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Welcome to the New Droid Life

new dl

As many of you noticed last night and this morning, we’ve undergone some major changes around here. We are proud to introduce you today to Droid Life 3.0. It has been two years since we last revamped the site, but in my biased opinion, this is the biggest and best change yet. There are a lot of cool things going on, so let’s talk about them. 

Responsive Layout

This is one of those one site built for all type of changes, or in other words, a responsive layout. No matter what you are viewing the site on, whether it be tablet, phone or desktop, you won’t have to request mobile or full versions of the site, the site will change automatically for you. To test it for yourself, grab the corner of your browser right now and drag it inwards. Neat, right?

I can’t even tell you how many times that you, the reader, have requested a mobile version of the site. And truthfully, there always was one, it was just hard to find. But going forward, you won’t have to worry about finding one, clicking “view mobile,” or any of that other tedious stuff, as the site will adjust depending on your screen size. Yes, mobile is go. Tablet layout is also go. All sizes are go.

BIG. EVERYTHING.

From the beginning of this redesign, we wanted to see how big we could make things, yet still have the site remain functional. If it’s not obvious already from the desktop version, we went really big. We’re actually already toning some of it down thanks to immediate feedback, but we really want images to be in your face; for headings and quotes to stand out. We’re moving into a time where screens have higher and higher resolutions, so had we kept things down a notch, we worried that it wouldn’t be future-proof and things would look too small in the near future. I’d imagine that the next computer you buy is going to have a retina-like resolution if it doesn’t already.

So here we are, with our big beautiful, image-heavy Droid Life 3.0. It might take some getting used to, but I think the more you look at it, the more you’ll like it. Especially as we fine tune everything to be just right. Take our Nexus 5 review for example – holy gorgeous. Oh, and assuming we can step our photography game up to make pictures worthy of this new look, that should help.

And if the BIG is simply too overwhelming, you can always adjust the zoom in your Chrome browser. I know that’s not an ideal fix, but things slim up nicely at around 90%. You can access zoom by heading into Settings>Show advancing settings…>Zoom.

Other Stuff

  • Persistent Top Menus:  From the home page to individual post pages, we’ve given you tools that stick to the top of the site even as you scroll downward. You’ll see shortcuts to get you back home, for sending in tips, quick buttons for sharing, a search box, and even some of our favorite links to places like our DL Show page or reviews. This is one of those things we can add to over time, so if you’d like to see something added, be sure to let us know.
  • That DL pink, tho:  Did you really think that we’d go away from one of our trademark looks? Of course we kept the pink around. It’s not going to overwhelm anyone (at least we hope not), but it’s there, especially as you hover over items.
  • Previous and Next Stories: At both the top and bottoms of individual posts, you’ll see buttons to get you to the previous or next stories. In the past, you had to jump all the way back to the main DL page to find the next story, so we decided to make it easier for you to continue reading.
  • Older Posts:  As time permits, we’ll do our best to bring older posts up to snuff. Thanks to the way we were creating posts in the past, they weren’t exactly tailored for such a big change, but we’ve got some ideas to make them look much prettier over time. Stick with us there. For the daily readers, going forward you’ll see everything fit ever-so-nicely into the new theme.

Feedback

Guess what? We like feedback. We don’t necessarily like assholes, but we do love it when people make thoughtful and helpful suggestions. It’s a new site after all, designed by us with hopes that you’d love our vision. But you the reader are the most important piece to this whole gig of ours, so if you aren’t happy, we want to make you happy. We’d love for you to give us feedback in the comments or via email over the next few weeks so that we can make adjustments to the site as needed.

Also, we’d like to give a shoutout to our friends at Coulee Creative who put this together. This is the 3rd site redesign they have done for us, and we couldn’t be happier.

  • ManBearPig618

    Looks great IMO. Nice job guys.

  • chucklehead322

    Overall, I like the layout. Although… I’d prefer the titles above the pictures.
    The text is also “out of focus” and choppy. I did the old CTRL+/CTRL- to zoom in/out but it didn’t help. Why not have buttons to increase/decrease the text size to the readers preference?

    And ya gotta keep the pink!

  • Matt

    I’d like a way to just see the article titles with nothing else, especially on the phone. I come here for news. I don’t need the pictures or anything else, unless they are relevant to the article (i.e. a phone release). In that case, I’d rather see them after I find an interesting article than before.

