Neatorama Redesign (Help!)

Hello, Neatoramanauts!

Boing Boing did it, Engadget did it, and now it's Neatorama's turn. Yep, we're going to give the blog a makeover. It's time to shake things up a bit. Keep Neatorama fresh and all that.

Now, blog redesigns are fraught with potential problems (this is not our first redesign, but so far, all Neatorama's theme changes had been incremental and evolutionary - I'm thinking that we should shake it up by a lot this time), some people simply hate change, and it's just nice to have our readers to be involved - so let me ask you: what can we do to improve the blog? What should and shouldn't we do in this redesign?

There are things that I can't change: we need ads to help defray the cost of running the blog, so eliminating ads is not a viable option (though we try to keep the number of ad spots to a minimum), and no, we won't get rid of the Upcoming Queue :) (I believe the quality of front-paged UQ posts have improved greatly since the last Great Upcoming Queue Revolt of 2009)

I'd like to keep Neatorama's "everything on the front page" philosophy. We've had this from the start: all of Neatorama's full posts (and comments - if you check the "show comment" box in the footer of the blog) are visible on the front page. The good thing about it is that there's not a lot of clicking. The bad thing is that there's a lot of scrolling - the blog's front page can get quite long. For an ad-supported blog, this philosophy is quite paradoxical. After all, a lot of clicking translates into more pageviews and therefore more ad revenue. But we're not shooting ourselves in the foot here: I believe Neatorama is more reader-friendly because of it and that this philosophy encourages frequent repeat visits. After all, 31.8 million visitors in 2009 (and growing) couldn't be wrong, could they?

There's a lot of things to consider:

  • Do you guys use the Browse by Date and Browse by Tag features on the side bar? Should we keep those or get rid of 'em?
  • What do you guys think about social media buttons? Are those used or are they just graphical flotsam that should be culled to make the design cleaner?
  • Should we expand or contract the long list of categories?
  • Should we make the pictures and text larger? Monitor sizes have increased over the years so it makes sense to make things larger on the blog, but that will probably make it harder to read the blog from your iPhones.

Above all, I'd appreciate your input and feedback. Love it or hate it, I'd like to hear what you think about Neatorama. Best 5 comments (it doesn't have to be related to the redesign, and it doesn't have to be all lovey dovey - your honest opinions about the blog, please) will get free T-shirts from the Neatorama Shop.

Thank you!

Update 1/4/10 - Wow, thanks for the thoughtful responses, guys. Do you think that we have too many posts on Neatorama? Too few? Should we do more long posts or less? Update #2 - The Nokia banners are for a temporary ad campaign. So don't worry about it being the redesign, mmkay? Update 2/24/10 - Sorry it took a while! (Lots of things to do) There are so many good comments and suggestions - thank you everyone for all of your help! It's hard to pick 5 winners, but pick we must. So congratulations to Justin, giltwist, shadowfirebird, OddNumber, and Krista (Awesome poem! Thank you!) who won the T-shirts.

I don't use the Browse by Date and Browse by Tag features on the side bar. Get rid.

I hate social media buttons. They just get in the way.

You have a list of categories? Oh... so you do. Uhm... shrink it. I go by whats fresh, not by subject anyway.

Make the pictures larger only if you have a higher res picture on hand. Don't increase the size just to increase it. Text doesn't need to be larger. Most browsers have ways to increase that stuff for the blind moles out there anyway, and more likely than not... they already use such features if they can't see what they're reading. No need to over complicate.
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hey neatorama

i read your blog everyday. needless to say, i am a big fan.

i use browse by tag features when i am bored and i want to read old entries. i find it very useful when i want to read different entries with same ideas. the browse by date.. i'm not really using it and i didn't notice it until i checked just now. although maybe its just me because i read this blog everyday so i dont need to know the entries of previous days..
i think removing them is okay, letting them stay is okay too. but if you dont want unnecessary things, maybe just remove browse by date (?)

the social media buttons confused me at first but now i am used to them. for me, removing them is okay because i don't use them at all. but for others... hmm

i think you should expand the list.

text size is good. please dont change it. pictures maybe a little bigger but not too big for iphone users. i use iphone a lot in reading this blog during the commute time to work. so please don't make it too much of a hassle for us. thanks

for me, a simple layout is always good. easier to load, easier to read. please just keep this simple. :D thanks and more power
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Don't redesign it. Evolve the design over a period of time making small changes that enhance the user experience.

The only real thing that I think should change is the amount of grey space at the top!
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I agree on the grey space at the top. Text size and picture sizes are OK.

I think the (number of) categories are OK. I sometimes use it to find an old posting. Like Flux I don't use browse by date or by tag feature. I wonder where the social media buttons are.

Subtle use of some color accents would make the front page even more Neat.
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I don't browse by date or tags either, so I don't care about them. Actually, I don't pay attention to the right section of the page at all, as the design suggests so. So if you want to put important stuff there, you better not.
Also, the tags seem quite.. vague, but that's none of my business as I don't read them, I just browse through Neatorama.
I don't use the social whatever buttons as I don't have an account in those, so this goes under "whatever" as well.
I'd rather read a version with more posts in the same page. Even though there already is plenty, I don't like pressing the "next page" button.
Perhaps you should create a separate version for iphones and like?
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I come back to Neatorama often several times a day.
I don't believe I've ever used the browse by date or tag, and haven't searched by category either. But this might be more due to the frequent visits.
- I think that all 3 of those search options are great utilities that should be kept.
- I find that the search options can easily be overlooked in their current position; making them stand more apart from the ads would be beneficial.
- possibly having a simple search engine near the top, along with tabs for 'search by date' or 'categories' beside 'upcoming queue' and 'shop'
- if 'categories' tab is made, there may be the option of both expanding and contracting on the categories. Make two levels, broad and more narrow. (Example: Fun --> Funny, Flash Games, Cartoon, Cute things, etc)
- possibly make a 'login' tab near the top as well
- if adding more tabs, they could be smaller/different color to set them apart from the already existing/more prominent tabs
- I believe text size is good as is
- Social media buttons don't seem to clutter the page at all.

