Critical Distance web design

Critical Distance is a somewhat rare type of website, and it can be difficult to get across what we do. We’re not quite academic, but we act as public educators. We’re part of the games press in some ways, but we’re not a “gaming website” as such. My job is to make Critical Distance more easily understood, more frequently recommended, and more productively used by a wider audience. Just as an art curator designs a gallery space, I have been trying to make our site design communicative and welcoming.

For many years now, the main thing people saw when they reach our website was a big wall of text. In that text, some truly essential work was happening, but the presentation was off-putting to many readers. After I became Senior Curator I started to hear more from those readers directly. It was clear that a change was needed if we are to increase our audience and demonstrate our use to people more readily.

I spent about 60 hours redesigning the Critical Distance website to encourage people to think of us not as a link blog, but as an educational resource. Now, the first thing people see when they access our home page is a big search bar inviting them to learn what kind of writing might exist on a randomly-selected topic. I also incorporated some flashes of colour and unusual css transformations on the featured images, to make the site look lively, without looking noisy.

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Old design:

Look around a snapshot of the old site at archive.org.

New design:

Look around the living, breathing, new site at critical-distance.com.

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