Discussing the “treacherous tide” of the “constantly surging ocean” of the web last year, we looked at the brilliant UK redesign of Wired, a project that wowed pretty much everyone. Now, the US Wired site has also upped its game in its first redesign since 2007, aiming to “create a clean and gratifying experience” through a clutter-free site. We had a chat with editor-in-chief Scott Dadich about designing a site for some very, very digital-savvy readers.
What prompted the most recent redesign?
The web has transformed itself in the past few years, and we wanted to take advantage of the new tools and technologies available to us. We wanted to build an entirely new version of Wired, one that could scale across devices and screens of all sizes. And we wanted it to be beautiful and crazy-fast to use.
Tell us about the US Wired design team.
We are really lucky at Wired that just about all of us have an eye for story presentation. Our editors and engineers are as design-minded a group as I’ve ever worked with, and that makes a big difference to our creative team, which is led by my remarkable colleague Billy Sorrentino. In addition to our photography desk, Billy has created a design team that works across platforms — from experiential to print to digital — each person adding a specific set of skills to the organisation. There’s a lot of, how shall we say, spirited discussion, about design at Wired , and that passion always finds its way onto the page. All told, ten of my colleagues have the word “design” in their title or job description, so I count myself lucky to be in the company of such talent.
What are the most important considerations in designing a site for generally very digitally-savvy readers?
It’s got to work seamlessly. Our readers are the the inventors of the future, people who are designing and developing the innovations that will make our world a better place. They’re incredibly savvy, learned and thoughtful, which means it’s absolutely essential that the experience be the best available. Page load-time was one of our most important considerations, and Kathleen Vignos, our director of engineering, and her team have done a tremendous job optimising for our mobile-first world. We wanted a single code base, a platform that would allow us to continue to innovate and improve the site, while maintaining a very high degree of storytelling fidelity. From the bespoke typefaces to the streamlined wayfinding, every aspect of the new WIRED.com has been obsessed over.
What do you see for the future of site design?
We’ve moved into a very exciting moment for site design, a time when the layout fidelity that was once reserved exclusively for print has been enabled for the web. Retina screens, optimised browsers, and new kinds of code are giving designers and engineers the tools they need to create experiences that amaze readers and define brands. I feel as good about the new WIRED.com as any project I’ve ever worked on at this company, and I don’t know if that feeling would have been possible on the web even a few years ago. I think we’re going to see continued and rapid progress in this area, and storytellers will be the ones who continue to drive these explorations.
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