I'd also like to keep Neatorama's "everything on the front page" philosophy. The current blog front page is nice and neat, and I'd be opposed to large changes with it's format. It's not broken, no need to fix it!

Hope this has been helpful, Alex.
Thanks again to all those involved with maintaining this great site!
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"You don't have to register or login to comment..."

Well, yes, you do. "The name you provided belongs to a registered user. Please log in to make your comment."

And when I *do* log in, I end up at your Wordpress admin page, with no easy way to return to the page I wanted to comment on.

I love Neatorama, but I'm given up commenting (I'm making a special effort to tell you this!)

I'd love it if you made the commenting process a bit less painful.
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i can never seem to find old posts that i want to show someone else, and i think it has to do with the lijit there some other search engine you can provide to make finding older stuff easier?
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I adore're my first visit every morning. :D
Scrap the Browse by Date and Browse by Tag features, plus social media buttons...never use 'em.
Contract the list of categories. Not bothered about text and picture size.
I'd just keep it really clean and simple. Less is more and all that.
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i reckon scrolling side to side instead of up and down and in a timeline style would make the blog stand out a lot. it would be great for finding things by date as well.
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Hi: Neatorama is a site I look at every day for respite and information, so I'm not surprised you have millions of people following it. So, as one of those millions, please leave the search features. How else would I find the cat circus or fill in the blank, later? I do use the social media buttons sometimes, but not very often. If I do want to share something, it makes it simple, so those should stay. Yeah, there is a lot of scrolling, but I don't mind. I agree it is much more user-friendly, and the font size should be one that is compatible with mobile devices.
My only concern is that though you are talking about a big re-design, you are really only suggesting cosmetic changes. The fact is that you have a great design, so are you pursuing change for its own sake? Bored with the look? Feel you won't be on the cutting edge anymore? I understand. Just remember new coke, dear folks.
My only suggestion would be to redesign the container (the coke can) to make your existing format more dynamic with a new graphic design based on your existing format.
Best to you in 2010.
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Sometimes my web access crawls at a slow pace. If during these times I try to watch an embedded video on Neatorama the whole thing grinds to a halt. I would like to be able to stop streaming that video and move on to a text or single frame item but the video is still trying to stream, everything is locked until the video has finished loading. Is there a way we cad cancel the video stream and move on to less hefty posts?

Greg :-)
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I would make things a bit wider. I have a lot of white space around the edges, and I don't even have that big of a moniter 1280x800 if I recall. (too lazy to check lol)
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My housemate loves Neatorama and always wants to share posts to his Facebook friends. Before those social media buttons existed, he would always bother me about how to do this. Now that he can see the Facebook button he can do this without bothering me, they should definately stay. How could such an imminently familier icon's removal simplify a web page?

Social media buttons make life easier for socially active folk who aren't computer nerds to share content.In my opinion you would be shooting yourselves in the foot (feet) to remove them.

Happy New Year,

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I am a daily reader of neatorama, and I use the tags occasionally, but never use the search by date. Text and picture size is fine the way it is, in my opinion.
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am with Scrumpy

I visit the site twice day keep it clean and simple

as for what tropic tom Side scroller time line would be nice ....but I don't think it'd make much a difference ethier way
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Wider yes.
Please, no garish obnoxious colours, good grey scaled as is now.
I never use search so listen to the others, won't make any dif to me.
Log in is fine, no log in works for those who haven't registered a user name in the past.

More robots, kitties, and cuddlies.

Just kidding, simple is better. Remember in sales the K.I.S.S. rule:

Keep It Simple Stupid
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Wider, yes!
Text same size!
Pictures are fine: bigger if you like (don't see a problem with that)

Maybe social media buttons can be a selection box like the comments? If people don't like them their version of Neatorama won't show them?

Brows by Tags? I only use these now and again: maybe as a drop down? good for helping search for your classics. As are the Date. As are the categories. Maybe compact them? or have them contract until needed?

What about filling the right hand column once all the ads and official stuff have finished? it's kinda blank over there =====>

what about Top articles?

I like your current configuration, (text on the left, ads and important stuff on the right, header at the top) but maybe Mr Piraro or somebody cool could do you a mascot for the header? Maybe the Neatoramanaut can make a permanent home?

What about being able to set a preference of "just the headlines", "Whole article", or "Complete article and comments" for quick browsing?
Maybe the articles from "just the headlines" could drop down from a click on that headline?
This would also help the people with slow download speeds to just download the stuff they feel they want to load? (Maybe symbols in the header's postmark could indicate whether the post has photos/videos?)

This is just a vague suggestion but: how about the site remembering the last time we dropped by? so maybe if we want we can get an idea of just the new stuff since we were here last? kind of a personal RSS? our computer keeps a record of our last visit, maybe you click on a button at the top and it culls everything but the stuff you haven't seen yet?
That idea might need some ironing, but would be kinda useful, and people don't have to use it if they don't like it. I know some people don't like sites placing junk on their computers but as I said maybe it could be a choice to do it or not.

I love this site and come to it all the time; at least once a day. It is simple to use and read, and any additions or changes you make need to streamline that process in positive ways. Maybe just go with minor cosmetic changes like colours, logos and design elements, and just add more choice and functionality. But don't force stuff on people so they can carry on enjoying the site the way they used to while others can utilize new things (like some of the suggestions above) as they see fit.

Regardless: keep up the good work with entertaining us all, I'm sure the redesign will be great!
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boing boing SUCKS now!! I won't even go there anymore I hate their stupid redesign so much. Xeni is such an annoying person, and the redesign just pushed me over the edge.
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Shadowfirebird! After you log in and end up at the Wordpress page, look at the top left corner and click, "return to site" or "Neatorama site".
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With long posts, fivethirtyeight seems to have a nice way to read just a bit, or open it all on the same page with a button.

