NC Fundraiser Coming Soon Plus Visit Alpha Version of Our Site Redesign

It’s that time of year…. The NC annual fundraiser will be starting soon, meaning the end of this week.

Readers contribute generously to this site in many ways, via sending links, antidotes, hanging out at our water cooler, um comments section, and last but not least, sending money. I hate to be forward about it, but an effort like this does entail the use of that crass commodity. If you believe in Naked Capitalism’s distinctive combination of serious analysis, prescient calls, and no-holds-barred commentary, we hope you’ll show your support via a contribution, either a one-time donation or a subscription.

We also hope you’ll tell us what you like, and where we need to do better, so that we can direct our efforts to things that you consider important.

This site requires an insane ongoing commitment of effort, not just by me but by other important contributors, particularly Lambert. And it’s become more challenging to keep coverage timely and relevant as the effects of the global financial crisis keep fanning out into the political realm. Since we regard our real mission as fostering critical thinking, this year we spent some time on the propagandizing and political fallout resulting from the Snowden revelations and Obama’s plan to intervene in Syria (which sadly we expect to rear its ugly head again in November). So we’ve been stretched even thinner than usual.

As Matt Stoller wrote:

The truth is, you can get lies for free. Wall Street is only too happy to buy advertising, to make sure you hear from their well-credentialed experts. If you are not paying for your media, though, then they are. And you aren’t the customer, you are the product being sold. While this arrangement works, what it means is that you’ll get lies for free. And this is a very expensive proposition. So I hope that you’ll consider, if you haven’t already, putting some dollars towards the Naked Capitalism fundraiser. If you can’t afford much, give only a few bucks. If you can afford more, give more. If you can afford to give a lot, give a lot. It will pay for itself, I guarantee you. This isn’t just giving, it’s a statement that you are want a different debate, a different society, and a different culture. It’s about saying you are tired of the lies you are being fed for free, and are willing to put your valuable resources into reshaping how information in our society flows. It will help policy-makers understand that if they make good decisions, they have allies, and if they don’t, they have enemies.

So, to help keep the blog that never sleeps after the banks that never sleep, please participate when we go live on our fundraiser!

To get a head start on reader input, we have finally made substantial progress on our site redesign (I will bore you later as to why reaching the point where we could begin the process was more difficult than you could possibly imagine).

We recognize that many of you regarded the prospect of a redesign with some trepidation (and given how some redesigns have come out, I can understand your concern. It made me leery too). However, there were multiple reasons to do so. Here are the three biggest:

1. As much as the “letter from the gulag” look can be seen as connoting a sort of gritty authenticity, it can also just be read as amateurish. This site actually is read by Serious People, such as people on the Hill and at financial regulators, and it would help its credibility if it looked more professional (McKinsey spends a small fortune on its firm format and visual presentation of information for this very reason)

2. The right column is ugly and cluttered and has long bothered me

3. Some changes in how the text was laid out (margins, font sizes, headers, etc) would make the site easier and more pleasant to read

Our designer Kristin went through the alpha version of the site last night. We though it looked good enough to show to you. There is still a LOT of work to be done, but we wanted to give you an idea of the proposed look and feel, highlight some new features, and ask for input on some specific questions.

Please DO NOT give lots of nitty gritty feedback at this juncture. I’d rather have you do that on a later version. We’ve already given Kristen a lot of notes, so the odds are high that what bugged you bugged us and is already on her “to do” list, so I’d hate to have you put effort in on our behalf to no avail.

Also, even though Kristin also has formatted the post pages as well as the landing page, we have a lot more notes on the single post page than on the landing page. So feel free to look at them, but they need a lot of tweaks.

Most but not all features render correctly in all browsers, so if something peculiar happens, it is likely to be browser specific and Kristin is aware of those issues. Pretty much everything renders correctly in Firefox, so if you can, please view the draft of the new site in Firefox (one remaining weirdness is one ad block renders as clouds when Kristin tries to fix it, so ignore that glitch). If you cannot or will not user FireFox, please give us your browser’s name, version, and operating system (e.g. Lynx 1.5 on Ubuntu (kidding!)).

Kristin also warned:

There are a couple of elements I am working on in terms of getting the ads working together so what I hate about people judging something that I’m working on is that one moment when the code is broken, half the page could look like spaghetti, and then they hate it but then a few minutes later if they stuck around it would load OK.

So if the site looks really weird, come back later. This is life with alpha releases. Apologies in advance if that happens to you.

So…drumroll…here it is!

Update: Spambots have discovered the dev site, so you’ll now need a username and password, which are:

username: preview
password: nakedcap

New Features

Colors. We had told Kristin up, down, and sideways to keep the old colors, just rebalance them (use less orange, more of the secondary colors). She warned us before showing us her layout that she’d changed them but it would be easy for her to revert to the old scheme if we wanted that. Lambert and I were quite surprised to find we actually think her “cooler” look might indeed be better. But we wanted your take. An additional benefit if you concur is that we’d no longer look like a cousin of Daily Kos.

