Slog: News & Arts

RSS icon Comments on Preview the New Stranger Website


Thanks God you finally have a calendar that you can search! Welcome to the 21st century. It looks like there's more on the site. That's good. Slog is fine but the top thingie is a little ug.

Posted by postergirl | December 27, 2006 4:35 PM

can you create permanent link locations to the CURRENT WEEK's movie and music listing pages, rather than having the links go to an archived date that never changes?

Posted by wf | December 27, 2006 4:38 PM

oh god, it's horrible.

too many columns (3 is the limit).

too much 'navigation'

go back to the previous site. simple is best. everybody chickens out and makes their site too complicated.

Posted by chris | December 27, 2006 4:44 PM


Can you clarify your comment a bit for us? We're a little confused (not unusual).


Posted by Stranger Web Dudes | December 27, 2006 4:44 PM

I agree with #3... there are way way way too many columns. Like the more polished look, though, and looooove the zoomable "get your war on."

Posted by giantladysquirrels | December 27, 2006 4:53 PM

I'm going to absolutely use it for movie times.

Posted by Amy B. | December 27, 2006 4:53 PM

Noooooooooooooooooo! I hate it! What was wrong with the old site? I love it. Seriously, the old site was just fine. What gives?

Posted by A fan | December 27, 2006 4:55 PM

Whoa! Fix the masthead/contact pages. Yikes!

Posted by co-worker | December 27, 2006 4:56 PM

Thanks for accepting feedback!

The new version is too wide for my screen and requires more scrolling from side to side, which is a huge pet peeve.

I also think the top banner looks sorta canned and dull.

Otherwise, I don't know yet. It's okay.

Posted by first thought | December 27, 2006 4:56 PM

Lots of columns... (But I think I'm up to the challenge). All I as is that it please please please please please please please please please be available in a PDA friendly format.

Posted by You_Gotta_Be_Kidding_Me | December 27, 2006 4:57 PM

Yeah, it's ugly. Whats with the navy blue? The angles? And (duh) too many columns? I smell chaos.

Posted by yeah | December 27, 2006 5:07 PM

First Thought (#9),

What is your screen resolution? The new site is designed for screens set to at least 1024x768. If your system is set this way, what browser are you using?


Posted by Stranger Web Dudes | December 27, 2006 5:16 PM

I like how much stuff is visiable when you get on the home page. I thnk it looks good.

Posted by spaz | December 27, 2006 5:28 PM

@12 - you could make two style sheets, one for the like 3-5% of people running at 800x600 and one targeting 1024. a little js style sheet switcher running onload could spit out one or the other depending on the user's resolution -- or set button so user can toggle and store pref for narrow/wide in a cookie or something. just don't bend to the folks who squak about the width being too wide. the rest of us are tired of pencil-thin columns ;)

Posted by Charles | December 27, 2006 5:37 PM

Hi Web Dudes,

I changed my screen to 1024x768 and while I could see everything (yay!), it obviously shrinks all the text which is a problem for me.

Like a lot of computer users, my eyesight isn't all that great and I'd prefer to keep my computer at 800X600 so I don't squint. (I don't think they don't make contacts any stronger than the ones I already have.)

I understand that this is my problem, but others might have the same issue.

Thanks for the response, though so now I know how I can fix it if I want to.

Posted by first thought | December 27, 2006 5:38 PM

I have no problems with the width issues. The searchable events calendar format is nifty (though as usual dance gets short shrift, sigh). I don't mind the number of columns, but the way columns change size (on one line of articles it's fat column-skinny column, next line it's skinny colum/fat column) and link boxes are all over the place makes the site look incredibly overcrowded. I like the color of the blue masthead, but it doesn't really say "The Stranger" to me. Overall it looks very generic, and while I'd be likely to use the events calendar from time to time, I wouldn't want to come to the site to read any articles - the page is just too busy.

Posted by genevieve | December 27, 2006 5:38 PM

masthead looks good (why is this being scrutinized so much anyways?)..

searchable events,etc. is rad..

Posted by jandrew | December 27, 2006 5:42 PM

Thanks for asking for feedback. You've done a great job getting lots and lots of stuff on the main page, fairly cleanly.

