Redesigning the Abstract Blog with Abstract
Over the last year, we’ve put a lot of energy into creating content on our blog. We’ve tried to make our blog a destination for useful and inspiring education, storytelling, product, and company news. Our posts have kicked off conversations about workflows, contributing to local economies, and the visualization of version control. A few months ago, our team started talking about how we can improve the blog experience for both existing customers as well as new readers who aren’t as familiar with who we are and what we do. We introduced our new blog in September 2019 and as its primary designer, I’m excited to share the process of redesigning the Abstract blog, with Abstract. Our blog redesign project was highly collaborative and spanned multiple departments and timezones. Over a period of approximately two months, a team of seven worked together to contribute to the production of the blog you see today. Planning and scoping the redesign It all started with a Zoom call and a fresh Paper doc — I find these have been handy tools for a distributed team. Together, we listed out ideas, pain points, likes, dislikes, and goals. By including folks who had experienced the limitations of our existing blog design first-hand, we could ensure the redesign could align with aesthetic and functional goals. Our DACI helped us prioritize the goals for the redesign: Improve navigation and content hierarchy to encourage deeper engagement. Emphasize the people who create our content (both written and visual). Increase awareness of our newsletter, The Commit. All we had to do was figure out the best way to address our pain points and deliver a design that speaks to where we’re going as a company. No pressure. On a personal level, I wanted to use this redesign as an opportunity to push the edges of our brand’s visual design and create a style that’s distinct from our product marketing, all while supporting our overall brand system. With this project, we were able to explore and push creative boundaries. There was a point when we realized we were getting too ambitious — we didn’t have enough time to build everything we wanted. But by using Abstract, we have an extensive version history of our explorations, so we were able to easily prioritize what we could produce, keep the project in scope, and deliver on time. Moving forward, we’ll revisit some of those explorations and will continue to roll out incremental improvements, so stay tuned. Improving navigation and content hierarchy With our new blog, we wanted to introduce content hierarchy, which became the greatest undertaking for the project. The first version of the blog had a flat hierarchy with articles sorted chronologically — there was no way to elevate some stories over others. The visual presentation of every post on our old blog index and archive pages was exactly the same, so no story stood out as visually distinct than any other (except the one featured post at the top of the index). For our new blog, we wanted to better guide you to find and discover content that is most relevant to you. Since we’re not a daily publication, our goal isn’t to serve up what’s hot and new, but rather evergreen information that will help you better understand Abstract, both as a company and a product. With the update, we can now curate and group stories by common denominators. This way, you can move between relevant pieces more fluidly. We’ve mimicked infinite scroll at the bottom of articles as a friendly way to serve new related content to you. Emphasizing people…
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