One of the sites I read regularly online is Medium. It’s a great mix of news, opinion, science and other stories that are longer or shorter form.
An interesting thing happens regularly with the site though – it is constantly changing its homepage for browsing articles. It’s fascinating how the site has evolved from being very picture heavy with fewer articles listed up front to now being headline heavy with some pictures and more total articles. Evolution is wonderful.
But the surprising thing to me is that I don’t necessarily like or dislike any design more or less than the others (although I’m sure they are engineering it for more total reads). The thought that runs through my mind is that I like going back (#1) for the content but also (#2) for the new layouts.
I see a day in the future where the actual layout of sites doesn’t matter and people will either have a choice of how they prefer to view content (bring their own content viewer similar to how some RSS feeds work today) or sites will give them choices (visual, text based, topic based, or other).
However, if we don’t experiment with different styles regularly we’ll never get the right fits for our different audiences.