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Redesigning the blog posts

Redesigning the blog posts

Introduction

The article view is one of the oldest at OpenBooks.com. It’s purpose was to display longer written forms created by the editors of OB and guest posts from authors picked by us.

At the time, we were supposed to stick to predefined form and visual guideline which in reality - didn’t “stick”.

The problem

The problem… well, we failed. For starters, it took me very long to actually create the design for the article. I spent a lot of time looking for the overall idea on how I would like to present the reader with the article, then I was migrating between tools: Photoshop, Fireworks, Sketch.

When I finally designed and we deployed the view, it didn’t work well with the design of the rest of the OB at that time and finally - it was also a mix of good design and poor deployment with a lot of unfinished code and plenty of bugs in it.

The purpose

With the introduction of blogs, articles are a thing of the past at OpenBooks.com. We’ve dropped the idea of creating articles only at our own office so the time was right, to introduce also a new layout, suited for others.

The layout

Major change with the layout was to use the full width of the screen more effectively. We have centered the text, resized the main image, redesigned the additional elements and focused on one thing: readability of our posts.

Typography

With the change of layout, there comes the change to the typography. We are moving away from the Proxima Nova and Calluna fonts to Freight Text and Freight Sans.

While Freight Text doesn’t differ much from the Calluna, it has couple of pleasant additions, longer serifs and most important: better legibility, especially on HiDPI screens such as mobile.

Freight Sans differs completely. It adds character (pun intended), it’s playful with the numbers, has sexy “g” letter and has better legibility and is much crispier than the Proxima Nova.

The fonts may be the subject of change in the near future as we are still experimenting, especially with the speed and legibility on different screens.

Promote the post

In the previous iteration of articles, we gave the possibility to share the articles with the buttons located at the end of the article, without any feedback and counters.

We have decided to drop most of them and stick to the basics: Twitter and Facebook (and Reactions -> read further below). Twitter has removed the counter with the amount of shares, so we’ve added the counter only for our own reactions and Facebook shares.

Mentioned books

One of the features that is going to be redesigned and reimplemented are the mentioned books.

The feature itself is very old and was designed with the old articles in mind, where the complete control of the behaviour and appearance was in the hands of our editors. Now, with the blogs we have come to the point that we no longer can control these actions, therefore a major overhaul is required.

So, for starters, we have removed the possibility to add more than one related book to the article. For now. Well, in fact, not just for now - for always but the ability to add more books related to the blog post will be added in the future and it will come with new “Collections” and “Series” functionality. Two functionalities that also didn’t “stick” well in the past as we didn’t have a proper way to manage them.

So, for now you can add only one related book to the article, but there will be also one addition to it, hopefully in the coming couple of weeks/months: you will be able to write about any known book on the market. Not only the ones available at OpenBooks.com and in Pay-What-You-Want business model. Wow? I think so!

Drop the rating, here are the reactions

I am not really fond of numerical rating systems. When it comes to rating something which involves emotions, numerical rating systems are synthetic - numbers without the meaning and context. That’s why, from my perspective, humans rarely know how to use the numerical rating systems and even if they do, they do it in their own context and meaning, which changes with time.

That’s why we have decided to introduce “reactions”. Those are not new by now - reactions have been already introduced by Facebook and Slack, they were part of Maptia.com since “always”. That’s okay - I hope that our readers and users will be more familiar with the system by now.

Future of articles

Yes, the change to the articles and blog posts is already a major one, but the biggest changes are still ahead as we plan to change the way the articles are being created and edited. More on it soon!

Summary

So, what do you think of this story? React to it below!

P.S. You can track our progress here: https://trello.com/b/Mom2GzgN/openbooks-com-public

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