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Announcements

A New Look for blogTO

Posted by Tim / March 3, 2010

New blogTO DesignUnless you're reading this through a feed reader you'll notice that blogTO looks a bit different today. (If it looks totally messed up to you, please clear your cache or do a hard refresh). Overnight we introduced a new design for the site, as well as a lot of new functionality. And while we're still working away at resolving many bugs and other fixes there's a lot of new stuff we're excited for you to check out.

Many of the changes we've made are geared toward improving the usability of the site. We've been creating content for more than 5 years now and we wanted a design that made this content more accessible.

We also wanted to give the site a cleaner look. We've always been a fan of lots of white space, easy to read fonts and a layout that makes the photos pop, but we think this latest design really helps us get closer to these ideals.

Homepage

Starting with the homepage, we've changed things up quite drastically and now feature more than just a sidebar and the six latest posts. Now, you'll find the latest 4 posts (with handy links to recent stories directly to the right) followed by quick access to other popular sections of the site. Now, directly from the homepage you can:

  • Check out some of the latest restaurant and store reviews we've posted to the site
  • See what movies are now playing in theatres and quickly look up showtimes
  • Scan today's events or quickly view future dates to see what's happening in Toronto in the days and weeks to come
  • View our most recent Best of Toronto post or select any of the ones we've published to the site
  • Get up to speed on where the conversation is happening through our list of recent and active comments
  • View our pick for our photo of the day (a new daily feature on the site) and see what else has recently been added to our Flickr Pool

Navigation

We've re-thought the site wide navigation and replaced the former primary/sub navigation hierarchy and pulldown access with what we think is a cleaner and more logical structure. You'll now find most of our categories like arts, music, film and city under the City and Culture tab. Under the City Guide tab you'll find links to all our reviews and directory-type content like restaurant reviews, bars, fashion stores and more.

Best of Toronto

For more than a year we've been getting requests to re-design our Best of Toronto section. Well, here it is. The big change is we now offer the ability to look up Best of Toronto posts alphabetically. You can also quickly sort between food-related and non-food-related Best of Toronto content. (note: this feature has a bug that should be fixed soon)

Restaurant Section

In our restaurant and other review/directory sections, we've re-designeded the entry pages to make it easier to scan the latest published reviews as well as look up places by type or neighbourhood. For example, we now have dedicated pages for things like Thai Restaurants in Toronto or restaurants in Leslieville (note: this page has a bug that also should be fixed soon).

When you're reading a review like, say, Sky Blue Sky Sandwich Company, you'll now see links to other restaurants in the area as well as other sandwich places in Toronto.

Events and Movie Listings Sections

The functionality hasn't changed much for these sections, but we hope you'll find them easier on the eyes and a much improved layout to lookup locations details, showtimes or watch movie trailers.

Development Still in Progress

There are dozen of bugs we are still working on and hope to have fixed soon. But if you care to share any thoughts about the new design or let us know about any problems please add your comment below.

Discussion

179 Comments

Sandy / March 3, 2010 at 07:32 am
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Maybe you should have done a little more testing on Chrome, the header is quite badly overlaid and misaligned there.
Shawn / March 3, 2010 at 07:40 am
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Looks better to me so far. On a netbook, this is a bit nicer to navigate.
Robert / March 3, 2010 at 07:41 am
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I am having the same issues with Chrome.
Peter / March 3, 2010 at 07:51 am
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I like this new design, certainly has more functionality and is very well laid out. But of course, the question that I'm sure everyone has on their mind, is the security of the site updated?
Christopher / March 3, 2010 at 07:54 am
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Looks really good, definitely a better way to present the content more intuitively and increases the "daily reference" element of bTO. The only thing people will miss, I think, is the large photos on the homepage. They also got some flack (from ppl at Torontoist, if I'm recalling properly), but I think that visual thing drew lots of people in.
Mir / March 3, 2010 at 07:57 am
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Looks good, like the new content on the home page. The drop downs are going behind the flash Sony ad.
DS / March 3, 2010 at 08:16 am
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Will this new look encompass a virus-free experience too?
Jarrett / March 3, 2010 at 08:25 am
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This is a total mess on Chrome...EVERYTHING. If it stays like this I won't be able to read this site anymore.
Cliff / March 3, 2010 at 08:44 am
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Not working well in Firefox either.
Alison / March 3, 2010 at 08:57 am
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Looks alright in firefox for me.. but have the same issue someone mentioned above with the menu going behind rich media ads (i.e. the Sony one).
ZZZf / March 3, 2010 at 09:04 am
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Looks good. Remember KISS (not the band). and lots of pictures.
tim replying to a comment from Cliff / March 3, 2010 at 09:09 am
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If it looks like a mess in Firefox try a hard refresh of the page.
Cat / March 3, 2010 at 09:10 am
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Can't stand it. It's too busy.
west side dweller / March 3, 2010 at 09:11 am
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updates to the restaurant section are top shelf; love being able to see restaurants in surrounding area.
Dawn / March 3, 2010 at 09:15 am
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Will take a look further at the features but right off the bat, I'm with Cat. It's a bit random feeling, everything all over the place. Might take a bit to get used to, maybe it is because I was a big fan of the design before this.
dansblv / March 3, 2010 at 09:25 am
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good job guys, this is looking really well
Ste / March 3, 2010 at 09:26 am
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the font used in the menu bar is horrid - don't small caps everything.

I don't mind it, but I dislike that the photo of the day is at the very bottom. You're looking like more of a newspaper. Congrats!
Christina / March 3, 2010 at 09:30 am
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I think it looks great.

Congrats!

Rick Mason / March 3, 2010 at 09:35 am
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In mobile Safari the right sidebars don't seem to load on the home page and on other pages in some
cases they are loading empty boxes or leaving a huge gap between some of them.
keven / March 3, 2010 at 09:39 am
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Just an FYI, you're throwing a parse error on this page:

http://www.blogto.com/fashion_style/2010/02/street_style_at_the_sandman_viper_command_residency_at_cest_what/

keven / March 3, 2010 at 09:40 am
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Just an FYI, you're throwing a parse error on this page:

http://www.blogto.com/fashion_style/2010/02/street_style_at_the_sandman_viper_command_residency_at_cest_what/

Also some text is hidden underneath a few spots on the headlines in Chrome, you may want to check your z-indexes or positioning.
MP / March 3, 2010 at 09:41 am
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Yuck! One of the big reasons for visiting this site besides the fresh take on Toronto news, was the look of the site. Being a designer, I really took notice of your clean site style and cleaver image wrap around on the header. Now that's gone, and its resembling more of what's bland and already out there. I really think you've taken a step backwards with this design, and gone towards the mainstream news page. (thumbs way down)
keven / March 3, 2010 at 09:41 am
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Just an FYI, you're throwing a parse error on this page:

http://www.blogto.com/fashion_style/2010/02/street_style_at_the_sandman_viper_command_residency_at_cest_what/