And that's the only problem. It's very crowded. Unless there's a business reason to put absolutely everything on the front page (lots of ads?), please consider less. On 1280x800 in Firefox, it scrolls 5 screens vertically, which is too many, IMO. Better to click through to different pages than to scroll.

Maybe don't put a picture on every subsection on the first page. It just takes up space. The pictures are already available on the individual section pages.

Also, maybe limit the number of article summaries per front-page subsection. The current lead article for each section should be enough. I can click through to find out what else is in that section.

I could do without the pop-zoom cartoon at the bottom.

Thanks again.

Posted by pox | December 27, 2006 5:45 PM

never mind. my previous comment was based on the old site. i like the new events calendar search function.

however i agree with previous posts that there are too many columns/ the design is too cluttered.

Posted by wf | December 27, 2006 5:45 PM

I echo the "too many columns" complaint. Your current one does have four near the halfway point of the page, but the opening screen is just three, which is not nearly as alarming.

It's a small point but I'm kinda iffy about that denim-navy blue. It reminds me too much of other, sniffier papers that I hate.

Posted by Gloria | December 27, 2006 5:57 PM

If you are doing web site redesigns, I have a suggestion. I think you should have some content that is text only, or slimmed down for phones. I read The Stranger on my Windows Mobile device frequently, and the layout is pretty clumsy on a phone. Also, having a mobile version of your club calendar is pretty much a killer app for when you are at a bar and trying to decide where to go next. Otherwise, what I see is a nice update.

Posted by Tiffany | December 27, 2006 6:06 PM

Agree with the critics. This change makes the site feel more like the Boston Phoenix's website, which honestly has to be the worst free weekly website in America (in your defense your design if cooler). It's hard to believe that such a website can exist in the same town with MIT. But it does.

It was nice to try and get some things on the front page like the search link, but I have to agree about the width. Not everyone is on a 22 inch monitor and wants to look at things at a microscopic resolution.

I personally thought the old design was the best looking, cleanest web site of any free weekly I have ever been to.

It was logical. If you came there a few times, it was easy to find what you needed. The banner ads were well integrated. It felt a lot like reading the paper version of the Stranger. I could even surf it on my pda in a pinch, without undue scrolling.

It would be great if there was an ad index, though. Sometimes I want to find a club ad, because it has info not included in the club calendar. It would be great to be able to do that from one dedicated indext page (or from the seach box). I think the Chicago Reader used to have such an index in the paper edition.

If you're getting feedback that people don't like having to do up and down scrolling, then I guess that's valid, although I find that sort of scrolling far less bothersome than side to side scrolling.

Maybe if you articulated the goals of the redesign it would be easier for people to give their opinions on how well the new design accomplishes the goals and perhaps offer suggestions.

Posted by j-lon | December 27, 2006 6:14 PM

There doesn't seem to be any system to how the articles are organized on the page. Why have the links to the Columns featured so prominently? That space should be devoted to news or features I think. BTW, there is no blue headline banner for "Columns" like there are for the other sections.

Stranger Suggests is given a lot of page space but weirdly placed. Either make it prominent by putting it in the top right or don't give it so much space at all.

The top banner does look way too boring for the Stranger. It's even almost ugly.

Use more outlining around each of the sections to help it feel less cluttered. And cut some of the pictures. The cluttered feeling wouldn't be so overpowering if all of the major content could fit on one screen view, without scrolling down (like Slate). But tehre is just too much, everywhere. It's like every article is yelling "hey, over here!" and "No, look over here!". Bleah.

The new layout kinda reminds me of the Microsoft/ iPod video...

Posted by Meh | December 27, 2006 6:19 PM

This looks like so many other "blog" "news" sites out there. What you have now seems unique which is nice. I'll still visit, but the new site seems cluttered and too busy. But then again I like my sites simple.

Posted by [ | December 27, 2006 6:28 PM

Sorry, yeah, too many columns. I have to scroll horizontally (1024x768, using Safari).

I, too, am using the site more and more from a mobile device, so a busier, more scattered layout is a very bad thing. I will use the site less as a result.

I like the color. Otherwise, the design looks a little like something made with blogging software. Not exactly a bad thing, but not an improvement.

