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Our site is prettier than your site.

I know: you don’t visit Global Voices every day. It’s okay. I miss a day sometimes as well. But you really should come on by and pay a visit. We launched a complete redesign late on Monday and there are big changes to the site thanks to the talents of Boris Anthony, who’s done a remarkable job of updating our look and giving readers much better access to all our content.

One of the pieces of feedback we’d gotten on the old design was that it was very text-heavy. In part, that was because we’d put a huge tagcloud on the top of the site to remind readers of the international nature of the site and to try to encourage people to explore posts in countries they otherwise might not explore. The tag cloud is available on the new site, but you need to click on the “countries” tab to see it.

So now the feature that’s designed to institutionalize serendipity is our beautiful new map. On the front page, it features one of the countries mentioned in the front page stories. On country or region pages, it shows the appropriate part of the world. In each case, it’s got colored spots – “measles”, as we’ve been referring to them – that represent how many articles and links we’ve published on each nation in the past month. Mouse over a country and you’ll get the exact count, as well as the last date something new was posted.

It’s a lovely technical hack – Boris collaborated with Mike Migurski, who’s written lots of brilliant software, including Reblog, which I use to run BlogAfrica, and they came up with a very clever system that loads outlines then satellite images into a flash player. And I’m finding it hugely useful for getting a visual sense for what parts of the world we’re covering in depth or more shallowly. Plus it’s a great way to stuble from China to Kyrgyzstan to Afghanistan, finding posts along the way.

We’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about how to make Global Voices content accessible in other languages. There’s two clear indications of this on the new site – on the footer of each page, you’ll find links to our translation sites, where volunteers turn our content into Bangla, Chinese, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Russian – sometimes one or two posts, sometimes a substantial percentage of the site. You can also see the stream of translated posts from the “Translations” link near the top of every page.

I’ve always been proud of the content we put up on the GV site – it’s a good feeling to be proud of how it looks as well.

9 thoughts on “Our site is prettier than your site.”

  1. Beautiful! I love that map as a replacement for the tagcloud-list of countries. Nothing wrong with the cloud, but with this you really want to dive right in. It’s going to be a *great* time waster….

    (Although, ahem, my site is the fairest of them all ;-} Check it out, see if you don’t agree http://molvray.com/acid-test/ Admittedly, the title is sometimes illegible :-/. It needs shadow text, and I haven’t had time to fix that since the redesign.)

  2. Pingback: Jikomboe » Global Voices Online: Ukurasa wangu ni “chuma” kuliko ukurasa wako

  3. I do like it a lot. is something I can design myself, very clean and not very busy at all. But Ethan, I think mine is prettier (Smile):-)

  4. I don’t visit the site itself but I do read via RSS and I just wanted to say that GV is one of my favourite blogs. I love to “hear” people’s authentic voices from all over the world.

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