The New Kotaku Australia Is Here!

Image: Kotaku

Shortly after this post is published, you'll notice something very different. Namely, our entire site.

That's right: after many years, we're finally refreshing the site's design. It's a huge process that has involved a whole amount of work from our dev team, and as a result you're going to notice a few things different.

The change is visual only at this point, and there will be a couple of features that won't be activated straight away. If you're a regular, you'll notice you won't get comment notifications or the ability to adjust your user profile — but they'll be coming shortly after.

Because a lot of things under the hood have been completely overhauled, you might notice a few bugs or things out of place. If you're reading an article and something isn't where it should be, please leave a comment back here in this post to help us track the bug. Again in the comments below is best instead of via Talk Amongst Yourselves, tweeting or emailing us. Thanks!


Comments

    As long as you don't ruin it like the USA Kotaku, go for it.

      I'll work my arse off to do the best job I can, that I promise.

    Looking forward to the update.

    Seems to be no way to get to my profile (or anyone else's) currently. Is it not implemented yet or am I missing the new way of doing it?

      It mentions it somewhere in the article I think. A couple of features aren't activated yet, with the profile being one of them.

        Odd, when I first read the article that part wasn't there. Fair enough then.

    Couple of things
    - way too much white space on the left of these comments (in fact the whole site is just very very white all round)
    - i liked seeing number of comments listed with each story on the front page. if something i was not that interested in had a reasonable number of comment i would still click into that story to read the comments (see what all the fuss is about)
    - not a huge fan of the auto-playing gifs/videos of articles on the front page. auto-moving stuff of any nature is very distracting.
    - may just be me, but seems very slow to load. it is taking some 20-25 seconds to start loading. may just be me of course, but i am not seeing that with other sites. Clicking More Stories also has this same long delay (at least for me, also submitting a comment) - #seems to be fixed now
    - not a huge fan of the 'section' heads at the top immediately popping open like a scene from a horror movie as i simply move my mouse over them on the way up to the address bar. maybe just add a small delay to the pop out time, 0.5 seconds or something?
    - feels weird to me that everything is just about 10% to the right, not centered on the screen

    - also when editting a comment it seems to revert to HTML mode, where (br) and (/p)'s for example are all thru the comment. Not sure if that is intentional. Not a prob really for me since i'm a web dev but I can see it causing issues for others who might remove such tags, not knowing what they are/do.
    - also comments that are edited no longer seem to add a tag Last edited: (date/time) so cannot tell if/when a post has been edited.

    Last edited 26/10/16 8:25 am

      Just FYI I have been around a number sites over the last few years that feel the need to revamp their site (understandable, I guess) and every single one has just BAM dropped it on their users out of no-where, and in every case it was not well received to be honest.
      Why can sites not mention they have a new site coming, and have a link to the newly redesigned site from the old site, so users can visit it and check it out and offer constructive comments to get it in a READY state BEFORE dropping an incomplete site on its users out of the blue?
      Just doesn't make sense to me. Your users ARE your site, you should appreciate them and their input on such massive changes as complete site re-designs and should get their input BEFORE a complete change over, where you are left scrambling to fix things/change things on a live, active site, annoying the very people you depend on, the users.
      (just a couple of examples are digg, slashdot, arstechnica - though arstechnica has done a great job since their redesign, in listening and their site is great again now IMO, diggs user base dropped like a stone and is now pretty much dead in the water, and slashdot completely abandoned their redesign I think)
      Just my 2 cents.
      I really just don't understand why sites, that depend on their users frequently visiting, do NOT get their users inputs/ideas/suggestions BEFORE going live with a completely revamped site instead of after...?
      But anyways we will see what happens over the next few days.
      Make sure to thank/assist your dev team, I am sure they will be having a very busy time of it the next few days.

