Welcome To The New TheSixthAxis

Welcome to the new look TheSixthAxis homepage, just in time for Eurogamer Expo. Never before have we so rigorously tested, changed and rebuilt a modification to the site, but finally, after about a month, we’re happy with it.

It’s a little different, but allow us to assure you that everything’s still there, it’s all just moved around a little to make reading the homepage, which was previously nothing more than a vertical list of posts, a bit more interesting.

It’s also much more tablet friendly – the visitor numbers of readers reaching the site on iPads and other tablets have shown that there’s a real requirement to change the way our stories are displayed, and although it now fits perfectly onto most tablets, it still fits within the standard 960px width so laptops and desktops should be absolutely fine.

Posts are arranged into sections, largely chronologically, with breaks every now and again where we highlight our featured articles, like reviews, previews, features and our community posts. When a post is something we really want you to read, it’ll be subtly labelled ‘hot’ and will feature red visuals. Otherwise, posts are blue.

You’ll be able to see what each post is about directly from the homepage – that means you can see if it’s a review, or news, or a feature, and you’ll also be able to see who’s written it, when, and which formats it’s for. So if it says [PS3], it’s about a game or service on the PS3. Multiple formats just say ‘multi’, though, for clarity.

You’ll also see an image for every post, something we’ve not done for a while, and hopefully that’ll make picking out the stories you want to read all the easier.

We truly hope you like what we’ve done, but if you don’t that’s fine and we’re not bigheaded enough to force it on you – the ‘blog’ style version will still be accessible at this alternative homepage – https://www.thesixthaxis.com/vertical – so feel free to jump between the two, at least at first, and pick your favourite.

We’ve also made a couple of smaller changes around the site – the homepage should now load much faster (the loading of images is delayed until the browser window reaches them, for example) – and there’s a few minor cosmetic changes to the story pages.

Naturally, with things like this, there’ll be elements we’ve missed and that’s where you (hopefully) come in. Let us know in the comments and we’ll pick up any issues over the next few days.

And remember that our super-light mobile site is still the same.

A gentle reminder that we’re (almost) all down at Eurogamer Expo this week and weekend, so whilst the numbers of posts might not be quite as high for a few days we’re available for chats and a beer or two if anyone fancies it. The easiest way is to ping us on Twitter at @thesixthaxis and we’ll respond if we can.

Finally, thanks once again to everyone that visits, posts and spreads the word, and to those that helped test the new homepage. We truly appreciate it, and more than you might think.

<3

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98 Comments

  1. As a long time reader and ridiculously frequent reader can I just say… I hate it.

    “It’s a little different, but allow us to assure you that everything’s still there, it’s all just moved around a little to make reading the homepage, which was previously nothing more than a vertical list of posts, a bit more interesting.”

    What I loved was the list of vertical posts. If I had a few days of not checking he site (which sometimes happens) I could easily and quickly scroll down and find where I left off and read up from there. Now it takes 5x more effort to scroll down, 10x more effort to scan headlines and 4x more effort to ignore the thumbnails that were never there before.

    “You’ll also see an image for every post, something we’ve not done for a while, and hopefully that’ll make picking out the stories you want to read all the easier.”

    No. NO. It really doesn’t. The brain (of a gamer geek) doesn’t process an obscure image nearly as fast as we process text.

    In summary, I’m changing all my bookmarks to http://www.thesixthaxis.com/vertical/ because that is EASILY the best format you have. Sorry to who I have offended with this honest appraisal, but this new layout reminds me of Microsoft trying to force Metro down our throats.

    • Erm, probably should proof read but I was too passionate this time :)

      As a long time reader and ridiculously frequent ***poster can I just say… I hate it.

      *** was what I mean to type.

      • I can’t see how you would have offended anyone. If you don’t like the homepage, that’s why there’s the other link. =)

        We went through lots of testing and it took some a while to warm to it, but if you hate it, just use the ‘vertical’ link and everyone’s happy.

      • I guess I just feel this is a change for change sakes. Your current format was awesome and really TSA didn’t need a new gimmick, your pull is the honesty and integrity of your coverage.