  • Jordan Long

    just a heads up(didn’t read all of the comments), on mobile your video thumbnails are not scaling to width like images.

  • terry12s

    Droid Life – a little suggestion from me is that I would prefer the article title and picture to swap locations. I prefer having the title above the picture. Just my opinion though.

  • Terry West

    I love the new look!! Reminds me of Google Now card layout. Keep up the good work!!

  • Jeff

    *Like the new setup!

  • Jeff

    Like to be setup!!!

  • Craig P

    I think you guys need to update your personal bios. Good update.

  • Mason Lammers

    Love the change!

  • shooter50

    Great job guys. Keep up the good work!

  • baniels

    Does the typeface look like this for everyone? Doesn’t look right.

    • mgamerz

      It’s the roboto font they use, it looks terrible on a lot of monitors. It was made for high dpi screens I think since I don’t see this issue on android phones.

  • Brian Wolfman

    The pics or something is just too big. I cant scroll through your page and see whats going on. Its almost unusable, to the point i dont like going to droid-life.com anymore. You have to fix it or make some kinda change or Im not sure I can go on here.

  • Noneya

    How about giving an option to disable the comments for those of us who don’t want to see them. Site would load faster on mobile as well.

  • Dan

    Wow, big is right. Unfortunately we all don’t have high res monitors and the site is frankly almost unusable on my pathetic 1366×768 laptop, and zooming just makes it worse with huge side bars and just a narrow part of the site in the middle. Site works better on my phone due to vertical nature, but you need to compress the site vertically somehow. with displays all going widescreen, spread that way instead

  • PhillipCun

    I guess D-L didn’t like my analysis of their site and deleted my comment… Anyway, love the site, been a fan for years. Hope you guys take my notes and consider them at the very least.

  • angermeans

    Very nice gentlemen. Droid Life 2.0 was almost unusable on my retina iPad Mini, iPhone 5s, and Nexus 4 (hell, it was even slow on my rMBP some of the time. I wonder if this is more to the comment system then your site thought). It was so laggy all the time, but this new version is very fast and looks excellent.

  • Caezar07

    For the love of all that’s good, please make the images and titles smaller. And the “Read More” bottom bar where it has the facebook, twitter, and g+ buttons needs to be thinner. I can barely view both the image and title to an article on my screen at the same time. My laptops screen isn’t that high of a resolution at 1366×768, but I would think that I would be able to see view most websites as they are intended. I don’t see anyone enjoying the new format unless their screen is at least 1440×900.

  • Zee Masai

    Soooo Smoooooove!!!!

  • MKader17

    Was going to write a comment on the Nexus 5 review but I found that the new site is unusable to write comments on a Moto X in landscape orientation. The lame Facebook twitter Google plus bar covers the rest of the screen real estate that the keyboard doesn’t.

  • Minh Nguyen

    Wow, I love the new website design! The design is so clean and simple. And it’s much more easier to navigate around the website now. (:

  • Trueblue711

    LOVE the new site design. I also really like how everything is BIG. As we move to higher PPI screens, I find myself having to increase the font size via the browser anyway. Keep up the great work Droid Life!!

  • jboogie1289

    Looks Awesome!! I wanted to post last night but I guess you guys were making it do what it do!!

    Kudos.

  • Mark

    Gonna go full brain-dump, here.

    First of all, *love* the responsive design. Looks like you’ve already taken a lot of feedback to heart regarding article title location and font size, because both look great on mobile and desktop. The image-centric look is very clean, and it really shines in your RSS feed. Beautiful!

    Some specific suggestions:
    1. Compact or relocate the “Related Stories,” “Also on Droid Life,” and “Prev/Next Story” blocks at the bottom. Their present location and layout puts a LOT of distance between the article and its comments.
    2. Remove the “Prev/Next Story” block from the top. Having it both at the top and bottom is repetitive.
    3. Remove the “Share This Story” text. We all know what those buttons will do. Can probably make them slightly narrower.
    4. Move the “Share This Story” block to the bottom of the article. Readers will probably make that decision *after* reading. Yeah, I know it floats as you scroll. More on that.
    5. Reorder the article headers. Right now, it’s Author+Tags, Share, then Title, then Image. I suggest Title+Author, then Tags+Share, then Image. Combine with #3.
    6. Maybe put Tags, Related, and Also On near each other, since they’re all ways to find similar content. (Related is probably powered by tags anyway, right?)