Also some text is hidden underneath a few spots on the headlines in Chrome, you may want to check your z-indexes or positioning.

also this is the 3rd time I've attempted to post this comment.
Ben McEvoy / March 3, 2010 at 09:42 am
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Not a huge fan of the serif type used in the post headings - really tough on the eyes, especially when there's lots of type... everything else will take some getting used to, although I was personally a fan of the old look.
Jon / March 3, 2010 at 09:42 am
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It's quite a mess in Firefox with NoScript enabled (the menu appears as a text list plastered over the content, among other problems). And if you think I'm whitelisting your site after spending days cleaning your malware off my computer, you're nuts.
MP replying to a comment from Ste / March 3, 2010 at 09:43 am
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Looks awful, agreed. The old page was MUCH better, and way more unique. Way to look like everything else out there.
Adil / March 3, 2010 at 09:50 am
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love the new look & layout! lot's of value added.

however, i believe someone else may have mentioned this - the menu font looks quite odd.



Steve / March 3, 2010 at 09:52 am
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Not liking this new design. It's lost it's "personality". Although I do like the formatting on the reviews page.
Paul / March 3, 2010 at 09:55 am
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Why so serious?
MelS / March 3, 2010 at 09:56 am
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I agree with MP down with the changes! Don't put me in a box! looks like a cheap blogger template. But it wont stop me from reading...
MP / March 3, 2010 at 10:01 am
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I preferred the old look. I don't like the serif headings and I miss the tag that counted the number of comments for each of the posts.
ZZZf / March 3, 2010 at 10:02 am
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I don't like it. Pictures are too small and too much text.
Sheryl / March 3, 2010 at 10:13 am
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It looks alright, but the update to the virus situation should be placed again on the main page. Why was it removed?
DROCK / March 3, 2010 at 10:39 am
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I first looked at the page and was deeply dissapointe.. I dont even enjoy coming to this site anymore, and i check it many times throughout the day......... BOOOOOO
Jason / March 3, 2010 at 10:43 am
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Just reiterating that it looks like shit on Google Chrome.
t.do / March 3, 2010 at 10:45 am
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I think its a step down from your previous website. Now the site looks like some kind of wordpress template theme. The old site was unique and had character, now it looks boring...
cocoa / March 3, 2010 at 10:50 am
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I liked the simplicity of the old site, this one will take some getting used to. Overall I think it looks good and you've succeeded in making your older/other content more accessible. It's not just about the latest 5 posts anymore.

Good job.

I guess working up a new mobile site is a lot to ask after this...?
Ben S / March 3, 2010 at 10:59 am
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I really enjoyed the previous straightforward design. It's too easy to scroll down too quickly and be confused as to what the content at the bottom is. BlogTo just looks like a fancier Toronto.com now.

BlogTO's advance is the well written content, not the events or movie listings (huh?).

Why do I want to see movie listing on a city specific site when those movie listing are nearly identical to those of any other city in the world?
Nat / March 3, 2010 at 10:59 am
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Like:
-overall I think it looks good, I'll keep reading
-really like the addition of the 'stories from today' and yesterday thing- keeps me from scrolling through pages to find what I missed

Dislike:
-there are no comment counters next to the stories on the home page- I like easily seeing which articles are creating discussion
-the 'most commented' and 'recent comments' are good, but they are buried at the bottom of the page, I'll never scroll that far down to find them- theres a big batch of empty space on the side bar under the 'today' and 'yesterday' stories- why not put the comments there?
-I liked the big pictures much better than the small ones with the text at the side
-with the photo of the day so far at the bottom, you might as well get rid of it

And my biggest pet peeve about BlogTO that I hoped to god would be fixed and isn't- when searching for restaurants or bars, why do I have to search by neighborhood or cuisine type? There are so many neighborhoods that are walking distance from each other. If I am say at College at Clinton, sure I will look at the Little Italy section, but I could also walk to Ossington, or up to the Annex, or down to Queen West, or up to Korea Town- I should be able to input my location and then see whats around me, not have click on 7 different neighborhoods. This is also unfriendly to tourists or people new to Toronto who might be less familiar with specific neighborhood names. And the neighborhood codings aren't always correct- for example right now if you look at restaurants in the Annex you get Coffee Culture at College&Bathurst- isn't that Little Italy? And you have reviewed Salad King- but it doesn't come up when you look for restos near Yonge&Dundas.

Sorry for the rant but there are just all kinds of inconsistencies that could be fixed if you went to a better filter system for displaying restaurants/cafes/bars.
Bradley Wentworth / March 3, 2010 at 11:00 am
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Looks pretty good - I recommend you bring back the category of "cafés" which seems to have been swallowed by "restaurants". Jet Fuel - where I am most often to be found - doesn't even serve food once their muffins run out around 9:00 a.m.!
Sean / March 3, 2010 at 11:06 am
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If it ain't broke, don't fix it. You broke it, now have fun fixing it.
David Tabor / March 3, 2010 at 11:10 am
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I think you would've been done better to put BETA at the top somewhere... rather it looks like it was rushed out to meet some kind of deadline - just like a video game manufacturer does before xmas.

BLK / March 3, 2010 at 11:11 am
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I also prefer the larger pictures. That's why I came here instead of Torontoist. The big pictures just made things more fun.
cocoa / March 3, 2010 at 11:17 am
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After a bit of browsing I have some comments

- there are no comment counters for the posts on the first page

- the grey backing behind the blogto logo on the header is a bit too dark or something, might look better if it was more transparent

- the 'latest comments' thing is too far down the page

- for movie listings, the 'Select a Film' dropdown menu lists movie theatres after the list of films, but when you click on any of them it says "Oops, looks like the page you tried to access doesn't exist."
marc / March 3, 2010 at 11:29 am
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Looking good. The header looks a little blocky and out of place but the functionality is nice. Good job!
Jacob / March 3, 2010 at 11:30 am
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I prefer the old look. It had character. This new design is cold and looks like a generic blog circa 5 years ago.
cocoa for the third time / March 3, 2010 at 11:49 am
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When I try to look at old Radar posts (from Monday, for instance) I get a weird parse error. Like <a href="http://www.blogto.com/radar/2010/02/weekend_radar_wildsound_short_film_festival_little_toast_on_the_prairie_lipstick_cherry_catl_and_100_sister_marys_a_dyke_toronto_roller_derby_bent_village_reggae_for_haiti_/";>this</a>.