Please, not a bigger screen, down works well. Please keep the clean clarity of the current design as well. Part of what I most like about this space, no annoying clutter.
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* I never use the date functions on Neatorama. I read it everyday :-)

* Although I do use Social Media services I have never felt the need to click on one in any of the websites that I visit everyday.

* Never use the categories section.

* I think the text and picture sizes are just perfect. I was horrified when BoingBoing did it as I lost all aspect of where I was on the page.

Not that I am trying to sound all old and fuddy duddy but I REALLY ENJOY the Neatorama layout. It's easy to read and flows in a manner that I can quickly glance over articles. Also, I am here for the content, not necessarily the design (although I must because it's easy to read!).

I am still not used to the new redesigns at BoingBoing and Engadget and I feel like I lost 2 friends whenever they did it.

Keep up the good work!!!
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I agree with Shadowfirebird on the difficulty of leaving comments, and Lucky on the difficulty of searching for a previous post.

I also like the "Front Page" philosophy. Being a Neot-O-holic (hello, my name is dncucf, and I am a neat-o-holic), if the articles were presented as links, I would just click every link, but the scrolling does get annoying if I later want to share the link with a friend. My local TV station ( their website set up so that the articles are links, but if you put your cursor over the link, a blurb of the article pops up with a picture. The blurb is not as big as the descriptions provided by Neat-o-rama, but maybe something could be done about it. That way, I could easily see what each neat article is about, without all the scrolling OR clicking. I could click only if I really wanted more info.

Or have a front page that gives you a choice of which format you want.
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I see four main areas where I would like to see improvement. However, one thing I would not like to see changed, is the simplicity of the front page. Neatorama loads fast and is simple to scroll through.

Here are my three suggestions:

(1) Filter out the poor quality submissions in the queue. The two advertisements for thejeansdrop that are there today, posts that are six words directing you to click on a link to see "funny" pictures, and posts with huge negative vote counts are just distractions. There are quality queue posts that do not get voted up, so dropping the junkier posts might make it more interesting place to visit.

(2) Improved search functions! Most regular readers know that certain topics have been covered but have difficulty finding them unless you know approximately when it was posted. As someone who posts to the queue, I would be interested in being able more easily find old posts to link them to what I am writing.

(3) Streamlined log-in process. Currently if I want to comment, I click log-in and am directly off the site to log-in. It would be great if when you came back to the blog if you were sent back to the article you were trying to comment on instead of having to look for it again. I seem to remember similar issues with the shop, but haven't ordered in a couple months so I may be mistaken.

(4) Improved queue submission tools: allow more functionality to select pics to be shown (currently only a few pics are available for the submission and might just be from junk the linked websites wrapped around the article you are referencing), allow multiple pics in posts, and allow multiple sites to be linked.

Alex - Glad to hear you are continuing to improve the blog. Good luck! One minor thought you might also consider - neatorama shop advertisements mixed in with the posts gets confusing and there might be more subtle ways to draw traffic to the store. However, I'm not going to complain too loudly because ads are just a part of life...
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I never use Browse by Date, or Browse by Tags. I visit the site about twice a day, and just start at the top and read until I get to the first article I've already seen. That means I never ever get to the bottom of the page, so if there's anything really important down there in the grey space at the end, I'll never see it! Occasionally, I use the social media buttons, and I don't see that they clutter the page. In fact, they make it easier to share the articles, and passing Neato stuff around is what it's all about.

List of categories? Oh look! There's a list of categories over there! I guess I don't use those, either.

I love that you have the whole article on the main page--it's awful to have to click click click to get the details. The way it is now, I skim almost every article, even if it's not particularly interesting at first. Sometimes I'm surprised. If the main page showed only headlines, I wouldn't read nearly as much.

Font and picture size work for me. I really like the subdued color scheme.
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I like it the way it is.

Can 'links' always open in a new window please, I sometimes get lost trawling another site & have to click back ten times or more to find you again.
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It doesn't matter what you do, expect a chorus of howls from those who will think it's a mistake. Thousands of years ago we pressed indentations into clay tablets. Then some bright guy figured it out how to write on papyrus, and I'll bet there were people who thought it was a really bad idea.

Me? I come here for the content, and I'm really not all that concerned about how it's presented. That might change if you adopt a pink-and-green colour theme, and a flash intro with a loud Casio soundtrack. As long as any contemplated changes aren't TOO extreme, I think we will all adapt.

Just don't copy BoingBoing's theme. I agree with the previous poster, and don't find it all that attractive.
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Adjust your browser settings to open links in a new tab, or just get into the habit of doing so by right-clicking the link, and opening a new tab from there. Voila!
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I would like it if the headings were different, if I want to skip a long article it is hard to find the start of the next article. Perhaps you could change the heading color and make it a bit larger, maybe add just a slight bit more white space between articles and use a dashed horizontal line instead of the solid one.
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I am one of those who think Boing Boing destroyed the look of their blog by "improving" it.

We all want to be modern, up to date, fresh, etc., but if it ain't broke don't fix it.
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I like your page but would you consider having thumbnail boxes for all of your articles on the frontpage? That way there's less scrolling to be done and we can see "at a glance" what you've got going on. A thumbnail box which opens when you click on it that will take you to the full article. Less clutter, cleaner looking, nice sharp little graphics to catch your eye and more room for more articles (and more adverts, too).
Right now you have a lot of empty space on your site. I don't really mind that but I prefer some color and artwork to make me linger at a site.
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The one thing I really dislike is the search feature. I like to open multiple articles on my chosen search topic...but can't! Clicking back and forth, searching and's very annoying!

