Early this year, we helped to launch Primetime Politics

Early this year, we helped to launch Primetime Politics. Using a couple of honest-to-god-human political experts, Primetime looked at the best political content on the web each day, and categorized, re-factored, and compared the stories, giving the reader an unbiased, well rounded view of the world. The site was a hit from the get go, quickly growing to 1000s of page views a day. The original design was clean, crisp and elegant. A few months ago though, our clients and I started to talk about redesigning the site. Based on what we knew before we launched the site, we thought clean, crisp and elegant was the ideal look and feel for Primetime Politics. In many senses, it was too. But somewhere along the way, the business plan changed from trying to be a general purpose political news site to a site that focusses more on the experts behind the scenes. Jordan and Assaf, the site owners, are way too smart, way to well spoken, and way too good looking to hiding behind the keyboard! In addition to featuring the site owners more prominently, Jordan and Assaf wanted to inject a bit more humour, and a lot more partisanship into the content. The elegant design of the site didn’t support either the jokiness or the partisanship. We also wanted to appeal to a younger audience. There are about a billion stuffy right-wing sites out there, but very few conservative sites talk to young voters. We saw this as a serious opportunity. Plus we wanted to roll out a new tagline So, with the goal of making the site more approachable to a younger audience, more suitable to sarcasm and humour, and more of a showcase for Jordan and Assaf, I pulled out my big box of crayons and got to work. Because I’m as familiar as I am with the site and the concept, I jumped straight into wireframes. The layout of the old site was already pretty solid. The biggest change was dropping the featured debate box that had previously occupied the top of the page, and the addition of the larger blog graphics on the left sidebar. Overall, we reduced the number of items on the page dramatically. Looking back at the original site, there were two things that lent it it’s sober feel: the typography and the colour palette. While I kept the overall blues from the original design, I turned up the saturation and added the contrasting orange to make both colours really pop. I used the wonderful Archer font for the header and tagline. This font has just the right amount of whimsey. Keeping with the whimsey factor, I set the tagline outside the box. Everything else on the site sits nicely on a grid line, so this “outside the box” thinking really draws the eye. The body font is set in Arial, with section headers set in Georgia. I really like this combo for it’s clean lines and readability. Again, note how the colours keep things lively. That’s it for my first design dissection post. I hope to do many more in the coming weeks as we get ready for our own new site unveiling!

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