Reddit’s design has been the same for a very long time. Some might think of it in terms of an “old faithful” type approach. But others might actually think that it’s stale and it needs an update. “They” suggest that websites need a regular redesign. The look becomes outdated after a year or two, so it’s kind of a surprise that Reddit hasn’t updated their website since 2008. On the other hand, if it’s not broken, then why fix it?
I mean, look at Google. Yes, they get an update every now and then, but for the most part, the main google.com landing page looks the same. One could make the same argument for Reddit as well. All of that said, Reddit is finally rolling out their first major redesign in a long time. But it’s only available to one percent of the website’s population and will make its way to more people in the coming months. This is all great news, don’t you think?
The interesting thing is that Reddit didn’t go about making this a traditional redesign. In my experience (and I work in government), getting a website redesigned includes a lot of stakeholder meetings and feedback etc. This can be extremely time consuming and not really that efficient. Nor does it always produce a visually appealing But, according to Wired, two people from Reddit randomly surveyed people at San Francisco’s Union Square. The two researched asked about whether they understand how the website works. Their findings indicate that people “get” what Reddit is, but don’t understand how to use it or what to look for.
This is incredibly important because Reddit is a huge social networking tool. And honestly, being able to navigate their site properly lends to their reason for existing. So if users can’t figure it out, you’re kind of missing out on potential “business”.
Also interesting – the team came up with three views that you can choose from. Your choices are: the Card layout, the Classic layout, and the Compact view. Each brings its own unique spin to the website. The Classic layout is very similar to the current layout, but with some minor tweaks. While that in itself isn’t interesting, the fact that you can switch between these three views is what I think is neat. Reddit is asking users to choose their own way to experience the site. When you click a post, it’ll now open in a lightbox without taking you away from the page you’re on. You’ll also get new fonts, a clearer distinction between external links and links to other Reddit posts, a more prominent button for creating new posts.
The goal of this redesign is to make Reddit simpler and more efficient. Redesigns aren’t always welcomed, but I think in this case, it will be (or it should be) because you can choose the way that you want to interact with the site. To me, that’s taking a user’s needs into consideration, rather than making assumptions about what people want to see or how they experience a website.