The new Smashing Magazine website

I am quite late to the game, but these days – during the last 8 or so days, to be precise – many people in the web industry speak about the public beta launch of the new Smashing Magazine website. Some are writing about the new technical features and how they switch from a mix of various platforms like WordPress, Kirby, Shopify and their Job Board software, to a single system called Netlify. Some just point to Vitaly’s excellent article about what they actually worked on and what changed. Sara Soueidan gives a bit of background to what her part of the work was in a nice blog post. But only a few really know about the human side of things.

Next to all the sweat and tears on the design and the technical side, there was a lot of thinking involved before decisions were actually made. And I mean a lot of thinking. It was not just about giving the users a new experience, a brand new design and an even faster and more performant website. A lot of things actually had to do with the people visiting the magazine and the event. The people reading the books and the people who are the community around Smashing Magazine. I myself have only be involved a few times and we had lovely, yet intense discussions while sitting together working. But also during lunch or after the “official” work was done in a cocktail bar in Freiburg. And topics there did not circle around web performance or how to find technical solutions that work best. The questions that came up were more questions like …

What do people, visiting our events and our magazine actually expect?

How could a possible membership for the magazine look like in term of, what should be included in different packages?

How can we give people, no matter where or on which device they visit the magazine, give the best possible experience?

… just to mention a few thoughts like this.

And you can think what you want from the design or from performance or the UX of the actual beta of the website, but I am writing these lines to actually express my highest respect for what and how much work and thoughtfulness Vitaly and Marcus (and the rest involved of course!). That is very cool, in my opinion, and I think we need more people who actually care that much.