Also agree with the person/people above who said the big photos were a major reason for choosing this place over Torontoist. At some point TOist became a wall of text with a few photos, while BlogTO always had really large photos with most of the text viewable on click-through...that was better.
Jen C / March 3, 2010 at 11:59 am
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Sorry, don't really like. You've gone down the Torontoist road...small pictures and not enough text. I don't care to have to follow the jump on every single article. You used to be able to read Radar and Morning Brew without having to jump. The more I look at this, the more I very strongly dislike. Your design before was perfect, why the need to meddle with a clean, simple design for all this clutter?
jacko / March 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm
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the new design is a mess, if it aint broke, dont fix it! seriously its all over the place.
stacey mccool / March 3, 2010 at 12:08 pm
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OK. Here's a couple things that I know people (read: photographers) are going to whine about (possibly myself included).

Put credit where credit is due! I shouldn't have to scroll throw an entire article to find out who took the photo two pages back. Also, the "Toronto Food" group on Flickr that was secretly run by BlogTO and streamed alongside restaurant reviews is no longer there? Is this a permanent thing?

Finally, yeah, I agree with everyone else... the big photos were a draw. Torontoist has the plain-jane layout cornered - I expect something a little more fun/artistic from BlogTO.
stacey mccool replying to a comment from stacey mccool / March 3, 2010 at 12:14 pm
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Umm, also... if the comments are going to be unreliable: add a delete button!
geoff / March 3, 2010 at 12:21 pm
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Getting rid of the big pictures was a big mistake. They were my favorite part of Blog TO's layout, and the reason I didn't read torontoist all that often. This is a sad day.
Joe Clark / March 3, 2010 at 12:41 pm
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Well, I mean, your code is still not very good, but “not very good code” is all we manage in Toronto. Hint: P STRONG is not how you mark up a headline (nor does H6 follow H1). I do find it amusing you claim to be using Strict code.

Maybe you can find somebody who understands markup. I’m sure Dave Topping has some friends.
Marc Lostracco / March 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm
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I was a bit confused at how people were talking about Torontoist's small pictures, since they are almost always spanning the 640-pixel width of the site, which is larger than BlogTO's 590-pixel limit, but then I realized that they probably have it set on "Summary" view instead if "Full" view (<a href="http"//torontoist.com/">top right of the header</a>), the latter which will show photos as they are meant to be seen (which should stick permanently if you're logged in—I wish it stuck all the time, but it often doesn't).
Marc Lostracco / March 3, 2010 at 12:53 pm
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Yeah, so that embedded link above didn't go to the right place. It was supposed to go to the Torontoist page, not this BlogTO page. So that's something else, then.
Jesse / March 3, 2010 at 12:53 pm
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I like it. I think it is actually a bit harder to read and scroll, but it definitely LOOKS better. It's in tune with what's happening to a lot of blog designs out there
c / March 3, 2010 at 01:29 pm
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Sure it looks good but there's an essence that is lost. It's true that it looks too much like a mainstream news page. It doesn't look like a intimate local blog anymore. The old one was more homey, it was better. Please bring back the bigger pictures and the simplicity!
Jon Appletree / March 3, 2010 at 01:30 pm
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Looks great guys-- congrats! FWIW I'm on Google Chrome on a Mac and see no display issues...
Jason / March 3, 2010 at 01:47 pm
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I preferred the old look. I don't like the topmast or the san serif text menus or the box. This aesthetic is colder and has less personality, as someone else mentioned.
momo / March 3, 2010 at 01:59 pm
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I like the old look better too. These serif headings look weak.
The design is nice and clean to be sure, but it's lost that vibrant, happy feeling you had going here. This looks much more serious.
Snickers / March 3, 2010 at 02:02 pm
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Yay! No viruses too! For the first time i didn't get any notifications of virus threats when i visited this site. great job!
jer / March 3, 2010 at 02:13 pm
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The "older" pages button doesn't work past the first page. I like to start at the most recent and go back until the last ones I read the previous time. I don't see that button on the bottom of the second page though.
AKON / March 3, 2010 at 02:30 pm
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This works perfectly in Internet Explorer :)
AKON replying to a comment from Robert / March 3, 2010 at 02:32 pm
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Use Internet Explorer. Its better and this site works perfectly with it.
Jason / March 3, 2010 at 02:43 pm
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Explorer is a piece of shit. Anyway, looks fine in Chrome now. Still sucks compared to the old layout, which was great. Such an unnecessary change.
Sandy / March 3, 2010 at 02:44 pm
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Would also be great to get full feeds (finally), which would be great for those of us who read our feeds on airplanes, and would reduce transmission of the next virus that the site picks up.
Japhet / March 3, 2010 at 02:48 pm
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I'm a Chrome user and when I'm on the main page, the drop-down menus on the right are partially obscured by the ad at the top. Doesn't happen on this page though..
tunnix / March 3, 2010 at 02:55 pm
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the new look is terrible, the old one was so much better
Dawn / March 3, 2010 at 03:20 pm
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I stand by my first comment, I tried to give it a try today and navigate through and I just can't do it. I don't like it. It's going to take a long time to get used to it, plus I feel like I'm on the Toronto Star website.
Jarrett / March 3, 2010 at 03:30 pm
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So we get 3 items, a spattering of junk, then the rest of the items? It's so disjointed. All that white beside the header at the top really emphasizes how empty the space is, also that black line followed by a thinner line looks clunky. Your only two drop-downs also collide with the advertisement space where the flash ad will overlap it.
Patty Ho / March 3, 2010 at 03:42 pm
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Who did the design for this new site?

I hope it's someone who had gone to school and actually learned about 'Typography'. Overall the text is sooo small to read. There's not enough contrast for the article title and the detail fonts.

The article text size is the same size as the comment text size? come on!!

I find the new design very cluttered, I find myself loving the last design better.
Mark / March 3, 2010 at 04:10 pm
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During your redesign someone who understand how to code properly and use fonts on the web would have come in handy.
Steve / March 3, 2010 at 04:16 pm
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Yeah...will take some getting used to that's for sure.

Very first thing I noticed was the smaller pictures.

Sounds like I'm not the only one feeling that.
It's not terrible or anything but the original layout was just fine the way it was.
David Topping / March 3, 2010 at 04:26 pm
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I know Marc already mentioned this, but you've always been able to see large photos on Torontoist, right from our home page—that's how I've read Torontoist for the longest time now.

In the top-right corner of the site, in the menu, there's a little yellow box that has the word "summary" in it. If you mouse-over, you can change it to "full," and that'll give you the full viewing experience—it'll show you how Torontoist is supposed to be seen. Big pretty photos and illustrations, lots of article text, etc.

