Notes on the new design

January 16, 2013

As you may have noticed, Wonkblog's undergone a bit of a redesign. Don't worry! It's all going to be okay.


Yes, the blog looks different. But it's not here to hurt you! (Sebastian Widmann / DAPD)

Here's the thinking: The first version of this site was a straightforward blog. A few paragraphs of each post on the main page, then an invitation to click to read more. So long as it was only me writing, that was enough. But the move to Wonkblog meant three more writers and, consequently, much more content. Putting four paragraphs of each post on the front page was unmanageable.

That led to the second iteration of the site, which was the design we had until this evening. We collapsed each post so the front page displayed a headline and a blurb. The idea was to make it scannable: You could scroll down the page, open what you wanted to read in new tabs, and then move onto the actual posts.

But Wonkblog's grown up. With the addition of Dylan Matthews and Neil Irwin, we've gone from four to six. And that's before you count the occasional contributions from Post colleagues like Zach Goldfarb, Ylan Mui, Steve Pearlstein, Howard Schneider, and Jim Tankersley, or the outside contributors, like Evan Soltas with Wonkbook, or John Sides, Danny Hayes, and Dan Hopkins with our weekend political-science column.

As the quantity of content has grown, so too has the quality: It's much more common for one of us to go on the road for a few days to write a long, deeply reported story, or for Dylan to spend a month building a model that lets you make solve the fiscal cliff or make Mitt Romney's tax plan add up. But it's a bit of a drag when that story gets posted at 10am and we have no way to signal to you, the reader, that it's something special, something you should see to before it gets buried by the rest of the day's content.

Hence the new design. The idea behind the third iteration of the site was to create a hybrid of a blog and a magazine or newspaper front. At the top of the page you'll see seven slots of curated content. That allows us to feature our best work even as we post newer work. So if you can only check in with the site once a day, or a few times a day, it'll be easier for you to find the best posts rather than drowning in the latest posts.

But below that -- and it's not far below, don't worry -- is the blog just as you've known it for the last year. Everything we post, in reverse-chronological order, so you can go through the site at your leisure, choosing what you want to read. So there are, in essence, two ways to read the blog now, and you can choose the one that fits your needs.

There will be bugs to work out, and design features to perfect, and we need and appreciate your feedback in figuring all that out. But we think this design will lead to a better site for you, both in terms of user experience and in terms of giving us more flexibility  to grow and experiment and bring you new kinds of content.

As always, thank you for reading.

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