Also I don't use the tags at all, they rarely describe the content sufficiently, perhaps more tags would help?
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I know it'd be a monsterous undertaking, but if there's any way you guys could make a mobile version of the site it would:

a) make all of us mobile users extremely happy


b) alleviate your concerns about the conflicts that might arise from redesigning the site re: phone viewers.

PS: I <3 Neatorama!
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I love your site and often try to access it on my smart phone when I have a few minutes of downtime. Unfortunately, the site does not load well in a mobile browser. It would be great if you could offer a mobile version of the site or mobile-friendly design. Thanks!
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Take advantage of widescreen format. Almost every monitor sold now is wide screen, yet most blogs still have single column layout and do nothing to take advantage of the widescreen. I say go to two or more columns of stories, perhaps filtered content, related stories to active story on the left, etc. Or perhaps the comment section shows up on the right when a story is highlighted on the left. You have great readers with great comments, but I hate clicking through to get to them.
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1) Make the login smoother. It's really annoying that after logging in, I hit the "back to Neatorama" button and end up on the front page. This means that I have to scroll half way down the front page again to find the post in which I was going to comment.

2) Not only are screens getting bigger, their aspect ratio is changing. My local Best Buy doesn't even sell standard ratio monitors any more; it's all widescreen. Use this to your advantage. Instead of picture over story, how about picture beside story? That would significantly reduce front page length. Similarly, you could try a two-column format of some sort. If you want to get really creative, you could do one of those things where the stories scroll left and right.

3) Neatorama's biggest strength and biggest weakness is that there is no specialization to the stories. I think you might attract more users if there was something, anything that was a Neatorama staple that made me check back looking for particular weekly columns. The closest to that you have right now are those bathroom reader things, and those are pretty hit-or-miss for me. What ever became of Miss Celania's video blogging? I remember the raisin milkshake then nothing.
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1. I think giving us a little more interactivity in the comments section would be nice. This may be a stretch but the ability to use things like [quote] [/quote] to create more discernible quotes would be nice. I also have a nasty habit of proof reading my work only after I click submit, so an edit function would be fantastic.

2. When logging in, it takes me to the relatively worthless front page. I then have to click "visit site" to get to the content.

3. A picture says a thousand words. I think Neatorama would have more success drawing people to older popular posts if they had pictures beside these links at the top right. Basically the site needs a way to put old posts that were popular and unique to this site in prominent positions. Simply having a text link wont cut it. Add a little picture to give viewers a little preview of what it is and it will stand out more.

I think there is too much clutter on the right hand side. Getting rid of the tags box, the buzz box, and the calendar would help make those old links stand out better. Maybe others use them, but I have never once.

4. I think the top of the page is a little wasted right now. It's a place that grabs some of the most attention on a website and there is little to nothing up there besides those tabs on the right. Maybe you could add some sort of scrolling ticker like you see on News Channels. Only here, you could fill it with neat links to older posts. I'm not sure what you want to put up there, but it shouldn't be as bare as it is now. (plus it might draw some more clicks on those top banner ads!)

5. Each page of Neatorama is so large, that I feel like any information you guys post at the bottom is largely unseen by 99% of us who come here. I'm not sure what you want to do, but you may consider reducing individual page sizes (they're freaking huge now!).

6. This may be unavoidable, but I notice a ton of stuff posted on neatorama is on days before. If you all can find a way to scoop them it will increase the popularity of your website.

7. I'm not gonna lie, I have and always will hate queue-bot. I think a lot of your recycled content from other websites are posted via the queue.

Anyway I love and will continue to come here no matter what you decide to do. It was the first website of its kind that I ever started visiting and it holds a special place in my heart. Now, you guys have a lot of work ahead of you with all these changes people are suggesting so good luck!

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Dark Horse: I agree wholeheartedly. I stopped going to Boing Boing, which called itself a directory of wonderful things, when a guest poster posted an article on (forced?) castration. And Xeni? Pronounced Shenu? WTF is that? She is simply way too annoying.
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Oh, sorry I didn't mention it before but it's clear after reading the other entries. Login is not a smooth process, which is why I don't use it. If it were smoother, I guess I would.
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Consider the daily newspaper, which has survived well over a century in relatively the same format because of its dedication to pure, unadulterated information. Just news, opinionated editorials marked clearly as such, stocks/sports and other statistics, and the funnies. It never needs to change its layout or style to appeal to people's lust for newness, because the content itself is always shifting, changing, and new. And although they're failing right now, that's because of a high upkeep cost in a bad economy while more efficient formats are becoming available. And the larger ones will certainly keep going after the recession. Improving, but not changing.
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First off, I love the blog. It's simple design makes it much easier to read. Increasing the font size and picture size might take away from it. The only thing I think that would make this blog even better would be a better commenting system. At the very least one that allows you to rely to a comment and have those stacked together for easier reading. When you have a good discussion going on, it gets hard to follow when the person that is the 50th person to comment is replying to the 3rd person who commented, unless you use your browser to search for the person you really have a hard time trying follow whats going on.
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I see a lot of people don't like the browse by date, but Please, please don't eliminate the browse by date. I read Neatorama during down times at work and if I'm off work for a few days, I can go back and use the calendar to just check those days that I missed.

The only thing I would change is the log in. I really hate that it takes me to another page to log in, then another page to change preferences before I can click visit site. That's too many pages away and annoying. The log-in user-id and password should all be on the front page at the top (maybe in the gray section). Once logged in, have a link for account preferences for anyone who wants to change those, but instant log in should just bring up the home page.

I don't know if this is possible, but when scrolling the page, once we get past the calendar and the tags on the right hand side, the rest of the articles below that keep to the same margin as the articles adjacent to the tags and calendars which leaves half my screen white. Since I've never designed a web page, I don't know if that can be fixed.

If you really want to fancy it up, I'm big on having a more defined break between articles. Maybe highlight special or particularly "neat" articles in a colored box.

Love the UQ.

