thehardtimes.net

Website redesign, 2017

Overview

The Hard Times is an independently owned and operated satirical blog that pokes fun at music, DIY Culture, and video games. The site accrues over 4 million annual visits, and as it has expanded into new categories and launched multiple verticals, the need arose to improve the user experience, clean up the cluttered design, and make improvements to the visual style.

See it live

Contributions

  • Research
  • Wireframes
  • UI Design
  • UX Design
  • Front-end Development

Process

  • Worked with stakeholders to identify requirements
  • Audited previous site to identify usability issues
  • Did competitive analysis to identify industry standards and patterns
  • Researched and identified existing Wordpress themes and plugins that met as many requirements as possible to reduce development costs
  • Created wireframes to demonstrate proposed solution
  • Made the necessary style and layout changes

Site Audit

Wireframes

Homepage

Hard Times homepage wireframe

Post detail

Hard Times post page wireframe

Build

Screen shot of CSS code from thehardtimes.net theme

Customized the CSS and layout of the parent theme to better suit the Hard Times brand and our objectives of reducing clutter and providing a cleaner, more readable experience.

Result

Homepage Desktop (Full)

Homepage Mobile (Full)

Post Detail (Full)

Post Detail (Full)

Takeaways

  1. The site now has a clear visual hierarchy and improved typography, making pages more scannable and content more readable.
  2. The majority of traffic to the site is from social media and greatly depends on organic reach, over a 3 month period the redesign had very little impact on bounce rate or average page duration despite an increase in pageviews.
  3. Initially we launched without additional photos in main content area on home page to cut down on cognitive and bandwidth overload, but users expressed missing the imagery that visually supported funny headlines so we brought them back.