The events listing search thingie is COOL, love it. Just slap that baby near the top of the current site and leave it the hell alone. :thumbsup:

Posted by Violet_DaGrinder | December 27, 2006 6:29 PM

Like the overall look. Agree with the 'too many columns" comments.

Posted by Lola | December 27, 2006 6:35 PM

Fer Chrissakes, what is the point of "fixing" something that is neither broken nor needs fixin'?

If you have far too much time on your collective hands, I can find activities that will certainly keep you all busy.


Posted by Jensen Interceptor | December 27, 2006 6:37 PM

Yeah, the more I look at both sites and think about how I do/would use 'em, the more I realize that the new one is awful in comparison. I'm trying really hard not to do the "I hate it 'cause it's new" thing that people do, and I don't think that's it. I think the new design really isn't good.

Please don't swtich just 'cause you've put the work in. I know it's hard to resist, but. . . don't do it. It's bad.

Posted by Violet_DaGrinder | December 27, 2006 6:37 PM

Fer Chrissakes, what is the point of "fixing" something that is neither broken nor needs fixin'?

If you have far too much time on your collective hands, I can find activities that will certainly keep you all busy.


Posted by Jensen Interceptor | December 27, 2006 6:37 PM

I like it. It's clean. As for the number of columns, the NYT's newish site has five columns too. It's about packing a lot of info in one page, so you can glance at it, right? It saves you scrolling around time.

Suggests is too big, though. Weighs down the bottom of the window.

Posted by Stalker of Celery | December 27, 2006 6:38 PM

Layout is nice, but colors and fonts are heinous and stodgy. Looks like something even my parents would find boring. Hello, Seattle is mellow enough as is, a little color or edginess would be nice.

Posted by ugh | December 27, 2006 6:42 PM

I don't care about numbers of columns. The thing I care about on web sites is getting the shit done I need to do and this one is 10,000,000 times better than your old one.
I want some slog, I want to see what else is in the paper and I want to see what's what in music. I can do it here fast.
The calendar search is killer. I agree with the person who says there should be a PDA version. That my friends would rule the world.

Posted by bill on broadway | December 27, 2006 6:55 PM

Text-only or mobile/hand-held version would be very nice.

Posted by Justin J | December 27, 2006 7:03 PM

Looks very slick. My only request would be to provide more RSS feeds for those of us who use feed aggregators to read syndicated content.

Using LINK tag auto-discovery for each RSS feed would be fabulous as well, especially since the latest browsers (IE7, FF2) support RSS auto-discovery. More on that:


Posted by mjg | December 27, 2006 7:13 PM

I see other people grumped about the width.

Don't forget it isn't always the screen resolution -- it is also how people use their computer screens. I have a 1280 x something resolution but I don't want my browser taking up my entire desktop, so I have it set to about 800 pixels or so. I use my browser, email, word processor, and usually some other stuff at one time, and I like to be able to move things around.

Posted by Sachi | December 27, 2006 7:13 PM

I'm not opposed to change, however, aesthetically speaking, I like the old layout and color scheme over the new one. As for functionality, I'm always up for improvement!

Posted by gryph | December 27, 2006 7:27 PM

The great:
Love the new restaraunt/event listing search thingie. It is nice to have a quick way to get info about events and it is nice to have it easily accessible.

Search field on top of every page. Yey for search. Perfect!

The not so great:
Even on a 1024x768 resolution on Safari on a Mac there is still some horizontal scrolling. It disappears when the the window is resized to full 768, but that is rarely the case, for me at least. Horizontal scrolling is annoying to say the least.

I am not sure I understand the color coordination. Blue is an odd color choice as it is one that human eye is least sensitive to and much more importantly it is usually the color of hyperlinks. But that would be OK if the use was consistent. However, especially the calendar search is using a color scheme that doesn't match the rest of the site. There is blue, grey, green, turquoise, red, green, etc.

In the same vein I can count no fewer then 7 different font styles on the page. Serifs, Sans Serifs bolds and roman, etc. I think this is somewhat excessive. Fewer fonts would help unify the page.

Everything seems to be rather packed together. I would like to see a lot more use of negative space to separate content on the site instead of all the lines (rules) to do it.

