It’s easy to give Reddit shit, but it’s a wildly diverse place. Skim it occasionally and what you’ll see is a lot of harmless enthusiasm: people geeking out about old photographs, Game Of Thrones, dogs, etc. There are also, of course, its well-publicized dins of iniquity and Trumpism. It contains whole regions of indescribable ontological oddity, as well as kinder, gentler places, like Change My View, where people earnestly and politely discuss their opinions on heated topics. The only thing tying together all of Reddit’s disparate forums, in fact, is that they all look like ass. The company’s CEO, Steve Huffman, has described it as a “dystopian Craigslist.”
This may be overly generous. Here’s today’s offering:
Squint no longer! Rolling out to a grand 1 percent of users is a full redesign, the site’s first in over a decade, and it looks—well, a lot like Reddit, but better.
An in-depth article on Wired goes behind the scenes on the makeover, which will gradually be made permanent for all users over the course of the next few months. The core idea seems to be making the site more usable for both new users (who can be intimidated by the antiseptic walls of competing threads) and expert users (who have typically had to rely on external extensions and CSS skills to wrangle their various subreddits into order). This will be accomplished, at least in part, by a trio of new layouts that users can switch between at will. As Wired’s Arielle Pardes describes it:
“Classic view” looks the most like Reddit did before. “Compact view” helps moderators scroll through bulk content quickly. “Card view” pre-expands content like photos and posts, which makes it easier to scroll through a feed like r/pics without having to click each individual post.
In other words, if you use Reddit regularly, you should appreciate the changes more than you notice them, and if you don’t use it regularly—well, the idea is that you might start. (The site has some 330 million users, making it the sixth most popular site on the internet, but there’s always room to grow.) “Card view” takes a lot of cues from sites like Facebook and Twitter. Prepare to scroll.
Also, prepare to see a whole lot more of that little alien guy. The mascot, which is apparently named Snoo and was borne as a doodle in the notebook of site co-founder Alexis Ohanian, will now be all over the place, as default icons and banners and (shiver) “Snoomoji” and even popping up as a Clippy-style helper. How long until we see an mpreg Snoo? Only a matter of time.
Check out Wired for much more on the redesign, as well as some fancy images of the new site. But, uh, be forewarned: They look a lot like the old one, albeit slightly less ass.