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This morning, Ausdroid has taken the wraps off a project it has been working on for a little while. Our goal has been to make Ausdroid faster, more responsive and easier to read on the run (whether via our recently released mobile app, or via a web browser). So, without further delay, please put your hands together for Ausdroid 4.0.

Key elements of this new design include:

  • Clean, white interface with fewer graphic elements — this means faster load time.
  • Responsive layout — looks great on mobiles, tablets and desktops without clumsy mobile themes.
  • Ease of maintenance, meaning less time with things not working properly.

There’s a few places that show off some of the special features of the theme, so amongst everything else, make sure you check out:

Most importantly, though, we want your feedback on this new look. Please tell us what looks great, what doesn’t, and any suggestions you have which would make Ausdroid easier to read and enjoy for all.

Tags:
  • Michael Brown

    Oh – and would it be hard to add a search box at the top somewhere?

  • Phill Edwards

    I like the new look on my mobile (LG G2). Agree with others’ comments that 2 columns don’t look good on PC.

  • Festivus Oz

    Hi Team,
    Thanks for your continued efforts on bringing visual improvements and great Android content. Just love it.
    The new look is quite clean on both the PC and phone and I am adjusting to the new look favourably. However some points of note/suggestions for improvement:
    PC
    1. The lines separating articles need to be bolder i.e. try scrolling quickly down page and you will see what I mean. The current color palette and line are good. It would be improved in my opinion if it were thicker.
    2. Please consider daily sales updates as an article per the mobile site and remove from side banner. Also please note the last entry appears as the 15th.
    3. On IE / Win 7 the topmost article on main page is per as rynnlic’s pic below. Jst first article. However this was not the case at 6pm today (Melb)
    PHONE
    All great and a considerable improvement. Though not as noticeable on phone separation could be a little thicker
    Keep up the great work and thanks

  • rynnlic

    Not good on firefox 25.0.1

  • Harpersneil

    Don’t mean to jump on the band wagon, but I MUCH prefer Ausdroid with a single column. Thanks for listening!

  • David Watt

    I agree that the 2 columns just doesn’t work, at all. Very messy and not easy to glance at. Another issue is that big waste of space up the top, just for the date. It puts a gap of around 100px (at a guess) from the top of the page, to the top of the ad. It’s the first thing I noticed. The banner ad location is awful too (I know it’s a prime spot). It ruins the look of the front page. The first article headline doesn’t even start until literally halfway down my page (2048×1152 res). The sub menu formatting isn’t nice. I have everything on one row, except “CONTACT” which is on a second row all on it’s own, which looks rather amateur. I do like the cleaner look though.

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Chris

      Hey David, thanks for the feedback. I agree — the top navigation really is superfluous, and for now, it’s gone. We’ve also changed the CSS around the header ad, so those who want to use AdBlock won’t see a waste of space. Ordinarily, I’d rather annoy adblock users, because frankly, they’re costing us revenue which we need to survive, but hey, let’s try the honesty system, so now when adblock is run, the whitespace will disappear. With changes to this layout, the first article header is just on a quarter of the way into the page on your display layout.. which should make it a little nicer. As for the sub menu, this SHOULD change to a dropdown menu if the screen is too narrow for the items to fit on a single row. We’ll experiment with this some more.

      • Fred

        You’ve obviously changed it since this morning – but it’s still a fat girl in a small dress.

        Honestly, have far too far too much wasted space. Currently the front page is a 218px x 350px image scaled to 862px x 1383px. looking like sh*t and taking up basically every bit of space. I’m sure someone told you you needed to make things bigger for mobile users, but frankly I didn’t buy FullHD screens so you can fill them with f*ck all.

        You have ONE story, on 4.4 rollout to Nexus devices taking up the ENTIRE window. In terms of actual worthwhile content, that’s a single line of value. In information bandwidth terms that’s horrible waste of time and space.

        More emphasis on content, more content, and less vast expanses of single colour that make magazine designers happy but have nothing to do with mobile content.

      • Fred

        Well, I have to say, if it’s by chance or you are actually listening, you are reacting to what’s put forward.

        Therefore, I say, it you are using Masonry, there is nothing that says things have to be laid out as either simple two columns, or simple single rows. Masonry gives you quite a bit of flexibility. Couple some “how important is this story” (part input, part comment number) with the flexibility it has, and you can end up with some interesting stuff. You can break that damn rectilinear grid for a start.

        I’ll give one hint – there’s content layout (stories) and there’s page layout. Few are going to resize a window once loaded, and you don’t have to pick the same page layout for different devices. Keep the content and the page layout functions as separate as possible and you can really have reactive at load time. Knowing, or guessing, PPI helps.