Of course getting a reaction from your audience is great, but one thing that I would suggest is to to an actually user study. Those tend to reveal things that designers forget about -- since designers aren't users. The tests don't have to be expensive 10 or 15 people would do rather well. If that sounds daunting Heuristic Evaluation is a good compromise.

Anyway, great effort. I don't want to make this comment sounds overly critical, since you obviously care about your users enough to improve their experience on the Strager's site.

Posted by Martin | December 27, 2006 7:34 PM

Sweet - upgrades!

It is good to see more info on the screen, I always wanted to get restaurant and event listings easily.

I think there are a couple of tweaks I would look at. The secondary fonts (i.e. Slog's block quotes) look like anything I'd see on someone's first try at a blog. The menu bar could be more prominent, too. Also, the color scheme makes the site look "cold". I like blue in general, but I like the warmer scheme you guys have on the site now.

I am also get a feeling like I've seen this site before...does it look a little too much like the Weekly's layout?

Posted by Zach | December 27, 2006 7:36 PM

I'm all for the 1024 and more columns. 800 X 600 is not an effective use of space for a newspaper. People who squint at 1024 can simply increase their font size. That said, you guys are pushing the horizontal scroll limits with a width of 1000+ pixels. It's much safer to max out at around 960 or so. 960 is great because it's divisible by all sorts of numbers which leaves you with all sorts of grid possibilities.

Posted by Geoffrey | December 27, 2006 8:05 PM

Martin: nice! Good points.

The only thing I'd point out is that it seems like all of their blue text is, in fact, being used for links. If that weren't true, the hyperlink problem would be really annoying, but since they're using it for links, I think it's kind of ok. And dark blue on black may be boring, but it's very readable, unlike half of the colored crap on the web.

Usability study would be good, and it would have been good to ask us how we actually use (or want to use) the site BEFORE spending time/money on redesign (duh), but . . . hey. Better late than never.

Posted by Violet_DaGrinder | December 27, 2006 8:40 PM

My visceral reaction: way, way, way too corporate looking! Navy blue is so not a Stranger color.

Posted by thalia | December 27, 2006 8:57 PM

Excellent prank, linking us to the Seattle Weekly's homepage like that, under the auspices of a "redesign".

Posted by laterite | December 27, 2006 9:05 PM

Eh. It'll work. New functionality is great, but I'll miss the symmetry and the unique feel of the old one.

Posted by Noink | December 27, 2006 9:09 PM

Dan, please buy your web team a good interface design book, like this.

Remember the KISS principle. Why provide three different links to the same thing? Keep the first column, the second column and the fourth colum on the first vertical page--i.e., no scrolling to access the same content--those are well done (though need a bigger default font).

The new masthead is more exciting than the Seattle Weekly's at least.

Posted by smiles | December 27, 2006 11:17 PM

An annoyance:

I was browsing through the movie times and saw that Children of Men will be playing when I arrive back in Seattle.

I clicked on " Children of Men" thinking I'd get to read a review (like I got when I clicked on another movie). Instead I simply got "See review this issue" (along with the upcoming showtimes times.)

Unless I'm missing something, there was no direct link to the review. I had to click on "Film" on the left nav bar and then click on the Children of Men review. Why can't "See review this issue" be a link that points to the review?

Posted by leep | December 27, 2006 11:41 PM

I don't mind the 4 columns so much but holy crap that's a lot of horizontal scrolling. There's way too much crammed on that front page. You would never try to cram that much information on the front of your paper so why do it to your web site? It's terribly overwhelming.

Other then that I like the look. My only other suggestion would be to make friends with . Comment tags are there for a reason. If your web team plans to fuck around with that much HTML every week putting in a comment or two couldn't hurt. I can't remember the last time I saw that much un-commented HTML before and the idea of going through there and figuring out what's what scares me.

Posted by Spec | December 28, 2006 6:40 AM

I totally agree with every "too many columns" comment out there. It was so simple and easy to navigate! Now I just get bombarded with things I should look at.

Posted by Elspeth | December 28, 2006 8:14 AM

Sorry, but have to agree with the rest. Way too many columns that make it hard to read and navigate. I know you guys can do better than Amazon's web site - come on!

p.s. I think you should make the Slog button more obvious.

