Eeeeshk! What have you done!

Reg makeover shocker

Letters Yesterday afternoon El Reg went under the knife for a bit of cosmetic surgery.

Wheeled into theatre with saggy and dimpled flesh hanging off its arthritic frame like water-filled balloons, it re-emerged several hours later as a fresh-faced, lithe IT nymphette of a site, full of vital energy and joie de vivre.

That's what we reckon, anyway. Here are some of your thoughts on the matter, starting with the "I prefer it when it was all fields around here" line of attack:

Eeeeshk! What have you done! It looks all spaced out now and usability isn't as good, the eye isn't drawn to headlines as easily but gets distracted by other things, not least by the red subheadings appearing above the headlines. Also, there are a couple of bugs - your desktop news page doesn't have a scroll bar, and also the slogan in the top left keeps randomly 'disappearing' due to a common IE bug with floats in CSS that your stylesheet incorporates at the top of the page.

I think with improvements the site could become better than the old version, but for now I think I prefer the old version - thought I'd send in my feedback anyway.

Cheers,

Luke Bennett

Luke's constructive points are noted. Of course there are still tweaks to be done - after all, we're still waiting for the stitches to come out and the swelling to go down. Not that this will make any difference to Colin Wilson. He's a man who likes stability in his life:

First we are subjected to google changing the face of it's site - ever so slightly, but disturbing enough for us already stressed ITer's.

Then our most favourite site in the world - The Register changing it's appearance causing further stress and confusion.

AND NOW .. NOW .. here I go surfing over to my second most favourite (ooh lets see what they are flogging off cheap today) site at Scan http://www.scan.co.uk/todayonly/ and THEY have gone and changed their site!!!!

Is this a global conspiracy aimed purely at us!!

What next? eBay subtly changing it's colours and shuffling it's aution buttons around? AOL redesigning their site to look like a grown up web site? Hotmail altering their site to make it totally unusable (oh, hang on, it already is).

I blame the Illuminati and Starbucks (for no good reason).

Personally, we blame the lizard people, but there you go. For further evidence of the shock waves which encircled the globe when Google recently decided on a makeover of its own, have a look at this lovely cartoon. Enough said.

Naturally, this wouldn't be the Vulture Central mailbag unless we had some rather more forthright opinions on our nip-and-tuck. Fscking horrible. Please put it back the way it was! said Mike Tomlinson, a view supported by Adam who insisted: Sorry, but I just hate it :) before demanding that we sack Laurence Llewelyn Bowen from the design team.

For details of exactly how LLB apparently turned the Reg from luxury penthouse suite to fire-ravaged bugalow in a matter of minutes, let's review a few specifics, kicking off with Adam:

What I dislike is that it fills the whole width of my browser window which means more mousing to get between articles and there seems to be less displayed on the front page. FWIW I am running my monitor at 1600x1200 and using Mozilla on a Gnome Linux desktop.

and netj:

Hi there,

just thought i'd put my 2 penneth in and say that the new site is great but the headlines are, funnily enough, harder to read / concentrate on / work through.

Don't know what it is but the older layout style was far easier to absorb. Maybe worth looking into?

Take care and otherwise a really much better site.

and Jon Best:

I work in IT and have found The Register to be both informative and entertaining over the years.

I access the internet over a dial-up line so I tend to open all the news articles that look interesting from the email summary, then view them offline from Explorer's cached 'History'.

You appear to have redesigned your web site recently and, while it's very pretty, there appear to be a couple of detrimental changes:

1. It's SLOW. The pages used to load reasonably quickly, but on the new site this morning the browser was struggling to load something (I don't know what - nothing visible on the pages) over the dial-up line.

2. The pages no longer seem to be cached and are no longer accessible offline through IE's History facility.

While the first issue is annoying (and arguably unnecessary), the second point will prevent me using The Register as I can't spend loads of time tying up the phone line and running up the phone bill.

Is it possible to sort this out? The Register is a great online resource and I don't really want to have to give it up.

All the above have been forwarded to the relevant sub-department of our Strategy Boutique design Soviet and each and every reader who sent in comments/suggestions can rest assured that they are all minutely examined and filed for future reference by skilled operatives with a view to ongoing product development.

And that's what it's all about - across the board rolling improvements.

What punters don't see, however, are the behind-the-scenes rebuilds which allow us to better deliver top IT news to you, our beloved readers. Part of the redesign involved revamping our old Content Management System - a hideous death-trap into which cub reporters would wander, never to be seen again.

This, we're pleased to announce, has now been sent to CMS Valhalla atop a flaming Viking longboat. The new system has been lovingly crafted by an elite team of pizza-driven propellorheads, who, if you're interested, have some info about XHTML validation, blah blah, right here.

But let's end this merriment on a positive note. You can't please all of the people all of the time, but we have successfully pleased Vince Littler: Like it very much - retains the old identity, but now very pleasing to the eye.

Thanks Vince. ®

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