Hub Improvement: Hubs Get Shiny New Social Buttons!

Hi there, folks! I have some exciting news. After some testing, we’ve decided to make the switch to static social sharing buttons. We’ve also redesigned the buttons to be more noticeable and attractive to readers. Here’s what the new ones will look like:

 

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So, what’s different about the buttons, other than the way they look?

Unlike the current social buttons, static buttons don’t have to make a JavaScript call to each source (Facebook, Twitter, etc) to retrieve and display the number of shares. Static buttons load as images and, when clicked on, open a share screen in a new window. This style of buttons has become increasingly popular, so it’s likely that you’ve encountered them on other sites. This change may sound like a bad thing at first, but it means that the new buttons will load much faster than the old ones. It’s much more likely that the static buttons will finish loading while your readers are still on your Hub (which was not always the case with the old-style buttons).

In this initial iteration, the new buttons will not display the share count from each source. However, we are still looking into ways to display the counts without causing a longer load time, so they may be back at some point, pending the results of further testing.

We’ve also added the Google+ sharing option back to Hubs for now, but if readers don’t end up using it, it may not ultimately make the cut. We want whatever decision we make to be backed up by solid data.

Are the new designs final?

While we expect the end result to be similar to the screenshot above, we still intend to test placement and button styles before we settle. If things look slightly different for the next couple weeks, it’s because we’re doing our best to optimize for the most social shares possible. We hope you like the new look as much as we do!