FanPost

The Future of BTB

It's been a little over a week since SB Nation launched United. The face of BTB has changed forever. As with any major overhaul of a web site, there are issues that arise. Let's discuss.

There are people who don't like it, for a variety of legitimate reasons. Some readers of this blog have been with me for 6+ years, way back to 2005. More have joined in the intervening time, to the point that we've grown into a large, vibrant, vocal community. I want you to love the new BTB just like the old one.

I might not get everybody to love it, but maybe I can help some more people make the transition over and get comfortable in their new surroundings.

So here is a rambling missive on various things I've read and heard about the re-design, and some updates about where we'll be going.

Feeling lost looking at the new layout? This is a common feeling, BTB was run in reverse chronological order for a long time. The newest story sat on top of the next-newest, and that continued on down the line. Now, we've changed that, but not as much as you'd think. Most stories do run in that reverse chronological order, they just enter up at the top at the 'Cover', and then cycle down to what we call the 'River'. This isn't always the case, if big news, or a great article is up, I may leave it pinned in the 'Cover', usually in the first position on the 'Cover', but the rest of the stories will continue cycling around it.

Below is a sample 'Cover' from today. The place I call 1st position is where the Turnovers story is on the left. The left (or the top in some layouts) is 1st position and will either be the latest story, or something important, or a hot discussion. After that, it's basically just the latest stories moving down through the cover into the 'River'. The red arrows show the path most stories will travel, moving over once new stories come on.

Cover:

Cover_medium

Once a story reaches the bottom right corner, it drops into the 'River' when a new story comes on to the 'Cover'. From there, it basically just moves down the page like it did previously. There are a few exceptions which I'll discuss below. An example of the 'River'.

River_medium

A couple of the new features in SBN United are Hubs and StoryStreams.

Hubs are used to gather up stories around a central theme and place them together in a package. For instance, last week I ran a Hub on the blog that featured stories from Windy City Gridiron covering the Bears. This is just a way to gather up more content for you to read and place it in a convenient package. In the example shot below, a Hub is sitting in the 'River', this one is a collection of stories about the NFL from around SB Nation. These are new, and we'll be using them for all kinds of things. Imagine a collection of all free agency rumors, or draft prospects from all over the place. During the season I'll use them to highlight news about our upcoming opponents. They can be used for a variety of things.

Hub:

Fanposts_and_hubs_medium

The other new feature is StoryStreams. These are basically continuing updates to a story, or a container around a single event. We used them on Sunday for the open threads. We've also used them for injury updates, or other topics where we know we'll have updates around a story. It's just an easy way to package them up. When you open a StoryStream you can click into whatever update you want to read.

StoryStream:

Storystream_medium

Hopefully, that will help you get a little better organized when reading through the front-page.

Other subjects:

1. FanPosts/FanShots. We've heard your concerns around this and we are looking at making changes based on the feedback we got. This may not happen right away, but it is going to happen. So hang tight, we'll be moving to incorporate much of the feedback I've seen from you guys about this area.

2. Mobile. We know some readers have been having problems with the Mobile experience. This is also being worked on and is a very high priority. Expect updates to that very soon. United will offer a killer Mobile experience, and it's coming soon.

3. There were a lot of issues about the comments section when we launched. Most of the technical issues have been cleared up. But if you're still experiencing problems with load times or other problems, contact support@sbnation.com. That address can be used for any technical issues, or suggestions for changes.

Okay, after all that, I'm ready to answer questions the best I can in the comments section. I'll check it regularly over the next day or two. Please try to ask questions or make suggestions in a constructive way, just saying you don't like something is a valid feeling, but it is not something I can really answer or take away as something to be changed. Specific questions about how things work or feedback on issues is welcome.

Thanks,
Dave Halprin

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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