Menu Bar Landing Pages. Yes, we will soon have proper grown-up site policies and other descriptive info that most sites have. Of course, that means we need to decide what we really are about. Also note the Archives, which are now in the right column, will be listed in the Menu Bar and have its own landing page.

Tip Jar. We will have rotating sharing/cooperating/begging animals, as in a new one every day. We already have 30 thanks to our intern Jessica and will be adding more (if you have high resolution candidates, please send them!)

Improved Recent Comments. The text of each comment is longer, and best of all, when you click on the comment, it goes to the comment itself, not the top of the post as before.

Livelier Links. The color for a link is a bit too subtle right now, so we’ve asked Kristin to amp up the contrast a bit. However, find a link and put your cursor on it. See the color change? I rather like that.

Ability to Change Number of Posts Displayed in Recent Items. The fact that we have five posts listed in Recent Items is a disincentive to adding new posts on a busy news day (in that when a post rolls out of Recent Items, reader comments drop way off, which suggests they quit reading it). This way, if we get a lot of fresh material or otherwise would like to put up more than 5 posts in a 24 hour period, we can make sure they all appear in Recent Items.

Known Items

There are quite a few, but we wanted to point out we are aware of the redundancy in the “Subscribe” options we show in the right column. Fixing one is a bear to recode which is why it isn’t completed yet, but rest assured it will be addressed. I also insisted a RSS reader icon be added in a prominent post, and it will be in the Menu Bar to the right of the search field.

Reader Questions

1. Do you like the new colors?

2. Kristin eliminated “search comments”. Is that a feature you will miss?

3. In the right column, the items at the top are flush left and the ones at the bottom are flush right. That is somewhat driven that we have some flush left items, such at the Money News block, but the ECONNED ad is flush right. When we move the Archives section out, there will be an element added, so you should no longer have the abrupt and jarring shift from flush left to right. However, one reviewer did not like the flush right in the Blogroll and Topics at all. He did not like looking down an alphabetized list where his eye has to zig and zag in and out to find out exactly where he is. That does not bother me. Does that bother you as well or do you think the flush right lists are OK?

Any other high level comments appreciated!

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  1. mookie

    The redesign is a definite improvement, good work! I would really like to see a block near the top of the right column that features five or so of Yves’s recent original pieces that you consider worth highlighting (a new category or topic tag would be the easiest way to implement this). These tend to get lost in the daily deluge of content from here and there.

  2. Optimader

    A comment i would like to offer
    1.)The Topics archive is an sensible aggregation strategy, i think it would be more informative to not strip the posting date . When i research a topic on theweb, i tend to quickly diisregad undated material.
    2.) More Topics
    My best to all in your sisyphian endeavour here!

    1. optimader

      I withdraw comment 1.) I see you have the postdate on the alpha site

      I prefer the orange font, my taste, but I would stick to that, lighter pastels are harder to read particularly on smaller devices, I seem to do a lot of my reading on a iphone.

      (I like the tipjar pic but you’re eating up real estate.)

  3. Bradford Castalia

    The text column seems too wide. There is an optimal width that has been found based on the font size of the text (sorry, I don’t have the URL to the research documentation at hand). Basically, the optimal text column width does not make it difficut for the eye to find is way from the end of one line of text back to the beginning of the next. The text column width of the current site seems pretty good; on the new alpha site it seems too wide.

    1. Synopticist

      Yes, I agree. I think I’ve seen some research somewhere about optimal spacing and stuff. Plus, this may just be a personal thing, but i don’t like the flush left. I prefer a margin, as in a book.

      Otherwise, it looks great.

  4. vlade

    Like, it, especially as the text part is now wider and more readable (and the right hand column doesnt’ take 1/3 of screen estate).

  5. psychohistorian

    The new site looks cleaner and ……designed. The colors work well for me.

    I would move the search to the Archives landing page.

    I am glad to see the rotating blegger pic being implemented…..appropriate application of technology.

    Congrats on the efforts to upgrade your site!

  6. El Guapo

    1. New colours are ok but I prefer the old ones. These might grow on me.
    2. The search feature should stay if possible.
    3. Flush right lists look perfectly fine.

    Overall, it looks good.

  7. Clive

    Hi, bit of a request for some context on “the price of stuff” being as how we have to talk about that unsavory subject of cold, hard, cash.

    For me, I set the “value” I receive from NC (oh no ! It’s finally happened ! I’m channelling Ayn Rand !) on the equivient I pay out for a premium magazine or newspaper subscription. But that, I am wondering, might not be skewed because in the UK this gets affected by things like postal charges (a big cost if you take the print version), discounts applied by the publisher (a big price reducer), whether the publisher is chasing add revenue by bolstering circulation etc. I’m not sure I’ve arrived at a valid price point comparator. Then you’ve got exchange rate factors (I don’t have a good purchasing power rate for GBP/USD which is valid in this exercise).

