Announcement | September 07, 2011 1:38

ChessVibes redesign

It's taken months of hard work by different designers and developers, lots of testing, some postponing of deadlines and too much coffee, but now it's here. It's my pleasure to present the all-new, completely redesigned ChessVibes.

It must have been quite a surprise. You've just arrived at ChessVibes via a bookmark, an RSS feed, a post on Twitter or Facebook, Google or simply by filling out the address bar, and what you saw was, well, not what you're used to. That big text at the top left did say 'ChessVibes' so you probably experienced a little WTF moment a few seconds ago. We can only hope that, as on a blind date, we made a positive first impression and, as with any plastic surgery, you’ll still like us after the operation!

The site

This is a simpler and at the same time bigger ChessVibes. The homepage is smaller in length and thus needs less scrolling to view in total. At the same time, more content is available than before, nicely tucked away in tabbed sections in both the big central area and in the sidebar on the right.

The first thing that meets the eye is the 'Top stories' section. Here you can expect the biggest news stories which used to be presented in the left column of our previous design. There's one main story, with a big image, and the two previous ones can be found next to it, with thumbnails. In case you haven't visited the site for a few days you can find more top stories by clicking on the link 'more top stories'. :-)

Above the 'Top stories' section and below the logo we have the main menu. The items 'Reports', 'Reviews', 'Columns' and 'Cartoons' are article categories which remained the same. 'Calendar' refers to our tournament calendar, which we're planning to recreate soon. For 'Blogs' see below, and 'Shop' will lead to the latest New in Chess items (see also below). The submenu is new: there we'll provide links to articles about topical subjects ('dossiers', if you like).

Below the 'Top stories' there's something new too, and we've called it 'Other News'. This area will include small but extra news items which we didn't have a good way to present in the previous design. This way we'll be able to bring more, smaller news items next to the bigger stories.

Below that you'll find the first tabbed section, and here you'll see one of our favourite additions: GM blogs! A number of GMs have accepted our invitation to write a blog on our site. How cool is that? Some of them are experienced bloggers, like Dejan Bojkov (Bulgaria), Gawain Jones (England) and David Smerdon (Australia) and their blogs will be cross-posted at ChessVibes. Others liked the idea and are starting a new blog at our site, including Ruslan Ponomariov (Ukraine) and Bartek Macieja (Poland). A few more GMs have agreed as well, and will hopefully write a first post soon. For the moment we’ve limited this service to grandmasters, but we might decide to invite more people at a later stage.

Note for GMs: if you like the idea of starting a blog at ChessVibes, don't hesitate to contact us!

In this tabbed section you can also easily find our latest book reviews and columns. The last tab is called 'Shop' and will list the latest chess books available at our long-term partner New in Chess.

We're quite happy that the daily puzzle has returned to our site. It's powered by Chess Tempo, a good site for tactics training whose game viewer we've been using for quite a while already. Next to it you'll always find the latest cartoon by José Diaz, our regular cartoonist who’s already provided us with dozens of cartoons. We decided he deserved his own space and from now on the cartoon will be visible on the homepage until the new one is up.

Below that there’s another cool new feature: a video playlist. ChessVibes became big quickly thanks to our videos (especially those from Wijk aan Zee) and ever since we've been known, to some extent, as 'the chess site with those videos'. It was therefore quite logical to provide a nice way to present videos, and now we have it. You can easily scroll through them using the thumbnails on the right.

Moving on to the sidebar on the right, you'll find the traditional (and necessary) ad space, followed by a second tabbed section. In the first tab 'Recent' you'll find the five latest articles posted by us, whether they're 'top stories' or 'other news stories'. Next to those are the recent 'Comments', then our most 'Popular' articles and our 'Tags' cloud. The other sections in the sidebar aren’t new, and speak for themselves.

The look & logo

In terms of colours the site is calmer, despite the fact we're actually using more colours. From now on the site has a distinct chess aspect to its design; there’s a 3D chess board pattern as the background image and silhouettes of chess pieces in the footer. We chose to go for a more modern, fresh, clean, simple and yet colourful logo. It was designed by our own designer Marleen Klein Brinke and by external designer Esther Vinke.