(This information, for what it's worth, has been on our FAQ page for several years now.)
Jessica / March 3, 2010 at 04:32 pm
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Trying to make BlogTO look more like a news site rather than a blog? If so, then I think you've accomplished what you were going after. But you've totally lost the design elements that differentiated your site from others like Torontoist and Toronto Star. Now you're just lumped in with the rest of them. Not a great marketing strategy. I loved the community look and feel and brand identity that BlogTO used to have. Now that's gone and you've replaced it with a vanilla looking site that still has a lot of bugs. It's going to take some getting used to and maybe I'll come around soon, but at this point I'm disappointed in the changes.
Simba / March 3, 2010 at 04:40 pm
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Font is too small on front page.
I liked the bigger pictures as well..
On firefox- there is way too much empty space on the both sides that make it seems like im just reading a sliver of column-it should fit the screen.
Jen C / March 3, 2010 at 05:11 pm
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Thanks for the Torontoist tip Marc & David. Full vs summary might be in the FAQ, but I never noticed that button before. Now if only BlogTO could do the same with this new layout.
Alex / March 3, 2010 at 05:20 pm
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Functionality is way better, but the design seems uncomfortable. Header image seems to small and obstructed. The site doesn't look unified.
An improvement might even be to move the blogTO logo up (and scale down), in line with Freshdaily, etc.
Zia / March 3, 2010 at 05:45 pm
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The old design was WAY better. This is like every other bland news website out there. I will truly miss the originality and local feel of the old one. Very disappointed.
Chris Orbz / March 3, 2010 at 05:46 pm
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I'm sure it's probably somewhere above but the menus do indeed drop down under Safari. I'm just in the Apple Store, otherwise I'd be on (Mac) Chrome, a li'l worried about how it'll look when on my own comp/browser choice.

Also, LOL at the "Just use IE, it's better" comment above.

But my real question is, are movie listings really as central to the site as the new menu suggests? It took me a second to figure out that you hadn't just done away with the various city guide content, and I never would've come through here for movie listings. Are you actually getting many hits for them? Because all you have to do is Google "toronto movie nameofmovie" and Google itself will return showtimes without even directing you to another site. I guess your strength in that area would be working harder than most to include as many independent theatres (and strange men in their house on Bathurst) as possible. But when I see how many things are under those two drop-downs, I definitely wouldn't have selected movie listings to give such priority.
skube / March 3, 2010 at 05:52 pm
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Liked the old look way better.
Justin / March 3, 2010 at 06:45 pm
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I like it for the most part except for the top banner - the white rectangle behind the BlogTO logo looks out of place as if put there with the intended purpose of making the logo stand out more. It sits in an odd position that pushes the menu to the right... this seems meaningless and distracting.

IMO it would look better with the menu stretching across the full width of the banner with the logo simply Z-indexed overtop the rotated image in the background.

As for the rest of the main page, it's a bit more complicated with having several more sections involved but I like it.

B+
bob / March 3, 2010 at 08:04 pm
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I don't think that the front page is very clean looking, its a little bothersome to look at.
anono / March 3, 2010 at 08:13 pm
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wow. no good.
Firstly, and I think most importantly, I can barely focus on the red, uncomfortably thin headline font - it is actually giving me a headache.
Secondly, there is nothing inviting me to read/click through a post - the photography (which has always been a strong point of the site) has been minimized and the deletion of the comments count is gone - I always found the comments/discussion more informative than the actual writing (which has always been a weak point of the site).
I'll come back... but only because the torontoist is even more of a disaster to read.
Wes Bos / March 3, 2010 at 09:59 pm
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Is there going to be support for Gravatars?
A'Dreama Monet / March 3, 2010 at 10:05 pm
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good start, i think.
would be nice if the pictures were bigger and the date/time/temp font was a bit more this decade - same for story headings too.
lastly, how to i get to page 2?
Jordan / March 3, 2010 at 10:32 pm
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Can you bring back the old site - this is awful. Smaller photos and serif font? Really? The site was hot, clean and simple before. Why introduce so much useless information on the home page? It reeks of 1999 Yahoo.com - trying too hard to do too much, and ultimately becoming more useless in the process. Do we really need to see a movie list on the homepage? This is a mess, I can't even comprehend how you can go so wrong. Why are the most commented / recent comments on the bottom of the page? They made sense in the sidebar - quick links to useful information. Jesus.

Can you at least provide an option for the old layout? This is really really bad.




matt / March 3, 2010 at 10:33 pm
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I really don't like this new look. It's a real regression from your stylistic old look. It makes the site very unappealing to visit. Don't be too proud; just change it back.
mona / March 3, 2010 at 10:44 pm
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Have been following this blog for many years. I also don't like the new look. It's very Toronto Life-ish...but colder and older? Perhaps that's the target now.
TL / March 3, 2010 at 11:25 pm
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This new version is hard to navigate and the real advantage i see here is more ad space for blogto and not the readers. Its really hard to see things as text and buttons have been reduced. The events section is also a pain it was nice to get on the site and see it in a panel, not having to scroll all the way down.
please bring back the old one!
Miriam / March 4, 2010 at 12:38 am
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Being a designer, I have to add my two cents, sorry. :)

- The comments have a good look, they are easier to read.

- Serif font, no, too hard to read.

- Header, reminds me too much of the Vancouver/Montreal one, it had a nice wrap before, bleeding off the edges. And it was different from the other two blogs, which made it original. Does it show the information about the photographer anywhere, I can't seem to find it?

- The bottom of the page seems a bit scattered, there is just a jumble of information, even though it is placed in a grid, it doesn't seem to work.

- I feel as if this was the before blogTO layout, as if it was the first one ever created, not the most updated one.

- Ah the photos, blow them up! :) We have a blogto flickr page, it seems to be an important part, blow those babies up. They added such a nice touch, made me want to read the articles.

- I do enjoy the category section in the restaurant page, it is all laid out and easy to find. Gold star for that.

- No italics (date).

This is a blog no? It doesn't feel like one.

It's hard to adapt to change, and it's hard for the designer to create something that everyone can relate to, something that can communicate. Perhaps I'm being too harsh with my comments, but I don't know, I feel it should have been tested more before being put out.
Brad / March 4, 2010 at 12:51 am
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Hate it, I run an older version of IE at work (can't update it at all) so can no longer browse from there as I get the ÿou MUST upgrade garbage" and I'm scared to visit from home since your viruses have infected me several times.
steve / March 4, 2010 at 08:39 am
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Terrible. Plus the optics of having a huge design change right after a virus attack looks bad. How do we know this is a real update, and not just the virus changing things?
Randy / March 4, 2010 at 09:16 am
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I don't like the redesign at all. It has lost its warmth.
Nancy / March 4, 2010 at 10:28 am
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I was withholding judgement on the new look, but when I visited this morning to find the Morning Brew gone - that decided it for me. I hate the new look.
Moi / March 4, 2010 at 11:06 am
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Sorry. I like the OLD way better
Change is good yes......but not today:(:(
keven / March 4, 2010 at 11:08 am
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Checked out the source code. Got about 15 lines down, saw inline jQuery. You just lost the entire essence of using jQuery by putting it inline. Stupid I know, but bad, bad code developer. This would be a huge alert to me in hiring you.