    All in all, a fantastic effort that is still improving before my eyes. Between this, your consistent quality coverage, and your rock-solid Moto X recommendation (happy buyer here), you’ll keep me coming back. Thanks for all you guys do!

  • GVLBob

    On a tablet, the right column is much too large… almost as wide as the left column. And the actual text is a small percentage of the overall view.

  • e

    I also agree that the title below the picture is making it difficult to determine which picture goes with which blog entry. I think the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the card-like view is so subtle (i.e., white on light gray). If you want to keep the titles below the picture, maybe put a dark border or drop shadow at the very top of each picture that flows downward with a gradient that fades after 1-2 inches. That way, I think the gradient will direct the reader downward from the darkest portion to the lightest, quickly showing which text is associated with which picture.

    I also think the pictures are a tad too large. When I bring my browser to about 80%, it looks truly gorgeous. But, so much of that is lost because you are seeing what seems like a blown up version. Forest for the trees, so to speak.

  • PhillipCun

    The UX needs some serious work:
    – Previous/Next Story (Top) – Top cluster of these buttons is attached to the nav bar which get confusing because my initial thought it that it should be attached to the article container
    – Previous/Next Story (Bottom) – You’re offering related stories AND next/prev story buttons. I get that you want to give users options, but options can make the experience worse. Offer only one; either Related stories or next/prev buttons
    – Related Stories cards – Longer titles will create uneven height in cards. Set a fixed height or overflow
    – Author and tags? – Placement is separated by the dark share bar, creating a disconnect of content that it should be attached to. The hierarchy of information doesn’t make sense and typically article titles are accompanied by author and post date right below. The author icon (sorry) is a nice touch but adds no value to me as a reader and should consider being removed or a different treatment
    – Content area – Margins are HUGE and create jagged edges of where margins are set for all your content. Your related story. prev/next buttons, and comments all have different margins. Consider lining these up. Also consider creating a guide for all content types and how they will render in this area. Play with typography because you guys decided to use a LARGE font without considering the weight of the font. Your font is too weighted (bold) and makes this site feel very heavy. Consider a thinner (lighter) font or set of fonts and define what is copy, headlines, sub-lines, quotes, hyperlinks, buttons, etc. This will help establish consistency especially with your hyperlinks.
    – Ad placement – I get it. You need it. I put ads all over my sites when I ran them. But the placement doesn’t seem like they’re well thought out and just stuck there after the layout was designed. They should always fit nicely to be more hidden in the layout. For example, the related story card heights (and maybe widths) should be the same as the 300×250 ad to mask it more.
    – Docked bar – Consider what your user might need this for. If you’re just sticking things in here because you want to promote your articles then test it and revisit if it is helping. Adding things the users don’t need or want will create a negative experience
    – Responsiveness – I welcome this change, but some things still need to scale and reflow better.

    These are very high-level notes and I’m not sure who your designer is but I hope this is helpful. This is the best I can do as a reader to provide you with my thoughts, however, it will take a well-educated designer to iterate and improve your site. I hope you guys hired a UX designer to help you out because their input will be crucial in many of your decisions.

    Source: I was a digital entrepreneur in HS. Now I work at one of the best ad agencies in LA managing digital projects to create websites, banners and other digital products. I also have been studying UX for the past year. I am available for UX work, please contact me if interested.

  • Trevor

    Never get rid of the pink, no matter what anyone says. It’s like a DL trademark. Haven’t cruised the site much since the change, but it seems pretty good so far. Definitely a big change.

  • sk3litor

    First let me start off by saying I love this site. This is where I started my android education and this is where I plan on staying. That being said I honestly dont really like it. It feels to much like an app to me. I only view it from my phone which is why I always liked the desktop version. I made me feel like I was looking at it on a desktop. Now it kind off feels like ill always be missing something . I guess ill get used to it but ill always give it to you straight. Dont get me wrong though it looks really good for what you did, I just prefere the old desktop look.