    So, can anyone tell me what they typically *actually* pay for a premium (such as Time, the New Yorker, American Vogue etc.) ? That would give me a Fair Market Value for my NC “subscription” in USD.

    Of course, I’m a hopeless child of Thatcherism to not be able to unprogramme my brain into rationalising just giving for the sake of it. Which is possibly a Good Thing because if I make a charitable donation, I wouldn’t be as generous. I don’t consider NC “charity” (try picturing Yves as a bag lady, you might get what I mean ) so the premium magazine subscription equivalent works for me, hence the request for information.

    1. participant-observer-observed


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  8. middle seaman

    I’ll continue to support NC in any visual presentation it comes. NC contribution has to coexist with about 10 other target each with its own contribution to society; I am not Soros. A change I would welcome is a stricter selection of post writers. I can compile a list of regulars I don’t appreciate but not publicly; no point in openly tagging some writers as boring and others as shallow.

  9. JL Furtif

    Big thank you to Kristin. A very beautiful and nice design which doesn’t show itself – very hard to do.
    One thing I don’t like is dissimilar behavior. I do appreciate the ‘color change’ for the links in the articles, but there is little to no visual clue for titles and comments anymore (in the current version, they show orange, and hoovering over them shows them as underlined).

    While I’m at complaining, one thing about the mobile version. I only use when on the road, and far away from fixed access. So it takes ages to download ‘’, and when it finally is about to complete, it detects that I am a mobile subscriber, and should be using Onswipe, so off it goes. Isn’t there a way to redirect to Onswipe prior to downloading all of the landing page?

    And finally, a comment on Onswipe itself. I always read oldest (unread) to newest. When I am near the end of an article, Onswipe will propose the next – but older – article, but not the ‘previous’ one. So that requires many button presses to read stuff in the ‘right’ order (or what I consider to be the right order).

    1. erispope

      I would recommend that you look into using an app that reads RSS feeds on your phone; that way you avoid both the issue with the non-mobile site and get to read the posts in your format – without forcing the page provider to do extra work.

      Unsure whether full posts are stored in the RSS feed, though – but perhaps that can be solved with either the RSS feed app or by just going “back” to the RSS feed app after every story.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      There is an icon on Onswipe (I believe upper left, I’m not a device person) which takes you the desktop version of the site. I am ALSO told if you select that, your choice persists for a month.

  10. Lambert Strether

    I wonder if there are any other features “serious people” would appreciate.

    One thing I’m noticing right now is that there’s no way to mail a post from the post page. That seems odd. In fact, I’d consider cleaning up the main page by moving all the mail/FB/tweet icons onto the post pages. After all, how do you know whether to redistribute a piece if you haven’t read it.

    Also, a feature Drupal has, and I don’t know if WP has it, is that users can subscribe to feeds for authors and even tags.

  11. mark worden

    Ok I can handle it. I dislike most site redesigns (eg Big Picture) and drift away. NC still seems spartan and uncluttered.

    I would like some kind of cut line or attribution for the links pix — I had to read too far into the comments to discover okapi — which I should have known anyhow but didn’t.

    I’ll donate again — but wepay had the strangest CC entry, my ol lady thought I was buying porn — not that that’s a bad thing, but…

  12. David Lentini

    I definitely like the larger font size for the articles. I would like to keep the comment search feature. As other have mention, you’ve done an excellent job of keeping and improving on the best of the original.

    Also, I’d like to see a function like Disqus, which Truthdig uses, that notifies commenters on replies and allows Like/Dislike voting on comments.

  13. grayslady

    Looks fine, although I could do without the avatars. Avatars always strike me as unserious. Otherwise, the layout is not so different as to be disruptive to regular readers. Please do not use Disqus–it doesn’t work with Opera, which is the browser I use.

  14. QuarterBack

    On site redesign, PLEASE consider that there are many older readers (and therefore visually challenged) that read the site on iPads and other handheld devices.

    Speaking for myself, I find the “mobile” versions of many sites to be literally unreadable. What I see is a prettier, more structured, placement of the blocks of text on the page, but I cannot read with using a secondary device (an old fashioned magnifying glass). My greatest frustration with these mobile web versions is that they disable the pinch to zoom feature on the iPad and have little or no way to control the font size. The ones that do allow font size changes have so few choices that are so wildly different that I end up either having to choose between 6pt or 72pt (crazy big).

    The NC site falls into the category of sites where the mobile version is UNUSABLE. My workaround has been to go to the main page, then select the desktop version, then navigate to the articles or links. Unfortunately, the pages often revert to the mobile version when they refresh, forcing me to back to the main site and renavigate to the article again. For older articles and web links, it is extremely difficult to apply this go-to-main-pick-desktop-then-renavigate approach.