Love the site!
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The login seems fudged - you can't easily sign in and return to where you were. I end up closing the tab and commenting again when I've signed in.

The grey space at the top probably had adverts in it, but since I'm not in the US none of them would mean anything to me anyway. I'd lost 2/3rd of its height

The social media buttons - I've never used them and I haven't visited most of the sites they link to.

Nested commenting might be nice - though don't follow's example 'cos theirs runs out of width very quickly.

Links always open in a new tab for me 'cos I Middle-Click on them so I don't really care what you do with them.

Use more width - even my elderly laptop has plenty of
space left.

I've never used the browse-by tabs and only use the Search slot once in a blue moon.

I've no idea what the QueueBot is and I don't think I've ever looked at the Up Coming tab.

I find the grey background image in the comments area distracting. I only recently actually bothered to read what it says.

I like the general lack of trolls and adverts. Do they get posted and then deleted, or do people just behave themselves?
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I'm sure many have said it and so will I. Leave it alone. You have a very simple format that is so easy to read and that is why I do it everyday. This is my daily paper. Before I discovered Neatorama I only read Yahoo and Maxim magazine. This site has introduced me to more of the web than anything. I've always had reference material in my house and Neatorama is a major reference for me. Thanks for the straight forward format and when the economy picks up I'll be the first to invest in Neotorama stock.
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Keep in mind that, while monitors may have gotten bigger, netbooks are becoming ever more popular. I mainly browse Neatorama on a 20+ inch monitor, but also frequently on my netbook. I certainly don't feel the need to have every bit of space filled with content. The width doesn't need to change.

Also,perhaps the watermark in the comment box could be lightened a bit? Not a big deal either way.
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Oh, and another thing. I get caught by the filter quite often (like just then). Since I'm a regular (and I think non-abusive) contributor, would it be possible to feedback what's trapped me so I can learn to avoid it?

And thanks for all the work.
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I think a lot of us like the simple layout. We would be happy if you improved the comments/login section and reduced the clutter.

If you feel strongly about stuff like the calendar search and tags, then drop them down to the bottom. That way they will be available for those who use them, but not blocking other content.

I have a tendency to gloss over the stuff on the right because so much of it is useless for me personally.
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I'd like to add one more comment about neatorama in general.

One thing I like about is that it's a pleasant website to follow. Other sites like or have a lot more content, but it also is so much more raw. Despite our occasional heated debates there is a level of civility and good natured fun that many other websites lack. I'd like to congratulate you guys for being able to pull it off without making it seem cheezy or fake. I also like how I can show this website to my family without worrying that they may read some troll's comments, or that they may accidentally click some NSFW link below.
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Love that I don't have to click all over the site.

I share a lot on facebook, but there is no button for easy sharing.

I don't read or search for old posts. I do visit at least once a day.
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Leave it just like this - I hate change.

I read your site everyday.

Oh, maybe the login thing could use a bit of work, and I would like it to work better on my Blackberry... but other than that, I like the site. One of my favorite, so it is my favorite blog!
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As a devout daily Neatorama reader and fan, I thought I would share my thoughts.

Since I check the site at least once a day, I've never used any of the Browse by Date and Browse by Tag features - quite honestly, I don't look at that side of the blog. I haven't noticed the social media buttons either, but it would be nice to be able to easily post to my Facebook site. I also don't use the "Browse by" feature - I think it would be fine to contract that list, or perhaps move it to the bottom of the page.

I think the picture and text size is fine - perhaps a bit larger on the font, but that's all. I like the standard minimalistic format, as it's very user-friendly and doesn't assault my eyes with flashy graphics or ads.

Personally, I dislike the log-in process to leave a comment, as after I log in, it takes me back to the main Neatorama page, rather than the article I wanted to comment on. I then have to find the article again, which can be a pain.

I like how I can read each post on the front page without having to scroll through endless comments (unless I choose to).

Thanks for the daily random knowledge and trivia fix! I love this sort of thing, and I think Neatorama has it down well.

Natalie S
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I like the simplicity of this website. It's one of the websites that looks organized and simple. But that said, I think "Browse by Date" and "Browse by Tag" can be eliminated. I usually use the Search feature (which by the way looks very nice and modern) and have not even seen the "Browse by Date" and "Browse by Tag" features until you've mentioned it and I've been a very loyal visitor (coming here at least once a day) for the past year or so. I definitely think that the colors should stay the same (after all, there's a reason why Apple used the same colors for such a long time) - there's just something about gray/aluminum, white, and a little bit of a black that makes it simple but beautiful. The posts are usually very easy to follow, except for some of the very long articles. I feel like there should be a limit - after all, there's almost always a link at the bottom to a source where I go to find more information if I find the article interesting. Overall, though, this site is amazing and must be one of my favorites. Thanks for creating it!
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Dont change, we love you the way you are.

The search feature is different than it used to be, I cant remember what changed, only that I dont like it now and I used to like it before.

Pet Peeve... links on this site rarely open in a new window. Do you want us to leave the site?

Whatever happened to the forums? I know the activity got really slow but I dont remember a heads up that it was going away and why.

I love that everything is on the front page. Theres always enough stuff to check out but not too much to get through. One suggestion I have is something on the sidebar that shows recent, popular posts(including a pic). Because there are a lot of posts, interesting things get pushed off the front page fairly quick so it would be nice to have a feature where we can keep up with some of the conversations without having to search through the pages for the OP

I never really checked out the "Where to from here" section at the very bottom until now because I stop scrolling down when I reach the "next page" link. One thing in that section I'd move is the "Neatorama by email" feature, I wont use it because I come here all the time but I didnt even know I had the option.

Bring back Suggest a Link. The UQ is 1000x better than when it started but I dont always want to write a post so it'd be nice to have the option to just point out a link like pre queue days and let one of the bloggers write it up if deemed fit. Obviously Im still not a big fan of the queue but Ive learned to live with it :) My main qualm is that random people just post stuff that is popular on similar sites. I think the inclusion of UQ posts has made Neatorama lose its voice a bit.

