I love Hacker News, it is my main source of tech news. But, I also hate reading it.
I don’t need it to be beautiful, have gradients, or cool icons. I just want to have readable content with some breathing room. I am not interested in redesign for the sake of it. HN has great content. There’s no bullshit but its a pain in the ass to consume it.
I present a more consumable design.
My improvements :
- White background: The current HN grey background just kills contrast to me.
- Larger, Serif Headlines: Serifs are usually easier to read, most eBooks know this.
- More Breathing room: I am not sure why HN feels the need to jam everything so close together but I have a scrollbar/mouse wheel/finger so I am cool with easier to read content taking more space. (Side note* I would still have 30 entries per page, I am just too lazy/tired to mock them all up.)
- Links are orange and underlined: I know the user and comments are links but the fact that they look the same as everything else is frustrating. Its easier to pick them out when they are orange and underlined. I don’t see why everything is tiny and grey.
- Vote up : Vote up icon is slightly bigger and gives feedback. Honestly, I find the arrow an annoyingly small target to hit( see Fitt’s Law). The fact that it disappears on click is also a bit perplexing. In the redesign, the icon is just bigger, turns black on rollover and orange once clicked. Easier to scan and see it. Also, it feels better.
- Bigger Y Logo :For an embarrassing amount of time, I did not realize that Hacker News was from YCombinator. Besides the fact that its a silly detail to miss, the mini logo didn’t help the matter for me. Solution: Bigger, sexy Y logo.
- Lighter Top Nav: The navigation is now on white to make it nice and easy to read. I always thought black on orange was a strange contrast. The nav links have orange rollovers/active states; A nod to the Y combinator logo. I also added a home link. It was a peeve of mine that it wasn’t explicitly there. Plus, it tends to help some users.
- Responsive Design: I didn’t make a mock-up, but this would be a responsive design so it would scale up nicely to read on my phone ( since I often read HN on my way to work via phone). That is annoying right now, I would love some big ol’ serif text on white for my morning commute.
Perhaps I’ll try to whip up a browser extension or site that magically makes this happen but I wanted to share this with others. If for no other reason then to get it out of my system.
Of course, I still love you Hacker News. But, your design makes me sad. Here’s hoping…