    The simple solution is to be sure that your page template has an easy to find “view as desktop” button/control on EVERY page. For bonus points allow this preference to be retained for reader’s device.

    There are many sites that I used to regularly read but no longer do because of this simple to fix, but hugely impairing obstacle. NC is, by far, the site that I most look forward to reading and relying upon for finding truth. Please make this small design change and make me (and others like me) very happy!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I pinged Onswipe. They had promised to implement that the opt out (view in desktop version) persist for 30 days. They hadn’t but just said they now have.

      Please let me know if that turns out not to be true. I had thought we had that problem (of forcing Onswipe on people who didn’t like it) solved. Sorry.

      I’m sort of stunned that the big plus feature of little devices, the zoom in/out, does not work in Onswipe. I’d have to think that would make their service a turn-off for a lot of people.

  15. BITFU

    Nice looking revamp!

    For what it’s worth, here are a few considerations:

    1. Column width and font size. Probably the most important factors for a blog like yours in which people read substantive posts.

    It’s a tough call, but you might consider narrower margins on the posts. The Revamp looks wider that the current set-up. The current width is much better.
    Narrow margin make for better reading.

    Check out any of those readability Apps for MAC. They’ve put a lot of work into analyzing these kinds of things. The blogger who runs Social Triggers also has some good stuff on this:

    2. Your comment header is too light: The “______ Thoughts on _____” should be darker imo.

    Also, you might consider changing the box tones of the comments to a different background and color to set the comments apart. While you’re at it, you could also change YOUR comments (or author comments) because those should be distinguished further still.

    Also on comments: maybe some “Reply” set-offs or Reply indentations?

    3. The “Recent Comments” revision is a bit jumbled.

    4. I assume you have a new Header w/ some kind of Naked Cap logo. F*ckin’ A, Yves, you’ve had 54,000,000 hits–get a Brand/Logo. You can still be a Commie/Socialist and have a logo for crying out loud.

    “Yes, I’d like something in a Commie-Bloc Gray, that’s um, you know…kinda Bolshevikian-Spartan.”

    But seriously, you can get something nice for $100. If anything, you’ll make the day of a logo designer.

    5. And finally, the “Share Box” at the bottom of each post is a waste. If the cursor scrolls over it, the box stays up and clutters the whole post. As for Pinterest, Stumble, Reddit, etc…they don’t really bring much to the table.

    In conclusion: You have a magnificent blog because of your content. The fact that you’re not too familiar with Design is testament to the fact that your attention has always been directed to where it belongs…kicking ass and taking names.

    1. diptherio

      Well, there’s already the Llama logo, so maybe that could be used, although I kind of like just using the site name in type-writer font…but maybe that’s just my anarchist-spartan sensibility.

      Tangentially, does that llama have a name? If not, might I suggest “Dolly”? [rimshot]

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      No, “naked capitalism” in American Typewriter in grey IS our logo. We registered that as our trademark. See our favicon!

      It’s part of our “letter from the gulag” branding. Think of all those spy movies where you have an important scene with an old-fashioned typewriter clacking out a critically important message on the screen. That’s what the American Typewriter font evokes, info/insight from the inside you don’t get elsewhere.

      I don’t like slick logos. They generally suck. And big serious professional firms (prestigious law firms, McKinsey, Goldman) don’t have logos, they have carefully thought out presentations of their name in type. That’s it. We aren’t a retail brand, like Target. We are a blog that presents information to a hopefully sophisticated readership.

      Plus they suggest corporate branding and despite the necessity of ads, we are skeptics of Big Corporate America. And none of the big non-MSM blogs has a cute logo save Barry Ritholtz, and I don’t like his. ZH’s logo is not terribly visible in their design and we aspire not to be like ZH in general. Most of the well-respected blogs (Calculated Risk, Baseline Scenario, Felix Salmon) don’t use logos. None of the serious econ ones to my knowledge do either.

      1. optimader

        American Typewriter in grey IS our logo. We registered that as our trademark.
        .. which is branding. Nothing wrong w/ that, don’t fix what’s not broke(orange font)and is distinctive in an inoffensive way.
        I spend little time at Ritholtz redesigned site. May be superficial of me, may be reader unfriendly? I don tlike the cartoonish motif.
        Jesse does a very nice job IMO w/a modest site arrangement, I dig the left column.

  16. tomas

    new site looks great.

    esp like the right gutter flush right. looks modern and opens up space for the content

    i would change the order of the right getter content though

    tip jar
    subscribe links
    econned ad
    blog roll
    recent comments

    …but thats just me

    nice job!

  17. IowanX

    Generally speaking, I like the new design very much. You had mentioned you will add more contrast to the link colors, and I hope you do. As somebody who is color-blind, I often find the link color contrast is poorly done. I’d suggest finding somebody who is color blind and have them look at your redesign. Wikipedia says 8% of men are color-blind, so if you can design with us in mind, I’d appreciate it.

