Welcome to the New and Improved Streetsblog

For the first time in nearly nine years, we’re debuting a sitewide redesign of Streetsblog.

The last time we overhauled the site, few people were reading news on their phones, Twitter was just finding a mass audience, and no one thought of Facebook as the world’s most important media platform. Streetsblog was a single non-profit with reporters covering three cities and federal policy on Capitol Hill. Today we’re a collective of four organizations, with staff covering five cities, a state capitol, and the national streets and transportation beat — plus content-sharing partnerships in four other regions.

Our old site design had a good run, but it was clearly time to implement a modern interface better suited for the breadth of coverage that Streetsblog reporters and editors now produce. This year the team at Alley Interactive has worked with us to put together a much-improved technical platform and reader experience, so Streetsblog can continue to grow our audience and make an impact well into the future.

There were two main goals we wanted to accomplish with this redesign: creating a portal for quick access to important recent stories across every Streetsblog site, and upgrading the front end of the site to work well on the full range of devices that people use to consume media.

The new homepage, located at the address formerly occupied by Streetsblog NYC, will be updated daily with posts from around the Streetsblogosphere. Our reporters are producing compelling stories across four time zones, and readers can finally see that work all in one place. (With the new site structure, some readers will have to adjust their routines, especially people who follow Streetsblog NYC and Streetsblog.net — read up on those adjustments here.)

For the first time, Streetsblog now features a mobile-responsive design that’s easy to read no matter what type of screen you’re using. The new template should be more legible on desktop browsers too — but especially on mobile devices. Images and type will be larger across the board. These changes should make the reporting and commentary we produce more accessible, enjoyable, and pleasing to the eye.

While we’ve cleaned up the look and feel and introduced some content hierarchy on each Streetsblog site (you’ll notice major stories stick at the top longer than they used to), we’re also staying true to our bloggy roots. Below those top three stories, you’ll still find a reverse-chronological flow of content, and you’ll still be able to check Streetsblog at 9 a.m. every weekday and see a fresh stack of headlines.

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be working through some kinks and graphic tweaks in need of further attention. We have our own list of things to take care of, but if you spot something buggy, please tell us about it — except images that are acting funny (that’s probably a temporary effect of the migration to the new platform). You can send your troubleshooting notes and other suggestions to tips@streetsblog.org. (We’re still configuring Disqus on this particular domain — it works on the others — and will have that up and running tomorrow.)

We’re indebted to all Streetsblog readers and donors for supporting our work and making this critical upgrade possible. I especially want to thank The Summit Foundation, which has been a bedrock partner for many years and gave indispensable support to the site overhaul, and TransitCenter, which provided a final boost that enabled us to wrap up this big, complex undertaking.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoy the new Streetsblog.

  • Right off the bat I miss the number of comments that used to appear near the headline for the story. Now I have to click on the story then scroll all the way to the bottom to see if there are comments.

    Maybe that is a trick to get readers to make extra clicks so your numbers look better. If so then admit it and I will accept that as a useful feature and not a frustrating bug.

  • Ok, it’s incredibly hard to find the comments now. Considering that comments was my primary point of engagement with your site, I’m not exactly jumping for joy.

    My bookmarked first-point-of-entry for chi.streetsblog has always been http://chi.streetsblog.org/comments — which doesn’t seem to be there anymore, and there isn’t any mention of comments on the homepage either, so I can’t find it. Does it have a new equivalent URL? If not the site is going to go from a check-multiple-times-per-day to a maybe once per week proposition for me. Following ongoing conversations and participating was at least as useful to me, if not moreso, than the main articles (and I like the main articles a lot, just to calibrate your scale).

  • aweg

    The new responsive design looks great on a smart phone but in a browser window set to full screen on my laptop it looks quite sloppy. Needs wider margins and a shorter maximum line length in articles (and in the comment section). More definition between articles on the home page.

  • Oh, and unrelatedly: on the homepage, at least on desktop, it is in no way clear that you can click the headline to get more of a story. It looks like it’s just a scroll of text, with a few clickable stories up top in the tiles. This story had no (more) link or anything else to show it contained text beyond the short version visible on the homepage.

  • I was going to say smaller hard-coded margins, because I resize my browser to the width I like to read, and it’s got acres of white on each side. I really like long linelengths for reading, and if I don’t, I narrow the window.

    Horses for courses. :->

  • Dennis McClendon

    Adding my voice: The comments were the main way I engaged with the site. I want to skim through them all together, not have to click on story after story and waaaait for Disqus to load.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Hey folks, just a note to let you know that we’re keeping track of your comments and will pass them along to the Streetsblog mothership as appropriate. Keep in mind that the new site is a work in progress, and we will being fixing bugs and adjusting design elements in the near future. Thanks for providing feedback on the site remix.

  • I didn’t expect instant bowing to my whim, just wanted to get everything attached to the “Hey! New site design!” post. :-> You guys do a great job, and the site is important to me — that’s why I keep sticking my oar in, because I care.

  • planetshwoop

    Echo the comments request.

    Also, I used to look at the “most recent comments” piece a lot as it allowed me to see comments across all the posts, not just the one I was reading.

  • johnaustingreenfield

    Quick update from Ben Fried: “The comment counts and recent comment widget will be coming back.”

  • aweg

    Nice work with the new wide margins when you visit a full article! Makes reading much more pleasant.

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