Two weeks ago, we announced forthcoming changes at Buffalo Rumblings by revealing our new site logo. With the big re-launch coming up very soon, we thought we'd let you in on a little more about SB Nation United and what you can expect when we upgrade.
Here's what I can reveal to you at this point:
- This isn't strictly about flashy new features (though there are a few to go over). Much more importantly, community elements like comment functionality, FanPosts, FanShots, and GameThreads will remain in place. Any changes you notice will be purely aesthetic as part of the larger re-design.
- One of the biggest aims of United: faster load times. You'll be able to do the same things you've always done here at a faster pace thanks to some re-organization and better product design.
- Covers will be the most prominent new feature. We'll now have important stories pinned to the top of our page so that you're not missing the big discussions while other content is pouring in. Take a look at the below screenshot from our Ohio State blog as an example (click to enlarge):
There are other cover designs that you'll see, as well, that essentially just allow us to more or less prominently feature stories above the fold. You'll see them all in due time.
- The "River" - which appears when you scroll down below the cover - is more of what you're already accustomed to: a stream of posts and other community features. This is essentially what Rumblings is like now, with two forthcoming differences: MRW and I will be able to control how new content passes through the river (i.e. we can still put prominent stories higher), and you'll see a lot more content breadth in this area, including videos and more.
- We'll also be getting the well-established StoryStream technology that you've likely seen if you've ventured over to SBNation.com. Essentially, this is a post type that will allow you to follow a larger story and comment on its various updates as time progresses. We think you'll enjoy this particular new wrinkle, especially as it relates to keeping up to date on a story like, for example, the free agent pursuit of Mario Williams. See the sample below and note the various updates within the overarching story:
- Mobile browsing will get a big boost, as well. Take a look at the below screenshots to note the similarity in browsing experience between your PC and your handheld device. The first screenshot is of a cover on a phone; the second is of the river on a tablet.
- For a final idea of what the site will look like (and to fully understand why we're calling it the "river"), here's a full-site shot.
Matt and I have been getting our feet wet with the new platform for weeks now, and we're both excited about the upcoming changes. We know that change can be scary, but we also feel confident that enough about the way Rumblings exists today is being preserved - particularly with regards to functionality - that y'all will have little trouble adjusting to the new environment.
You are welcome to ask questions; I may not be able to answer them at this time, but you can certainly ask. You can also certainly make suggestions, but keep in mind that those may not be incorporated until a much later date, if at all. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible with this change - it's been four full years in our current digs, after all - so this is a prime time to alleviate some concerns. Fire away!