Posted by Maria | December 28, 2006 8:55 AM

I like the search functions for movies, events, etc. Very usable and quick to load. Lots of columns, but I think it looks fine. Great job.

Posted by Monique | December 28, 2006 8:58 AM

less is more.

Posted by ui jerk | December 28, 2006 9:00 AM


Children of Men and The Painted Veil should link to the reviews now, and new movies will link in the future. I'm trying to keep up with both versions of Film Shorts right now; bear with me.

Posted by annie | December 28, 2006 9:14 AM

Graphic design 101: rule #23: large bodies of text should always (ALWAYS) be in a serif font. All other design considerations aside, a serif font is easier to read.

Use any fonts you want for headlines, indexes, and other graphic elements, but please please please use an easily readable SERIF font for the body of text for articles. Serious readers will thank you. Seriously. The common font "Times" was specifically designed for newsprint to be both condensed and easy for the eyes to read. That is why ALL books use a serif font of one sort or another for the text.

Graphic design 101: rule #47: blue is a corporate color.

The Stranger is anything but corporate. Blue is totally the wrong choice of color for your new website.

Posted by SDA in SEA | December 28, 2006 9:21 AM

Graphic Design FOR PRINT 101... sans serif fonts are easier to read on a monitor.

Posted by charles | December 28, 2006 10:33 AM

Almost all books published in the United States use a serif font for the text. Sans serif is extremely common for Europe. Sans serif fonts can be very easy to read if they are light and compact enough. That's what's wrong with your text blocks; the leading is too wide. The lines should be scrunched a bit closer, and the space between paragraphs should be reduced by at least half. This is especialy noticeable in things like the Slog Morning News, with single lines. Pack it in there!

You people complaining about your eyesight -- mine is much worse than yours, trust me -- need to adjust your monitor and workstation. 1024 is easier to read than 800, because the pixels are closer together and thus crisper; looking at an 800 monitor, where I can easily see individual pixels, makes me sick to my stomach. The way of the future of screen reading is higher and higher res.

I very much like the four columns. Narrow columns are what's really easy to read. It's just that the font is too loose. The other big problem with the columns, in comparison to the old layout, is what to do with the ads. They appear to be all different sizes, and the far right column in particular seems to change size. It looks like a garbage-collector column, where you've stuffed everything you don't have a good idea for. In the old layout, it was very clear the way the ads ran down two narrow columns on the sides. On the other hand, for you narrow screen readers, putting all the ads on the far right means you have to scroll to see them -- so don't!

Colors, masthead, etc. are all very nice. PLEASE don't go "cutting edge" with retarded "grunge fonts" and dark slashy garbage everywhere. And take the pledge: no flash anywhere ever unless it's behind a "click here for flash" link. Flash is satanic.

Overall, it's not bad. The only things you need to work on is blocks of text, and cluttering. I disagree about using a focus group; focus groups report what the focus group designers want them to report. I very much agree that the old design in hideous and stupid and hippie looking.

Posted by Fnarf | December 28, 2006 10:36 AM

I was a bit overwhelmed at first, but after my eyes adjusted a bit,,,, it's ok. I think the funcionality is good and makes sense. I do still think that a better effort could be made with balancing blocks of font. Does Stranger Suggests really have to scream that loud, for instance. The blue. I just have to agree with 52 and others, doesn't feel right... and I feel that you could widen the content headings (the blue bars) a bit more.
In summary... Tweak.

Posted by herethere | December 28, 2006 10:36 AM

PS - the problem with the ads may just be because you're currently selling ads of a certain size that don't fit in the design. Don't forget to fix that!

Posted by Fnarf | December 28, 2006 10:37 AM

oh, also... more zoom.

Posted by herethere | December 28, 2006 10:38 AM

Should comments be going here or to the address Amy Kate provided?

In short, it looks pretty nice, but it's not all that functional. The amount of "stuff" on the front page is overwhelming and difficult to navigate visually.

Your link structure is still a pain to deal with. Having everything at URIs like is far less useful than and, with the front page for each issue at and, etc.

