Thanks for the feedback you've provided us thus far on the new SB Nation design for The Dream Shake. We're learning more about it every day, but I think I can speak for everyone on the staff when I say that the more we learn, the more we like. This is going to be a beneficial format for everyone, but most importantly, it is designed to make things easier on you.
I trust that you vehemently disagree with that last statement for the time being, but to explain, I'm going to run a series of posts detailing how you can best take advantage of what we'll be providing you with this new design.
Step one will keep things simple: We're going to talk about the cover page and its many different options. The cover allows TDS to run like a magazine. We can put many stories in the cover at once and change the appearance to emphasize which stories we think deserve attention. Almost always, the newer stories will appear on the cover.
The river - the ensuing articles listed below the cover - allows TDS to still function like the old blog. We still are a blog, make no mistake, but now with the cover at our disposal, we look much sleeker and we can keep many stories at the forefront of TDS at the same time. Make sure when you stop by TDS, you look at both the cover AND the river to make sure you don't miss anything.
So, let's get down to the specifics of the cover. As an editor, I have many options for what I want the cover to look like. The first option is the one presently in play:
This might be my personal favorite cover template. It allows for three stories to be placed equally on the cover, including the StoryStream on the left.
(Note: We'll get to StoryStreams eventually, but for now, understand this: StoryStreams are constant updates to stories that fall under one category. So, for example, the story stream in the picture above is the Player Previews stream. You can find all of the previews under that stream by clicking on the picture.)
"One up" highlights a really important story that we want to get across to you before you read anything else.
Three up is a bit different than tryptic in that it emphasizes one story over the other two on the cover. I'm not a huge fan of this template yet, but it may come in handy at some point.
I really like the four up template. We ran it Wednesday with the Tracy McGrady comeback day story and emphasized that over three other important stories that day. It looks pretty slick, if you ask me.
If there is a crapload of stuff going on one day - or a lot of content that we want to highlight - we'll go with the Five Up template.
So, that's a first look at the new SB Nation layout. Later, we'll talk about StoryStreams, Hubs, Sections, The River and how to approach the new article page.