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A new look for The Inquisitr and a new partnership with ReadBurner

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Blog design is in its biggest state of flux since blogging first came of age in the first half of the decade. Expected norms, such as chronological full posts on the front page are slowly being replaced by the rise of “magazine” style front pages.

When The Inquisitr launched in May, we launched with a theme that embraced the magazine style, and although we weren’t the first, variations on the magazine style front page have been adopted by more and more since. They work well, but most are focused on driving additional page views internally, and don’t seek to share that space with others. It makes complete sense from a site owner’s perspective, but it doesn’t always deliver the best experience for the reader.

We’ve always wanted to link out more, but our old style limited our options to posts and the sidebar. Great sites link out lots, and as Publishing 2.0 reported in September, sites that sends readers away with links have the highest engagement.

Introducing a new look for The Inquisitr

Along with a range of aesthetic changes, the new look throws out the expected norms from magazine style front pages, and creates something unique. Alongside our own content, our front page now includes a strong range of external links that delivers a richer reading experience. The front page of The Inquisitr is now a portal indexing popular stories from the web, the latest celebrity headlines, and hot memes from FriendFeed, alongside our own content.

Partnership with ReadBurner + ReadBurner Platform Launch

One of our problems in providing external links was freshness: sites that embrace external links usually have staff who are able to constantly updating links. We don’t have the luxury of a having 24 hour coverage of adding links, so we knew we needed to source links from another site. Enter ReadBurner.

From today, ReadBurner is an official data provider for The Inquisitr. Initially, this means ReadBurner will be supplying most of the links under the “best of the web” section on the front page. We are supplementing this data with manual links, and automatic inclusion of links from a select number of sites, but the majority of the links are coming from ReadBurner.

ReadBurner is announcing the private beta launch of the ReadBurner Platform, a set of APIs that allows developers and publishers to utilize ReadBurner sharing data in their applications, with The Inquisitr as the first pilot partner. Using the ReadBurner Platform, developers can tap into a database that features the most shared content across the Web in thousands of different categories from thousands of different sources. 


We’ll be working closely with ReadBurner in the coming months on how we can utilize their data more to further enrich the external links we provide, and different ways we may be able to value add using that data.

A full copy of the media release for the ReadBurner deal below or more details on the ReadBurner blog here.

Conclusion

We hope you like the new look. We’ve spent months listening to feedback from readers on what they didn’t like and liked about the old design. We’ve done some basic appeal testing in terms of color mix, and we’re confident that the new look is cleaner and is certainly a lot less gray. There will be some bugs on the site (for example I know one part of the front page is broken in IE 6) but we’ll work through those, and we’ll probably tweak some other aspects as well in the coming days and weeks to get it 100% right. Ultimately we want this site to be a great place for you, our readers to visit, and we believe that by linking out more, we not only share some link love, but improve your experience. Embracing this change defines The Inquisitr as unique in the sea of blogs, and supports our motto: “the better mix.”

ReadBurner Inquisitr Deal – Upload a Document to Scribd

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Comments

8 Responses to “A new look for The Inquisitr and a new partnership with ReadBurner”

  1. kylewest

    It's certainly better than it was (and better than most blogs) but you need some serious polish, particularly in the typography and color department. IMHO everything runs together. One thing is for sure though, the Inquisitr keeps getting better. It is one of the few blogs I actually read every day.

  2. zac

    Is it just my browser (fireox on osx) but it looks pretty average? As Kylewst commented – has a designer looked at it? Where's the polish, spacing, borders etc etc? Looks like a developer did it without a designer. I hate being negative about new designs, but this needs some more work imo.

  3. Duncan Riley

    Zac,
    happy to take on board suggestions, but could you be a little more specific? Borders aren't there intentionally, and there's a reason for this, and there's a pile of studies that support the move, and no, I'm not going to link to them :-)

    Re polish/ spacing? specifics? Spacing looks ok to me, but may need a tweak here and there. “Polish” sounds rather subjective though. What's not “polished” about it. Not having a go, but if I'm to understand and take this on board, you need to be more specific.

    PS only a designer with no concept of visual focus testing would call borders ;-)

  4. Duncan Riley

    Kyle
    happy to take this on board. Any specifics with typography? we've dropped the roman font intentionally, there's some tweaking perhaps with the content. Runs together in terms of not having dividing lines? purposeful move, but I take it on board.

  5. richardcrocker1

    Duncan, some of the feedback looks pretty valid. The main page heading has really dense character spacing and looks a little squished. Are you looking at it from a Mac (I'm on XP, Google Chrome)? If you're interested, let me know and I'll send you a screenshot of how it's appearing here.

  6. fael

    Right, time for some constructive criticism.

    As far as the input you've recieved so far goes, I had a similar reaction. I think they word everyone else is looking for is “cluttered”. Additional spacing would increase the readability and aesthetics greatly.

    The “latest headline image boxes” on the top of the page don't really let me know anything about the stories in question; at first I assumed they were ads. You'd probably want to add the headlines to the images in some way.

    Adding “Latest headlines” or something similar to the top of the home page wouldn't hurt. Initially I was confused, because they LOOKED like headlines, but you had “Freshly squeezed news – The latest news from The Inquisitr” below. It took me a while to understand that the five latest stories were displayed in a larger format, and the rest below. In addition, I think it'd look better if you removed the first couple of sentences of the entry (I'm sure it's got some fancy journalistic term, but English is not my native language) from the latest headlines, and it probably would drive up traffic on those articles aswell.

    Also (this comment is really getting more extensive than I first anticipated), what's the difference between “You might like” and “Related Posts”?