I'm reserving judgment on the "look". My initial impressions are that I'm not too fond of it, but I'd like to give it a few days before I feel confident in that decision. No point in making line items of problems as they seem to be covered above.

Something seems wrong with the comments though. I submit them and they don't show up, had this problem everywhere yesterday. I even did a hard refresh, cleared cache, opened a browser that hasn't been on the site ever and still... my comments weren't showing up. The preview of comments seems severely broken too and isn't styled and often falls behind the comment above.
Valentine Makhouleen / March 4, 2010 at 11:48 am
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Meta Bold in the menu is a little too heavy.
Sad to see the wrap around tab.
Overall it has moved in a direction of an online paper (like The Star), and that's not a good thing.
Unnecessary elements add a lot of noise (red dots, borders).
Buttons lack coherent spacing within them - kerning is too loose and font too heavy.
Too many horizontal lines in the header - makes it feel heavier that it can be.
Overall, seems all over the place.
Fails validation: http://validator.w3.org/check?uri=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.blogto.com%2F&;charset=%28detect+automatically%29&doctype=Inline&group=0
Where are the metatags?

6/10
Hezeus / March 4, 2010 at 12:07 pm
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Hard. to. navigate.

coming from a developer, did you guys decide to forgo any sort of organizational layout, instead giving priority to ads, and just tossing everything on the main page? I can scroll down forever! as obsessively as I have checked blogTO in the past, this site makes the experience so bad I have trimmed down my blogTO time considerably.
Eric S. Smith / March 4, 2010 at 02:17 pm
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The way articles look on the front page is really not working for me at all -- it looks thrown together, not "cleaner." Is it because you rushed to get on to a new, more secure and maintainable back end as soon as you could? That's a decision that I'd support 100%, and I hope that the look will improve over the coming weeks.
reader / March 4, 2010 at 03:23 pm
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Any plan to address some of the issues in this thread? Specifically the stuff about latest comments being listed on the top and comment counters on the front page. The pictures look fine on page 2 and beyond, but page 1 is still too texty.
MANDY replying to a comment from Sandy / March 4, 2010 at 06:03 pm
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Not really a huge fan of this new design... the old one was so much more visually pleasing...I loved how the photography was such a major focus of it, it really drew me into the articles. This one is so boring and mundane...the photos are all thumbnails now, and the layout is blah/meh - if you want the technical terminology!
EvidencE / March 4, 2010 at 07:04 pm
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what the hell happened here
is this an early april fools joke?
Rachel / March 4, 2010 at 07:26 pm
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I am really not a fan of the new layout. It lacks personality and the big pictures were fabulous. Not keen on the front page at all but I am glad the newsletter is OK.
Brett / March 4, 2010 at 08:42 pm
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C'mon guys, get over the small photos thing, if you click on the "Next" button below the posts on the homepage or on the thumbnails you'll see the page where the big photos you're all whining about are.

The new design looks cool.
sc / March 4, 2010 at 08:46 pm
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corporate sellouts. this site sucks. I cant beleive you guys did this. All about the dosh$$. man.!! And, where is my previous comment? i
Alex / March 4, 2010 at 08:54 pm
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I'm shocked, to be honest. Can't say much about the functionality yet, but the design looks way too generic and bland ... :(
Ella / March 4, 2010 at 09:04 pm
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Building on some of the previous comments- I too used to somewhat obsessively check what was new on BlogTO, a lot of the time all that was new was the 'recent comments' that was right at the top of the page- thats what kept me coming back multiple times a day, something was new every time I checked the site, because there was always a new comment, which pulled me in to engage with the site and those discussions. With the recent comments down at the bottom of the page, I am not going to scroll down forever to see whats new, I'm just not going to come to the site as often, since I know that the content I see right away doesn't change all that often throughout the day. Sooo if your goal was to get me to find some other way to waste my time on the internet other than checking out your site multiple times a day, good on ya...it's probably good for me, so thanks I guess.
DM / March 4, 2010 at 09:46 pm
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This looks terrible. Really generic and bland. You are no different from toronto.com now.
matts / March 4, 2010 at 10:24 pm
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Plain and boring. And it doesn't feel like a blog, the spontaneity and straightforwardness of the earlier design is gone. Bleah.
Magda / March 5, 2010 at 01:19 am
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Ugh! Really? Really? SO much text makes me not want to read it. I enjoyed reading blogTo through the main site, it was fun and pretty.

This is really boring. It has no personality. The blue is awful. Bring back the red, bring back the photos. Who wants so much text clawing at their eyes?

mark replying to a comment from Magda / March 5, 2010 at 02:11 am
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uhm, peeople that enjoy reading?

stop complaining and be objective people... subjective, biased and vague comments on design are no use if you want to this site to become a better to place to be informed

but yes, the recent comments and most commented stuff should be put near the top
LanternBell / March 5, 2010 at 02:14 am
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Ughhhhh... Firstly, of all the colours you had to choose for the background, it had to be gray. We just got out of gray and wintery weather! Secondly, the clutter, the clutter!!! The old site might not be as functional but at least it was easy on the eyes, organized and not trying to overload you with information.
MP / March 5, 2010 at 10:24 am
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This really sucks. I thought for sure with how terrible the redesign turned out, you'd have switched back to the cozy old site we all grew to love...who cares if you paid for it. It is far from an improvement, is way too busy and lacks the simplicity that drew people to it everyday. BOOOO!!!! Changing my homepage to something else...not sure what yet, but I hate looking at this.
Chester pape / March 5, 2010 at 10:26 am
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Whatever you are using resources.eyereturn.com for it's slowing the whole operation down.
blogtofan / March 5, 2010 at 01:19 pm
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I'm afraid I have to agree with most comments and articulate my disappointment. I'm a big fan of BlogTO, but a big part of my draw to the site was the rich use of photography and larger text. In the new layout, there's too much information and it's less enjoyable to navigate. My two cents...
M replying to a comment from mark / March 5, 2010 at 01:19 pm
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Yes, people who enjoy reading like text! However, what I, alongside many others are saying that too much text on a splash page makes it difficult for eye travel to discern what to grasp, particularly when we've been trained to read less and less. I'm not suggesting this is a welcome movement to our reading of online text, but it is what's happened. There is so much varying headers, something that has turned me off many other sites. I want bold and clear and yes, perhaps the love of white space is a personal aesthetic desire, but otherwise I would hardly call the comments most people have been posting vague and biased.

