TheHardTimes.net is an
indepent satire blog that pokes fun at music, video games, and subculture. It acrues over 400
million visits annualy, and boasts a dedicated social media audience of nearly 800,000
Matt Saincome Founder, CEO
Amber Bennoui Technical Product Manager
Will Garcia Backend Engineer
As the brand and blog grew and expanded into new terrain, the original layout became cluttered with a mix of colour, visuals, and text competing for attention.
Reduce clutter and create a more cohesive,
professional feeling experience.
Create clear visual hierarchy and
navigation between Hard Times, Blog, and
Create style guide that can be adapted to
other expansions and sub-brands.
The pre-2017 version of TheHardtimes.net (click to enlarge)
We began by looking into what made high profile news sites stand out, as well as identifying and cataloging issues with the current site.
Created wireframes for mobile and desktop screen layouts to detail what the structure should look like.
Created high fidelity mockups to visualise the finished product and provide baseline for building the site.
Building off of an existing Wordpress theme we built the site in a dev environment and launched after thorough testing and prep.
Based on immediate feedback we made updates to include more thumbnails on the home page articles and filter out redundant articles on the home page. We also monitor Google Analytics to look for opportunities to optimize.
The site now has a clear visual hierarchy and improved typography, making pages more scannable and
content more readable.
A consistent visual language and guidelines has allowed for easy application to verticals with their own branding (e.g. Hard Drive), while still feeling like part of The Hard Times umbrella.
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.