        I do appreciate the option to use the vertical view, but let’s be honest… how long until you drop that option?

        I’m only vocal because I love you guys and this site. Peace.

      • “how long until you drop that option?”

        No reason to drop it at all, it’s no extra server load and lots of people will use it, I’m sure.

        It’s not change for changes sake, honestly. As a site with limited funding we can’t advertise, and we wanted to see if we could increase the number of clicks from our homepage (which is still healthy) through to the articles themselves.

        By adding images and a different interface, this gives us the chance to see if we can change things a little bit, and see if we can get those that hit the homepage through to the posts, to engage and to comment and share.

        It’s an experiment on a live site, sure, but this wasn’t taken lightly at all.

        If there’s real demand for a simple list somewhere of the stories (like in a drop-down?) we can add it no bother. But bear in mind that lots of people use the site in different ways, not everyone’s as frequent as you are.

        We’re totally open to suggestions as you know, and as we’ve always been. =)

      • “But bear in mind that lots of people use the site in different ways, not everyone’s as frequent as you are.”

        I think the new design actually discourages people who don’t visit TSA regularly because it feels less intuitive to find slightly older articles. The blue banners that separate the news articles from time to time give me the impression that a new section of the site is beginning and that there are no more current news articles beyond that point. If I only visited the site from time to time I would feel like I’d be missing out on content by visiting TSA with the new design.

      • *grits teeth* I hated it. I really, really hated it when we were testing the site. It was awful.

        I may.. just may.. slightly.. possibly.. just a teensy bit.. kinda.. like the new one.

        But not much. I still hate scrolling about. But it’s a lot more coulourful and cheery.

      • With the lads on this one. A pleasure to help (as always) with the beta but it’s not for me. I check TSA regularly through the day so the vertical list is far more efficient. However, for other folk the new homepage might be the dog’s danglies. Either way, my TSA link is now the “vertical” option so if you can keep that around forever, that’d be lovely! :-)

        As a side note, I’ve stopped viewing another gaming website because of this very problem.

      • Awesome – Didn’t realise there was a ‘Vertical’ option, so you can ignore my other moan! :P

    • I wholeheartedly agree. I respect that a lot of effort has gone into redesigning the site but in my personal opinion it’s a huge step back.
      The new design looks flashy and cluttered. While I visit the site on a daily basis for most of the time, I never had to fear that I missed an article when I was gone for a few days but now I wouldn’t even bother to try and find where I’ve left off if it wasn’t for /vertical.
      Scanning the site for new articles that I’m interested in takes a lot more effort than it has with the old design. It was clean, well structured and easy to navigate through.
      It kind of feels like this change was made to make TSA appear more flashy, like some bigger gaming news site, but that was totally unnecessary because TSA is already the best news source out there without all the cumbersome navigation issues other sites come with.
      I’m just glad you guys kept the /vertical design alive and I hope you take the default page down a notch or two.

  2. As much as I like your work in general, thesixthaxis team, I have to say I’m not too happy with the redesign. I am not overly surprised you redesign again, after a quite short time since the last changes, as I wasn’t too happy then either. And back then I thought ‘ouch, that won’t affect the click rates in positive ways…’. It’s not that it affects me personally too much, as I check your news mostly via RSS feeds, but I am sorry to see the presentation goes in the wrong direction, in my view.

    Overall, I think the new homepage does an inefficient job in presenting the core aspect of the site, the news/opinions/etc., which we all like to read and comment on (because that is really good…). Now, we have to scroll much more than before and the information items are presented in a way which makes it more effortful to scan them for interesting things we then would want to click into.

    The top bit (main teaser, scrolling automatically) is scrolling too fast for the general public and quickly gets irritating, but it’s bigger fault is the enourmous vertical size it takes up just for these few news items. So the most important screen real estate you have is not used well, in my view. (Ok, I am surfing it on a netbook with lower than the average screen size nowadays, and you know the stats what the ‘average’ user sees better than I do, but I would say that it’s got less and less items that the users see when they arrive at the site, and that is generally bad.) Therefore I am worried for your click rates. I wish you all the best with it, but I am worried.

