Bloglines Redesigned!

Well it’s about half past midnight right now and it looks like Bloglines just relaunched a few minutes ago with a spankin’ new design. It’s always weird catching redesigns as they happen. You’re at the old site one minute, then you click a link and it’s like the Wizard of Oz all of a sudden.

Although I’ve only played with the shiny new interface for about 20 minutes now, I have to say that I am thoroughly impressed so far. It feels like there is quite a bit of new functionality to enjoy, and yet I don’t feel disoriented or sick to my stomach as with some other recent redesigns. A huge part of the challenge in redesigning a major site is to inject freshness while not alienating loyal users. I salute thee, Bloglines, for succeeding in this regard.

Among the new features are:

  • A simple point-and-click publishing system for creating your own blog
  • A new Clippings metaphor to replace the existing Saved Items feature
  • A skinnable blogroller
  • A slightly retooled reading interface
  • A more informative front page
  • Enhanced searching and sharing capabilities
  • Sliding-Doors style zoomable tabs (a la Douglas Bowman)

… and lots of other stuff I’m too tired to test out right now.

All in all, this looks like another successful improvement of what is already my most visited site on the ‘Net. Sure I’d like to see more interactivity, more out-of-browser functionality, and smarter aggregation routines, but in the meantime, I’m happy with these incremental improvements.

Content aggregation has not even entered its golden age yet, but Bloglines continues to show us the way when it comes to no-nonsense web-based information gathering.

9 comments on “Bloglines Redesigned!”. Leave your own?
  1. sosa says:

    One cool thing I’ve found on this new design, is that now you could see how many people is suscribed to each feed and who they are. Well that’s cool to me.

  2. Rob Cameron says:

    Someone needs to clean up those icons on the front page … they were meant to be on a white background and now you get that white fringe around everything.

  3. Dave Marks says:

    Very nice – by why have they put all the CSS into th document as oppossed to linking to it. And a lot of ot too…

    Or is this something to do with the design switch (ie cache issue) and they’ll move it later?

  4. Mike D. says:

    Rob: The front page looks white to me. Is it not white on your screen?

    Dave: Yeah, very interesting about the inline CSS. I didn’t notice that. I think you might be right about the caching issue, but the smart thing to do in that case is to just name the CSS file with a date format, like “css_2004_07_06.css”. I’m going to send them an e-mail right now about it.

    They could also benefit from the Mike Industries typeface selector. I’ll go ahead and send that their way as well. In the past, they’ve been pretty good about listening and responding to suggestions.

  5. Josh Dura says:

    Mike, I think he meant that the area around the icons is that blue color

  6. Mike D. says:

    Ohhh, ahhh, got it. Yeah, I thought they were just going for that rough chintzy clip-art look, but I think you’re right. Looks like an oversight to me.

  7. Josh Dura says:

    I say they should scrap those icons all together, they arent near easy on the eyes, YEESH!

  8. Devon says:

    I hate to say it, but as good as it looks (and I definately love the look of it), I always despise redesigns & recodes that give an XHTML transitional DTD and have 131 errors. How does one actually accomplish that with a loose doctype? And if you want to code HTML, then don’t slap an XHTML DTD in it.

    I probably shouldn’t get annoyed by that, but I see it so much anymore. And if one wants to use XHTML, they really should at least make it well formed even if they don’t make it validate. If one doesn’t want to make it validate or well formed, then why do they even attempt trying to pass it off as something it’s clearly not? I just don’t get that.

    When I see a page like this, I lose faith in the company/service/etc (unless I’m already very familiar with them and trust them). I feel like they either don’t have a clue what they’re doing or they’re trying to trick me. I realize that’s probably extremist or something, but that’s how it comes across to me deep down (and I know a thing or two about coding and how easy it is). If they just slapped an HTML 4.01 DTD on that page (thus limiting the errors to only 20), I’d give them the benefit of the doubt and not think so badly of them. But 131 errors? They really don’t have a clue what they’re coding.

  9. Mike D. says:

    I agree, Devon. Here are some possible mitigating issues:

    1. It doesn’t look to me like the Bloglines team is done with things. The fact that they’ve already added back the font size selector today and that there is still so much inline CSS (hopefully) tells me this is still “in testing”. The reason I bring this up is that it’s possible they are converting their code over to XHTML and just jumped the gun on the DOCTYPE. But yes, I agree, it doesn’t appear they’ve made much effort yet on writing valid XHTML. Strange too… Bloglines seems like kind of an easy site to manage from a coding standpoint. There’s no 3rd party code and the feeds themselves are valid.

    2. Bloglines makes heavy use of javascript and the XmlHttpObject when passing data around, so some of these errors could be the results of document.writes and other such methods. Yes, everything can be made valid, but this just complicates the transition a bit.

    So I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how quickly Bloglines addresses this stuff. If it stays as is, then yes, I agree, using that DOCTYPE is a bit worthless.

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