        Hey mate, thanks for the lengthy response. I can't fully answer everything, but you're welcome to pitch any features or ideas and we can have them added into the site going forward. It's not always possible to do everything in a single shot like you suggest; I'm sure some developers around these traps can tell you some stories.

        In any case, I'm going to be helping them as much as I humanly can. And I definitely haven't forgotten to thank them. Change is never easy.

          Thanks for the reply, I can already see that the response time of the page loading/commenting etc has greatly improved and seems back to normal.
          Like I said, main thing to me is why it's all kept secret from your users that a redesigned site is coming until bam! you drop it one day from nowhere and that's it. If you let people know that a change is coming they are generally much, much more accepting of it.

          Will keep an eye on things over the next few days. Good luck all :)

            Good comment Deathcake.
            We had been playing with the idea of releasing a beta version of the site for you guys to play around with.
            However, with deadlines looming, setting up a beta version to run alongside a regular version of the same site was going to take us on quite a detour which would likely result in less polish being applied before release. In addition to this, since the beta version wouldn't be using the exact environment conditions as the live site, it would be liable to introducing additional bugs once the environment was switched.

            We do particularly value the feedback from the Kotaku audience, which is the primary reason we've launched Kotaku first. Please keep the feedback coming.

              Understandable Rob, however even if a Beta page is not possible, I believe it is still well worth a notification to users that a site revamp is incoming, perhaps a week or so before.
              For me its kinda like coming home after work to find someone has been over to your place during the day and re-painted it, removed some walls, moved others, and replaced your deck without notice :P

                Could be wrong, but I think it was arstechnica that had the old and new side by side for a while when they just dumped it on people. You could pretty much switch between the two for a couple of weeks, and people had the opportunity to get used to it over time.

                I dont remember anyone grumbling about that :)

          Yo, any chance of comments being posted asynchronously, like up/downvotes are? The page reloading when I comment sucks. Also, giant success message for upvotes is distracting

        At one of my previous companies, the redesign was outsourced (despite us having our own dev department), and we got word of the redesign and the new look pretty late in the game. Like, when it launched. We found a tonne of bugs just by clicking around and it wasn't a great design any way...

      I Agree with everything you've said.
      Extra emphasis on wanting to see number of comments on the front page, and the section to the left is way too wide.
      I read this site at work and need chrome 50% screen size at max so I can see things processing in the background. With the window that small the actual content is way too off centre.

      *addnote - just made the window a tiny bit thinner and the whole left column disappears. This is better

        I'm also unable to up-vote comments. This may not be the new design, I think I haven't been able to do that for a few months. Browsing on Chrome Version 54.0.2840.71 m

          I've also had the same issue for months now, buttons have been clickable but don't register upvotes/down votes. No adblocker, happens in Firefox and chrome (mobile too)

      Agree on all, particularly seeing how many comments on each article!

    Okay looks like I can post again without getting an HTTP user/pass authentication challenge so that's good. Things I've noticed:

    - Page loading is dog slow. Like, I can nearly measure it in minutes slow. Page caching not working yet perhaps?
    - RSS is broken. http://feeds.kotaku.com.au/KotakuAustralia Has not updated since the post before this one.
    - There is no longer a way to get RSS on specific tags. I used to be able to have a feed that just had the Australian content because it's better than the US site's stuff.

      Is there a timeline to fixing the RSS issue?
      I love the Australian content, but now I'm forced to wade through the US stuff. I'm getting close to cleaning my feeds.

    I hate this layout. It's the main reason I come to Kotaku AU rather than Kotaku US. There's too much white space and the articles on the main page aren't centered.

    What do you have against the left side of the screen that means it has to just be white space?

    - I like the new header bar with drop downs linking straight to articles, this could be a good feature (as long as the articles there rotate quickly and don't become stale

    - The white space on the left of the comments is horrible. There's way too much of it and it makes the page feel cramped.

    - Is there a quick way to get to the other sites (Gizmodo, etc)? I actually used the links at the top of the page whenever I wanted to check those sites out. Feels like you've now made it harder to get to those sites.

