A few weeks back we released a "sneak peek" at the future of Defending Big D and SB Nation United, revealing our new site logo and announcing that changes to DBD and SB Nation were coming. At the time, we were a bit ambiguous as to just what was changing and by how much; all we could really say was that changes were on their way.
As expected, there was certainly some hesitation on the level of enthusiasm about an announcement regarding changes to the site and no details as to exactly what those might be. I am pleased to say that, after getting my hands on the new website, that I am absolutely and completely ecstatic over what is to come.
Very soon, DBD will be "relaunching," and will look completely different than it does today. It will certainly be instantly clear that this is SB Nation, Defending Big D and a Dallas Stars website, but the functionality and how content is presented is completely different than what it is today -- and that is what has me so excited.
Just what will the "new" DBD look like? And what do these changes mean for the website and the community? Follow the jump for an exclusive look at the future of Defending Big D and SB Nation:
Before we get to the screenshots of the new SB Nation, I wanted to highlight exactly what these changes mean -- and don't mean -- for Defending Big D and why exactly they are being made.
For those that are relatively new to DBD and the network here, SB Nation was started back in 2005 as a collection of baseball "blogs," before the term was even relatively known around the web. The network of blogs was built to create a unique voice on the internet: informed analysis and opinion driven by the fans. The sites followed a fairly simplistic design but the network grew quickly, based on the emphasis on reader interaction and support, as well as the incredible skills of the managers and writers for each site.
You can get a good look at what SB Nation looked like in those days, by going here.
In 2009, SB Nation had around 185 websites as part of the network. Today, that number is around 330 or so -- and still rising. The network has expanded and grown and with it the platform grew a bit bloated and slow; I don't know how many notice this, but by going to DBD or any other SB Nation site, the loading times slow your computer down to very annoying levels. The network went through a major upgrade in 2008 and nearly five years later, it's time for another change.
Because of this, the SB Nation United project was started. This was a desire to further unite our blogs "through individuality," by holding onto the individual communities that are so strong while also providing a better way to create uniformity across the network.
Here are some of the highlights of just what these changes mean:
- Faster loading times. The "clutter" that eats up much of the site will be going away and the platform itself will load much quicker than it does today. No more worries about memory being eaten up by an SBN site.
- Flexible layout and modern design. Each site is going to have more individuality than it does today simply because of the flexibility we have on how to present our content, and the increased number of tools at our disposal to better accomplish our goals.
- An adaptive experience, no matter what the device. SB Nation will run on an "adaptive" platform, presenting a seamless experience no matter what device you are viewing the website on. Desktops, laptops, tablets and phones; no matter where you might be, your experience will not change.
- Game Threads, FanPosts and FanShots, of course, remain. We value the interaction with our community and the contributions you guys provide this website on a daily basis. Our focus on this aspect of DBD and SB Nation will not change at all.
- Our content will not change, not one bit. There was some concern that the content here at DBD will be changing; this is not the case at all. SB Nation is not looking to alter the content or approach of the sites on the network, merely to provide a better platform for our content to be presented.
Most importantly, what will DBD and SB Nation United look like? This is, of course, what everyone is worried about.
Below are a few screenshots of what the new website will resemble; these are not shots of DBD, so just imagine a green-themed version of what you see below with our logo on top and Dallas Stars stories on the front page.
Also, these do not show all of the flexible custom options we have at how our content is presented -- this is but a sampling of what is to come.
As always, click each photo for a full-sized version.
The Cover: This the flexible, custom part of the site that has been mentioned so much so far. Present at the top of the page, the cover allows to to feature which stories we want and where -- and more importantly how many. Here you see five stories featured on the cover, with a StoryStream being the main article featured in this layout. More on those later.
Yet another version of the cover, this time with the feature up top.
Below the cover will be a reverse chronological design featuring the rest of the site's content. As new articles are published, content will move of of the cover and down the page -- just as it does today.
To get an idea of what the full website looks like, click here for a large image of the entire front page.
A StoryStream is way for the reader to enjoy connected content and articles in one place. While each article still retains it's own page and content, they will also be found on the Stream's page, where each individual update to common subject can be found in chronological order. While reading each article, you can also quickly navigate to each story in the stream through a navigation bar on the side.
FanShots & FanPosts:
Above, this is what the FanShots page will look like. There will still be a listing of the latest FanShots on the front page, just as there is now.
Here is what the mobile version of the site will look like. The way the website operates is that it "adapts" to the browser and window that you are viewing the site on. No more separate mobile version of the site; instead, you get the full functionality of the web site adapting to whichever device you are viewing. Full comment functionality transfers over as well.
Android tablet or the iPad, no matter what device you might be on the website will adapt itself to that browser and platform. Here you can get an actual sneak peek of what DBD will look like on an Android tablet.
Question, comments or concerns:
Please feel free to ask any questions regarding these changes. While I can't express enough how excited I am for this shift into the future, I understand that change is tough for some and others feel trepidation about change coming to something they enjoy