One more thing... Would love to hear from some of your bloggers of days past
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Oh yeah, I'm with mysterioso about adding a "suggest a link" option. I'm sorry Alex, I loved suggesting links, but I don't want to be forced to come up with a multi-paragraph short essay describing the link.

I'm not paid enough by you to do all that kind of leg work. :)

Anyway, I just noticed that you are doing top comments get a free t-shirt. I have no idea if I'm in the running, but I'd like to pull myself out. I don't want anyone thinking that I wrote my suggestions and compliments of Neatorama in an attempt to win a t-shirt.
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You're the first blog I visit each day(and I visit it more than several times in a day) and I've never had a gripe or complaint about it. I just adore You guys and gals and the cool stuff you post. When Boing Boing first changed their look I hated it and didn't visit it for a long time. I visit it now but not like I use to. I say if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I like to buzz up some of the articles but I never use the search by date or tag features. The gray at the top doesn't bother me. If you must change anything, just tweak it up a big changes, please!!!!! I promise that no matter what you do to it I will still start my morning with Neatorama and will still visit as often in a day as I do now because I know that the quality of the blog will remain the same. You're the best blog of them all. And a nod to the Mental Flossers posting here...I love that blog as well.

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I would use tabs in the sidebar for browse by date/tags.
(Like smashingmagazine has for jobs, news, forum)

Social media buttons; use an allinone like AddThis.

Keep all the categories, just clean it up by being in a tab.

Text could be 1 pt. larger.

remove the calendar
maybe just 10 posts on front page?
add a post voting option, and a way to view popular of day,week,month,all time?
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the only suggestion i can think of is maybe add color? it looks kind of bland but overall, the style is ok. i never look at the side stuff (calendar, browser area). maybe minimize that section? but overall, neatorama is neat. :D
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Neatorama Redesign
a poem

Oh,Neatorama, it is time
for a lovely

I am but a student
that is true
but my fascination with layout
is not new.
i edit a section for my school paper, opinion, specifically,
and, in my opinion, a redesign
will go terrifically

though, i would lie if i were to say
that my morals weren't somewhat in the dirt,
the main reason i am posting, (as many others)
is because i want free shirts. (math puns are the first sine of madness, haha)

In any case, i do believe
it would be rather nice
if your fantastic images
took up a larger slice
for even though my acer has a monitor quite small
bigger, colorful photographs
are more visually pleasing for all.
(even those with iPhones)

This blog,to me, although, in truth, i love it very much
is only just a portal
where i find links and such
truth be told, for you asked
for my opinion, honestly
occasionally i find mental floss
superior to thee
that thought, for sure, exists in part
because of the articles' length,
providing more of these sorts of things,
would certainly be a strength

and though i do appreciate your front page policy,
with those long articles, a "break" may be better;
i believe others will agree
it is not a massive problem,
not a fatal downfall,
but scrolling to the next article
is often quite a haul.

And though i visit this website
with startling frequency,
the tabs on the side, the upcoming queue,
they are all new to me.
the browse by date seems like something,
i would definitely want to use
but all those topics and tags--
how could i ever choose?
they seem useful, that is true, but what might be fun,
is if you put them together;
or rolled them into one.
a "topic cloud," with all the tags?
those are nice and trendy
making your tag cloud act the same way
would be very friendly
I mean the kind where the popular words, are really really big?
and the tiny,seldom used tags
are as thin and fragile as twigs?
i see now that your "browse by tag"
is almost just like that,
but without exaggeration
it looks a little flat.

And as for the question of if you
have many too many posts;
to me, the plethora of articles
is better than buttered toast.
Again, i must reference mental floss,
which i also do adore,
but sometimes, i go to their website,
and i've seen all the posts before!
But here, there is always something new
for me to read and share
i love clicking the link in my favorites bar
knowing something new will be there.

Speaking of sharing, i noticed you mentioned
social media buttons
and if the readers think that those
simply amount to "nuttin'."
To this, of course, there are pros and cons,
i never use them myself,
it would not make any difference to me
if you put them upon a shelf.
but this would mean, as i'm sure you know
less viewers around here,
but, by your front page policy,
i feel that it is clear
that publicity and money
are not your only goals,
you're in it for the journalism,
not for taking tolls.

And that is why, oh this dear blog
that is so very neat,
i would like to thank you
from my hair down to my feet
you never fail, you always win
my curiosity,
you update all your articles
with high velocity,
and you fill my brain with stuff
that i can share with all my friends,
my relationship with this blog
is not anywhere near an end.
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I suggest:

1. make the log-in progress smoother and have a remember-me or automatically-log-in option.

2.some sort of bookmarking for good posts so you can easily locate them later "like the little golden star on firefox"

3.instead of having me leave the main page to read the comments, how about having them on a drop down list?

4.a most-viewed-today or viewing by popularity will also be good

5."suggest a link" instead of the "up-coming queue"

I love the site and the community you have here, neat indeed
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I come to this blog daily so I feel I must somehow try to be part of it.

-I think we all love that it is simple; When I go to a website I go for what the website's purpose is, in this case, I come to Neatorama for entertainment, so I like that everything is on the front page.

-I personally don't mind the color sheme; If the website's content is good, in which this case it is, then color doesn't matter, but I beleive that this website is going somewhere and should maybe consider choosing a more vivid color scheme to be identified with, for promotional and eye candy purposes.

-The category ammount is good; If I'm looking for something specifically, and I cannot find it by using the search engine for what ever reason, I proceed to go by category, the more categories there are, the more clicking I am likely to have to do to find what I'm looking for because the post will be in a more specific category.

-Tag feature?; I'm not even sure what it is for, but I have to strongly say that it doesn't have any benefits to me. It will not affect the website to remove it, except there will be more space for something else.

