A List Apart has redesigned their Web site, and I’m liking the new and improved version. The new take is less constrained than the previous incarnation, and allows the site to spread out across more of the browser screen (the previous versions seemed designed for 640 px wide screens, which led to some very long, narrow articles.
The design addresses some of the issues I’ve been wrestling with for Nuketown’s own redesign, as well as the redesign at work — how do you integrate things like “section” headers, links to message forums, graphics and the rest of a post’s baggage into the site in an appealing way? While A List Apart isn’t including as much info as you have on a typical Nuketown (what with the netheads, web links, related articles, etc.) I do like how its header for the article provides a link directly to the article’s home section as well as a link to the discussion for that piece.
I find it interesting that their primary navigation split between three super categories for content — articles, topics, and feed– and three for information about the site — about, contact, and contribute. Normally you would expect the site’s topics (which appear at the top of the righthand column in addition to the primary nav keyword) to be the primary navigation in order to avoid “burying” the content. And yet, this does nicely solve the problem of what to do when you have additional topics — you don’t have to worry about modifying the primary navigation; instead you just add it to the topics list. I also like the depth that the topic lists provide — each one contains multiple subcategories, and its very easy to jump from one to another (which is more than I can say for Nuketown’s current design.
I like the magazine-style look of the lower-level pages, and although the home page is a bit too blog-like for my tastes, I find the whole thing to be clean, well-structured, and easy on the eyes.