    In case you’d want the view of somebody working in the usability field professionally, feel free to contact me by e-mail, I’d be happy to comment in detail, e.g. when you redesign next time.

    Good luck…!

    • “The top bit (main teaser, scrolling automatically) is scrolling too fast”

      Seems ok to me

  3. If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.
    There’s a reason for the “vertical list” of posts, the chronological order helps people make sense of what they’re seeing.
    I suppose I’ll get used to it in time, I might even learn to like it.

  4. Nice changes, nice and quick.

  5. *sob*… i switched on my ps3, started the browser and it froze while opening the new TSA …. shut down ps3, restarted and got no display.. Thankfully i’ve managed to get into the recovery menu now so i’m gonna see if that fixes it, hopefully..
    I’m not blaming the new TSA of course, it’s just a lousy coincidence and really lousy timing as 80% of my TSA browsing is done through the ps3 browser.
    As for the new layout, it’s fine but all i need is a reverse-chronological list of the days articles. If i get my ps3 running again i’ll probably stick with the vertical link – possibly even the mobile link..
    oh balls… after 15/20 mins, ps3 is still at 0% rebuilding datatbase and no hdd light activity – i think my hdd’s buggered .. :'(

    • The site works fine on my PS3 mate, not that that helps you right now.

      • That’s good to know Alex, i’ve had one or two hiccups with psn downloads in the last month so that was probably an indication something was up .. still at 0% rebuilding database and now i’m afraid to turn it off and try rebuilding the file system instead .. oh well i guess i can’t make it any worse than it is now.. :s

      • Phew.. crisis averted, restored file sytem and rebuilt database and all seems good now… now i feel a bit silly for panicking but at least i can breathe again :)

        Posted in my ps3 browser, cautiously ;)

      • =)

      • I wouldn’t feel silly about panicing mate, That would scare the shit out of me if that happened to me. Glad everything is ok though :)

      • Did your downloads problem happen to be the files failing to install at 14‰?

      • @McProley : cheers mate :)
        @cnutard: Borderlands stuck at 88% and JC2 stuck at 39%. Managed to download Borderlands since. No luck with JC2 so i stopped trying.
        Now i’m up and running again i’ve found 10 corrupted game files – no clue what they are yet. Tried tracking the creation dates on my download list but that’s telling me that one hundred of my downloads were all on 05/09/2012… which is definitely wrong.
        I’m not going to worry too much about it for now, just glad it’s working again. :)

  6. Horrible. The layout sucks. It was much easier to see what news was new the old way. The fonts used could do with looking at too. They’re making me think I need glasses on my newish (6 months old) 28″ full hd monitor.

  7. I’ve got to agree with everyone here. This layout is just terrible.

    Having the news in a list was very fast and efficient and easy to pick up where you left off the next day. Now you have to sift through a ton of unnecessary tiles which don’t even show which news article is the latest. It just reminds me of the abominable Windows 8 metro style.

    • Maybe it is the intention of looking like Windows 8 Metro but Windows 8 Metro looks like it was made by Fisher Price. Awful. Like you and others have said, it was much easier to view updates as a list.

      At least give us the option to change the view from either blog view or list view with a tab at the top of the page. Like they do on the Gawker websites.

  8. I was a little confused at first, trying to find what stories were new for today, but once i figured it out, its actually quite a classy and upbeat looking homepage, nicely done

    • There’s the ‘quick look’ too under the rotating images. :)

      • I think the Quick Look list looks very cluttered. If there is a way to format the list to differentiate the different news articles a little more it would definitely help.

  9. Looks to me the new design is optimized for mobile devices.

    It’s certainly streamlined but not particularly intuitive, especially on desktop machines with larger screens. The news are all over the place, scattered between confusing sections like “forum posts”, “tsa meets” or “lastest previews”.

    Sorry, but it’s a mess.

  10. you don’t have the categorises for each platform anymore?

    i only care about sony news, so i liked being able to click “sony” and read associated articles.

    now i have to scan all the titles and look for “ps3” or something for a clue to what it’s about….unless there is a way to separate them please let me know..

    yeah i hate this layout a lot.

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