Well, after months of development work, Rick and Matt have finally deployed their DZone site redesign to the production servers. It’s been running on a dev server for a while now, whilst those of us “in the know” tried to break it or offer constructive criticism. However, I think we’re all quite relieved that it’s finally up at dzone.com. So, without further ado, a brief look at the new look!
The first thing you’ll notice is that it’s blue, very blue. The old look was really more of a green and yellow deal with a generous dose of white (everyone’s favorite). The new look has blue borders, blue gradients, blue rollovers, and subtle blue-colored hovers. There are rounded corners galore, high resolution avatars, improved comments LAF and a neat new scrolling feature which I’ll touch on a bit later. Probably the second thing you’ll notice is that your voting options have increased, and your complain option has disappeared. People were overusing the complain feature (especially “just plain lame”), so it was removed and replaced with “down vote”.
This release also sees support for “unvoting”, both up and down. How many times have you clicked on the vote header when you were actually going for the thumbnail? Well, now, you can just unvote your mistake and move on (or more preferably, vote more accurately and more prolifically). This feature was discussed at length amongst the DZone staff, and it was decided that this really was a good idea. There are no restrictions on unvoting yet, but if we see a significant amount of gaming surrounding the feature, steps will be taken…
The scrolling feature is pretty sweet too. To test it out, scroll all the way to the bottom of the front page. After a moment’s hesitation, the next several links will load automatically and populate into your browser (by the power of the mighty AJAX). This works on any link aggregation page (FP, the queue, saved and shared).
I have one more feature to mention before I close this already lengthy writeup: sharing and saving. You can now share links (Google Reader style) easily as you traverse the front page (or more preferably the queue). Shared links go into your profile’s “shared” section, which has its own URL you can send to your friends. It also has its own RSS feed which you can use to more conveniently spread your links to the far corners of the globe.
Saving is a similar feature which allows you to mark a link for inclusion into your “saved” section, which is not a public area. This way, you can mark things as “for later attention” without having to vote, comment, share or otherwise publicly dog-ear the link. I don’t know about you, but I will probably use this feature constantly.
Oh, one important thing to note: everyone should re-upload your avatar. DZone used to only support 16×16 images for your avatar. The new maximum size is 80×80, but there are numerous scaled versions which are saved. If you have a high resolution image for your avatar, upload it asap to get the clearer quality on all your posts.
There’s so much more in this release that I haven’t had a chance to tell you about. Hopefully, one of the other DZone staff (I’m crossing my fingers for Rick) will do a more complete writeup in the near future detailing the new features more thoroughly than I could here. Enjoy the new interface!
P.S. I forgot to mention it. DZone.com now supports OpenID login. It only allows you to vote and comment on links, since OpenID doesn’t actually do anything more than authenticate you. To do anything more (like post or share), you have to upgrade your login to a full DZone username. But still, it’s a cool leap into a burgeoning new technology.