Yes, That *Is* A New Autostraddle Design You’re Seeing

Hello yes you did notice there’s a new design! Alex and I have been working on it for several months now. Alex did the design, and I wrote the code.

New logo

Alex redesigned the logo!

The old logo

The old logo

The new logo

New header

The header was completely redesigned and overhauled. We realized the about us “star” menu was confusing, and a bunch of our great content was buried several levels deep in the old menu, and we wanted to make it easier for y’all to find what you’re looking for.

old menu on desktop

The old menu on desktop

The new menu on desktop

The new menu on desktop

The old menu on mobile

The old menu on mobile

The new menu on mobile

The new menu on mobile

New Fonts

We changed the main fonts from Oswald & Open Sans to Vesper Libre* Merriweather & Montserrat.

* We just swapped it out for Merriweather which is hopefully easier to read! Please let us know if it’s better.

Wider

The site on desktop now maxes out at 1300px wide, instead of 1154px like it did before.

Announcement Bar

The announcement bar is at the top of the page now and dismissible. You can click the X and it’ll go away, and not come back until we change what we want to let you know about!

Feedback?

Do you have thoughts or feelings about the redesign? Bugs in your browser? Please let us know in the comments below! Thank you!


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vitamincee

I'm the former tech director for Autostraddle, which meant I oversaw all the tech-related stuff and did anything from coding the website to keeping the servers online.

I now run a queer/trans web design and development agency in Portland called Dapper Digital.

And I'm also a real estate agent!

I really enjoy making things, taking pictures, getting outside, cooking food, working on my house and garden, and travel.

they/them.

Cee has written 14 articles for us.

249 Comments

  1. Hi! Just checked it on desktop for the first time. It looks lovely. It looks like there is still a link to “My Profile” in the desktop version, just not the mobile version (where there is only “My Account”), so that works fine.

    Just one thing. I’ve always viewed AS at 90% zoom, and even doing so, the text I am assuming is Header 1 (article titles, header titles) is absolutely enormous. At 100% zoom, a headline is still taking up a great deal of my 20″ screen! In addition to just being odd, that doesn’t work for work browsing, especially on the NSFW stuff. :-)

    I so appreciate your general responsiveness, Cee and team! The font update yesterday was helpful. It can’t be easy to throw these new updates out there! All my hearts to you.

    • Hi yes you found a bug! I fixed the missing “my profile” link in mobile. Thank you so much!

      We will probably be adjusting sizing on the new font today a bit more, so hang in there. :)

  2. Loving the logo and all that jazz but kind of wishing the “latest comments” headers weren’t in an italicised serif font. It’s not very easy to read when you’re not properly focused. It comes across like trying to read squiggly script.

  3. A non-font-related minor quibble: I use a password manager to autofill login fields on desktop. The new design doesn’t let the login box stay open unless you’re typing in it, which means I have to copy and paste and/or actually type in my name and password. Any way to let that stay open when you click on it, like the old one?

  4. Love it. Love it, love it, love it. So much.

    I feel that people often comment to mostly complain about change, a lot of people can’t deal with change, and I understand that (I am married to a change averse person!) but I love change. I think it is always growth and challenges to grow even more! YAY good for you!

  5. I mean this as gently as possible, but I honestly can’t tell the difference between the font you’re using today and the one that people were complaining about yesterday.

    I think it’s important to understand that this is not just an artistic choice. There are actual accessibility standards for websites, which explicitly state to use sans serif.

    I don’t understand why, decades after the ADA was passed, designers continue to ignore access issues in design.

    AS gets so much right, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but at some point it becomes necessary to speak up for disability consciousness, and since AS seems to care about oppression and inclusion, I think at least you should be made aware.

    It’s not just fonts, of course, but since that is one of the things most easy to change, and there has been such a big reaction already to that particular issue, I think it’s a good place to start.

    You can learn more about accessible design from many places. I learned about accessible media back in the Age of Print (used to produce a zine in print, braille, and on audio tape before home computers were widespread), and then took a very short course about 15 years ago on website accessibility (for non-designers, so I’d understand what the issues were when assessing a site or a designer’s work). The people I worked with then are not still in my contact files, but I found the following link for you with less than 5 minutes of searching on duckduckgo: http://accessibility.umn.edu/s5.html

    There may be better resources than this particular link. But it was easy to find, and if you scroll to near the bottom of the page, it specifically addresses sans serif in an unambiguous way under “Content: use sans serif fonts”

    I hope you will look into it. As I am hopeful you would agree, fully incorporating disability consciousness and accessibility are not optional frills or a boring/annoying hassle, but part of community and a way we get to be together in a world that’s better for all of us– it’s not charity; it’s good for everyone, just like LGBTIAQ issues or anti-racism benefits the whole, not just the targets.

    I also know that in a world so very distant from embracing this, there is not as much momentum to draft off of as with some other issues, so it sometimes feels harder for people to get started. I’m not writing any of this to particularly target AS, but because I love AS and it feels harder for that reason to not say something.

    I know you care, because of other things you’ve done and published. And I admit that fonts might seem like a surprising place to plant a flag. If you’d asked me a week ago, I would not have thought fonts would be on my agenda, either. But since it came up, all I can say is: If not now, when?

    It’s not just fonts, of course. But that’s a decent place to start, something you can deal with easily and quickly and have a big impact, without having to do a lot of work. It’s hard for me to understand why you would not be enthusiastic about embracing it.

    And before everyone who loves serifs weighs in, I want to say I am well aware that it’s not always possible to find one size fits all solutions, and there are actually ways to address that with toggles, flexible designs, and other adaptations.

