Testing a New Hub Design on Technology Hubs

A couple weeks back, we rolled out a new Hub design on Fashion and Beauty Hubs and have been monitoring its performance while making small tweaks. Before we settle on a new site-wide Hub design, we have decided to test out another new Hub design that adopts a radically different approach.

The new Hub design that we are rolling out as a test on Hubs within the Technology Topic is a clear departure from the Fashion and Beauty design. In this case, we have stripped away all but the most essential features on the page, leaving the look as streamlined as possible. This is done in an effort to reduce the time it takes for the page to load, eliminate distractions, and allow the content of the Hub itself to truly shine.

While we have removed all unnecessary components from this experimental design, we have also made some attempts to make the page more attractive. Notice the new background, which has been given a tech-related treatment. Should this new look be adopted site-wide, each Topic on HubPages would have its own distinctive but subtle background image.

As we experiment with this new design, we will slowly add back elements to the page to see what mixture of features leads to optimal performance. Because there are fewer ads in this initial test, you may see a slight drop in the ad revenue you earn from your Technology Hubs. Then again, you may see an increase in earnings as fewer distractions may lead to higher clickthrough rates. Keep in mind that this is a test, and that in the end, we will settle on whatever design leads to the best user experience- both for readers and Hubbers.

Big thanks to MickiS for championing this test, props to Fawntia for quickly executing the change, and a hearty hat tip to Amy Liu, who created the new Hub’s design!

23 thoughts on “Testing a New Hub Design on Technology Hubs

  1. I love the sleek, clean look. While readers want attractive pages, the information within is the reason why they are here. This new design highlights that and does not distract. I am a fan already!

  2. I think the varied backgrounds will be a good idea. I’d like for you to implement a way for the hubber to choose the background. That way, he or she can match the background more appropriately to the topic they are discussing. For example, if I’m talking about kayaking, I’d like to be able to choose a nature themed background.

  3. If you could add a couple of tools for the Hubber to use, such as being able to put the Headlines in colors and being able to chose the type of border that is used around a picture, would be big pluses in my opinion.
    Also, I would like to have the ability for the picture to be two-thirds of the width of the page, so type could go down the side in the narrow column and then return to the full width. Putting a full width picture in the hub, destroys the flow. I use to be a newspaper reporter and designed many front pages over the years.

    Finally, I wish the capsule titles could be in a Serif Type instead of Sans Serif. Personal preference.

  4. Is this something that will only be useable by technology hubs? The reason I ask Simone, is because if you look at a few of my indepth lengthy articles on new religious movements and other topics ( I have created a few that went easily into 5 to 10 page lengths of HTML….I just used the theory of designing them like there were DHTML pages, if ya know what I mean ), I could really have made my life easier if the page load factor had been compressed.

    I assume that what I am asking will not true based on….

    “…Notice the new background, which has been given a tech-related treatment. Should this new look be adopted site-wide, each Topic on HubPages would have its own distinctive but subtle background image….”

    I have always felt that hub pages had a very good design model for its use of HTML design, but was more steamlined like artists prefer, if they have no code understanding. So if my little opinion matters at all, I would encourage you to take this thinking further or at least go with your current ideas. I concur, and see many potential advantages to it…it already has given me some interesting ideas on ways I could tweak it to make even more interesting use of it…am interested in your reply.

    Simone : If you look at a hub I have that the title starts ” Monarch 2012 : The New…” you can see what I mean by my heavy use of graphics, video, and lengthy scrolled text. The page load sometimes takes a minute, but I don’t care. Still if this new format is becoming a standard, I am sure I will love it.

    On a personal not SS. Since you have been aboard I have noticed some excellent changes in the HubPages design, efficiency, and response to technical issues. Of course I know that the whole community of admins and staff is responsible, but it is obvious that your input has brought the ole ship back from the Bermuda Triangle. May a thousand Goddesses and All their angels be at your back, and may your high tech mind be enlightened by magick all the time.

    Love your work babydoll. Keep on Hubbing. Blake4d

  5. THIS…looks 100% better than the other layout idea!!! The text of the hub should be the #1 focal point. It is what brought the reader to the hub and why “we hubbers” write here.
    The idea of a background is interesting and I look forward to seeing what you come up with for each topic. (Please, keep them subtle though)
    I like the “What others are reading” at the bottom.

