Reddit, the popular forum-based social media website where nerds and n00bs go to discuss everything from the latest tech to the best Sims cheat codes, is getting a little more than a fresh coat of paint during its redesign.
The site has looked the same for the past decade or so, which has given many users a sense of comfort. They know that they can come back to the discussion board after a day, a week, or even a month, and know that everything is still in its rightful place in the interweb. Still, the company’s design team, along with its co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman, think it’s time for a change.
“Many of us evangelize Reddit and tell people how awesome it is, what an impact it’s made in their life, how much it makes them laugh, etc, and then when those new people decide to check out Reddit for the first time they’re greeted with dystopian Craigslist,” Huffman wrote in a post last year. “We’d like to fix that.”
An Accidental Iconic Look
For the past 18 months or so, the design team has worked hard to create a great updated look while still keeping the site’s charm intact. After a long battle, which included arguments about logo placement, color schemes, and tab organization, the team is ready to unveil the new site. Changing the so-called ‘front page of the internet’ is no small task. “If you redesign Reddit,” says Diego Perez, the company’s head of design, “you’re inherently changing the internet.”
Perez has been working on the redesign since his first day working for Reddit. He was handed a folder of screenshots that depicted a time-lapse of the site’s designs and layouts from day one. Overall, not much had changed in the past ten years – but it wasn’t the team’s fault. In all actuality, no one really expected Reddit to last this long.
After Huffman and co-founder Alexis Ohanian left the company in 2009, it was difficult to keep a CEO for longer than a few months. One quit because the job was too stressful, and another left due to “one of the largest trolling attacks in history” by users of the site. The base had grown from 2 million to 330 million in just a few years, and it was hard to keep up with day-to-day operations.
In reality, what many think was Reddit’s way of preserving itself by keeping its original design was actually just a product of other things taking priority.
The Site’s New Goals
With great change comes great responsibility. Aside from the aesthetics of the site, the design team also took its culture into consideration during the redesign process. The main goal is to create a more welcoming space for all users.
Reddit has always been its own version of the ‘land of misfit toys’, and the team recognizes this as one of the site’s greatest strengths. We are all just trying to find our place in the world, and Reddit has taken on the task of being one of the biggest advocates for inclusion.