  18. craazyman

    Oh man I hate to be negative but I think it looks ridiculous. The tip jar photo is so huge it’s like a black hole on the page, sucking any initial attention away from everything else. The tip jar is a worthy and laudable feature, but it’s not a 12 foot deep ditch that obstructs the main house. The black horizontal bar with knock out type is so visually heavy it’s almost a fistfight with the photo which in turn overwhelms the site title. There’s no clarity of hierarchy, it’s a migraine jumble competing for attention and if you don’t know where you are you’re lost. It’s like if Michaelangelo made a staute with a 2 foot wide hand and a head the size of a baseball and a foot the size of a chair. Rodin made big hands and feet but they worked in balance with his tense and heavy figures and dramatic themes, like Burgers of Calais. The colors are more numerous but unharmonious, even though green and red are complements all the other colors in the ads and on the page overwhelm any tentative harmony, that’s also destroyed by the heavy blacks and use of grey tints. Less is more. Would Renoir do that? NO, color is subtle and powerful. The black bar up top also wreaks more havoc with the colors. The current version seems to me to have a nimble levitational lightness and multi-dimensional translucency while the new one feels like looking at brick wall. Or some chaotic textbook that weighs 12 pounds. And there’s no Reply button in comments. How can people post their spur of the moment nonsense? I’m sure there’s a way but you might need an instruction manual. This isn’t print. I’m sorry maybe there’s something wrong with me. It doesn’t matter. I’ll still read it but it will be more like medicine than wine. It’s hard to listen to critics. Sorry and just forget about it. It doesn’t matter what I think anyway

      1. just me

        That’s what I was thinking as my heart was sinking.

        1. The antidote du’jour which was NC’s great rise above everyone else is… monetized! Cuts me to the heart.

        2. I also dislike the decorative new text font, which no longer looks like plain, straight, substantial news but like articles I used to see in a wine journal, airy monthly essays with no urgency, vapid substance, I’m so mellow I’ll read it later in my smoking club, oh yeah there is no smoking club. I read it as affected, not effective.

        3. The comments have big blank avatars and space everything out even more. You’ll read the top 3 and blow away the next 95 and never even care.

        Just mho, I’m not Serious, not a motu mofo, and don’t aspire to be, they ruin everything. I hope NC finds a way to keep itself distinguished from that. If they want to be taken seriously, they should copy you. Truly value NC’s content (congrats Yves et al) and like NC better the way it looks now.

        One suggestion I’d have for any site that I use a lot is a calendar that you could click on a day and see what the stories were. Or a gutter that went down to Tierra del Fuego with a running list of past stories. It’s so hard to keep a view of the whole flow.

        Best wishes all.

    1. Lambert Strether

      On the tip jar photo size: I don’t think it takes up any more real estate than the current haphazard arrangment of PayPal buttons.

      On the clarity of heirarchy: Do you have an example of a site that has what you’re looking for here? (I strongly disagree with the idea that the current site has any such thing. I read for the long form, period, and the rest strikes me as a jumble. I’m glad to have a page geometry that’s a little more organized.

      1. craazyman

        There is an inevitable subjectivity to all this, I’ll be first to admit that.

        I recall reading a book about the art of life drawing by a British artist who, in the book, and as an analysis of holistic balance of form and visual rhythm, spent about 2 pages savaging the British approach to Cathedral design and extolling what he saw as the much more graceful and aesthetically superior French approach.

        The author humorously concluded his evisceration of by relating a conversation he had with a British friend, who said “I agree with everything you’re saying, but still, I prefer the British Cathedrals.”

        I like Just Me’s observations above, particularly #3 and the last suggestion. I also like the Search feature.

        I simply don’t feel the same antipathy to the current design that you all do. I think it “works” well visually. It has a cogent simplicity that doesn’t “get in the way” of rambling around and taking it all in. The greens and reds just don’t work in my view in the new design, there’s too much color confusion and too much variation of bolds and non-bolds. It obstructs easy reading. It’s not a coloring book.

        In terms of visual hierarchy and organization of visual weights, the best advice would be to take a look at a few Greek sculptures and Old Master paintings and feel how easily the eye moves around and drinks it all in. You don’t bounce off like a superball.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Right, but do you have a URL to a site that does what you want in terms of hierarchy? I don’t see it at NC, but as you say about cathedrals…. How about a site that does it better than NC?

          1. craazyman

            Well, I’m not very well traveled on the internet so I really don’t have any blog site suggestions that I think nail it in some instructional way.

            I never had a problem with the current site. Never once thought it was deficient or lacking in any way.

            You question is sort of like asking “OK, show me a good portrait that I can use as an example of what to do.”

            The problem is, if one isn’t grounded in the ideas of color, line, form, value, composition — it won’t matter. Somebody can even try to copy a Rembrandt and take 1 year but it won’t ever work that way — unless somebody knows what he knew and how to do it. And if they do, they won’t need to copy, because they’ll do it their way.

