Reddit has started rolling out its redesign, the first the site has undertaken in years. Reddit looks pretty much identical today as it did back in 2008, which is useful for longtime users, but bad for attracting newcomers more used to modern design principles.
The Front Page of the Internet
Reddit has long billed itself as “the front page of the internet,” and while the content backs that billing up, the design does not. Reddit looks and feels like a site from a bygone era before photos, videos, GIFs, and emojis took over.
The idea behind this new redesign is to make Reddit more accessible to newcomers. As it stands, while most people understand what Reddit is and how it works, many are put off by the user interface. While it’s perfectly logical, it does take some getting used to.
Card, Classic, or Compact Views
To attract new users, and not immediately put them off, Reddit is rolling out a redesign. At the moment, it’s visible to 1 per cent of users, but it will be slowly rolled out to all users over the next few months.
The new design comes in three different flavours: Card, Classic, and Compact. The card makes Reddit look a little like Facebook, Classic is close to the current design, and Compact condenses all of the information down to allow for faster browsing.
The main changes are: a new menu in the top-left corner replacing the navigation bar, content opening in lightboxes, new fonts distinguishing different types of links, infinite scrolling, and a new post editor to promote content creation (and deter lurkers).
Reddit Will Struggle to Please Everybody
Right now Reddit is making it clear it’s keeping the old style Reddit around, stating, “We do not have plans to do away with the current site, arguing that this is all about giving people “more choices for how you view Reddit”. But that may not last forever.
The challenge for Reddit will be keeping existing users, who are a loyal-yet-vocal bunch, happy while making changes designed to encourage new users to join. Because like it or not, Reddit in its current form is neither easy to navigate or aesthetically pleasing.