Gawker Admits Redesign Mistakes, Rolls Out Fixes

Chief Nick Denton: “We got ahead of ourselves — and now we’re rowing back”

A few weeks ago, Gawker Media rolled out a much-anticipated site-wide redesign that — in largely killing the reverse-chronological blog format favored by longtime fans — turned out to be more divisive than Radiohead album.

After a self-imposed "radio silence," Gawker chief Nick Denton posted a note to readers explaining the mistakes they made during the overhaul, and how the company is fixing them.

"We wanted to respond to feedback not with promises of future improvements but with actual fixes," Denton wrote. "So that’s what I’m doing now — but I regret any impression that we weren’t listening." He outlined several tweaks and changes in his post — for publishers of news websites, it's essential reading.

There's now a button at the top of the sites that allow "devotees of the traditional blog view," as Denton calls them, to revert back to something that looks a little more familiar.

"News web sites may indeed become more application-like and readers may grow accustomed to swiping instead of scrolling," Denton wrote. "But they’re not there yet, as the extensive criticism of the sidebar made clear."

He didn't reveal the traffic hit, but in a memo to staffers on Monday, Denton wrote that the reduction in search traffic from Google "has been significant."

[Full disclosure: I cover tennis for Deadspin, Gawker Media’s sports blog.]