            The ideas of visual energy, color, hierarchy, weight and balance, typographical balance and craft. These are abstractions and require a study and sensitivity in order to know them. It’s not possible to just copy something unless one knows what the creator of that something also knew.

            At any rate, the redesign here isn’t even close to the sort of visual assassination that Yahoo managed to achieve when they did their redesign. Flickr became something put on earth to destroy the enjoyment of photographs. Yahoo Weather and Sports are so incoherent they aren’t navigable. I’ve ceased to use Yahoo for weather or sports.

            I hope it doesn’t come to that here. Oy Vey. I may have to figure out some other way to waste time, and that sounds like an utterly exhausting task.

  19. pebird

    Overall like it. Miss the orange, though. I would like to keep search comments – I’ve used it in the past.

    Mobile site should be separate address, I use desktop site in iPad, but can’t always get that to default, sometimes OnSwipe raises its head.

    Idea for logo FWIW: keep same font, size, just have “naked” in outline grey

  20. Will

    I strongly recommend a ‘Background’ link with a single page or small group of pages outlining the foundations of your analysis. These could just be some past posts.

    This can be really helpful for example when I send folks to your site. They can’t possibly search through the whole archive to catch up, and it can be hard to dive in and follow everything.

    Our Finite World:

    Strong Towns:
    Note how Strong Towns has a high-level summary of principles on that page, and a bar of links on the right with material that very quickly gets you up to speed on the key issues. Links in “The Challenge” are huge wake-up calls.

    Something like this could make much more engaging for newcomers.

    Thanks for making this such a great resource.

  21. J Sterling

    1. the new colors are fine. It looks like other blogs now (that is not a criticism)

    2. I can’t miss “search comments” as I never noticed the feature before. I use “Recent Comments” a lot and like the fact that it’s now above the money-making bit (I realize money has to be made from advertising, but I always scrolled down past that section without reading). I like that the recent comments now say what article they are comments to.

  22. J Sterling

    Also, another here who would say “heck no” to Disqus. I would not comment, would not read the comments, and, eventually, would not read the blog.

  23. Faithful Reader

    Faint gray color for Blogroll & Topics is hard on the old peepers. The original orange is easier to see.

  24. Adam S.

    Overall not a bad change. Couple of comments:

    1. Using a lot of whitespace like that makes it hard to define spaces for things. The issue I have with the new site is that the links to external sites are right-aligned. My eye doesn’t know where to focus, and because the margin between the blog stream and the external links isn’t well defined, I get confused. I’d suggest left aligning all items within the right column

    2. The colors of the text have too much black. My eye can almost not differentiate between the black text and the dark red. Combine that with the black title bar and I’d have to say the color scheme is verging on ugly. I’d suggest lightening any colors up.

    3. The ‘dots’ graphic is a bit overstated, partially becuase they’re much larger than the current site, but also because it’s located between each portion of the right side of the blog. I’d suggest making the dots back to the small version or only using them in the main page.

    Overall its always refreshing to see page designs move forward.

  25. diptherio

    The new site looks good to me. I always have the page zoomed in so much that I can barely see the right-hand column anyway. Increasing the link contrast is my only suggestion on the design aspect.

    But since you’re soliciting advice, I’ll add that it would be nice if the footnotes that you and Lambert often include in your essays here internally linked, so that I don’t have to scroll down to read the note and then scroll back up. It’s a minor thing, really, but a pretty easy improvement too. Having a link in the text that shows the footnote when moused-over, like Wikipedia does, would be even awesomer…

  26. Lt. Uhuru

    https/tls. Your readers could use their real emails if it wasn’t quite so easy for Alexander to harvest them and analyze them to determine your sexual proclivities and bra size.

  27. reslez

    I don’t like the colors. Red headers and green links? The only reason it works at all right now is because the squirrel picture has a green background. If your next tipjar pic has a blue sky the page as a whole will have an amateurish rather than cohesive look. A bit too Santa for me.

    I don’t see any color difference for visited vs unvisited links. That really decreases site usability. You post a lot of content and if I miss a couple of days it can be hard to tell what pages I haven’t read yet unless the link color is different.

    Lastly, when you hover over a link it turns blue. Blue and red and green? Total clownshoes. Colors are easy to change, please tweak them.

    1. JTFaraday

      It could be the way my browsers render it because they’re both old old, but it almost all looks like shades of gray to me.

      Red and green not color blind friendly in any case. Isn’t R/G the most common type? Whereas the current orange type likely at least looks like a lighter gray.

      I liked the orange in any case, just because it’s unique. Also, hovering over the links on this page underlines them. I think I like that too.

      Honestly, I never thought this site needed a redesign. And I’m picky. I passed on Faceborg because it was so not-user friendly.

