New York Magazine Web Redesign: The Elephant in the Room

new-york-magazine-logo
So New York Magazine debuted their new homepage yesterday, and from what I can tell, the internet is underwhelmed by the change.  Even the magazine itself is asking us to be patient, and I’m not sure why. Below is the before and after of the homepage.

Before:

a-Screen Shot 2013-05-31 at 1.32.58 PM

After:

NYMAG

It’s true there isn’t much of a shift, but there’s a huge aspect of this website nobody else is talking about: the mobile version.

I don’t know why people aren’t reviewing the mobile version of the site. In fact, it’s kind of shocking – mobile news consumption is spiking to legendary levels, and everyone is ranting about mobile journalism being “the future.” If you are starting a news platform, you need to make it for mobile. Doing otherwise would be shortsighted, considering usage trends.

So why the hell is nobody talking about the New York mobile site?

Screw it. I’ll do it. This website is killer and obviously took a lot of work. If you ask me, the website looks and operates better on a mobile device, making New York a powerful presence in the world of digital magazines.

Let’s explore.

New York’s website has adopted a smooth, intuitive responsive design. The spans and divs flow together smoothly, and there are three “snaps” when re-sizing. It’s no secret New York is dedicated to this design – last year they tried to pretend they weren’t totally committed to it, but I’m not fooled. Responsive is awesome: it’s easier to code (than say, 3 different apps for mobile software), it creates continuity between platforms and it looks damn cool.

And that intuitive thing: there’s a running argument about the effectiveness of mobile UX, and this is nothing new. Hell, there’s an entire acronym dedicated to the interactions between human beings and technology: HF&E, or Human Factors and Ergonomics. (Spoiler alert – I’ll have a blog about this next week.)
My argument is that New York’s website is positively ergonomic. There’s only 4 swipe directions on the x and y axes, and the website is designed to promote that swipe. Look at this screencap from my phone.

Screenshot_2013-10-08-14-55-46

See how the second story is cut off from the right? The second I saw it I knew I had to swipe right, which led me to a revolving queue of top stories. Also see the same cutting effect at the bottom of the frame.

Also easy to comprehend is the tabs at the bottom of the frame. I don’t know what they mean (I’m not a regular reader) but made sense to snap through them. See how they’re framed? They look just like tabs in a web browser. There’s that UI/UX culture I was telling you about. If it ain’t broken, don’t fix it.

Is that intuitive enough for you, ladies? Needless to say, I’m endlessly excited for New York Magazine – they keep moving up. They just won the Cover of the Year Award from ASME over the summer, and I don’t think they’ll be stopping this excellence anytime soon. I can’t believe I worked in the same office building as them.

iwan_baans_post-sandy_manhattan_shot_makes_asme_cover_of_the_year

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