-Text size and picture size is perfect; I have alot of different methods in which I access this website with different size resolutions (My laptop, my PS3, my phone, and work computer), and it displays good in all of them. Also, even though everyone might be upgrading to bigger monitors the doesn't necessarily mean they will choose a higher resolution.

Thats all I have for now, looking forward for the big change.
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A mobile version of the site is key. Especially in this day in age with all the Blackberries, iPhones, and Droids flying around. Sure I can subscribe to the RSS feed, but I enjoy seeing all the pictures. As of now it takes awhile to load the website on my Droid, I and I'm sure many others would love it if you guys could implement some sort of mobile site.
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I don't use the Browse by Date or Browse by Tag features... I say get rid of them!

Get rid of the graphical flotsam. Simplify, simplify, simplify!!

Keep the category list as it! They're all good categories, and i don't think you need more. I also don't think you need to streamline the list, it's a good size.

I like the picture and text size as is. I think it works quite well on my laptop!

Maybe make things a little bit more modern - less grey and white, more colorful!! I think that it might make things a bit brighter and attract more frequent viewers. I like the simplicity of the current format, but I'd love it if it was a little more cheerful to look at.

Also, I just thought I'd throw in that I love the store. I do think that the front page could be more organized underneath the main picture, but the product list pages are fantastic.

This is by far my favorite website on the internet, and I'm super pumped to see all the cool new stuff coming up!


(p.s. Needs more squids!!)
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one readers answers to your questions:

* Do you guys use the Browse by Date and Browse by Tag features on the side bar? Should we keep those or get rid of 'em?
No, in fact i wasn't aware of these features. As a daily reader i tend to read the last posts and go down till i get to the already read posts and call that a day.

* What do you guys think about social media buttons? Are those used or are they just graphical flotsam that should be culled to make the design cleaner?
Blogs are getting more mainstream and i don't believe that many users are still in the initial sharing and rating through these buttons, i'm not. Getting rid of them on the other hand would be a denial of the genesis of all that blog media thing, we as the mass, created. A respectful way to solve this would be to create a share/rate icon that makes a lightbox appear on top of the page, it's there but not fulltime (Ă  la new Google homepage).

* Should we expand or contract the long list of categories?
They should be contracted in a ready to expand div, actually i believe the tag cloud should be above the categories, as casual readers would see first what boiling and then could further their search by expanding the categories if they need.
* Should we make the pictures and text larger? Monitor sizes have increased over the years so it makes sense to make things larger on the blog, but that will probably make it harder to read the blog from your iPhones.
It's perfectly acceptable on a 13" MacBook, but more difficult on my wife's 10" netbook. On the iPhone i double tap and the size is just right. I'm 40 with 25 years of staring at screens and it's still readable, just keep it as it is. Big is ugly for body text.
Use Lightboxes for original sized images if you feel like it, it is much better than the actual galleries on the Gawker network.

What you could do is reduce the headers height, it's a bit of a waste of real estate considering you don't sport top banners. On a 13" you have to scroll almost immediately (1280X800) on a 10' it's bad (1024X600).

Good luck with your redesign, and try to give it personnality don't do design by committee it's to bland.
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Keep it clean, simple, fast, etc. Avoid too much ads (we know you need money), etc. Maybe add donations method, registered accounts for benefits, etc.
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When I saw this up, knew I had to comment. I check neatorama everyday during my free time because, well, it's neat. I really enjoy most of the things that you post on here, and if you guys are going to redesign it, it should increase functionality and be visually nice to the eyes. :) Most of us here check back on it very frequently, so there are a few things that I wouldn't mind if you changed:

CENTER the layout! I don't know about you, but I don't like looking to the left all the time, no matter how used to it I get.

Add more color because although white and gray are nice colors, they aren't very colorful by themselves. Color coding?

That whole "Where to from here?" section at the bottom- I suggest you get rid of it. I didn't notice it until two seconds ago. Usually I go down until the next page button and then click it, not going down further. It would go a lot better on the right side that is usually blank (if you don't center it, that is :P)

You could also put the mystery results and neatorama updates on the right side, too, because it will be there until the next time and isn't with the whole "neat" stuff.
Other than that, you guys are doing an awesome job
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Hey, I've got a suggestion for your redesign.

I would say get rid of the black on white and instead opt for a light on dark colour scheme as it's like staring at a light bulb whenever I open up my browser. I've always been a fan of Blackle, which is just Google with a dark background that saves a ton of energy. So switching to a darker background for this website should help a bit also.

I just switched you guys to my homepage in November and haven't looked back so keep up the good work and keep those stories flowing!


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Well, all I'd advise is to refrain from Nokia ads that completely dominate the landscape like you currently have (started just a few hours ago). I'm sure they pay well, but it seriously detracts from the sameness readers expect, and I've seen complaints on this particular ad before.
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I think the browse by dates/tags should expand if you click on the title. same goes for the categories. only people who want to search by them should be subjected to them!

As for the social media tags... most people using facebook or twitter know how to post links to pages or articles using things like to shorten the links. You can kill the buttons for the love of design!

I don't advise changing to a dark background. I cant browse websites that are like that it hurts my eyes more! As for the hullabaloo about the white background using too much energy, everyone should get LED monitors, or buy macs, they come stock with LED, which, no matter the colour, uses less energy.

KEEP the upcoming queue, i love being able to vote about whats neat. and I'm so glad those posts advertising someones own business or "extraordinary photography" don't get past the faithful readership. they should buy ads instead! lol

I agree in moving the winners, and neatorama related updates to a side bar. If i am away for a few days and come back i miss out on updates unless i go through all the pages!

Mobile edition would be a waste (of time, effort and money!), everyone should buy cell phones that use real browsers or just use a computer!

Store items... Maybe post new ones on the side bar as well.

