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Editor’s Note: Welcome to the Redesigned Torontoist

You might notice we look a little different today.

Before and after.

Redesigning a website is a tricky, delicate, neverending thing. There are aesthetic and functional and technological matters to wrestle with, few of which yield to ready answers. More difficult—perhaps most difficult—is that at some point you need to decide to let go: to call an end to the revisions and adjustments and additions, even though you’re not quite done (you’re never quite done), and send what you’ve built out into the world.

Redesigning a site like Torontoist is more tricky than that, even—because it isn’t just ours.

We are incredibly fortunate to have the best community any publication could hope for: the sanest and most informed commenters of any site in the city, photographers who share amazing images with us every day, readers who send in everything from City Hall scoop to new graffiti tip-offs. Torontoist is made by the contributors listed on our masthead, but it’s also made by you.

And so when we sat down to start planning this relaunch process in earnest, it was with two very clear goals in mind. One was to take advantage of several years’ worth of developments in web design: to create a site that was nicer to look at, more comfortable to read, easier to navigate, and showed images off to better effect. The second was to create a site that still felt like us. We’re not looking to reinvent ourselves, to change the stories that we tell or the way we tell them. But for a long time it’s felt like our writing and photography and illustration were far stronger than the layout in which they were published; with this new layout, our design has caught up with our content.

Marc Lostracco was co–editor in chief of Torontoist twice: once during 2007, and again for most of 2009. Somehow, after just one conversation early this summer, Marc was able to take the ideas that had been percolating and developing over several months about what a redesigned Torontoist might look like and distill them in some initial mock-ups that looked almost exactly like the site you’re on right now—he got it in one shot. (You can read his thoughts on the redesign here.) Lines on paper aren’t enough though: you need to build coding and infrastructure underneath it. Ken Hunt, Michelle Darwin, and Jason Cyprian worked long hours to turn Marc’s design into a real-life site—one that runs much more smoothly than before. We are very lucky to have their support. (To fully appreciate just how far we’ve come, you can head back over to the old version of the site for a little while longer and do a little compare-and-contrast.)

Welcome! We hope you have fun exploring the new Torontoist. If you want to share your reactions to the new site (or discover any bugs we should know about), we’d love to hear from you. Email us with your thoughts, or post them in the comments below.

Thanks for reading,

Hamutal Dotan
Editor in Chief

Comments

  • Jacob

    I love the redesign! It doesn’t hurt my eyes anymore!

  • Guest

    get rid of the raccoon

  • http://piorkowski.ca qviri

    Not sure I’m a fan of splitting longer articles (like the most recent Historicist) into pages. Also, the photo gallery still requires a reload for each photo. Both of these are a bit of a pain on slower connections.

  • Anonymous

    You’ve said above that the visual redesign is not part of a plan to change the stories you publish, but Torontoist also seems to be part of St. Joe’s now, and this announcement is happening at the same time as the visual redesign. I can’t help but think this visual redesign is part of an editorial redesign.

    • Anonymous

      Actually, St. Joseph acquired us back in March. They’ve given us the resources to put into a redesign, but just as the kinds of stories we’ve published haven’t changed between March and now, they won’t be changing going forward.

      • Guest

        Thanks. Sigh of relief sighed.

  • sjan

    i dont like the new logo……

    • Joan

      I think the old logo was more cute and unique. This one is just okay.

      • http://piorkowski.ca qviri

        Ditto. It looks pretty Obama ’08 to me. But I’ve never been known as a graphics guy.

  • http://piorkowski.ca qviri

    One more thing… the RSS feed URL has changed, or at least the old feed doesn’t have updates anymore. Notice would have been nice. Is it going to change again once the new site is no longer beta.torontoist.com?

    Also, the “CKLN Holds a Moving Sale” article visible in the feed seems to have disappeared into the void.

    • http://twitter.com/KenHunt Ken Hunt

      The RSS feeds should be working now. You can find the link at the top of the page. You can also subscribe to individual tags and authors now.

  • Anonymous

    I’d like the expanded/full view brought back too, I always switched off summary view in the old design. Also, what happened to the comment/recommend counts? I like seeing when articles are generating activity, and don’t want to have to open them individually to see if anyone’s added their two cents.

    I second qviri’s comment about splitting longer articles. I find that really annoying.

  • Jeremy

    I can’t find the RSS feed! I thought you were shut down.
    Where is the new feed link?

    • Anonymous

      The lack of rss feed is really annoying.

      • http://twitter.com/KenHunt Ken Hunt

        The RSS feeds should be working now. You can find the link at the top of the page. You can also subscribe to individual tags and authors now.

    • http://twitter.com/KenHunt Ken Hunt

      The RSS feeds should be working now. You can find the link at the top of the page. You can also subscribe to individual tags and authors now.

  • Alex

    I love it.

  • Anonymous

    It’s more slick and generic ‘web 2.0′ corporate media.

    The old site had a kind of gritty and dysfunctional charm, more reflective of the real Toronto.