As some of you know, we’ve been hard at work over the past month or two rebuilding the site to make things easier to find (and more sexy). Today we are finally proud to announce that over the weekend we launched the new site and that everything appears to be stable and in good working order.
The site features a ton of new features, most of which are centered around two things: community and discovery. For the community we’ve rebuilt the comment system, improved the login, even added a handful of custom Android avatars (loaded at random for non-avatar having guests). We’ve also built new comment-powered widgets that help users find the action amongst posts they may have missed. On the discovery front we’ve included something we’ve been after for a long time: a phone, app, & game database. When viewing a carrier, manufacturer, or specific phone model you’ll see phone images and specs. When visiting the apps or games sections, you’ll see a row of icons and the option to sort all the posts by alpha-order.
To review the bulk of the new features, we’ve put together a little numbered chart with short descriptions of key changes:
- A. Login / user info – We’ve pulled the login out onto the front page to make signing on easier. When you’re logged in you’ll see your user pic (sourced from Gravatar) and a link to your profile and favorites.
- B. Popular posts – Our four most popular posts of the past few days are displayed in the header for easy access and to encourage discussion.
- C. Sidebar Widget: Hotly Debated – A chart plotting the most actively commented articles in the past two weeks.
- D. Sidebar Widgets: New apps, games, & phones – A big part of the rebuild was making things easier to find. We’ve now got an app, game, and phone database you’ll start to see popping up more around the site, the first place being here in the left sidebar.
- E. Sidebar Widget: Staff – A quick listing of the most active authors and staff currently working on the site. If you need to contact anyone or have a hot tip, check the staff section and try to send it to the most appropriate member.
- F. Sidebar Widget: Quotes – From time to time we’ll be pulling interesting quotes from articles (or even comments) to be featured in the sidebar.
- G. Comments – Entries are all sporting a greatly reworked comments template. We’ve tried to keep the same basic feel while upgrading features and matching the new look of the site.
- H. Site Map – Lost? Check the mini site map in the left sidebar.
- I. Top Rated Comments – Another piece of the new comment system is the new top rated comments widget at the bottom of the right sidebar. The widget will display the three top rated comments in the past two weeks.
A lot of the new database will be put to use in areas we are calling hubs. A hub is any topic (tag or category) that is popular enough to deserve more attention than a standard archive of posts. There are hubs for most major carriers and manufacturers (featuring network stats or latest phones), apps & games (sorting options and icons), and for single phones (phone image, stats, purchase options).
For the time being, all these hubs are a work in progress. Using the topper style allows us to make really flexible content for each hub and we are excited to keep tweaking and growing them.
Back to your regularly scheduled programming
In the weeks leading to the relaunch we had to curtail some of our regular activity. The podcast and My Life with Andy were put on hold while we ran around like crazy people putting out fires on the new build. Now that we are done, however, we plan on getting back in the swing of things sometime soon.
As always, with any major update comes our sappy and sincere thanks to our readers for making this site such a blast to work on. You guys keep amazing us with your support and we want you all to know how much we appreciate it. Short of flying around the country to meet all you guys we figured rolling out a new website might do the trick. Enjoy it. We have been.