Centre or Left side alignment?
Keep it bloggy, there are enough websites out there packed with links, mini ads, auto play videos etc. We come to neatorama for the simple pleasures, and a laugh.

keep up the good work!
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More content? Yes, please! I come back to neatorama multiple times a day and I would really enjoy seeing a few more new items during the course of the day. I think there has been a good mix of short posts and longer ones. However, if you are not interested in a longer post then you end up scrolling forever. I read another blog ( and I believe they did a very clean job of allowing content to be expanded.

I agree with several of the comments above as well. A way to keep track of the most viewed links in a given day would be neat. Also I didn't use the forums often, but I would be interested in seeing them come back.

A way to suggest links could also be interesting, for instance I do not have time to write up an article I saw about a comet being observed impacting the sun (, via
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After my last post triggering moderation, I think a function to allow people who post regularly to skip the moderation would be useful. I'm not sure that tagging posts because they include links buys much.

BTW - the Nokia ad doesn't look right in my firefox (v3.5.6) browser, as the ad gets cut in half vertically. You can't even tell that it is a Nokia ad. I've noticed this in the past as well. Loads just fine in IE (v8.0).
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All of the comments so far appear to have been written by regular (daily) Neatorama readers. It's probably worth stopping for a moment to consider the experience of the first-time visitor, who will probably arrive here after someone sends him/her a link to a post.

After they finish reading their landing post, they may wonder what kind of website they are at (is this a humor blog? a news blog? a science blog? a video blog?), and where do I go from here?

To that end, it might be useful to devote a couple column inches in the right sidebar as an "About Neatorama" or "Welcome" greeting, which would explain the aggregator style and in one or two sentences summarize the type of material found here (the "neat" aspect of what we post). Then it would invite the newbie to go next to the Categories or to the Home Page (which frankly isn't that obvious to find - experienced websurfers know they can trim the url in the navigation bar, but the "blog" tab is subtle, and clicking on the logo is not intuitive).

Space for such an addition could reasonably be harvested from Browse by Date, since only one commenter so far has made regular use of the feature.

p.s. - since every Neatorama commenter loves the muted interface, subtle colors, and simple design, perhaps you should change everything to garish fluorescent colors with Gothic script, and announce it as the new format... on April Fool's Day.
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I'd also like to echo the several comments above about the inadequacies of the Lijit search engine, which I use here on a daily basis. One problem is that it retrieves the search word/phrase not just from posts, but also from daily archives and from monthly archives, which effectively doubles or triples the number of hits. And the search can't be limited to posts - it also retrieves keywords from comments. Since Neatorama has almost 24K posts, and about 8X that many comments, finding a specific item can be difficult. I use Lijit for my own blog (with the same failings), so I know there are side benefits re providing data on searches performed (and the fact that it's free), but one has to wonder whether there might be other, better engines available
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Please don't start using a mix of full and abbreviated posts on the frontpage as seems to be the trend with a lot of blogs at the moment (boingboing and gawker sites especially) it makes the whole site harder to navigate and most abbreviated posts are skipped over.

I liked the old gawker method of providing a persistent option to view either full or condensed articles as it allowed quicker loading on mobile devices and easier browsing when on a desktop.

Just to parrot a lot of peoples comments here, as a regular reader i have no use for the browse by tag or browse by date options and never really noticed they were there.

Also, i miss pennylicious. I still check it on occasion on the offchance of a new post. Four years of disappointment hasn't deterred me yet.
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Alex, the web was built by geeks, for geeks, of geek interest material. BUT, it's matured and become mainstream by attracting the "public". Neatorama is one of the main attractions for that "public", just because it isn't exclusively geek oriented material.

"Something for everyone, a happening tonight" ;o)
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I feel like the social media buttons are important for first time visitors who want to share a cool link with some friends, its an easy way to get more hits. I think the categories and cloud tagging are good to keep also, because it helps find interesting things for new visitors. I think most of the features being debated are useless for daily visitors but they are well worth being kept around for new visitors. As for the new design of the site, please don't make it too flashy. I come here to read interesting things, not see pretty effects and animations. I think the new Engadget redesign is awesome, but I would honestly never use half the new features there. Also, I'd like to echo some of the concerns with the commenting system. I hardly ever comment because it takes to much effort. Yes, I could stay logged into wordpress and comment through there, but its too much effort. Anyways, great site. I love it. And remember:
KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid)
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Small request - it would be nice to be able to reply to people's comments individually. The site seems to have a lot of discussions in the comment section.

Thanks for the site! Love it!
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Love Neatorama, though I really became an adherent after BoingBoing's crappy redesign.

I'm not online (at least not surfing blogs) everyday. So for me, and I would assume others like me, it's nice to see archived articles presented in the same format as when they were first published. BoingBoing now relegates older posts to little textual snippets of which even the AP would approve.

Whereas I used to spend hours going back through a week's worth of BoingBoing posts, now I jump over to Neatorama, et. al. after reading the top (eg - interesting, illustrated, large font, decent sized article quote) half of BoingBoing's current page.

Please, don't funk up Neatorama like that - I enjoy reading all you posts, not just the ones from the last 12 hours!

"I got nowhere else to go!"
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I would say try adding a little bit of color variation. Choose a specific color to be a highlight color that helps bring out certain elements of your website. You could use a lighter shade of the color as a background color for the header and footer and then make all your links a darker shade for instance. Another color would help your web design come a long way.
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Hi, Neatorama's folks!

The redesign, I guess is still in progress, right? The new logo is way better than previously one. In the time, I would suggest use the robot queue, 'cause he's so funny! :)

Turtle, elephant and giant squid? So for the win! hahahah

My two cents: neatorama uses "servives" form other sites, it's ok, but I think is too much (more than 10). Well, I know it 'cause I use firefox+noscript, so don't worry.

For example: the search could be Google custom search or use the wordpress native searching.

p.s.: the contact us isn't working… :/ (Well, Firefox and Safari)
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