Internet technology, business and culture blog The Next Web has unveiled a major redesign. The update is named TNW: Reader Edition and, as stated in a press release, it "focuses on improving readability, mobility and browsability thanks to simplified UI, speed and the wonders of HTML5".
Changes to the site include a dramatically streamlined layout, which reacts responsively to various viewport sizes. Browsing is sped up by a real-time feed of popular stories, and there are keyboard shortcuts to access next and previous posts. CEO Zee M Kane told .net that the changing nature of how TNW is consumed was a huge driver behind the redesign: "We're seeing over 30 per cent of our traffic via mobile – and that's continuing to grow. Therefore, ensuring our new site experience was as elegant and usable on mobile as on desktop was vitally important." Kane noted that the site was only reworked two years ago, but said the pace of mobile development has been incredible, cementing itself at the forefront of how people consume content.
The redesign also appears to respond to other trends, not least power users increasingly relying on 'readability' services to strip junk and get at the content. "The redesign really came down to establishing the simplest experience possible and getting rid of what was unnecessary," affirmed Kane, who noted news sites, blogs and online magazines typically have an article, then several different story streams/navigations surrounding it, in the hope of driving readers elsewhere on the site. "We wanted to simplify that and provide one impossible-to-miss, simple-to-navigate stream of content, constantly visible no matter where on the site." Usability was further enhanced via the aforementioned keyboard shortcuts, which Kane said were built "for ourselves as many of us are big keyboard shortcut fans," adding: "We can only assume that most geeks, and therefore our readers, are too."