Unless you’re reading this via RSS or email, you’ll see that things look a wee mite different on the Stew today! Last night, John Arcadian finished the final tweaks and testing and made our new site design live.

John designed and coded the new look and functionality, working with graphic designer Lauren Chaikin and artist Andrew McIntosh (who also did the cover and some of the interior art in our first book, Eureka) to nail all the details.

This bolder, brighter design puts content front and center, widening the main column where articles appear (and making it easier to scan the front page), and also makes a host of changes that should make the site easier for you to use. Most of what used to be in the sidebar has been pushed to top menus, for example, making the things readers use the most more prominent while keeping the other stuff available.

It also incorporates more graphics, including comment icons, category images, and a surprise for folks with widescreen monitors (which is worth seeking out even if you usually view the Stew on a smaller screen). Gnome Stew has a lot of personality, and I think that really shows in this new design.

For posterity, here’s the previous design (make it huge):

This is Gnome Stew’s third design since our launch in 2008. The previous site design went live on April 20, 2009, and was created and implemented by Darren Hardy — who has also done the layout and design for all three of our books. (In that post you can even see a screenshot of my original design, a modified version of Grid Focus by Derek Punksalan.)

We loved the old design, but it was time for a change. We hope you like the new look, feel, and functionality of the site. Like everything we do here, our main goal in redesigning the site was to help you, our readers.

Thank you!

A big thank you to John, Lauren, and Andrew for their hard work on the new site — you rock! I’d also like to say thank you to our readers for supporting the Stew over the past four years. The ads you view and click on, and the stuff you buy using the Support links under the sidebar, enables us to pay for hosting (over $400/year), give out cool prizes, and fund efforts like this. Thank you!

Last but not least, if you have feedback on the new design, or find a bug we missed, please tell us in the comments!