Summer is here, meaning it must be time for a new site design from Technorati.
The four major Technorati redesigns have each tried to welcome a different type of crowd to the site without alienating existing users. When the site went online in November 2002 the target audience was alpha-bloggers and Linux Journal readers. The company was incorporated in May 2003 and saw its first big redesign in the summer of 2004 focused on the new users visiting the site for real-time information in the run-up to the 2004 U.S. presidential elections. In 2005 the site redesigned again, aiming for a more mainstream audience and better organization of new features such as keyword search and tags.
The MySpace demographic is now makes up 30% or more of Technorati’s user base and the new site design seems to be aimed at a younger crowd with its candy colors and increased use of icons and small images.
Unlike many other search sites Technorati’s link structure seems designed to keep people within its pages. A linked blog post title on the site homepage points to a URL search result and not the author’s original entry for example. Tag pages are no longer a snapshot of multiple sources across the web such as Flickr, Del.icio.us, and Furl, placing Flickr results behind a tab.
I like the breadcrumbs at the top of each search result page and the inclusion of tool pages in the footer. The redesigned “Discover” pages look nice, except for the pixelated feed icon in the title bars.
The big problem for Technorati and many other sites is trying to help users consume the vast amount of choices and information available. When Technorati had fewer features it was easy enough to highlight each option and the latest data on the front page of the site. As the number of data exploration options on the site increases I expect more interface tweaks to help users make sense of it all. Hopefully Technorati will take some ideas from the new Yahoo! homepage and shuffle personalization and section highlighting across the site based on usage statistics.