I am also aware that change is shocking, when we're used to something, we grow accustomed to it and are comforted by its stability and neutrality in our lives, so maybe in a few weeks we'll all be over it? Although really really, nothing beats nice large photos that say so much more than text on text on text. ;o)

Magda / March 5, 2010 at 01:23 pm
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Also, this url does not work: http://www.blogto.com/arts/2010/02/snow_art_declares_honesty_is_the_best_poetry_/ that is listed here: http://www.blogto.com/arts/1/

Parse error: syntax error, unexpected T_STRING in /nfs/c06/h01/mnt/88474/domains/blogto.com/html/arts/2010/02/snow_art_declares_honesty_is_the_best_poetry_/index.php on line 8

Jessica / March 5, 2010 at 02:44 pm
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Day 3 of navigating the new site and I still don't like it. So much white space, lists that go on forever, hard to read text. I thought I'd get used to it, but no such luck. Sorry guys, you've lost me - taking BlogTO out of my favorites.
Lune replying to a comment from anono / March 5, 2010 at 04:59 pm
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I agree on "comments" - I need it on the page with the title, as it was my motivation to read the article. New look is clean but I found it a bit distant. I prefer the big picture of the old look.
Tim / March 5, 2010 at 06:22 pm
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Thanks for all the comments everyone. Obviously, we're disappointed to hear that many of you aren't big fans of the new design. Having read all the feedback, I think it's fair to say that most of the concerns relate to the new layout of the homepage.

We are trying to do something very new here. There wasn't a site we were trying to copy and look like, bur rather we tried to come up with a homepage that best provided access to the daily blog posts as well as the site's wealth of resources like events, movie info and restaurant and store reviews.

We believe blogTO is unique in the city in that we provide both these types of content (in other words, not just a blog, and not just a place to look up movies/events/restaurants) and we've tried to come up with a homepage that prevents content from being buried or inaccessible.

We found through research, for example, that many didn't realize we actually had an events or movie showtimes section so hopefully this homepage provides more awareness and access to that type of content. That's one of our goals anyway.

We're still very much into featuring large photos and hoped this site redesign would further this goal. I still believe it does on 99.9% of the pages on the site. But, of course, they're reduced in size on the homepage which many of you have let it be known is not a change for the better.

I should note that the only reason they're reduced in size on the homepage is that we felt that keeping them as-is would make the homepage too long given we wanted to add the additional content.

The new design is still being worked on. Unfortunately there are a number of issues that surfaced when we moved it from the test to live environment. But we hope to continue to resolve these through the end of next week.

I just want to reiterate we really appreciate the above comments and suggestions. Yes, we spent a lot of time and money on the new design but we also want to create a site that all of you love so we'll definitely take all this feedback into consideration as we continue to refine it.
lisa / March 5, 2010 at 10:45 pm
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The redesign for usability's sake is commendable, but I don't know if this particular redesign makes much of a difference as far as usability is concerned. I was a huge fan of the old BlogTO's design, the large photos on the homepage were a great way to start my web-day and the old layout and typography kept things clear, readable, and different enough to be interesting. Agree with above comments that the new design is more like a newspaper, and a LOT more like a ton of other sites out there: bland and boring.

Missing the old site.
Ryan H / March 5, 2010 at 11:25 pm
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Way to cheapen your brand, it looks horrible, feels too corporate. The new logo treatment looks cheap.

Your original design was much more sophisticated, yet easier to use.

What were you thinking? Why change something that was working?
KatNav / March 5, 2010 at 11:35 pm
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I loved the big photos on the old site. I looked forward to them daily. I understand the need to redesign for better usability/functionality, but this new site is lacking in personality. The old one had character.
smiley / March 6, 2010 at 01:58 am
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I noticed that the star rating for shops is gone... people may call me a coward but I really counted on that (sometimes biased) people's rating and it was a biggest reason for me to check out blogTO, but I guess not anymore...
Also I don't really like this idea of pre-categorizing each article. I can't explain why, but when I see these categories such as "announcements" "city" it makes me feel like you're saying "it's salty" just as I'm having a bite of potato chips. Bigger photos and unique titles were more intuitive than these make-sense boring categories. Random-themed chronological order made more sense to me. What is the difference between "restaurant" and "announcements" anyway?
lillian / March 6, 2010 at 02:12 pm
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i loved the old site. why are the restaurants no longer rated?
shane / March 6, 2010 at 02:34 pm
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Wow. You guys screwed up big time. The site is now crowded and cluttered, and looks like the toronto star or toronto life site. navigation does not make any sense. The layout was far superior before. On every measure this site is a failure. You have sold out to the corporate interests. Hopefully someone new will start a proper toronto blog and put this one out of business. I have been an avid fan since the very start, and read blogto multiple times a day for years. This i will do no more. What happened that you guys became so out of touch with your readership? You used to be so responsive to the community. I guess you have been blinded by dosh$$$$ Wow Tim, have you turned into a politician? Listen to your readership and skip the platitudes. So sad.

mondayjane / March 6, 2010 at 05:51 pm
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Sigh. When will designers learn that more complicated does not = better?
Simba / March 6, 2010 at 07:43 pm
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Tim- thanks for "response" to the 120 or so comments.

In response to your comment:
"up with a homepage that best provided access to the daily blog posts"

When I read that I was like - really? When I check the site lets say at 10am or 1030 I have to look for Morning Brew on the right hand side. Why not have all the of the days post stay on the main site at least for the day?





Tim replying to a comment from lillian / March 6, 2010 at 08:16 pm
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Implementing the star ratings for restaurants is still one of the many things on the list to complete in the next week.
tomms / March 7, 2010 at 11:12 am
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i wont post any more photos in the group if the credit is not moved back up to the top of the page.
afganistan / March 7, 2010 at 10:09 pm
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IT LOOKS LIKE YOU TOOK A DUMP OR A CRAP ON THE COMPUTER! ....BUT MR. JERGENSON.... NO! NO BUTS! (A LITTLE REFERENCE TO BEST OF WILL FERRELL VOL.2)
Dave / March 8, 2010 at 12:49 pm
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Don't like it...preferred the much larger pictures and text headlines offered in the old version...it was like reading an online magazine! Now everything is too abbreviated...it's like we have no attention spans and just want the "twitter" version? No thanks.
Tim replying to a comment from tomms / March 8, 2010 at 01:31 pm
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What specifically are you referring to? We haven't changed our credit format except for the Radar and Morning Brew.
matieu / March 8, 2010 at 02:21 pm
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Wow. I absolutely despise this new look. One of the biggest appeals of the site was it was aesthetically pleasing. The wrap, large photos, and search by author were all great. I am shocked to see you guys would make this change. It's disgusting to look at.
josh / March 8, 2010 at 02:26 pm
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this is terribly disappointing. I guess I am going to have to find a different site to get my daily T-Dot dose of news. Have you lost any of your authors due to the new site design? Is readership down at all? I really am dumbfounded that you guys made this shift.
jason / March 8, 2010 at 05:10 pm
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I just wanted to find a restaurant to eat at on ossington and literally found the site unreadable. I ended up just using toronto life (which content-wise isn't as great.) It is really too bad you made such a terrible mistake on the redesign.
Fernanda / March 9, 2010 at 05:03 am
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oh. i liked the other design much better... :(
JlR / March 9, 2010 at 09:31 am
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Holy Content Management System Batman!
Besides the graphics (which are ok...), it feels like any other blog.
HURM!
cocoa / March 9, 2010 at 04:58 pm
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Bug alert: In the Restaurants section, when you select "Annex" from the 'By Neighbourhood' dropdown list under the map it moves the map to a state forest in pennsylvania.
stacey mccool replying to a comment from Tim / March 10, 2010 at 01:26 pm
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EXACTLY.
Eric / March 10, 2010 at 08:58 pm
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Urg. The archaic version on IE at work won't display the site at all. Since I have no way to upgrade and there is no alternate site available, I'm unable to read the site, basically anytime during the day.
K. / March 11, 2010 at 11:21 am
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Eric, regarding your post on IE problems: that really isn't a BlogTo problem - that is a problem that your company should deal with. Using an archaic version of IE? Deal with the consequences.
Jane / March 12, 2010 at 08:37 pm
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I think it looks OK. But how do you get to the previous day's news (like the old page)?
jb / March 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm
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Skip the movies. You can find that info on many other sites.

