One of my favourite sites, Problogger, changed the look and feel of the site recently.
I like to give any site redesign or change a little time, as it’s easy to just dismiss or attack the unfamiliar. But I’ve had a sense of unease since the redesign, and there’s a simple reason why.
The old design came across as a site created by someone (Darren Rowse) who had knowledge and passion for the subject, but more than that, it came across as a personal blog, which worked well for the content and subject matter. It felt like Darren was posting something just for an individual reader, despite the fact there may be thousands of them reading the same thing.
Now, however, the site has been optimised for expansion and cleanliness. Unfortunately it also seems to have lost a part of the personality from the design, although it’s still there in the writing and tips. One sign of this is that Darren’s profile info is now right at the bottom of the page, rather than up top.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a fantastic site and resource for bloggers, and it’s not like the new design isn’t attractive or useful in other ways. But it’s interesting that a more ‘professional’ or ‘corporate’ design can remove some of the charm of a site, particularly when it’s a blog…