The New Shiny Escapist

| 13 Dec 2011 19:50

Today we're revealing some big changes here on The Escapist, the most noticeable of which is a new look for the website. Culminating the last six months of hard work here behind the scenes, this revision not only creates a more beautiful and readable site, but also includes substantial new underlying technologies. This new tech facilitates easier navigation, more contextually relevant articles, greater social integration, and expanded user customization.

It was nearly three years ago that we made a similarly large change to the site. The layout changes, modularity and programmatic support that came with that redesign allowed us to change and grow the site naturally with the state of the industry, and to do so relatively efficiently. To have made it three years with the same overall design is a great accomplishment in its own right. However, to take us into the next three years and beyond, we must make sure to know where media is headed and what our users want of the site.

Our key mission was to improve and increase usability. Here at The Escapist we offer a huge amount of content that spans a broad range of subjects and formats, posing a substantial challenge for the site to present all of it easily and effectively. As our offerings grew over the course of the last few years, so did the need to more effectively display them. Our editorial team made fantastic strides in curating this content on the front page, updating throughout the day the stories that appeared in the features areas on the front and subsequent pages. But it simply was not proving enough, as our home page grew packed, even cluttered, with great new videos, features and breaking news. We needed better tools to manage these areas, to help users discriminate between types of content, and to let the stories themselves breath and flourish in the design.

So today The Escapist launches fresh and new, expanding on the previous site with a cleaner, more open design with features that will make it easier to find what is new, what is hot, and to explore our enormous archive of favorites. We received a great amount of feedback on the presentation of our content, and we listened. Some highlights of the changes you can see today on the site are:

More Open Design - We have added a lot of "air" to the site overall, whether on the front page or individual content pages.

Available Navigation - To better address finding our wealth of content we have created several new methods of navigating the site.

  • Dynamic Navigation Bar - We have completely revamped our navigation bar to be fully dynamic, constantly updating with the newest items with automatic user customization.

  • Sortable Displays - There are now even more sortable lists of content throughout the site, allowing you more fine grain control over list displays to find exactly what you want, whether it be by chronology or popularity .

  • Section Markers - All feature boxes now clearly display the type of content being shown with a section marker, linked to the appropriate feature section for quick access.

  • Information Boxes - Using our revamped tagging system, all relevant content clearly presents more information about the game title, franchise, publisher and similar related data so you can easily find more contextually relevant information.

New Content Sections - Also facilitated by changes to tagging, new sections are available to browse, such as the platform-specific pages now linked on the navigation bar.

We are excited to present the new site to you, but this isn't the end of the story of course. We have already received fantastic input from the Publisher's Club and implemented many of their suggestions. We look forward to your comments as you experience the changes and get comfortable with the new site.

We appreciate everything you, the readers, have done to make the site what it is today. This place would not be the same without your voice!

Thanks,
Greg Lincoln,
Vice President of Production

Post Comment

You must be logged in to post. Log In

Seriously guys? Your next big step forward is to remove the Facebook comments from below the video a putting them...it doesn't matter where you put them because I sure as hell am not opening a new page just to look at the comments that you decide to make LESS accessible!!!

Since you guys are obviously determined to completely ruin this once amazing site, I suggest, as your next logical step, to make all the non Pub-club members fill out a quick survey every time they want to watch a video.

Unbelievable!

Hey, Im not sure when it changed, exactly, but menu text is actually nice and readable now. This is progress.

The new animated slideshow thing in the right column is pretty annoying, though.

PS: Ok, "nice and readable" was an exaggeration, but it does look less bad than it used to.

That is good to hear.. at least they put their money where their mouth is. I wish that power hungry brash admin would be disciplined harshly and publicly for his mistreatment but I doubt that will happen.

I have already stopped coming here several times a day and have been averaging about 1-2 times a week and decreasing rapidly. I found other better sources of gaming news that actually care about the community they serve. They also are focuses specifically on videos and trailers.

Thank you for the years of news and service Escapist, however your current theme and admins are driving people away, like me.

Hmm. I stand somewhat humbled and corrected.

As some might remember, somewhere in the last few pages I got very angry and demanded a refund for PubClub, amongst other things. There was cursing and fairly... angry language involved. The response from the staff was fairly mocking. Not very impressive, to say the least, even taking into account my outburst.

However, it seems this isn't representative of the decision-makers. Yesterday I received a refund and a private message from the VP of Production. It wasn't an outright apology, but given my own behaviour I didn't really deserve one anyway. What it did was acknowledge the faults on the part of the Escapist staff who responded and also reach out for reconciliation of sorts. I accept that and thank Greg Lincoln for the gesture.

I still can't stand the look of the Escapist and the site's redesign has ensured that I only come here for ZP (and sometimes LRR) since it still physically hurts to browse, but while delayed, the Escapist did respond to my grievance and refunded my money. For that I thank you and wish you well onwards. A pity that we can't fully reconcile, but I'm too fond of my eyesight for that, heh.

M4t3us:
Can we keep the black background after the protest is over? I like it!