      • David Watt

        Hmmm….I replied agian but it didn’t work :/

        I don’t use an ad blocker myself. I do occasionally click your ads :) One column is now much better. There still feels like too much stuff at the top (or its just too big). On the home page I see less than 2 articles without scrolling down. On a page like Neowin, I can see 3 and thats with extra image links to other articles above them. I just prefer minimalistic themes like Neowin. Far more content in one page. The articles on the home page just seem too large.But I think thats because you guys use larger “everything”. Larger fonts, images etc…the most recent tweaks are definitely an improvement though. I do like the clean look, clean colours, flat images etc…as already mentioned, perhaps flatten the Ausdroid logo with a refresh…

  • Brad Hook

    I’m on Chrome for Windows here:

    I’m all for new things, but I loved the old layout. This one is ugly, boring and uninspired.

    Two columns for stories absolutely sucks (and I mean REALLY sucks). All caps for headings sucks. Top of the website looks stupid for people using AdBlock.

    Just don’t understand the need to change it. The old one looked great, no matter what device it was used on.

    Upon loading the site up on Chrome Beta on my I9505, I agree; I do like the mobile view (bar the CAPITAL HEADERS). But I just can’t deal with this desktop view. I’ve seen some bad website designs in my life, but this one is up there as one my most unliked.

    At the end of the day though, it’s not my opinion that matters. If the staff like it, then I can deal with it. It’s not going to turn me away from the website. I love the articles here.

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Chris

      Hi Brad, thanks for your feedback. The old layout was getting past it’s time — it was a pig to maintain, and required a lot of behind the scenes work. We need something more flexible and more responsive… and this is the best compromise we’ve found.

      Onto the constructive feedback, I agree, two columns doesn’t really work. Let’s experiment with one. We’ve also lost the all-caps, and the blank space left vacant when people use adblock will now disappear. If people aren’t going to view our ads (and help keep us running) then we might as well roll up that space and use it for something else.

      Our goal, in having commissioned this design, is to keep things fast, simple and clean, and easy to run. We know that people love our content, and we respect that — we want to make it as accessible as possible.

      • Brad Hook

        So much respect for taking readers comments onboard and acting on it quickly. Great staff here.

  • JeniSkunk

    Homepage has a bug on Safari for Windows.
    The page numbers are overlaying the comment count on the bottom most stories, rendering that article’ link on the comments count inaccessible.

    My opinion of the new layout, I do not like it.

    Suggestions:
    Go back to 1 column for the articles.
    Make a dark theme for the site. Think power saving on devices.
    Wide screen and narrow site is a waste of space. Make a site theme that is made for wide screens, which uses the full screen width.
    The ad space above the Ausdroid logo is more wasted space. You have open, empty space below the latest site comments area. A skyscraper ad there instead, hmmmm?
    Lose the all caps article headlines.
    Make the spacing between the comments count of an article, and the date line of the next article, the same. Currently that spacing is uneven.

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Chris

      Hi Jeni. Thanks for your thoughts. As per my earlier comments, we’ll experiment with the single column and more of an excerpt so people can get more of a feel for the article before reading on. A dark theme we’ll think about. As for a wide-screen theme… I’m a bit hot and cold on this; too wide a site is hard to read, and certainly from asking only a narrow group of people, reading text that’s more than a few inches wide is more taxing, and less preferable, though we’re open to different ideas. The blank space above the logo is now gone, and as for a skyscraper ad, we’ve tried these in the past and frankly they’re ugly and no one advertises in them — they’re a poor earner for us, and a poor substitute for a leaderboard (which, to be honest, keeps most of our expenses covered). All caps is gone and we’ll play with spacing. Cheers, C.

      • JeniSkunk

        Chris, the bug I reported on in Safari for Windows is still present, but now it’s even worse with this redesign. Posted screenshot on the Ausdroid G+

      • JeniSkunk

        With the themes, I was thinking of having them as options available, but not being set as default.

        On my 1920×1200 desktop, the current Ausdroid page layout only uses the centre one-third of the screen. That means the bulk of the screen width is being wasted doing absolutely nothing. A widescreen theme would be a way to use up that wasted space.

        I didn’t realise how useless skyscraper ads had proven. I was simply thinking of them as an alternative to the banner ad, to use up the wasted space below the latest site comments section on every page.

  • Ahmato27

    Looks neat and flat. Now what you should do is get rid of that gradient in your logo and make it flat as well. Consistency.

