Utne.com Gets a Makeover

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You may have noticed that our website has a new look. Last week we launched a redesign of utne.com, with the hope of giving you a better experience with the site. You probably have better things to do than read about a website redesign process, so I’ll save all the behind-the-scenes details. I would, however, like to highlight a number of things that are new, and hopefully helpful to you.

First and foremost, we’ve stripped the site down to the essentials, letting you get to where you want to be faster. There is less clutter; we’ve taken out all the extraneous parts and let each page breathe a bit more.

Next, you’ll notice the new left-hand navigation, highlighting the categories we cover, as well as our two editor blogs, Wild Green and The Sweet Pursuit. The top navigation now serves to allow you to separate content into blogs and articles from the current issue (archive content is available through this current issue page–the “Magazine” tab at top), while the new left-hand navigation gives you all the content–both blogs and magazine–in each category.

Also on the left you’ll notice “Alt Wire.” Alt Wire is a social-curated real-time magazine based on a software platform provided by Sociative, Inc. Described as “The Best of Utne Reader’s Alternative Sources (and the sources they follow),” Utne Alt Wire creates an organic online magazine that continuously changes, bringing to the fore content from the web that is the most popular and most discussed among influencers we chose, as well as the people who influence them. Seeing is believing with Utne Alt Wire, and we invite you to dive right in, explore, and undoubtedly discover and uncover stories you would have otherwise missed.

So, there you have it: A cleaner, more user-friendly, and more navigable website that contains all the great content you’ve come to expect from Utne Reader–both from the print magazine and the blogs–as well as news from the real-time web via Utne Alt Wire. We approached this redesign attempting to look at it from the user’s perspective and ultimately the user experience was the reason behind it. Hopefully we succeeded in making it an easier and more relaxed website for you. We looked to the design of a number of our favorite websites for guidance in the process. The clean category pages of High Country News and Guernica; the innovative handling of categories by GOOD and feedly that broke our long discussion about how best to present all the topics we cover; the splashes of  color on otherwise clean, black-and-white pages at Mother Jones; the large image on the home pages of all of those sites, allowing the extraordinary art that appears in our print version to shine on the website. So, thanks to all those who worked on these sites and the many others that influenced our decisions here.

This new utne.com is not the final version you’ll see. Expect some tweaks and improvements. (You learn a lot during the process of redesigning.) With that in mind, we’d love to hear what you think of the new site versus the old–what did we do right, what did we do wrong, what’s missing, what needs improvement, what do you miss? Again, the redesign was done with the intention of making the overall experience better for you. Hearing from you will let us know if we accomplished what we set out to do and allow us to make it even better in the future. So, leave a comment below or let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr what you think.

Thanks for reading!

Image by bjornmeansbear, licensed under Creative Commons.

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