    - This is still a new change. It'll take some time to get past the "Aaargh! It's not what I'm used to!"

    Ok, I've read a few more articles and have some additional feedback/questions:

    - The white space on the elft of the screen is horrible. It's a single column dedicated to "Give us your email address" and "contact us". You don't need to block off 30% of the page for that.

    - Is the site whiter than before? Was the old site grey? I don't know why, but reading this site feels like I'm staring into the sun. It's way too bright.

    - Is anyone else finding that there's a huge white gap between the articles and the comments?

    - The more I read, the more I dislike the new layout. The left column and new font make it feel like Kotaku is using the old "maybe if I play with the margins and make the font bigger, the teacher won't notice I'm 500 words under the word limit"

    Last edited 26/10/16 9:09 am

      I'd mirror pretty much all these comments....
      Mostly - Please bring back the links to Gizmodo, Lifehacker, etc. I used to bounce across all of them in one browse...now I am going to have to use bookmarks...and my bookmarks are a mess....

        Same here. Those links made for a convenient one stop shop across a range of topics. I'm quite hit and miss with Business Insider, which has the most to do with my job, because it doesnt directly link back at the top of the page.

        Just keep that header bar, and I can get used to the rest. Even the massive whitespace on the left, which serves no purpose once you scroll down more than a couple of pages...

    Acutally, I don't mind it. I like the new font - very clean and easy to read.

    Good luck today getting the bugs worked through - these transitions always have a few bumps!

    HI all,
    I agree with some of the other users:
    The layout is questionable with regards to the body of the text being aligned with so much negative space on the left
    The load times *do* seem to be longer
    The number of comments per article count was a genuine guide as to how interesting an article was

    I'll attempt to use this new design as a frequent site but without changes (that layout for starters) I don't see this staying in my favorites tab.

    Sorry guys :(

      I second this and everyone else's comments regarding the body of text alignment.

    just wondering if this will fully integrate with Kinja? cause I may as well look forward to using my Kinja account rather than this one in the future.

    Just pointing out a minor bug, the old "Kotaku International" link at the bottom of each page now says Gizmodo International, though when you click it, it still comes up with the 3 Kotaku links though. Of those 3 links though, US works, Brazil goes to Gizmodo Brazil and Japan goes to Kotaku US again.
    Not exactly top priority but just noticed it :P

    Edit: I'm not a huge fan of the massive white spaces either but I did just check the site on my phone and the new site seems to look great on there at least.

    Last edited 26/10/16 1:15 pm

    Enjoying the new look. Very well done and so far I haven't encountered a problem. However my only bit of criticism would have to be the content from US and UK Kotaku. I come here for Australian content and often click on an article only to find its for US or UK readers. Just something to think on.

    I'll get used to the design eventually, but not having a count of comments on the article is terrible.

    Heaps of articles I only clicked through for the comments and then would go back and read the article.

      We'll get this implemented in a later revision.

    Couldn't log in for a long while and i hate the drop down box from the top menu. Alot of white wasted sapce too but i guess ads should be there.

    My main concern is that there is too much white space, it's always been my issue with Kotaku US as well.
    Basically, you have:
    * A large block of white space at the top of the page, between the 'pinned' articles, and the start of the article
    * An almost 1 page sized block of white space between the bottom of the article and the comments section (I assume this change was to 'separate' the opinions of Kotaku from the opinions of the readers. But a HR element would do just as well.
    * The entire left side of the page is useless, wasted space. I assume this was designed for mobile devices? Considering what the CSS of the site says, you are literally wasting 1/3 of the screen space.

    I also feel your articles are too big (on the front page that is), each article is about a screen height high (If there is an image), which means a lot of scrolling just to see what news there are.
    One final thing (which could just be a timing thing), I tried to reset my password, and the email has yet to come through.