Also, why no more 'stars' when rating the restaurants? Afraid you might offend someone?
Siggas / March 13, 2010 at 01:51 pm
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Please bring back the star rating system for the restaurant reviews! Those were so helpful, I don't always have time to read all the comments or the review itself to gauge whether or not to go to that place.
Sharon / March 17, 2010 at 12:05 am
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I used to come to this site multiple times per day. The recent comments were always new so I could easily see new content every time I visited. Right now, because of the redesign, I maybe check blogTO once a day. I doubt I am the only one who is looking elsewhere.

I feel like you guys have taken attention away from your readers and their comments and discussions in a big way, as if you don't want that reader engagement, which of course makes no business sense.....but you seem to have done it anyways. Puzzling!
too bad / March 18, 2010 at 08:19 pm
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I don't look forward to coming here anymore.
Tim replying to a comment from jason / March 18, 2010 at 08:46 pm
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We had a bug in our restaurant section which was preventing it from presenting the proper results. Now, if you want to look up restaurants on Ossington (or all businesses on Ossington) I think you'll be happy with the results:

http://www.blogto.com/ossington
http://www.blogto.com/restaurants/n/81/ossington
megan / March 25, 2010 at 04:27 pm
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Okay, I really miss the easy to find cafe section. I used to use that a lot. Whenever I was meeting someone somewhere other than my neighbourhood I'd come here to check out what cafe I should go to.

Now there doesn't seem to be a simple way to do that anymore. And, if things are in with restaurants (not sure if they are) there doesn't seem to be a 'cafe' option in the choose by type of restaurant.

I'm hoping this is just me not seeing stuff that is there, and someone can show me how to connect with this content easily once again.
Tim replying to a comment from megan / March 25, 2010 at 04:34 pm
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Sorry to hear you can't easily find the Cafes section. It's in the "City Guide" menu in the navigation. Here's the direct link:

http://www.blogto.com/cafes
Steve / March 26, 2010 at 03:37 am
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BlogTO used to sit prominently on my quick access bookmark toolbar. But since the redesign, well, it just doesn't. I can't put my finger on it, but the new layout is lacking something the previous design had in spades. Call it a personality change or a shift in emotional resonance, but it just seems to lack the sense of immediacy and "happening right now" in-touch-at-street-level mojo of the previous site. The new look is far too commercial, far too reminiscent of the mainstream portals like Toronto.com to which BlogTO was once the perfect antidote.

Oddly, your content probably hasn't changed; but the way it's presented -- now seemingly "packaged" into too slick and mainstreamed a manner -- has, and in a way that I just don't find myself relating to as before.

Your site is now a weekly read at best. You've become bland and I don't have a relationship with bland.
mt replying to a comment from MP / March 27, 2010 at 02:29 pm
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I agree with MP... I really like the original design of the last site. This new look is an extension of the bland blog sites that have littered the net as of late. The old, to me, was funky, different, a lot more unique than this run-of-the-mill site.
Teena in Toronto / March 28, 2010 at 06:25 pm
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I'm not a fan of the new look. There doesn't seem to be as many stories as before ... I like the crazy chaotic look. Alas, I don't stop in daily anymore.
Evan D. / March 30, 2010 at 09:27 pm
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I hate it too. I'm going back to Torontoist.
Evan D. / March 30, 2010 at 09:28 pm
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Email me when you revert to the old design.
R / April 2, 2010 at 02:52 pm
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Sorry to see the "redesign" has yet to been reversed or even updated, given the comments thus far. I wont rehash the criticism well pointed above, but will say I have found a major decline in my BlogTO browsing habits. I used to visit the site first thing in the morning and likely almost every hour throughout the day. Since the redesign, I visit it maybe once a day.

I'd be curious to know if the traffic has had any change since the redesign?

For me, what bother me the most (aside from the poor design, fonts, comment notification, etc.) is that there are only 4 articles on the front page. Every time I need to click "next page" I feel like I'm getting ripped off in an effort by BlogTO to generate more pageviews and traffic stats to sell to advertisers. Heck, if even the MB is pushed to page two by 10am, how do you expect people to get the relevant quick look info they seek?

I browse many blogs daily, and for me, the small number of posts on the home page at one time is the biggest issue. If you could fix this, I might come back to my normal routine. As it stands, I'll be over at the other Toronto(ist) blog for the most part.

Sad to se BlogTO go so far down from what once was a great place.

R
Tim replying to a comment from R / April 2, 2010 at 03:23 pm
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We're obviously disappointed that so many of you have commented that you're visiting the site less since the site redesign. It makes us feel that it doesn't really matter what content we're creating and that many of you are more interested in visiting the site based on the layout of the homepage, how many posts are on the homepage or how you feel about how we've treated our logo. In fact, saying we're disappointed in this reaction is a gross understatement.

That said, as I commented earlier, we do appreciate the feedback and will be making some changes to reflect this.

I should note that we're particularly hurt by accusations that we're somehow trying to rip you off (let's overlook the fact that our content/site is free to use and we don't charge you or make you sign up for a subscription) by making you click more often to view the content. In fact, the design changes were made so that you could click less. That's why we elevated content like recent reviews to the homepage as well as our new sidebar that provides direct links to content published in the last 48 hours. These would have never been direct links on the old homepage design and you would have had to click more than you do now. Also, we used to have 6 posts on the homepage and now we have 5. That's hardly a drastic reduction.

To reiterate - the whole point of this redesign was to improve usability. We even eliminated or reduced banner ads from certain sections of the site (such as our main restaurants page) in order to make the site and its pages as user friendly as possible.