  28. nobody

    1. Do you like the new colors?


    2. Kristin eliminated “search comments”. Is that a feature you will miss?


  29. barrisj

    For those out there who care about such things, “FSTV” (Free Speech TV) is also holding a fundraiser at the moment – FSTV hosts Amy Goodman’s DemocracyNow! and Thom Hartmann, among other programs. Trying to get some traction in a difficult environment.

  30. Jeff W

    Looks nice!

    Tip Jar—too big.

    Colors—too muted. I can’t actually tell what the post heading color is. Harvard crimson? (I prefer the current orange—it’s a bit off-beat for a economics/finance site which might be why you want to change it).

    Color of links—the color changing is nice but, definitely, the colors of the links need to be amped up.

    Flush right column-I like it. The flush left might be slightly easier to scan but the flush right balances the flush left text on the left.

    Column width of main column-I agree with other comments that the current column width is better. (Narrower columns are easier to read.)

    Recent Comments section-too tight. It feels a bit like reading the old classifieds. Also, it seems like there is equal space between the name of the commenter/link and the comments above and below so it’s difficult to tell (at first glance) which comment goes with which name/link. (Just randomly, here’s an example [scroll down] that spaces the comments out and makes it very clear who is making the comment—I’m not saying I love it but it’s easier to read and figure out.)

    Headings (these: Recent Items, Date [“Saturday, September 1, 2012”)—too big. These can be brought down a few sizes so that they register but don’t compete with the post headings.

    I have a few other comments (about replying to a comment, the Contact info and one or two other things but those can wait.

  31. ChrisPacific

    1. I like the new colors.

    2. I would miss this feature, although selfishly what I mostly use it for is looking for old comments of mine on various issues (sometimes to track what I’ve said, sometimes to remind me who or what I was replying to). However as you’ve often said that the quality of the comments is one of the things you value about this site, I think it would make sense to retain the search.

    3. Flush right looks fine to me visually.

    In general I think it’s a good redesign. One comment is that although I like the font, visually it looks a bit blotchy, as though it was created by a printer with a low ink supply. On closer inspection this seems to be because of the diagonal strokes in lower case letters like ‘w’ and ‘y,’ which seem very light compared to the other letters and create phantom ‘gaps’ in the text, at least to my eye. I’m not sure whether others agree or if this is just a perception issue of mine.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      The text font is EXACTLY THE SAME, Optima, although it might be rendering differently due to the increase in size. I’ll have Kristin look into why it seems lighter. As Lambert said, it might be the leding (the spacing w/in the line) and not the letters proper. He thinks there are leding issues.

      1. just me

        It’s NOT the same font, on my browser anyway. The font on this page is what, Arial or something like? A common, plain, nondecorative, sans serif typeface. Not Optima, not precious. It’s not a leading or kerning issue, it’s a font issue. Unless it’s a browser issue.

        FF 12, Linux Mint 13

        Best wishes

  32. Martskers

    I’m a big believer in the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” principle, and as far as I’m concerned, NC’s current site format ain’t broke. I like it just the way it is. I think of it as comfort food for the mind.

    I know these words are frequently paired, but I suggest that things that are new are not always necessarily improved. This would be one such example. Don’t change a hair for me, not if you care for me.

  33. allcoppedout

    I know I’m odd, but all I want is content I can navigate and ads I can block. But I can barely watch science and nature films with the ‘Blue Peter’ commentary left on! If we could develop a business model we’d be able to destroy main media dominance. Pity I can’t redirect my increasingly useless BBC fee here!

  34. Old Hickory

    Nice! I like the new colors. Seems to have improved readability without compromising samizdat appeal.

  35. Bagehot-by-the-Bay

    I’ll try to keep it short and high-level:

    (1) I for one think “Recent Comments” sections are a waste of screen real estate. I never feel I know how they are selected and, in any event, I’d much rather read them down below in order; that’s a conversation. I know these sections are all ze rage but the feel like fake Twitter feeds designed to produce an illusion of activity.
    (2) Has your nominal page width creeped up? It might be me, but I had to resize to get a nice fit.

    (3) I’ve always wanted a Print button for your posts. They are often worth saving!

  36. Samuel Alexander

    I can at last donate. Very excited. This is such a great site. First stop every day on the web–well, when I didn’t have a job.

  37. MichaelC

    Overall , I like the look and feel

    I love the new placement of the antidote. it is a delight to see it so prominently displayed and it’s a better branding device there, plus I think everyone just loves it.

    I’d like to see you move the Econned icon to a more prominent positions, perhaps you can swap locations with the sponsored links section.

    I appreciate the need for ad placement but does it need to be prominent at the top next to the naked capitalism logo? Frankly that’s always bugged me.
    In the alpha version the same ad appears across the top and in he sidebar. if more ad revenue is generated from clicks in the side bar icon then I’d vote for dropping it from the top line.