There are some good tips for designing URIs in this W3C article: "Cool URIs don't change".

Posted by Phil | December 28, 2006 11:20 AM

you should do what /. did and open up a UI design contest where the winner gets a high end laptop of their choice.

Posted by charles | December 28, 2006 11:42 AM

Charles @53. Wow. Knock me over with a feather. I read the study with great surprise. I have long been convinced that serif fonts are easier to read, and the study you linked to contradicts that, at least in regards to reading on a monitor.

Unfortunately, I think her study was flawed.

I read very fast. In fact, I read faster than most people who learn "speed reading". People like me read large bodies of text differently than small chunks of text, like a headline. For stories and other longer bodies of text, my eyes scan a whole page, and my brain absorbs whole sentences and paragraphs at a whack. I don't actually read each individual word. I don't know how or why that works, but it does (I'm sure people who study this kind of thing could probably explain it). It isn't a conscious thing, nor was it taught to me; that's just how my brain works. And my reading comprehension is as high or higher than people who read more slowly and read each word individually.

One thing I have noticed is that my ability to read fast can be strongly effected by the use of non-standard fonts. I have to slow way down.

That is where I think this study falls apart. First, her test paragraphs are relatively short. Not really long enough to know if it would impact my ability to read and comprehend longer stories. Second, she uses a gobbldegook mix of non-words, rather than actual words in English. This completely ruins the study, because I can't read it anyway, regardless of the font. So what she is testing for is what fonts look good and clear on a monitor in short paragraphs with no actual context for real use.

Without testing it, I couldn't say for sure. But anecdotally, I'm pretty sure that I can still read faster for longer blocks of text in a serif font, even on a monitor, not just in print.

But that was an interesting study. One thing she doesn't delve into is monitor resolution. I'm guessing that the higher resolution monitors are more similar to reading printed text, and that lower resolution monitors don't deal as well with serifs, which might lead to more muddied text on a low res monitor.

Posted by SDA in SEA | December 28, 2006 11:53 AM

sda -- i've been doing a little more reading on it myself this morning and I also found this, which has links to many other studies (which argue in favor of both).

to me the basic readability of the text really comes down to how the text itself is rendered. In winxp without using the cleartype tuner, serif fonts are very jagged. the serifs actually make it harder to read for me because they are excessively pixelated. using the cleartype tuner, however, they have better anti-aliasing. with osx and *nix there this feature has been around for a while.

either way, with the push for IE7 which actually makes use of cleartype, you'll see a big increase in the readability of Web sites. That said, personally I'm partial to sans-serif, but from the alex poole piece, it looks like in reality there may not be a demonstratively clear answer in terms of which is better.

perhaps having the ability to select basic preferences would be cool (whether you want a wide or narrow page layout and whether you want serif or sans-serif for the primary content font). this could be stored away in a cookie or something.

OR the stranger could make an executive decision and go with just one. Readability aside, sans-serif is more modern and from an aesthetic standpoint would fit better with the "new media" vibe.

Posted by charles | December 28, 2006 12:17 PM

and actually if you're a bit of a typography nerd, you might find this video worth your time. It is really long (just over an hour), but I found it to be a great discussion.

Posted by charles | December 28, 2006 12:19 PM


Posted by Kim | December 28, 2006 12:41 PM

Did anyone check out the cover art gallery?
How sweet is that?
I agree about the dark blue being out of place. The colors on the lineout page feel "more strangerish" to me.
And it's not THAT wide! Stop your crying.
Good job putting all this ish together!

Posted by sars | December 28, 2006 12:52 PM

One thing I'd like addressed is the fact that "This Week on TV" online is only a portion of what's published in print (and at the Portland Mercury site - where they have the problem of not having it updated on Thursday, even though the rest of the paper is). That doesn't have anything to do with the new site but I want to take the opportunity to ask that the Stranger online feature the entire listing.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 28, 2006 12:56 PM

Perhaps the slog listing could feature a box with the last five posts on it. This is fairly common now.

Posted by slog lover | December 28, 2006 12:58 PM

Looks good. One feature request for slog: please provide the capability to filter out particular authors.


