I used to think redesigning a homepage was pretty much like moving into a new house: the rooms are different, the furniture is not where you expect it to be and it takes a while to find your way around.
But The Nation‘s latest online incarnation–a new look and feel, sharper publishing tools and significant changes to site architecture–this feels like more than a new homepage. It’s the beginning of a whole new relationship with a living, if not breathing, entity: the collective memory of America’s oldest weekly journal of politics and culture.
Our open-source publishing platform (created under the direction of friend and former colleague Scott Klein, now at ProPublica) has long been considered a thing of beauty by tech insiders. Fitted with a new user interface, this highly intuitive bit of software now gives us new ways to surface The Nation‘s outstanding journalism, analysis, reviews and cultural commentary. And it gives you the tools to mine the intellectual and historical richness of The Nation, an institution in American arts and letters since 1865.
For a small magazine to launch a redesign of this magnitude on a live site is a bit like building an aircraft carrier while trying to land the plane. It’s been an interesting couple of days as the editorial staff and our team of talented software developers work with the Los Angeles design firm Airbag Industries to bring the new system to life.
At this point, 90 percent of The Nation.com is now functional, but there is still work to be done. Subscribers cannot yet log in or download this week’s print edition of the magazine; the archive is still under construction. Be assured we’re working hard to restore these functions. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.
Many people have called and e-mailed to say that the default text size on the homepage is too small: We hear you! But in the interim, here’s a quick fix: Go to the toolbar of your web browser (Safari, Firefox or Internet Explorer) at the very top of your screen. Click “View:” a drop-down menu will give you the option to increase the text size.
As we continue to work out the bugs, take some time to become acquainted with the new site. Send me your impressions either via a web letter or mailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to hearing from you.