Just after the start of the NFL season, SB Nation unveiled the future of our site, the SB Nation United platform. After a few months of playing with it, as well as gathering feed back from you, our community, as well as information our contributing authors were feeding into SB Nation's support site, the Product Team is ready to eveolve the site a little more. After focusing on the mobile experience recently, they have chosen to take a step back from the list of smaller fixes and adjustments to take a big picture look at pain points with the new SB Nation design, and to find long-term and comprehensive solutions for common concerns.
Before we roll out the new experience early next month, we want to give you a preview of the revised home pages and get your feedback on these changes. Please leave any feedback about the changes in the comment section of this post.
Below, you will find a screen shot of the Denver Broncos' blog, Mile High Report. On the image, you will see numbered annotations that match up to the points below:
- FanPosts, FanShots and Sidebars Moved: We are moving all sidebar modules to the right side of the page and increased their size. This makes FanPosts and FanShots modules more visible and makes it easier to see the lastest posts from community members.
- FanPosts Featured in the "Cover." FanPosts from site members can now be featured alongside the lead stories on a site. AND New Shorter, Hero-Style "Covers." We are adding some new formats for displaying the lead story or stories of the day that occupy less vertical space, to help push FanPosts up higher on the page and improve the scanability of the front pages.
- Local Site Navigation at the Top of all Pages. For some users the current double navigation, with SB Nation network navigation at the top of the home page and the local site navigation below the top stories, creates a disconnect between the content and the community on a team site. We have switched to a single navigation bar on each community that highlights the community elements rather than network blogs by default. But if you roll over "SB Nation" in the new nav, the full network league and blog navigation appears. So we've retained network navigation functionality while calling out the local site navigation (and particularly FanPosts and FanShots) first and foremost. This change will also carry down to all pages on the blogs, including article pages, FanPosts and FanShots.
- SB Nation Network Bar with User Login and Profile Information. The Login/Sign-up, Profile and My SBN links will be moved from the current placement just above the site just above the SB Nation menu items to a stand-alone network bar placed at the very top of the page, above the ad. This change is being made to call those links out a little better, as well as provide the basis for an improved and more personalized network navigation bar hat will include more notifications and expanded utility for users.
- Community widget. We have added a module on the right hand side of the page with easy access links to write a FanPost, create a FanShots, see who is writing for the site on the Masthead, and to read the Community Guidelines.
- Easier to scan river. By reducing the weight of photos and bringing consistency to how items on the home page are displayed, the river of content on the home pages will be easier to scan for new posts, new comments and updates to posts.
I know you'll want to talk about these changes and I'm sure that you'll have feedback on them. Please funnel all of that feedback into the comments below so we can track it. Centralized feedback will allow us to keep things more organized and transparent, and keep the feedback loop more efficient. You can also check out Blog Huddle, SB Nation's site to discuss all things about the network as a whole. In 2013, Blog Huddle will be used as a place to talk about changes to SB Nation site, be more transparent about what we're working on, and collect feedback in one place. Please help out that effort by leaving feedback and questions as comments here.
Let us know what you think in the comments!