Posted by Sean | December 28, 2006 1:04 PM

My main (and only real) complaint is, as others have sad, that the front page is way, way too busy. I haven't done the in-depth poking around that others have, but it otherwise seems OK. I think the look is a little stuffy and corporate for you guys, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. I'd prefer stuffy to "super-funky," anyway.

Posted by Levislade | December 28, 2006 1:08 PM

Survey says: too busy.

Posted by GW | December 28, 2006 1:16 PM

Upgrades to functionality are great!

Redesigned "look and feel" is...not so great. The old site has a brand identity. (The brand identity of your print paper. Appropriate!) The brand identity of this is kinda "My First Resume Template #3." Very clean, conservative and monochromatic. A lovely site for the Seattle Times or the Seattle Weekly. It's weird to read any of your articles in the framework of such conservative design.

Recommendation: Incorporate the functionality upgrades (better music calendar, etc) into the old graphic design. It's a fine site, the eye knows where to go, any scrolling goes pleasantly downwards instead of side to side. Then again, if the purpose of the redesign was to create more ad space to sell at higher prices, well done. But still, don't toss the old graphics. If you are bored and need new ones, shoot for the same style.

Posted by jessiesk | December 28, 2006 1:18 PM

One more thing...keep in mind, all you're getting here are gut reactions (useful, I'm sure, but only to a point). We don't know what your actual goals were for the graphic redesign. Make downloading quicker? Attract more conservative customers? Carve out more ad space? Etc.

OK I'm done now.

Posted by jessiesk | December 28, 2006 1:28 PM

I think I like the old version better. Nicer colors and stuff. The new one feels more sterile.

Posted by oatmeal | December 28, 2006 1:36 PM

If by "conservative", you people mean "looking like something that a person with a brain would want to, and be able to, read", then by all means, get conservative. Oh, yeah, and PLEASE redesign the print version soon too. It's looking a little tawdry.

Posted by Fnarf | December 28, 2006 1:40 PM

First Impressions:
1. Too wide.
2. Too much navigation.
3. Too much content for a front page.
4. Too many calls to action w/o clear expectations.
5. Too much vertical scrolling.
6. Love the search features.

I'd like to see a single navigation menu for sections, incorporating the regular columns and archives.

The font is awful. I expect something slicker and more modern from you kids.

I love the idea of a design contest in the vein of Slashdot - this is Seattle for crying outloud, we should be able to come up with three or four great redesigns that incorporate better browsing, more ad space, and nifty Web 2.0 features!

I do think the site needs to be redesigned - it feels very Internet 1998.

Posted by Soupytwist | December 28, 2006 1:42 PM

I have to agree with the consensus on this re-design it feels like template material not an alternative newspaper Navy and White have got to be the worst choices possible. You picked your pallet already and have branded it – stick with it it’s great.

I think you guys went way to heavy on the modular headers, especially on the SLOG and Line Out. It really distracts the eye having all that horizontal block work. It would feel a lot less if you applied a back ground color to the content areas of the page and scratch the background color and borders around the headers.

Why have you gone with a fixed width? The content area should at least be allowed to flow you could set a min and max width for the content area only, this would allow people to view your pages at there preferred screen rez rather than having to deal with the scrolling. Oh and your pages are not scaling correctly in FF

Posted by quick look | December 28, 2006 2:36 PM

i left my glasses at home, so looking at this now is making my head hurt worse. it's busy. too busy. white space seems to have been pared down considerably, to the detriment of my attention span. considering how many times i've seen my stuff bumped from the front pages into the netherworld of section B, i know it sucks for the writers, but...some of this stuff has got to be pared down. maybe pulldown menus could help for each section. i don't know. that's your call.

the lead story isn't emphasized enough; it doesn't feel like a lead because the font size and the accompanying graphic of Gerald Goddamned Ford isn't as large as it should be.

the dark blue makes me think too much of my dad's old AF uniform, sorry to say. (but please don't go back to the old colors. i like blue. just not THAT blue.)

and scrolling down on my Mac's trackpad so much hurts my fingers. (i use Safari, which less than 2% of online nerds use to browse the internets, so maybe that's my fault and not yours.)

there's promise here, but it's not quite done yet, that much is obvious. good on you for letting us chip in our thoughts.