    The “Author” box with contact information and author hubs should still be in a more prominent location to allow the readers to find more of our work.

    (Suggestion: make the hubscore/author score visible only to us the signed in user. The reader does Not understand it and it has no use to them. )

    What are the ideas for the Right sidebar area? Hopefully no overblown pictures.

  6. Thanks for the feedback, everyone!

    blake4d, we’re testing it on only Technology Hubs for now, but when we settle on a design, it will roll out on ALL Hubs. I agree that faster page load times would be ideal, and can especially see how the faster load times could benefit many of your Hubs.

    I have nothing to do with these updates, though. I’m just along for the ride, dude! Micki has been heading up the project, Fawntia has done a brilliant job executing the rollout, and my buddy Amy Liu is being as brilliant as ever with making things purdy.

    SimeyC, this design should go live sometime today. YAY!!

    And Michael Willis, to my understanding, large images are not at the top of the list of things that are going to be added to the sidebar, so for now at least, you can rest easy 😉

  7. I like how you got rid of the HubScore. I don’t like it when people who know nothing about HubPages have to see the score. Especially, if the score is low right after publishing it.

    Perhaps, some features can be shown for people who are logged into HubPages and some features can be hidden from those who are not. This way search traffic doesn’t have to see all of our “HubPage Stuff”.

  8. I do not like this at all. The gap is way too big and empty so is distracting. Only one lot of ads is not going to make us much money either. And I can not find the share buttons for Twitter etc or so we can share other hubbers hubs with our followers.

    Loved the Fashion design one with the new changes but this is terrible

  9. Well this change certainly does effect some of my hubs and one of my “top” hubs. I certainly hope it does not decrease my views and stats too much! I am a poor hubber and need the views, lol. Overall, the design looks great.

  10. This looks cool but why can’t I see the ads at the top? Also do we have the option to use the old layout? I switched off the Hubpages Ad Program. Using this layout, I can only see 1 Google Ad unit and 1 link unit (below) Why is that? Ads at the top and at the side disappeared.

  11. I think you should give different Backgrounds to Different SUB-TOPICS

    – Audio and Video
    – Communications
    – Computers and Software
    – Consumer Electronics and Personal Gadgets
    – Internet and the Web
    – Materials and Industrial Technology
    – Renewable and Alternative Energy

    All of the above sub topics are having the Circuit Board Background. This doesn’t looks good with all the Hubs under this Topic.

    Also please work on the Revenue side.

  12. oh wow I think thats a great idea I was thinking myself that as hubpages grows it needs distinction or people will get tired of clicking on the same old format and quickly stop reading – awesome idea 🙂

  13. I like the design. Very on trend as I have said elsewhere. It has a nice engineering feel to it and the colour is spot on. Washed out pastels are on trend too.

    It is not fussy, which from a tech point of view makes sense. Readers have come for technical information plain and simple.

    I think it works. Good work guys and gals.

  14. I feel the “circuit board” background is not appropriate for all Technology Hubs. It implies an electronics-related subject, whereas Hubs about making money online are more likely to be about writing, promoting or designing rather than anything remotely machine-related.

  15. Too clean … too white … almost hurts my eyes! Needs some color somewhere. Perhaps if there were pictures it would have a little more life. Not awful … just not sure it’s an improvement. I tend to resist change as a general rule anyhow … just sayin …

  16. The only thing I don’t like is not being able to promote via the buttons for FB, Twitter etc. I always found your links for Stumble upon and Reddit were automatically active with my url info. But I can do that with my Add This tool bar just as easy. Otherwise its okay. It does load quickly. Keep on Hubbing. Blake4d

  17. I do like the cleaner look.

    Please add the sharing buttons back, though. Especially for us to share with our own followers but even twitter, FB and Stumbleupon?

    I haven’t tried the suggested reading links you added, yet. If they don’t open in a new window, please add that feature so that the readers don’t get lost after they click.

  18. Yep. Just tested it. On the portion that says “Others Are Also Reading” (which looks REALLY nice, BTW) please make the links “open in a new window” or give us access to add the html code ourselves?

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