    Looks WAY to much like the US counterpart now, and that's not great. To much white space, to much emptiness. Ads between comments and the article are silly, and I don't understand why any site puts them there, as it breaks the flow of the article and its proceeding convo with ads no one looks at. Then again, this is becoming more like a click-bate site than an ACTUAL news site, so it is a logical move that you would want to look like one... Or was that just a coincidences?

    We fear change.

      On a serious note though, something about the article/comments/all meaningful content pushed up on the right feels very cluttered and hard to casually read. Couple that with the larger font and on this 13" MacBook it's a bit of a nightmare. When opening this article, there are 13 words that I can actually read before having to scroll. And it's interesting that I noticed that because I just double checked Giz and I can't read a single word when the page opens there, yet it still feels better. Maybe it's just the familiarity and my first post, made in jest, was actually more accurate than anything I've written here!

    Thanks you so much for removing the paging as you scroll. That was my biggest complaint about the UX on this site, having to wait several seconds while the next set of articles loaded. I like what else you've done with the site too. Any chance of a dark theme?

      Agreed with that one, was even worse on my phone, seemed to take ages to load anything after the first few articles, works a lot better now.

    I'll echo a bunch of the comments here - way too white on a desktop (makes me think there's missing assets?), tho mobile is fine I guess (tho it does feel a little... sterile?). Don't know what font you're using for the comments entry textbox, but it's about half the size of the comments, and I'm having to squint to read it - as someone who prefers to proofread and spellcheck my comments, that is somewhat frustrating and a bit taxing on the eyes (especially combined with the extremely white background). Don't particularly mind the negative space on the left, but the comments in general have way too much wasted space (or maybe the font size is too large) - on a 1080p screen, I can barely see two comments above this entry box. And the flashing header/link box at the top when I move my mouse past it to the address bar needs a delay - especially because it takes up so much of the screen, the abrupt and significant brightness change it can cause can be disorienting. And animated content in article title images... please, stop. It's distracting at best, motion-sickness inducing at worst.

    Last edited 26/10/16 10:26 am

    What an emotional rollercoaster that was. First I was worried it going to end up like Kotaku US, then that's exactly what happened. Then I realised I was just being redirected to Kotaku US while the site was down, phew. Then it came back and it looked like Kotaku US :p

    Right now my biggest complaint is that I'm being forced onto the mobile site on my phone, and the button at the bottom of the page to switch back is no longer there, nor can I force it by appending the old ?action=swith_layout&layout=desktop to the URL (also minor bug, if I do then try to click to the next page of comments, it doesn't take me to the page but just appends the comment page part to the end of the URL assuming there aren't any parameters there). The main reason this annoys me is that I the mobile site hides the voting info on the comments, I want to see what others think of what's being said as I scroll and having to manually examine every individual one is stupid. Also in general things just tend to be too large on the mobile site, it's much more comfortable to view and navigate the desktop site for the most part.

    Otherwise I echo most of what others say, the huge white space on the left is weird and makes things feel cramped, the site feels very white and lacks the darker contrast that made the old one more comfortable to look at. And the lack of comment counts on the front page is a huge mistake. Will have to take another look on the PC later to see what else is there.

      Not sure which mobile browser you're using these days, but Chrome has a "Request desktop site" option in the browser menu. Not sure if it saves between sessions. I think Opera and FF have a similar option, but haven't used them on mobile...

        I use Opera Mini mostly, which makes most sites usable for me. It doesn't have that option though, that's only in Opera Mobile and all the javascript (and that damn floating toolbar, also any pop up boxes that auto move as soon as you zoom or scroll) makes it pretty chuggy and unusable.

        Regardless, forcing users to change things based on what you think is best for them and giving them no way to decide for themselves irks me something awful. Currently if I try and browse eBay from here I get redirected to this page: pages.ebay.com.au/mobile/wap.html
        Absolute horse shit.
        (here's hoping the reply attaches this time)

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