Just about exactly a year ago, we had our first design meeting to discuss the next iteration of D Magazine’s website. We had administrative goals—like making it easier for readers to subscribe and for subscribers to access their accounts— but the main driver was to make it a better experience for our digital readers.
We realized over the years that our ambition in print design struggled to translate into what you saw on the website. Great for print subscribers, difficult for the million or so folks who visit the site every month. Our last redesign came in 2016. It was time for a refresh.
The new design gives us more freedom to display beautiful images and illustrations. We have more flexibility with navigation: that means an improved experience in longer service stories, but we also wanted to make it easier to find something of interest on our section pages. (Don’t worry, FrontBurner, Dallas’ oldest news blog, will remain a feed. It just had a facelift.)
There are a buffet of features we haven’t used yet that we’re very excited about, like a vertical navigation bar that will make listing 52 things to do (go buy the January issue!) much easier and a footnote feature to help add context1 without jarring the reader from the story. We believe this functionality will give our words more life. We even upgraded our fonts, which is a more difficult decision than it sounds.
On the technical side, our entire content management system is new, and we’ve spent the last few weeks training and getting the editors back up to speed. Readers obviously won’t see much of that. What you have probably seen are some quirks: old stories that didn’t quite make the transfer with their design intact, disappearing comments, maybe some sidebars and pull-quotes that look a little wonky.
We’re working through those challenges and hope to have fixes in the coming weeks. Comments are already back. We’re moving quickly. (If you notice anything off, please email me here!)
Some thanks: the good folks at GoodFolks, the local creative company that designed the site. The wizards at Dialogs, who have taken on all things development. This doesn’t happen without Amanda Hammer, the magazine’s chief operating officer, and Emily Olson, our online art director. We appreciate the investment from Christine Allison, our CEO and editor-in-chief, and the input and patience of the editorial and sales teams.
Otherwise, what do you think of the redesign? Again, please email me here—we’re proud of it, and we want to bring you along with us, too. This is for your eyeballs, after all.