Tumblr fully introduces Explore

Image representing Tumblr as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

Tumblr has now officially introduced and expanded upon a feature which I wrote about a while back. Originally known as curated topics, they’ve renamed the feature as simply “Explore”. Tumblr has appointed many curators for specific tags on the site. Not everything is covered of course, that would be close to impossible, but they have done a good job of selecting many that are likely to be used often.

When they first implemented the system, the replacement of the Tumblr Directory, they were limited to 3 obvious tags considering tumblr’s general audience: these were fashion, news and creative writing. I liked the idea back then as I felt it really made the most of the service’s vibrant and diverse community and really brings people together more in a central point.

I really like it and hope they continue to expand to cover even more tags. But don’t worry, if you want to view posts about Astronomy for example, you can still do that as well as subscribe to that feed. The only drawback is that the content there is completely unfiltered so it may be hit and miss and you could miss the best stuff.


Gawker Media Blogs get redesigns

Logo for the Kotaku, copyright Gawker Media
Image via Wikipedia

Kotaku, the self proclaimed biggest gaming blog on the planet is one of my favourite sites that I frequent. I am a huge fan of blogging, whether it’s a personal blog or a huge company like Gawker, but the new design for it and all of the other Gawker media sites are stretching the word blog to the limit in my opinion.

They barely look like blogs any more. The idea of the update was to allow large images and video on the front page, to be able to highlight featured posts to avoid them being lost in the shuffle of other news stories as before, and make the design as simple looking as possible.

Only one story is shown in detail on the front page, and to access others you can either click to go to the next post or by mouse wheel scrolling through the list on the right of the page. This seems to be on trend with other redesigns at the moment, such as twitter and it’s multi-panel view as well as the new facebook messages which also adds mouse scrolling to that aspect of their site. It’s not a bad idea, and it looks nice, but it doesn’t really look like a traditional blog as it used to, which is in some ways a shame. It is very nice looking, but I must admit that it’s going to take me a while to adjust to the changes.

If you cannot adjust and want to read the index page in the old blog format, then there is an option for that, which is helpful. From what I can tell, this option stays activated through a cookie so you don’t have to keep activating it at every visit, which is also a thoughtful touch by the guys at Gawker.

Overall I like the new design although I would probably describe the look as more of a magazine style than a blog, but that would suit Kotaku well. I suppose as long as it has an RSS feed and a list of posts, it’s a blog by definition regardless of how it looks, and perhaps it’s time for the average blog to have a step up in design by now too.