I don’t usually read Kotaku, so I’ve only had the briefest of looks.
First impressions are that I like it (with reservations) and that having a ‘latest’ tab would be a good alternative for those that prefer the blog format.
Seems like the best of both worlds to me… with the caveat that a large section of vocal users will hate it, because it is change and change is always bad.
I guess you could even use a cookie and remember each user’s preferred view.
As usual, the ads almost ruin it, because once half your screen is covered with ads it kinda becomes irrelevant what design the site has. But that’s a separate issue.
My personal feeling would be that I prefer their layout overall, but that it maybe goes a bit too far the other way.
Everything seems to be mostly just thrown in at random. I’m not quite sure what algorithm they use to populate the top section. I do like that each post is clearly labeled with “news” or “impressions” or whatever.
But you do lose the introductory paragraph, so I hope it doesn’t lead too much towards click-baity headlines.
But assuming the top section is basically a summary of the Latest posts then I guess that kinda works.
Other sections down the page seem more organized. Reviews and impressions is too far down, but maybe it’s being pushed down by the next gen console sections.
I do like the sections with the large post on the left and then 4-6 smaller posts on the right.
I guess one question would be which categories/sections you want to curate. ‘News’, ‘Reviews’, ‘Impressions’, ‘Features’, ‘Hardware’ and then maybe smaller sections/sidebars for ‘Guides’ and ‘Videos’?
You could even have a ‘Latest’ list down one side, as they have further down the page, which would fulfill a lot of the functions of the current format with regard to showing what’s new when someone visits.
And of course once you get onto mobile then everything probably ends up as one column anyway. But I think their mobile layout works better as you get the image on the right and the headline on the left and so it’s easier to scroll through a bunch of content.
Of course this is all just personal preferences and first impressions. Ideally you’d want a UX designer to have a proper look at it, do some user research and some mockups, do some user testing and some A/B tests and base the final design on actual data and testing rather than just picking something that someone likes.
I assume Kotaku did at least some of that though, so maybe if it works for them…