August 11, 2006

Design Force

by at 1:09 PM

Our latest redesign has been out for a week now, and we're really excited about the coverage and feedback we've been receiving.

Users seem happy, finding the look crisper and easier to navigate. Blog and mainstream media coverage has been solid and positive. But overall, we think that TechCrunch seems to have captured the spirit of how the Topix crew feels about the release:

"Topix finally usable after relaunch" :-)

rob_mug.jpgAs the first of many changes to come, we owe a great deal to the vision and talent of our new Director of User Interface and Design, Robert Torres. Rob has a long and storied history both with Tribune and Knight-Ridder on-line properties, and was part of the team that won the Pulitzer Prize for online journalism in 2005. He'd been doing pro-bono work for us on some changes earlier this year, and we were lucky enough to snag him from Knight-Ridder a few months ago.

Rob says, "Redesign is a process, not an event. This is the maxim I’ve applied to UED for a long time, and its never been more relevant than here at Topix. I’m pleased with the changes we’ve made so far, and I’m looking forward to tackling some of the unique and difficult user experience issues our site presents."

We couldn't agree more, which is why we pretty much think he's the Chuck Norris of online-news interface design.

Now that Rob's raised the bar, he's got some unique problems to solve: How do we communicate 360,000 channels of news without overwhelming users? How can users easily traverse the top stories and still dive deep into full coverage when they want to know more? How do we integrate our burdgeoning forums system more tightly with respective news categories, and add more personal and editorial touches? How do we continue to improve on our new Search Product? How dow we give users more flexibility in viewing their news? The list is long, but that's what gets him (and us) rev'ed up. So we're psyched-up over the next round of changes that we've got queued up, which should be released... well, just keep checking the site.

So if you've been following us for the last couple of years, enjoy this little trip down memory lane -- and drop us a comment and let us know what you think. (thanks, WayBackMachine!)



Oh, and Topix is hiring -- so if you're a coder that would like to work with a black-belt in online news design, drop us a line - we'd love to talk with you (jobs at topix dot net)