    And I am not trying to shame or upset or create hard feelings among the wonderful and hard working and super-fabulous dearly beloved people here. I wouldn’t speak up if I didn’t feel like you were people I want to be connected to. It’s BECAUSE of valuing and respecting and appreciating you that I bother. I still think AS is one of the best places to be. So I hope this doesn’t turn into a big angry brawl. That is not my intention and would not be good for any of us.

    Love.

    • I love that you wrote this all out! You said exactly what I couldn’t quite say. Issues like fonts and contrast are really important for accessibility. Having an accessible website is important. Fonts aren’t a nitpicky preference, it could be the difference between someone joining our community or feeling that this space is yet another not considering their needs.

      • Thank you, Jay. I actually had a bit of a stress meltdown after posting. I’ve been having a good and optimistic time here since discovering AS, and do not want to become an outcast, or get a rep as a pain in the ass. But at the same time, the main way I wind up lonely alienated and bitter is when I find places or people where everything I value is valued except my fundamental existence/belonging/reality/survival/participation, which is cripville.

        I think it’s one of those things that goes unnoticed and unremarked on when people are either passing or excluded. Most of the time, no one notices if we’re not present, or are actually relieved when we go away. It’s especially ironic and hurtful and terrifying because disability politics create many similar issues to queerness, with respect to coming out, education of strangers, dispelling of prejudices and aversions among the people you meet, fighting to survive, and then acceptance, embrace, or social devaluation.

        I used to write about this kind of thing a lot, but lost interest because it just seemed like it wasn’t worth it to try to bridge the chasm anymore. AS is so good, though, that it’s is actually one of the first places in a long time that’s inspired me to even want to try.

    • I love the site design & new logo but I agree with you that accessibility needs to be prioritized. I am disappointed that AS has ignored your comment. Maybe they are taking some time to rethink/redesign with a sans-serif font? Or maybe it’s getting pushed under the rug. I don’t think it’s wise to ignore this because it sends a rude message to those with disabilities. You can’t claim to be inclusive with a few disability articles and then ignore those who are pointing out the accessibility barriers on your website. Please acknowledge the issue AS! Love y’all <3

    • i want you to know that we hear you and we’re figuring out how to proceed! we switched to a serif font because we wanted a more professional / grown-up look, and because Gawker Media, New York Times, New York Magazine, the Medium network and so many other sites use serif fonts, we had no idea about all this!

      • Thanks for your reply Riese. I can understand not being aware since so many websites do the same thing. A good designer should be able to find a sans-serif font that looks grown-up. Hopefully you’ll find a way to make it work.

      • I actually can’t read sans serif very well because the vertical lines all blend together, and it exhausts my eyes to try to figure out which letters the lines are part of. The problem is actually that there are 2 different populations of visual need that are non-overlapping. I think that it would be great if sites would let people toggle between serif and sans serif, but that’s probably difficult to implement on most sites until the technology for end-user site appearance customization gets better.

  6. Any chance you guys will center the subsections in the drop down menu. It’s hard for my eye to run down the list when the start of the line keeps moving.

    (Also, I have to admit, I’m not a big fan of the new logo. I keep reading it as delta s or triangle s instead of AS)

  7. As a graphic designer – so let’s just pretend my opinion matters – I just want to say that I love the new design. I love a nice sans-serif, so this is making me very happy. But design is always about taste I guess. (btw, I am typing this message in Open Sans with a ridiculous leading (way too small), but that might be me using Safari?)

  8. I love the new logo and logo typeface! (Also loved the old logo). The new menu layout is terrific! I’m glad you kept the AS-green-and-raspberrry-and-grey-etc. color palette, too; it’s lovely and perfect. Congratulations on the design up-grade and roll-out! I can’t believe you all did it the same month as A-camp; when do you sleep?

    It’s been 24 hours since launch and I still wish it was sans serif. I liked the old typeface better aesthetically, and I agree it was easier to read / less eye strain.

    Thank you for this beautiful website (and asking our input); as usual AS goes above and beyond.

  9. I LOVE the new logo and menu design :)

    Overall, I like the update on desktop, but agree that the serif font is difficult to read on desktop (but, it’s excellent for mobile!).

    However, the text on mobile looks HUGE to me, and I feel like any time I read on my phone, I’m going to have people reading over my shoulder. The headlines take up almost my entire screen on the homepage, and I have to scroll more often through the article because the text is so big. I tried readjusting my browser, but scaling down to 70% affects all my open sites, not just this one, making the others too small. :(

  10. It’s very… white. I feel like it’s gone too minimalist. I’m glad the drop down is easier to access but other than that I don’t like it.

    Comments are too far to the left and I feel like the header bar is too empty.

    Since autostraddle is always complaining about not having enough money to pay writers who might not otherwise be able to afford to write, I don’t understand why there’s a new logo. There was nothing wrong with the old one.

    I always really looked forward to seeing the old logo – it looked ‘friendly’ and fun in an environment where everything is going completely minimal. The new ones just seems cold.

  11. I don’t know if I’m the best design judge, but it looks really nice on my phone!

    On my desktop, it looks nice, though like Megan said above, the comments seem to be kinda way far to the left side of the screen compared to how it looked before.

  12. I really like the new header, and the logo! It all looks cleaner and more modern. And I like that the number beside the like button is way more visible. My only feedback is that I feel the article and the comments are way to far to the left, and the right column with all the related links could be narrower.

  13. Love it! I’m so happy you’ve considered all of these ux details, it looks much more cleaner and the experience is definitely better. And I love the new logo and font. It looks awesome! Great job. <3

  14. Hey,
    I’ve been away finishing my exams. Now I’m back and I just opened AS on the bus back home. The title header is so big. I’m scared people might see Lesbian,Queer,LGBT…I live in Kenya. That proves to be a security issue.
    Otherwise, I love the bold move. I like taking risks. I’ll just have to be waiting to get home to read AS.

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