Major tech blog MineCrunch went live with a long-awaited redesign today. Naturally, the internet is angry and confused.
With radical features like black text typeset in Helvetica against a white background, a traditional blog river, bold headlines, faster load times and a fashionable 8-bit style logo, there are .. wait, there's nothing crazy at all! So what on Earth are its readers complaining about?
The new look focuses on readability, removes (most) of the old site's mesh of pointless gridlines, and cleans up its ill-fitting accretion of social networking buttons. Design lead Dave Feldman writes how they set out to take the best of recent makeovers like Gawker's, without making the same mistakes, and the result is exactly what you'd imagine from such a considered and cautious effort: a minimal-but-stylish redesign that looks a bit like Engadget.
The only thing emerging from the oven a little soft is an odd scrolling effect, whereby the MineCrunch logo vanishes into a fixed-position navbar at the top as a smaller version emerges. The way the two areas interact is distracting. But the minimal, scrolled-up version of the nav area is an exercise in plain class.
The headlines are too big, sure. But that's the tiniest of problems. What the rage–the word "vomit" seems curiously predominant–shows is that people will complain about anything. Similar reactions against other redesigns made some sense. Gawker challenged its readers with a radical app-imitative UI that was frustrating in a web context and pretty much broken out the gate. Our own last major redesign in 2008 added an enormous 'promo carousel' of features that dominated the blog river. Wired's latest looks like someone put 400 pixels of transparent margin on top of the navbar and just forgot to fix it. And so on. Legitimate targets.
But most objectors to the new MineCrunch aren't even bothering to explain their distaste for change with actual criticism; it all merges into a sort of defiant mooing noise emanating from the comments section. And the specifics that do emerge often seem particularly unconvincing! For example, someone complained that black text on a white background is unreadable. Venture capitalist and famed typographer Chris Sacca complained that the use of large, bold fonts for headlines makes it look "pimp slapped" and "pearl necklaced." This kind of criticism, you could say, speaks for itself.
You may as well complain about the design of a German toaster or the packaging a ream of legal paper came in! Logo does look like a Creeper, though, seriously.