Homepage Redesign: We're Listening

Late Friday night, we launched a new homepage and since then many of you have been weighing in with your feedback—good and bad. Yes, our homepage has changed, but there's a lot that's still the same—we're still publishing the most passionate, discerning, and inclusive food writing online (or anywhere else for that matter!), 7 days a week, 365 days a year. We're still a friendly, inviting place to connect with other like-minded serious eaters and chew the fat. We still offer full RSS feeds of all our posts, recipes, and Talk topics. All of this and more is still available to our community of merry eaters for free, thanks to the advertising you see on the site. We made the changes with our community's best interests in mind, and we now realize we may have fallen short in that regard.

Design Goals

In redesigning our homepage, we had a few different audiences in mind: the community of Serious Eats regulars we see here every day, readers who are passers-by and may only visit Serious Eats once a month, and our advertisers.

For Serious Eats regulars, we want to make it easy for you to scan the homepage and see what's new since you last visited. We also want to make sure it's easy to see when your favorite columnist has updated in the "Latest Columns" sidebar.

For Serious Eats passers-by, we want to make it easy for you to quickly grok what Serious Eats is about. We publish a lot of new posts and recipes every day that can get lost as it moves further down the page, so we created the photo carousel to highlight some of the best and most interesting articles. We want to introduce you to our knowledgeable and passionate community and to explicitly invite you to participate. That's why we've added the big promo for SE Talk on the upper right of the page.

We also needed to make design changes to accommodate new kinds of ad programs that will enable us to provide you with more of the posts, recipes, and stuff you love. It's probably worth noting that the number and placement of display ads on the homepage has not changed except for the removal of one tower that used to appear on the right side of the page.

We hope everyone will take the time to click around and get a little more comfortable with the new look and give us some time to tweak the new format. Like most everything on the web, this, too, is a work in progress.

Your Feedback

We're reading all your comments, below are some that highlight the most common complaints, and what we'll be focused on improving.

You miss being able to see the latest from Talk on the homepage:

"I miss having the Talk Column on the right. My usual pattern was to visit the site a couple of times a day, scan the new articles quickly and check for interesting talk topics. Now I have to move around too much to find them and I just don't have the time or interest to do it. Serious Eats was all about "Talk" and now it's gone." smallblondemom

Us, too! And we've already added it back.

You want to be able to get to content quickly and you prefer longer excerpts:

"Attractive, but two changes will reduce how frequently I visit and how frequently I click through to stories: 1) I now need to page down just to see whether there's any new content; and 2) There's no longer enough content before each story jump to help me decide whether I'm interested." AHR

This is something we'll be tweaking in the next week and beyond. Our goal is to find the right balance between preserving the ability to quickly scan the page and providing enough information for you to decide whether you are interested in reading more.

You don't like the photo carousel:

"My only gripes are the little article snippets and smaller pictures. Oh and that single ginormous photo is a little annoying too; takes forever to load and occupies more space than it's worth." SaltyDonuts

We still think this is a good concept, especially with the goals we have in mind, but we certainly can improve on the execution. We will be tinkering with this until we have something that adds and does not detract from the Serious Eats experience.

The homepage is less accessible:

Major problem: it now *requires* a widescreen monitor, which I don't have. So much for people with bad eyes/visual disabilities, too, who run 800x600. Make the site detect user resolution and then adjust per user. This is pretty standard web stuff. You should be able to do this with very little work." Garvey

Garvey is right—we should be able to do this with very little work. We'll have a solution in place by the end of the week.

What Happens Next

We're going to continue to listen to your feedback, and continue to tweak the homepage design. In return, we ask for your continued patience and support; it is greatly appreciated. We'll be kicking off a couple of projects in the coming weeks to improve site search and our recipe sections. We'll be actively soliciting your input into these projects, and hope you'll share your feedback and ideas with us. Together, we want to make sure that Serious Eats continues to be the best food community out there.

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