Reddit has redesigned its website and the changes begin rolling out today, marking the first time in a decade that the social media network has altered its interface. One percent of users will see the new design today, and over the course of the next few months, the design will come to all Reddit users and lurkers, as Wired reports. As of now, those who see the change can still switch back to the old Reddit.
The new Reddit design replaces the navigation bar with a menu on the left corner, which resembles a lot of trendy website templates available on Squarespace, Wix, or Tumblr. The menu opens up to display links to feeds, subreddits you follow, and user profiles. Users will be able to choose to view Reddit in three modes: “classic view” which looks more like the Reddit we know today, “card view,” which vaguely resembles Facebook, or “compact view,” for more densely packed information.
To make things more intuitive for new users, different fonts will now distinguish whether a link is heading outside of Reddit or leading to another post. To promote content creation, a big blue button stands out on the main page, r/all, inviting users to post something new. And posts will now open up in boxes to keep you on the main page you’re on so that each new link won’t be taking you away from the page.
Along with the revised site, Reddit designers have also reimagined Snoo, the platform’s mascot, as a more 3D cute mascot who’s traversing planets instead of just standing there in the logo. New users who join Reddit now get Snoo as a default profile photo, until they change it.
Five months ago, Reddit CEO Steve Huffman explained a bit more about the redesign, which by then had already been in the works for a year, by posting on the site: “Many of us evangelize Reddit and tell people how awesome it is ... then when those new people decide to check out Reddit for the first time they’re greeted with dystopian Craigslist. We’d like to fix that.” Craigslist’s site is a scrolling list with plenty of white space, and Reddit currently still looks similar. Both hearken back to the beginning days of the internet when HTML was the primary way to code a page and embedding a link could have been considered an accomplishment.
But a Reddit user’s response to Huffman hinted that older Redditors might not be fans of change. In a comment that got nearly as many upvotes, the user Fauster, who moderates a subreddit for stocks, responded, “Older users will hate it if they can’t use the old Reddit. It’s a format that sucks at first, but there’s so much room for information. Yes, statistically, a page is optimized with 33 percent text, 33 percent images, and 33 percent whitespace, but Reddit would absolutely suck with that format.”
Those users who liked the old site better will be able to keep using the old UI. Reddit says in its announcement post today, “We do not have plans to do away with the current site. We want to give you more choices for how you view Reddit.”