I redesigned Nairaland and wrote a Case Study


#1

Good morning guys, i redesigned nairaland.com, this wont be the first redesign of nairaland ever done, might not be the last as well, but this a lot different from what we have seen in the past, both the UI and UX were improved on. Would love to hear your thoughts on this. Thanks

link to the case study below

link to the design below
https://www.behance.net/gallery/71261853/Nairaland-Project-Redesign


#2

Kudos for the effort @GbMillz

What problem did you hope to solve when you took on this redesign?


#3

For a long time i failed to understand the successful trade-off in Nairaland’s design.

Navigating the site is clunky and definitely needs better cat_grouping and display - only returning users or active spammers keep note of the ‘hottest’ categories.

No suggested post widget in post or in category_pages. I think the only way you can get around to other posts inside a post page is via the created_date chronological next & previous post display up-top.

But all these don’t matter if the application can run - without noticable difference - on EDGE, or 3G. Which is what the majority of internet users in Nigeria have available to them, even when you see H+ on your phone, you’re prolly still flirting with an Upgraded 3G.

Images are compressed neatly and loads pretty quickly on a very slow network, even at peak times. That right there beats any kind of user experience as far Nigeria is concerned.


#4

thanks boss, as @87_chuks rightly said, the founder believes the current site design be kept the way it is so that users can always have a smooth browsing experience on any type of internet network speed.

also to access other posts, i added a sidebar in the design, similar to “who to follow” on the notifications page, that way the user can see a list of topics randomly as they click on the refresh icon or the “view all” link on the card to load a page of similar/related posts.

So i thought of designing something that wont be too heavy to load very fast on any internet speed and at the same time look better so that users can enjoy their time on the site, simple interface, less clumsy, easier to navigate and better information hierarchy, structure and architecture.

Radar looks neat and usable, twitter, quora and the likes, Nairaland could also be.

The current site just has links and information all dump on the site, also looks like a site from the early 2000s , i believe a site can still look good, modern and usable without compromising on page load times. These are some of the things i wanted to achieve with the new design.


#5

I agree with @87_chuks about the need for fast and responsive, and have argued against adding visual sugar that just sucks up bandwidth.

That said, I think you accomplished your goal of a new design without compromising on page load times. Your changes are refreshing and modern, yet appear minimalist enough to maintain the compact data requirement and fast loading. I would really like to see a working version to get a feel for the UX. Good job.


#6

Okay, but Instill feel there is something missing from your redesign though.

For instance the information being presented is still overwhelming, and as a new user, I don’t even know where to start. Radar is like this too, but that would be fixed soon.

What do you think could be done to redesign Nairaland’s information architecture, such that it is easy to get useful information without being overwhelmed. I would love your thoughts on this @GbMillz.

@87_chuks your breakdowm makes a lot of sense. Nairaland is more like a wiki of information and the site loading is really all that matters.

What if the information on Nairaland where available in more consumable formats like bit-sizes being dished out via bots on different platforms and content themes that arrange and summarise the bulk of the topics. I think that design would go a long way in improving the value and usability of Nairaland.


#7

thanks alot


#8

You might be right by "design is never finished though, there is always something to improve on.

As for my input on what could be done to improve the information architecture, the thing is, we also don’t want to make the right info hard to find for the users, one of the ways i solved that was to reduce the frontpage topics from over 60 to 30, so that the user can always see the most recent posts without having to go through a stream of information, if they want more they can use the pagination links below. if i reduced the topics to about 10 users might not easily find anything interesting due to rate at which topics are being pushed to the frontpage.

Another thing that can work here is, users subscribing to the forum categories so that they only see information based on what they have subscribed to on the frontpage, that wont work for general site visitors though because they are not logged in.

If we take a look at apps such as facebook , twitter and instagram, there is an endless scroll of feeds and even different things displayed within the reach of the user, in the case of facebook, stories, chat, groups and page notifications, can we say that is also overwhelming? the autoload feature wont work for nairaland that was the reason i used pagination instead.

instagram for example stories and feeds from followers dominates the homepage, i tried to make sure the 2 most important things ( forum categories, subcategories card at the top and the recommended topics card right after the ads) are well displayed, enough to give to user direction on how to access more information if required, everything on that page is secondary.

A user might decide to login or not, most of the information on nairaland can be accessed without logging on to the site.

I stand to be corrected.


#9

This will work, I have seem it work in other forums. The engineering involved though :sweat_smile:


#10

lol…i think its something that can be implemented, personalised feeds, this will go along way to improving the user experience of the site. less but more specific and detailed information.


#11

True. I am currently working on something like this for Radar. The first part might not be as smart but everyone should get a more useful feed/homepage as a result of it.


Making Radar's content and information more useful
#12

would love to see what the new radar will be like when its implemented, i believe things can be improved upon, thats why its software, we might not get it perfectly the first time but things will get better and smarter gradually when coupled with feedback gotten from members and general users. Cheers!


#13

You redesigned a site and no single image your design for mobile layout? Considering that maybe over 70% of their users logon from a phone.


#14

Bros calm down na, no be fight. You can give that comment with a little more kindness please, why so angry :slight_smile:

Radar Guidelines Always Be Civil

Nothing sabotages a healthy conversation like rudeness:

  • Be civil. Don’t post anything that a reasonable person would consider offensive, abusive, or hate speech.

#15

First of all, i appreciate your feedback, the thing is, i actually made some sketches of what the mobile version will look like, but due to time constraints i might not have been able to finish the designs and might just abandon it at the end of the day, resources will just go into the drain.

But with the little i was able to do, i have gotten feedback that has helped one way or the other, even from this particular thread it made me think of other ways the experience could be improved ON and thats was what i wanted to achieve by putting my work out there.

Everyday is a another opportunity to learn something new. If time permits i might as well work on the mobile version and update the case study and the designs as well. Cheers!


#16

Awesome! Feedback helps make things better.

If you want to build on the design, why not do one for Radar instead? It might be helpful to see what someone else is thinking with regards to how Radar’s outlook can be improved on.

There aren’t that many Discourse forums out there with custom designs, but Feverbee’s community home page is a good one to look at if you are interested in something like this.


#17

It would be great if i can contribute to radar this way, would see if i can come up with something refreshing, from your findings what are the things that you want to improve on? would add that to what i also observe and see how it goes from there. Thanks


#18

Cool. I am almost done editing a post that explains that, I will post it soon.


#19

Alright, no problem boss.


#20

I believe If it’s not broken , don’t fix…
Innovation and change is wonderful but anything that will tinker or affect user experience is a no no.
I know of 2 or 3 forums that are more advanced and user friendly than nairaland but will never dream of getting 5% of daily hits and engagement that nairaland boasts of.
Ordinary bad leadership and economy is affecting radar and the others but NL stays strong.
I might be wrong though, I’m not a techie, just a trader from Onitsha who bumped into the radar community and loved all the topics. Kindly school me if I’m wrong.