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Updated Niners Nation and network look, functionality

We break down some of the changes showing up on Niners Nation and the rest of SB Nation

Jim Rogash

A couple weeks ago, I posted something in the layout from describing some changes that were coming to the layout. Whether you saw it or not, the changes are officially in place. After SB Nation United was launched, there were thousands of comments providing positive and negative feedback, and suggestions on how to improve the site. The support team read through all of those comments across our blogs and has made some changes to address many of the concerns.

This post is a chance for you to discuss the changes amongst the Niners Nation community. If you have feedback for the support team about the new look, post it in THESE COMMENTS. I created this NN discussion post to hear your thoughts and potentially help answer questions specific to Niners Nation. Every site uses the various layout options differently, and I wanted to give you my thoughts on how I plan on using the layouts moving forward.

At the bottom, you can read through the specific changes that were made. The link above includes a picture of a sample site with annotations of these comments to the picture.

If you are viewing this on Wednesday, January 2, or most of the day on Thursday, January 3, you are seeing the site in "Three-up standard". This will be a frequent day-to-day look. The pictures are smaller, which means content in the river, and FanPosts and FanShots are a bit higher up than they were before. Just below the three-story cover, you'll see the river now is a single column of stories, instead of weaving back and forth. The FanPosts and FanShots are lined up on the right side.

There is also only one Nav Bar, instead of a Network Nav Bar up top, and a site Nav Bar down below. If you scroll over SB Nation on the Nav Bar, the network Nav Bar appears.

My general plan is to stick with "three-up standard" fairly frequently. However, we also have a new "one-up standard" that is one long picture with the same width. Aside from those we still have all the previous looks that we have used, but given the size of those pictures and the frequently voiced belief that they are a little too big, I won't use those quite as frequently. On game-day I still plan on using the one-up look we've used during 49ers games because I like the look of it in showing the story stream for the game. For days when we have a ton of news, I will probably mix in our four-up and five-up layouts.

I think one of the biggest changes is lining up the FanPosts on the right side, and moving them up a little bit. After a slow few weeks early on, FanPost activity has picked up quite a bit, and hopefully this further boosts it. Additionally, after some issues before, I will not be able to move your FanPosts into the cover. People like having their content highlighted, and I plan on getting back to doing that more frequently now that we can move FanPosts into the cover.

If you have questions about anything specifically here on NN, let me know and I'll do my best to answer. As I said before, if you want to suggest changes, or you have problems with functionality of something, PLEASE POST HERE.

  1. FanPosts, FanShots and Sidebars Moved: We are moving all sidebar modules to the right side of the page and increased their size. This makes FanPosts and FanShots modules more visible and makes it easier to see the lastest posts from community members.
  2. FanPosts Featured in the "Cover." FanPosts from site members can now be featured alongside the lead stories on a site. AND New Shorter, Hero-Style "Covers." We are adding some new formats for displaying the lead story or stories of the day that occupy less vertical space, to help push FanPosts up higher on the page and improve the scanability of the front pages.
  3. Local Site Navigation at the Top of all Pages. For some users the current double navigation, with SB Nation network navigation at the top of the home page and the local site navigation below the top stories, creates a disconnect between the content and the community on a team site. We have switched to a single navigation bar on each community that highlights the community elements rather than network blogs by default. But if you roll over "SB Nation" in the new nav, the full network league and blog navigation appears. So we've retained network navigation functionality while calling out the local site navigation (and particularly FanPosts and FanShots) first and foremost. This change will also carry down to all pages on the blogs, including article pages, FanPosts and FanShots.
  4. SB Nation Network Bar with User Login and Profile Information.The Login/Sign-up, Profile and My SBN links will be moved from the current placement just above the site just above the SB Nation menu items to a stand-alone network bar placed at the very top of the page, above the ad. This change is being made to call those links out a little better, as well as provide the basis for an improved and more personalized network navigation bar hat will include more notifications and expanded utility for users.
  5. Community widget. We have added a module on the right hand side of the page with easy access links to write a FanPost, create a FanShots, see who is writing for the site on the Masthead, and to read the Community Guidelines.
  6. Easier to scan river. By reducing the weight of photos and bringing consistency to how items on the home page are displayed, the river of content on the home pages will be easier to scan for new posts, new comments and updates to posts.