Oh that would be fantastic! I just said on another topic that I'm loving this.

A question, to anyone in general, is Bob Kyuss stuck in some strange limbo? He seems to wander between getting warned and banned. Warned, banned, warned and now banned again... I am fairly baffled by this.

Can we keep the black background after the protest is over? I like it!

Hamhawk:
Official Redesign Group? In other words. It is the Escapist Staff creating a new venue to discuss changes because there is too many complainers here. Why address complaints when you can ignore them instead? Bad form, this reminds me of AT&T or PG&E tactics for service.

In other news. still no apology or warning. It seems Staff is above the forum rules and regulations and ethical obligations.

Happy New Year.

Unfortunately, it's nothing new to this site. The lock any threads that openly discuss the rules as well, with a note telling the concerned parties to handle it in PMs or with the moderators group. They don't like it when their foibles are publicly exposed.

I've been a lurker for quite a while, but I've been visiting the escapist for years (perhaps 6 to 7). I've always liked your guys layout a lot; very eye pleasing and straightforward. To be perfectly honest, you've pulled a Gawker. Kotaku had a GREAT site layout a year-ish ago before they mucked it all up. I respected the escapist for keeping it the same, and essentially "not fixing what isn't broken". The all around white background is hideous and I'm amazed that so many sites these days still abide by such a color scheme. The odds of the site being changed back to its superior layout are very slim, as a lot of time and money were invested in "changing" it, I'm sure. Just know that you changed your sites signature layout and its comfortable appearance to a cluttered, obsolete mess. IMO

Kron_the_mad:
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.336823-Poll-The-Escapists-New-er-Format#13631342

So theres an actual functional poll asking whether you'd prefer changing the site back or not. Why note put up some votes since post count isn't impressing anyone.

Ah, thank you, I hadn't seen that thread.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.336823-Poll-The-Escapists-New-er-Format#13631342

So theres an actual functional poll asking whether you'd prefer changing the site back or not. Why note put up some votes since post count isn't impressing anyone.

Sassafrass:

CrashTest:

Is there a convenient way to browse for new content any more? I miss the video links down the side, and I'd really like to be able to do something similar. Again, not rhetorical. I've been manually navigating so far, but eventually everything but Zero Punctuation is going to drop off my "things I can be bothered to search for" list...

...There is a video tab at the top of the page which, when hovered over, drops down a list of all the videos in alphabetical order. You then move your mouse cursor to the video series you want to watch and the newest video will be obvious to pick it.

Failing that, just go to the ZP page, bookmark it and return to it every Wednesday.

Thanks, but I meant a way to see who had new content without looking at the individual page. I used to follow four or five show on here because you could glance at the homepage to see if they'd updated. I don't want to have to click on all of them everyday just to see if there's anything new.

Well. My immediate reaction to the change was that the site became uglier, but easier to use. After using it for a few weeks, I can say that I overestimated the usability improvements. The site used to be better in every way before the update: it was nicer, it was better organized, and it was more responsive.

Is there any chance of an actual poll? Preferably made by someone actually working for the Escapist, as I believe more people would feel obliged to participate. It would probably be helpful even if it only consisted of the question "did you like the old site better". I seem to remember someone made one early on, but it got merged with another thread, and the poll evaporated.
Alternatively, how about another questionnaire like the one we had in November?

Deviate:

ThyNameIsMud:

Hiya guys,

The background issue has been addressed. You can now change the colors background, font, and font size. We've tried placing the news about this option in the proper avenues but alas, sometimes things get lost in the mud. Your best bet for keeping track of the on going changes is to keep an eye on the Redeisgn Group and the Tech Team Group (simply join and you'll get a PM when there's a new message/announcement) as it can be a hassle updating things in 5 different places to let ya'll know of new feature we just installed.

Anywho, look forward to hearing suggestions and comments about future updates.

Yeah... except that we've already pointed out that the so called 'solution' to the background issue does nothing but provide a couple of different shades of eyebleeding. It's broken enough that it doesn't last across different tabs in your browser and even on the 'darker' choice... it still physically hurts to browse the site.

Seriously. Get over your failure to choose a pleasant color palette and add a few that isn't stolen from 30-seconds-at-a-time sites (Facebook being the obvious suspect #1) that can actually get away with it.

Why is it so mindbogglingly hard to face the fact that you fucked up when users literally have to turn down the brightness on their monitors to use the site? This isn't hyperbole. It's not exaggeration. There are users who has to do this just to browse the site... and never on any of their other regular browsing spots.

Simple solution: Add an actual bloody color to the damn sides! Unless of course a 'web development' design decision that isn't a pure facebook ripoff is beyond you.

ps, I shot Kross in the forehead with my nerf gun for his unkind words. May god have mercy on his soul.

Yeah, your dedication to paying customers is an astounding and marvelous thing to behold, I'm sure. Making the mockery slightly more subtle (pointing and laughing is more subtle than flinging poo I guess.) is certainly downright amazing public relations choices. Truly remarkable.