  • zmr333

    Now I have to debate on whether to use Newsstand or the mobile site

  • Sergio Meraz

    Nice. Like it

  • Alton Purnell

    Niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiice

  • noc007

    First, it’s not a bad redesign; the focus on the main page being in the search box after a mouse over is a nice touch. I do have some suggestions to make it better and I’ll try to not be so nit picky. To me the whole site feels clunky and bloated (visual size, not speed) right now. My screen has 900 vertical pixels and the site doesn’t feel as friendly to this native resolution; I found zooming out with my browser made it better, but the comments section suffered. Having 1080 pixels, it’s less pronounced and not as bad. On a Note 3 with the mobile site it’s not as bad, but could benefit from the same suggestions.
    – Please put the titles before the pic. With how big everything is, it’s helpful to have some context. It would be even better if one could see a good portion of the pic and read the summary.

    – The top bar needs to occupy less vertical space. It’s too big for what function it serves.
    – The bar at the bottom of the summary needs to be shorter vertically as well. Same reasoning as above.
    – Desktop site may benefit from just a tad smaller article pictures. I’m a bit torn on it, but it may benefit to a have slightly smaller article pics for the main page and large pics for the article. On the mobile site, it’s perfect so please don’t mess with that.

  • fartbubbler

    love the new look!

    I’m wondering how to implement the new “Website Update” card on Google Now. Where (for example), you said when the GN update rolled out that “users can predetermine a blog they enjoy (like DL, for example), and choose to have updates from that site to appear inside of Google Now”.

    How can I make this happen?

  • Tom Z

    So far I’m liking it. One thing though, I wish it was clearer where the next story starts. They almost all just blend together. Maybe a little more white space between stories. With a quick glance, it’s not clear if the “Read More … Comments” bar is for the previous story or next story. Thanks again for some great content.

  • Jason

    That ad that lags and bounces down the screen when you scroll on mobile kills it for me. Sorry guys

  • XboxOne

    The new look looks awesome on my LG Optimus G.

  • http://scribblepeople.net Mike

    Looks lovely and didn’t take away the pink

  • terry12s

    I really like to site redesign. It loads extremely fast on desktop and mobile. In fact, I was hoping that you guys would update your website sometime in the near future as I had noticed that many other websites had done so already. Way to go Droid Life! Keep up the great work!

  • RetsuUnohana

    Wow Love it.. Noticed it the first day.

  • Franz

    Amazing change guys. It’s elegant, and it flows nice.

    Great job!

  • Christopher A Ryan

    I dislike the new site. The forced vertical resize makes me scroll to much. Its no longer just load site and two swipes you see everything and zoom to what you see interesting.. I miss the full desktop view. This sucks now trying to read the site. It’s not efficient at all.. It looks nice but functions like poo.

  • triangle8

    Love the redesign on my phone

  • mgamerz

    I hate the roboto font android uses and that’s on this site. It doesn’t work with my DPI on my screen and a lot of other monitors I have and it makes text impossible to read.

  • phandroid

    My suggestion for the phone site is to make the gray bar at the top smaller, and widen the margins. I want to be able to fit more text on my screen!

    • terry12s

      I agree, wider margins on my phone would be nice. The margins are perfect on my N7 though. One other thing I would like is for the picture and title to swap places. I prefer having the article title above the picture, but that’s just my preference.

  • Kam Banwait

    So you updated the site .. I’ve not been taken, 3 times and counting, to the App Store without clicking anything!

    I’ve added screen shots!

    There’s some CSS showing too!

  • pj

    Social network buttons take up way to much screen real estate on Moto x. Especially in landscape. Other than that looks good. Oh I also prefer headlines above pictures but I can get use to it below.

  • La2da

    It is great user friendly and smooth

  • skinja9

    Kellex,
    You need more space between each post. As it is now on the main droid-life page, there is not enough room between each story. So it is not immediately clear which photos are associated with which post…the one above or below.

    Also,
    The title of each post should be at the top of the post. The title should not be below a photo for that post.
    Know what I mean?

    thanks

    • skinja99

      Please get rid of or hide the constant facebook, twittir, g+ bar at the top of the page. It is literally wasting 10% or more of the page.

  • Stevedub40

    I would like to say that I love the new look and I really like the new layout. As you mentioned, it fits nicely on whatever device you are viewing the site from. Congrats on version 3.0! Who would have thought this small Motorola Droid enthusiast site would turn into the greatest Android site to date. Keep up the good work guys and I hope we have many more years to come :)