Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Broken by fixing it up

Once upon a dark and distant time, I heard people mention BoingBoing and I didn't know what they were talking about. That was about six years ago. I was introduced to Boing Boing and lo! I saw that it was good.

Once upon a time, I couldn't imagine logging into my computer without checking BoingBoing. That was about a year ago. I knew the names of the bloggers, I could navigate my way around the archives or the past week, I posted the occasional comment - not too often, just when something grabbed me. I made a few suggestions, and some of them were taken up.

Boingboing is heralded as a directory of wonderful things... and it was. Not all of the things were wonderful, some of them were pretty devastatingly not wonderful at all, like the reports on miscarriages of justice, the growth of CCTV and the demonising of photography, but what was most definitely wonderful was the way in which you could sometimes see a story and know, just know that the comments would have you howling with laughter, or inhaling your morning cup of coffee - or blowing it all over your keyboard.

The people who met in the comments queue on Boingboing recognised each other, and could see who in the archives was a brother or sister soul who shared the concern about Guantanamo, or the despair at the re-election of Bush. Intelligent, articulate, clever, sceptical people, who wrote great one liners and better paragraphs.

But now, now... they redesigned it, and it seems irretrievably broken. Not for everyone, maybe. For me. I can't navigate around the new design, I can't find my friends, or at least the people I saw everyday and now can't find for the same stupid comments you find on 1001 blogs on a 1,000,001 webpages elsewhere on the internet. Instead of being elegant and simple and letting the blog content do the talking, it SHOUTS AT YOU really loudly, with LOUD colours and loud headings and even LOUDER people commenting.

It isn't that they have changed the content particularly, but they seem to have taken away my ability to navigate easily from place to place, and somehow it looks all wrong, and isn't something I want to spend time looking at. How can this be? It's amazing what a huge difference it has made... it has turned it from a place I coudn't imagine not visiting regularly, to somewhere I never want to visit. Very strange. I expect that they want younger readers, more readers, to attract attention. Maybe they've achieved that. But they've lost one regular reader, and I miss my old BoingBoing. I'm off to the internet WayBack machine to see if I can find it anywhere.

1 comment:

  1. BoingBoing RIP?

    I know what you mean;it seems quite different.I'm sure BoingBoing would argue that they needed to freshen up the look and feel,to keep the site contemporary and relevant but the effect on many loyal BB fans must be akin to one’s favourite supermarket undergoing a total refit so "I don't know where anything is."

    No doubt BB hopes their readers rapidly become comfortable with the new design and don't all go to Iceland. Or somewhere.

    Personally I like to think that where there's Cory Doctorow, there's hope...


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