Big changes are happening to Reddit, with its mods announcing a redesign that’s involved a “massive undertaking” has started to rollout to a handful of users.
Those getting the new desktop redesign have been chosen at random and they can revert back to the old design at any time. Reddit is hoping that won’t happen, however, as the changes it has made are meant to speed up the site and to “make Reddit more welcoming”.
Making any changes to a site that has 274 million users will no doubt come with a backlash, though, especially when the audience is as vocal as Reddit’s is.
This is why the redesign will hit just 1% of the audience for now, and there are extensive feedback routes for those who get to see the redesign, there’s even a community thread that can be viewed at r/redesign.
The folks behind Reddit believe that a redesign is needed because the underlying architecture of the site is old, as is its design.
“Our current code base has been largely the same since we launched… more than 12 years ago,” said Reddit in its original blog post.
“This is problematic for our engineers as it introduces a lot of tech debt that makes it difficult to build and maintain features. Therefore, our first step in the redesign was to update our code base.”
The new design means you can change the view of Reddit, from a Classic look to a more Compact view and Card view.
An infinite scroll has also been introduced, as has an easier way to comment on something while still being able to browse the site.
Reddit will also be very aware of perhaps the biggest redesign disaster that decimated an online community because it structurally changed how the website was used – Digg.
In fact, the current top post mentions Digg so its readership is well aware, too.
Before 2010, Digg was one of the most trafficked bookmarking sites in the world but a redesign to make it more like a social network, aping plucky upstarts Facebook and Twitter and trying to decentralize the site from the small but dedicated mods that ran it, meant that it lost its Digg Effect.
It also lost more than a quarter of its users and most of its value. Reddit will be hoping it doesn’t suffer as tough a decline.