage with: no article images; less whitespace; and fewer non-crucial article details (for example no section name). So further down the line, if you still don't fancy the new design, you can turn to its texty goodness.
I love it
If you like where this is going, then raise a glass or mug to our tech, ops, and design vultures who have toiled away on this over the months, in between all their other duties in keeping the site fast, secure, and serving only the finest ads and copy. Be sure to leave them some feedback as we continue to evolve the homepage design.
Finally, I want to stress that, through all these changes and new stuff happening, we here in the vulture's nest are committed to sticking to The Register's principles and values – tried and tested over the past 20 years of publishing. Insightful writing, exclusive news, hands-on technical coverage and understanding, puns, sarcasm, turns of phrase, critical analysis, and the glorious offbeat world of bootnotes, in no particular order.
We take technology, journalism, accuracy, and fairness extremely seriously, even though we don't take ourselves too seriously. We bite the hand that feeds us. ®