Smashing Magazine, the hub of web design and creativity has had a fresh re-design. The work of Elliot Jay Stocks, Ben Bodien, Ryan Taylor and the Smashing Team, the new look was unveiled this January 2012.
Smashing Magazine is a website offering resources and tutorials for web developers and web designers. Founded in 2006 by Sven Lennartz and Editor Vitaly Friedman the magazine has grown in popularity and readership to be a hub of the web design and development community. The aim of the magazine is “inform our readers about the latest trends and techniques in Web development” with quality information(via Smashing Magazine.) The information began as community-led posts and articles, to evolve into a range of books both printed and in digital format.
Elliot Jay Stocks has a glittering web design career and credentials for the job. A designer whose work encompasses web design, print design and illustration. Stocks also talks at conferences and writes about design for a range of on and offline publications including writing as an expert on Smashing Magazine itself. He is also the founder and editor of 8 Faces which is a bi-annual printed magazine on typographic design. His clients include Microsoft, Virgin Group, MailChimp, EMI, Founders Fund, Campaign Monitor, Brooklyn Beta, Carsonified, WooThemes, and Fusion Ads (via http://elliotjaystocks.com/)
The re-design of Smashing is a responsive redesign – the layouts and information automatically adjusts to be viewed on mobile technology and different screen and browser sizes (you will see how that works when you visit the site and adjust your screen view). The new design has been met with mixed critiques from the industry. Matt Gifford, Cold Fusion, AIR and Flex Developer and author told GraphicDesign.com “”The redesign of Smashing Magazine is a welcome change to the old layout and presentation. The user interface is clean, nicely organized and arranged and the call to action buttons and links are large, bright and clearly visible. Readability has also been improved with the typography and choice of font type and size, making it much easier to digest easily. What’s really nice to see is the adoption of responsive design principles to the site, allowing for screen resizing on multiple screen format devices. Very nice!”
Lara Swansom of Dyn.com agrees that “The new look is slick as it’s lighter and fresher than their last one, using some pretty fancy media query techniques.” but feels that the page load time lets the new site down. “Today, performance optimization should be an enormous part of any site’s redesign, especially one that focuses on web development best practices.” The ads also seem to be a problem for both Swansom and this critique on Inspiredology.com which says “I often find my eye bouncing around between article content and the ads making it difficult to focus on the article.(via inspiredology.com).
As Smashing enters a new year with a new layout it is hard to keep all members of the industry on board with their choices; smart, clean and responsive is the way they have chosen for 2012. Says Friedman “The emphasis is on accessible and readable content. Of course, we’ll need to see if some adjustments are necessary to improve the user experience for Smashing Magazine’s readers.” (via Jeffcroft.com).