Well, I guess they really went above and beyond the call of duty, since now I can stand to look at the site for almost two minutes, which is better than the 30 seconds I managed previously.

LIke I said, they don't care...if they did, they might add coloured borders or something to mitigate this, but we have seen all the response they care to give. *SIGH*

ThyNameIsMud:

Backerdem:
derp

Bob Kyuss:
derp

Pleasedpig:
derp

Deviate:
derp

gof22:
It would be nice if later on we are given a choice between the white background or a couple of different colors.

Hiya guys,

The background issue has been addressed. You can now change the colors background, font, and font size. We've tried placing the news about this option in the proper avenues but alas, sometimes things get lost in the mud. Your best bet for keeping track of the on going changes is to keep an eye on the Redeisgn Group and the Tech Team Group (simply join and you'll get a PM when there's a new message/announcement) as it can be a hassle updating things in 5 different places to let ya'll know of new feature we just installed.

Anywho, look forward to hearing suggestions and comments about future updates.

Regards,
The Bieber King (ask me about my title)

ps, I shot Kross in the forehead with my nerf gun for his unkind words. May god have mercy on his soul.

I think the natural color is pretty good. I am really liking it. I like the new design of the site.

ThyNameIsMud:

Hiya guys,

The background issue has been addressed. You can now change the colors background, font, and font size. We've tried placing the news about this option in the proper avenues but alas, sometimes things get lost in the mud. Your best bet for keeping track of the on going changes is to keep an eye on the Redeisgn Group and the Tech Team Group (simply join and you'll get a PM when there's a new message/announcement) as it can be a hassle updating things in 5 different places to let ya'll know of new feature we just installed.

Anywho, look forward to hearing suggestions and comments about future updates.

Yeah... except that we've already pointed out that the so called 'solution' to the background issue does nothing but provide a couple of different shades of eyebleeding. It's broken enough that it doesn't last across different tabs in your browser and even on the 'darker' choice... it still physically hurts to browse the site.

Seriously. Get over your failure to choose a pleasant color palette and add a few that isn't stolen from 30-seconds-at-a-time sites (Facebook being the obvious suspect #1) that can actually get away with it.

Why is it so mindbogglingly hard to face the fact that you fucked up when users literally have to turn down the brightness on their monitors to use the site? This isn't hyperbole. It's not exaggeration. There are users who has to do this just to browse the site... and never on any of their other regular browsing spots.

Simple solution: Add an actual bloody color to the damn sides! Unless of course a 'web development' design decision that isn't a pure facebook ripoff is beyond you.

ps, I shot Kross in the forehead with my nerf gun for his unkind words. May god have mercy on his soul.

Yeah, your dedication to paying customers is an astounding and marvelous thing to behold, I'm sure. Making the mockery slightly more subtle (pointing and laughing is more subtle than flinging poo I guess.) is certainly downright amazing public relations choices. Truly remarkable.

Backerdem:
derp

Bob Kyuss:
derp

Pleasedpig:
derp

Deviate:
derp

gof22:
It would be nice if later on we are given a choice between the white background or a couple of different colors.

Hiya guys,

The background issue has been addressed. You can now change the colors background, font, and font size. We've tried placing the news about this option in the proper avenues but alas, sometimes things get lost in the mud. Your best bet for keeping track of the on going changes is to keep an eye on the Redeisgn Group and the Tech Team Group (simply join and you'll get a PM when there's a new message/announcement) as it can be a hassle updating things in 5 different places to let ya'll know of new feature we just installed.

Anywho, look forward to hearing suggestions and comments about future updates.

Regards,
The Bieber King (ask me about my title)

ps, I shot Kross in the forehead with my nerf gun for his unkind words. May god have mercy on his soul.

CrashTest:

Is there a convenient way to browse for new content any more? I miss the video links down the side, and I'd really like to be able to do something similar. Again, not rhetorical. I've been manually navigating so far, but eventually everything but Zero Punctuation is going to drop off my "things I can be bothered to search for" list...

...There is a video tab at the top of the page which, when hovered over, drops down a list of all the videos in alphabetical order. You then move your mouse cursor to the video series you want to watch and the newest video will be obvious to pick it.

Failing that, just go to the ZP page, bookmark it and return to it every Wednesday.

Okay, I can't possibly read through thirty-five pages, so as well as throwing in my vote of "hate the new design", I'd like to ask for advice on how to actually navigate it?

I honestly don't understand the home page. I just clicked on an extra punctuation link that I thought was new, then realised it was from May. Is the homepage useful at all? This isn't intended as a rhetorical criticism, I'm honestly asking if anyone has found a use for it.

Is there a convenient way to browse for new content any more? I miss the video links down the side, and I'd really like to be able to do something similar. Again, not rhetorical. I've been manually navigating so far, but eventually everything but Zero Punctuation is going to drop off my "things I can be bothered to search for" list...

If anyone has figured out answers to these it'd be a big help, thanks.

Continue reading 1221 comments on the forums.