    Placing it on the sidebar with a reminder wink that a subversive slick on the link helps fund the site would be an appealing bit of ironic protest for us NC fans.
    I mean really, on a day you’re savaging the titans, ads for their ‘services is the first thing you see. It always makes me chuckle, but I think you should exploit the irony more explicitly and profitably.

    I’ll click the ad if I know you’re getting a slice of their ad budgets.Delicious! so why be shy about it?

    That might free up productive real estate up top for better use.

    Still supporting Occupy! Kudos for keeping the banner. Ritholz dropped his,when he redesigned, but as you know, it survives and the banner deserves pride of place, so good for you.

    I’d rethink ‘Recent Items as a category title. How about “Latest” rather than “Recent’?

    The new format feels evolutionary, In comparison to Ritholz Big Picture redesign, this one is much lest jarring, and more elegantly updated, which is what I would have expected.

  38. Kim Kaufman

    I’m using Internet Explorer 10.0.9.

    1. I like the older text better. It’s blacker, more compact and easier/quicker to read.

    2. The right side falls off my screen. So there’s a lot of white in middle of the screen. I will send a screen shot.

    3. I can’t see any colors on the links. If I run my cursor over some text,then they show up. But not very brightly. I like the present colors. But that may be because I’m not really seeing any colors. Also if I can’t see a link when reading I’ll never know it’s there.

    4. I would prefer left alignment for blog roll like it is now. Easier to read since I really don’t need to read past the first word and my eye can just go quickly down a straight line.

  39. Peter DeBoer

    Well, where to start…

    Overall, sort of okay.

    When will more designers start adapting the basic typographic standards or rules that have worked for years and years?

    Colored type? What’s the flavor of month? Gray green? Not with those font weights and styles.

    Needlessly hard to read.

    Some of the characters of the font literally go limp between font choice and a color that tries to be a non-color, color. There’s subtle, which is good, but then there’s the case for ease of read. The latter is missing.

    @BITFU covered most of the important stuff and does a good job on it.

    Now, about calling some generic type in gray a logo. Hahahahahahaha. I do enjoy you sense of humor, Yves. And then there’s the use of the word IS. Okay, that’s not even close, so no cigar. [sfx: rimshot]

    There’s another blog mentioned that all but jumps the shark, The Big Picture. I spend very little time there anymore. Graphically as smug as the shot of what’s his face. It somehow all works together, though, awkwardly self important as it all is, but who cares?

    At least your staying well away from that trite, overwrought, peusdo-hip mess, but I digress…

    I love this blog. Keep going, refining.

    Someday, when they get to 4K res and they can deliver most places, there might well be a golden age of site design, until then, we all suffer from the paucity of legible fonts that have some character too. Right now, the typography looks like an attempt at doing something a bit more tasteful. Too bad the technology isn’t up to it.

    That said, these days, here are a few that more or less work for me: Mother Jones hits a decent mix type, measures, etc., for what it’s trying to do, as does New Republic and some parts of Newsweek. All different though, from here, as to what happens with the various constraints and needs.

    All this sort of reminds me of what we used to say, years and years ago, in the biz: Speed, quality or price, pick any two.

    I do like the tip jar look… maybe the type could be a touch smaller- more low key.

    Designing is a lot tougher than it looks, especially when the best graphic design typically has an almost effortless feel to it. With the net, effortless has never been part of the mix, it’s still too primitive a medium.

    Yves, it’s getting there. Kristin is on the right track. Good luck with the whole thing.

  40. optimader

    One more observation.
    I think it would be convenient to have at least two days of “Recent Items”.

    Perhaps have the Items go to smaller font as they age to save real estate?

  41. Lambert Strether

    A kitten dies every time we get a bug report with no information about the browser and OS used!

    We greatly appreciate the bug reports, but to fix a bug, we must be able to reproduce the bug. Not all browsers work the same way on all platforms! So information like “FF 24.0 on Windows 7” really does help.

    If you have a heart of stone, and endangered kittens mean nothing to you, consider that minimizing the detective work the designer must do minimizes the bill that Yves must pay.

    This has been a public service announcement with no guitars.

  42. just me

    Second day of looking at it. Still stand by what I said above, but first thought again today is the font is wrong. Seriously. Actually, fonts are wrong, the headlines hurt.

    FF 12 on Linux Mint.

    Best wishes.

  43. Lonely_in_Dallas

    Hi there!

    I don’t like the green font for the links — too hard on the eyes. Please use a darker color.

    BTW I am really fond of the orange font and will miss it badly.

  44. just me

    A late site redesign comment:

    I do use the search box and do want a search box, but if there’s an alternative to google being behind it, that might be better — less rented, maybe.

    I just tried to find an old NC post. Search brought up several links right away, but none of them go to the article itself, only to pages that a link to it once appeared on, no longer accurate. Can’t get to the article that way now. I’ll have to navigate to it another way, try another way outside NC, now that I can see the exact title and date. Meanwhile, I wonder if the straight link is somehow suppressed. Because google… ?

Comments are closed.