  • Jack

    Love the new look, very clean and refreshing. My only suggestion would be to differentiate between the stories on the homepage a bit more, I wasnt quite sure where one story ended and another began. Maybe put them on Cards? that would be cool

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Chris

      They’re gone! :)

      • Jack

        Great! I’m really impressed by the degree that you actually implemented feedback from this thread! Nice work!

  • toast

    Fun little javascript games with the columns there.
    Shuffling things into 1, 2 or 3 columns as you resize your browser window.
    I’ll have to look in the sourcecode to see what you are using to do that.

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Chris

      It’s a library called masonry.

      • toast

        I’ll look into it. I have a page that could use that.

  • toast

    Yeah nice. Easier to read. Neater. Good good on the phone too.
    I will agree that it’s a bit large of a blank space at the top.

    EDIT: I just turned off Adblock… ahh yes. Now the space at the top makes sense.

  • Gregory Williams

    It says November 21st at the top but its the 22nd.

    Other than that awesome stuff! I like the colour scheme looks nice. Although I agree a single column is easier to read.

    • http://ausdroid.net/ Chris

      We got rid of the date completely. Wasn’t really useful :-)

      • Gregory Williams

        Cool, nice work, the changes you made to the final design looks great!

  • Ash8

    I agree there is a bit to much screen realestate devoted at the top to shares, ads etc. In my opinion, just move the date/share links to the right of the Ausdroid banner and just decrease the gap size a little between everything up there.
    Other than that, looks good to me. I like seeing more stories at one glance in the 3 column page. It looks cleaner with a touch of the google simplicity about it :)
    (viewing on a 24″ portrait mode).

  • Fred

    Agghhh, a horrible mess.

    * Far too much space wasted at the top of the page, there absolutely ZERO visible content above the fold, the top line is pointless, the advert obtrusive (and the space doesn’t collapse for those with adblock sensibly turned on), the title is too big, the menu line wraps unless you have a certain width (hardly responsive), the right hand column is offensively big and useless.

    * I know the red braces brigade love blocks of colour – but they are blockheads and it look terrible, particularly with combined with oversized fonts. Even android doesn’t look this bad – this is a metro level of Fisher-Price – and its not necessary to reduce the page size either.

    * the actual text is ludicrously small in comparison to the rest of the clown shoes oversizing going on. Honestly step back and look at it – its all out of whack.

    Best bet? Dump it and start again.

  • Lachie Outhred

    Heaps clean… great job! But have to agree single column is easier to follow. Also on the front page slider I’m occasionally getting strange headings (see image attached). Using Chome on OS X.

  • BD

    agreed, look nice and clean/light… BUT I don’t like the 2 columns at all, would be much better with a single column again.

  • Alf

    Dont like. Waste of space.

  • mrjayviper

    like

  • Joshka

    Looks great, is there going to be a full text feed?

  • Dave

    Very tidy. Love seeing so many articles per page.

  • whispy_snippet

    It looks very sleek and clean. Great job guys.

  • Jeffrey Atack

    First impression on my Mac…looks great

  • deanomalino

    Feels a bit sluggish but I do have a Galaxy Nexus…. And when I opened up this article on the mobile website, it asked me whether I wanted to open it in different browsers or PocketCasts. :P

  • :)

    ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT!!! :D:D

  • Martin Leonard

    Looks good on the Nexus 7. I like the new look.

  • Luke

    Not a fan of the two columns on the main page.

    • AdamM

      Yep, as for Luke, I don’t really like the two columns on the main page, as it messes with the sequential listing pattern. Otherwise, nice and clean, easy to read.

  • hettar

    I like it, nice and clean on my phone.

  • NOZ

    I like it. Only immediate thing would be ausdroid logo and menu at the top above the ad (mobile site) instead of beneath…and that when you scroll it stays there too(?) -instead of disappewring when you scroll. [PREF]

    • deanomalino

      This except the it disappears for me.

      • http://ausdroid.net/ Chris

        Sorry folks, I’m not sure I follow — what’s staying there too instead of disappearing when scrolling? On my N5, everything scrolls off the page when scrolling; there’s no permanent menu etc.

      • deanomalino

        Yea it scrolls off the page for me, edited my post. :P

        It just looks oddly placed. Maybe if the ausdroid logo and ad were switched or if the ad was right at the top?

      • NOZ

        Switching the ad and logo so logo is at top but treating the logo like a permanent banner so when you scroll the page it stays at the top of the browser instead of disappearing and scrolling off screen. So you can always click menu drop down etc