Let’s clarify something first, whilst we’re fans of The Guardian’s chin strokingly Lefty editorial, we’re not quite so found of is their new site design. After 18 months of beta testing, and despite overwhelmingly scathing feedback (to put it mildly) their new bulletin-board-meets-Tumblr aesthetic looks and performs, well, a bit…shit.
There’s no denying The G’s editorial is often thought provoking, interesting and intelligent, but when all’s said and done the new layout just looks plain messy, favouring oversized stock photos over actual content – causing its users more unnecessary scrolling than your average visit to Ninegag.
Yet with a new year comes change, and while we’re not opposed to a good re-design, this re-design was far from good. Luckily for us, we’re not just the internet equivalent of elderly people yelling at fences, as the majority of the 4000+ posts on their site seem to share our sentiment.
After a wave of negative reactions to the original beta testing, you would have thought The Guardian would amend their unpopular new look, but apparently they have other ideas.
While innovation should be applauded, innovation for innovation’s sake benefits no one – as Microsoft painfully proved with their last OS. While Windows 10 looks promising, the unusable mess that was early Windows 8 angered many by making previously simple tasks a chore. Want to go to the start menu? Why not navigate through a minefield of annoying tiles first!? The baffling decision to base the entire OS around a touch screen turned away loyal PC users rather than converted them to Windows phones and tablets like the big M hoped.
Hell, many users even reported severely lengthened boot times and bad performance issue, causing a wave of consumers to do the unthinkable – downgrade to *gasp* WINDOWS 7!
Unfortunately for Bill Gates and co, that wasn’t Microsoft’s only recent digital disaster. Riding high on the success of the Xbox 360, Microsoft boldly announced that their new console would focus on TV, Kinect integration – and this is the clincher- would only work when connected to the internet. Ironically, the world wide web exploded in anger, with all of these people with working network connections complaining about an issue that wouldn’t affect them. Yet trusty Metropolist cynicism aside – their anger wasn’t entirely unfounded. If little Johnny wants to play the latest Forza or Halo but dad (lets call him big Johnny) doesn’t want him interacting with the dredgs of humanity festering on Xbox Live, both Johnnys are in a spot of trouble.
Like with the Guardian redesign and Windows 8, these changes aren’t appreciated upgrades, but forced changes that actually negatively affect the user. What was wrong with consoles just, you know, working – regardless of internet connection? Yet credit where credit is due -eventually Microsoft bowed to the pressure and attempted to woo back their userbase by completely scrapping the always online policy.
While many people are hesitant to change instinctively, changes that go against what people love about your brand benefits no one. Ignoring your userbase’s concerns entirely doesn’t make you a bold new innovator, it just makes you seem rude and arrogant. Yet sadly, it looks like The Guardian are sticking to their guns, so we better all get used to feeling like we’ve accidentally stumbled on an overexcited 14 year old’s blog.