Posted by Rebecca | December 28, 2006 3:00 PM

Rebecca @ 76: I'm a mac/Safari user too. Use your up and down arrow keys to scroll, it's much easier on the fingers.

Posted by Matt from Denver | December 28, 2006 4:53 PM

I appreciate the effort that goes into something like this, but if I didn't have ADD before, I do now.


Simplify and de-corporatize it a little.

Posted by Ryan | December 28, 2006 5:52 PM

I'm not a big fan of the 1000px width, but the bigger problem for is the total information overload. 6 columns which seem to start/stop randomly. There doesn't seem to be any flow to the page, my eye doesn't know where to look next.

Posted by john | December 28, 2006 8:57 PM

Hey guys--- nice work. I really like the new look.

Posted by Bran | December 28, 2006 10:48 PM

Search function's very useful. Two suggestions:

1) Include dance (also in the left column on the front page) as a category;

2) Provide the full set of search options with the results, so if the user doesn't find music to their taste on a particular night they can start a new search for dance or a movie without backtracking to the previous page.

Posted by Juliet Balcony | December 28, 2006 11:28 PM

Generally the new design is wayyyy too busy, rather inferior to the current one, imho.

Posted by Juliet Balcony | December 28, 2006 11:31 PM

Serious thumbs down. The current website is way more simple, easier to navigate, actually has a decent color scheme. Who the fuck is trying to convince you to make a switch like this? It looks like komo4news or something. BOOOOOOOOO.

The Stranger is one of the last attempts at keeping Seattle real, how the hell are you going to spotlight local artists and musicians on a site that looks like it was built by a young republican?

Posted by flicka van gogh | December 29, 2006 11:39 AM

It looks a lot like this one to me.

Posted by Redshirt | December 29, 2006 12:40 PM

I like the search features and there are less ads to sort through. But the color scheme feels too much like the times or PI or weekly as the above post pointed out. I know its a silly detail, but i read the stranger and use the website daily because its different and i like that. The new site leaves a bad taste in my mouth... I like how much more accesible the features are, but it feels so formal and almost stoic i spose, Even though its just a website... It just doesnt feel like The Stranger...

Posted by Laura | December 29, 2006 1:03 PM

It looks so ordinary and boring. And a little busy. Old design was more pleasing to the eye. cool new features, ie searchable calendar. but please retain some of the fun and good looks of the current site.

Posted by tempforaday | December 29, 2006 1:36 PM

MAJOR props for the zoomable "Get Your War On." About time!

Posted by david | December 29, 2006 1:38 PM

Most of what makes a site design good or bad only becomes apparent after it's been in place for a little while. I can't answer the question of whether the various important bits will jump out at me until I've seen them in action for a little while. So, please make sure that boxes remain constant in size and fixed in placement.

Posted by Fnarf | December 29, 2006 2:05 PM


Posted by sammy | December 29, 2006 2:09 PM

First rule of websites - if it takes more than four seconds to load, you already lost more than 80 percent of the viewers.

You already lost us.

Don't care why, don't care how pretty, it's all about the bandwidth, baby.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 29, 2006 3:55 PM

oh, and @3 (and more) are correct - too many frickin columns.

Less is more.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 29, 2006 3:59 PM

will -- your are correct but i'm under the impression that the preview subdomain is a dev server which means that it will not have the same response time as the production server(s). the key here is to compare the size of the file that you're accessing: current home.html = 35.3 KB; preview home.html = 78.9 KB. Compare to say, the washington post: 169 KB; seattle weekly: 46.9 KB. plus the time it takes for the page to render can be impacted by things like advertisements or other page elements that come from another server entirely.

Posted by charles | December 29, 2006 4:23 PM

I also agree that it seems smarter to modify your old design rather than a complete redesign, but since I know that ain't gonna happen:

1). Navy blue banner = fuckin ugly. Consider having it change each week or ask Johnny Ryan to do it.

2). Width not a problem for me, but you may want to consider more prominent gutter lines to distinguish the columns. Also, it's not clear why some are thinner than others below, i.e. chow is skinny, but music is wide. Why? Why not equal widths?

3). What's SLOG gonna look like?

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