In summary, while we will unveil changes to the site design soon (design and testing takes time FYI) we feel some of these comments are unwarranted and juvenile. And to suggest that another site is a substitute for us basically says to us that you don't value our original content and the hard work of our writers and photographers who are publishing stories you can't find anywhere else on the web and that we should basically just shut the site down.
Steve / April 2, 2010 at 03:52 pm
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Tim, nobody is picking on you, so there is no reason to feel hurt. You asked for feedback and you are getting it, and it's clear some people are just unhappy with the new layout. I've read most of the postings and while the site is certainly being critiqued, there is little that would be deemed overly harsh. But to insult these readers for the feedback you yourself requested by calling them "juvenile" is, however, very harsh.

The comments from others are not personal, neither should yours be in response. Step back a bit, don't be so close to your work. You've changed the packaging... many a company that altered a major aspect of their brand, only to see negative feedback, wishes they hadn't. Roll with the punches. The commitment to your writing and photography is not in question: the container through which you present this material is. Your readers had a relationship with your whole brand, not just the copy and imagery.

Sure, you made major usability changes, but too much perhaps? There is a point at which web sites can get overly "repaired", become overly focussed on usability at the expense of the unique visual design that helped to create the site's personality in the first place; if you re-read the comments, it's pretty clear the site personality is primarily what most of the negative feedback is referencing.

Finally, get over yourself. BlogTo is beloved, and you've probably received lots of positive feedback about the new design as well. But when you dismiss outright the feedback of your readers, or worse, insult them for bothering to care enough about your site to contribute comments in the first place, you move from accidentally turning off some readers (re: the new layout) to doing so intentionally.

Do you have so many readers you can afford to do either?

Tim replying to a comment from Steve / April 2, 2010 at 08:05 pm
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There's a difference between constructive comments (of which there are plenty above) and non constructive ones that distort the facts and/or devalue the contributions of our writers and photographers.

Also, I am not the designer of the site and don't take the feedback personally.
R / April 3, 2010 at 09:05 am
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Tim,

I appreciate you replying to my comment in sprit, but I have to say I am bit surprised at the tone.

My comment in no way devalued the contributors or content. In fact, I made mention of how much I do value the content as used to check the site so frequently. While, yes the content is no no different, the experience is. This is my point, and why I commented in the first place (I should also not that I've waited more than a month since the new look first rolled out to see if I would get used to it, or if it would be adjusted).

Information, entertainment, content and medium are all important and should not be looked as as separate. The experience is key. You could reformat tomorrow with all the same great news stories, but in flashing pink ascii text on a black background, and say that the content is the same, so commenting on the looks are irrelevant. Obviously this is not true. I appreciate you tried to make the site easier to use with the new UI. I don't think however that you achieved the goal, at least not in perception, which is ultimately the key. +/- number of posts, number of links, etc. don't really matter. It is what the experience and perception is like. If you study UX design, I think you will find this principle.

My comment that I now go elsewhere was not intended to be an insult, threat or value judgement of the content, but rather an observation. One that I would think you be interested in hearing to add some qualitative information to whatever quantitative traffic stats you might have. I don't see how it is juvenile if it a true observation.

I have been a long time follower (even tipped you guys a few times), but am noticing I now follow less. I appreciate the content may be the same, but the experience is not. Take this as you will. If the tone of my original comment did not come through as intended, I apologize. I didn't mean to be accusatory, but rather was expressing my feelings/perception.

R
KR / April 3, 2010 at 09:56 am
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Fight! Fight! Fight!
....
cocoa / April 3, 2010 at 02:36 pm
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Glad to hear some changes are coming.

Also - am I the only one who seems to lose comments into the ether here? It's happening more lately. I click post, it shows the comment, but when I refresh it's gone.
Steve Keys / April 4, 2010 at 12:28 am
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It's pretty amazing what a design change can do. I used to visit BlogTO every morning, at the very least. I haven't been here since the redesign. :(
milkbread / April 4, 2010 at 02:35 am
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I used to come to this site several times a day especially for the restaurant reviews and to suggest restaurants in my neighbourhood to be reviewed via, the reader contribution section (which is now gone). I'm especially upset about the removal of the star rating system. It gave readers a voice chance to quickly rate the restaurants they've been to. I don't always feel like reading a full, long winded review and just want a quick idea of how good the place is.

This site has long since been removed from my favourites and this is the first time I've visited in a month to see if any changes have been made. Guess I hoped too much.
Tim replying to a comment from milkbread / April 4, 2010 at 11:12 am
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That's too bad you removed us from your favourites. Perhaps you can let us know what sites you now use instead and what features you prefer on these other sites?

Also, if you're looking for our contribute section you can find it here:

http://www.blogto.com/contribute

There are a whole bunch of links that point to it at the bottom of each page, plus select call-outs in various sections of the site. We've noticed the level of reader contributions has actually increased since the site redesign so this gives us reason to believe that our efforts to make this page more prominent were mostly successful.

I have to also add that I'm a bit surprised to learn the main reason you came to the site was the star rating system. I'm glad you liked the star ratings, but most of the feedback we received over the past few years was that they were almost useless and many readers complained they couldn't change their rating once they submitted it. Also, some mistook them as the writer's rating of the restaurant, not the average of the total reader ratings which it was. Overall, the star ratings seemed more problematic than useful.

Nevertheless, the star ratings were never removed permanently and will be reintroduced with a slightly new look later this month. I hope you reconsider us as one of your favourite sites once they're back.
Tim replying to a comment from cocoa / April 4, 2010 at 11:13 am
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That is a technical issue we're aware of. It's one of the many site fixes we're working on.
R / April 16, 2010 at 06:45 pm
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So... anything new? It's been over a month and I don't mean to press the issue, but I really miss the old BlogTO.... kinda disappointing there hasn't been much to address the many comments about the new design and usability.

Would be great to even see simple to implement changes that many have expressed concern over fixed (ie. more posts per page, comment count on the articles, etc.).

Just kinda missing my BlogTO daily fix as a long time reader and feel offput at new design. I do know I check very less frequently now (used to be 6x times a day at least), and feel some resentment whenever I do now check in.

Just some honest thoughts here, nothing intended to be on the offensive.

R
Tim replying to a comment from milkbread / April 26, 2010 at 01:14 am
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The star ratings are now back on the site. You should be able to spot them in our restaurants and other review sections. Thanks for your patience as it took longer than expected to get them back working post site re-design.
Tim / May 3, 2010 at 08:23 am
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Just wanted to update everyone on a few other changes we've recently made to the design:

1. We updated the look of the hyperlinks so they're now more visible.

2. We updated the main restaurants and other main review pages with a similar map to what we had before the redesign.

3. We added the information icon to the photo at the top of the page.
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