After thinking a lot about ways to include chess pieces in the logo, we felt that almost everything had been tried already and it was easy to create something cliched. We decided that our name is strong enough to be the main part of it, and to make its presentation even stronger we wanted to finish with a clear dot in the 'chess shape' of a square. At the same time we wanted to bring a bit more colour into the world of chess, where everything is very much black and white. We decided to produce the logo with different coloured dots, and we picked eight (!) colours of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, light green, dark green, light blue, dark blue and purple.

Note for webmasters/blog owners: if you'd like to use our logo on your site, you can refresh the page and download the one you like, or find all of them together here!

The CMS

This is the fourth time we’ve redesigned ChessVibes since launching in February 2006. Back then it was still called 'Doggers-schaak' and its standard Blogger template and domain didn't last long. After a few months we changed to a self-hosted Wordpress site that also looked better. On January 1st, 2007 we got our new name ChessVibes and our URL. About a year later we moved to the third design, the previous one with the black and blue header. The most important reason for the redesign was in fact the CMS. Somewhere at the end of 2010 we decided that we wanted to switch from Wordpress to Drupal, a CMS that we feel is more flexible and better suited for the (many!) plans we have to enhance the site even further. And while switching backend platforms, why not redo the frontend as well? After a first start done by off-shore developers, the bulk of the technical part including lots of CSS magic was done by Gilbert Vrancken of Ziccidus.

The future

We consider today’s release a beta. To start with, there are a few features that were included in the previous design which are still missing here. We hope to include all that good stuff again soon. Furthermore, we’ve got lots of other ideas and plans and hopefully this new design and platform will help us to implement them. Stay tuned!

Peter Doggers's picture
Author: Peter Doggers

Founder and editor-in-chief of ChessVibes.com, Peter is responsible for most of the chess news and tournament reports. Often visiting top events, he also provides photos and videos for the site. He's a 1.e4 player himself, likes Thai food and the Stones.

Chess.com

Comments

Harish Srinivasan's picture

It will take a while to get used to but I do like it.

tanc's picture

Very very nice, Peter. I love the new design. It's definitely more user-friendly and much easier to navigate around.

Well done!!

tanc's picture

Odd... my previous comments didn't appear.

Anyway, I would like to congratulate Peter and the rest of the staff at chessvibes.com. The new design is so much more user-friendly and concise.

I love it. An excellent job! Well done!

Jean-Michel's picture

Looks fantastic! Looking forward to the blogs and new content.

Anonymous's picture

In terms of the space you benefit this is much better; but I think there is too much 'white' around here, which distracts the eye a bit.

Septimus's picture

It is going to take a while to get used to. Tons of new stuff to check out. However, I wish the main articles by Peter (as in the old site) were more prominently featured. Also perhaps, the white background could be toned down to something darker. Hurts the eyes. :)

TMM's picture

Congratulations on your new website. It looks really smooth and professional, and I hope it will pay off.

However, I can't help noticing the irony regarding an earlier article on ChessVibes about FIDE's new website (http://www.chessvibes.com/reports/fide-launches-new-website/) which was described as "disordered", due to among others the unclear column layout (start with 2 columns and a photo, then switch to 3 columns, then back to 2). Now I notice the ChessVibes frontpage, and it starts with 2 columns, then switches to 3 columns, to finally switch back to 2 columns again.

(Maybe it would be an idea to also use 2 columns for the "other news"-section?)

But as you also concluded in that article, it was time for FIDE to get a new website, as the old design was from the Middle Ages. Certainly your new design is also a lot better :)

Peter Doggers's picture

Very sharp, and point taken. :-) Somehow I think it works a bit better here with the clear headers above the sections.

RuralRob's picture

Not too shabby, but if you really wanted to set the chess website world on fire, you should have gone with the strategy presented in Jose Diaz's recent "Chess Makeover" 'toon.

:-)

 I hate retkina's picture

---deleted--- Please abide our Terms & Conditions.

Like/Unlike's picture

Where is the "I like this comment" botton?

tanc's picture

I definitely don't miss it and will be even gladder if it's been permanently removed. All statements and opinions should be based on their own merit. Each reader's position/view about it should have no bearing unless the reader takes the time to give a proper response on why the opinion stated is disagreeable.

For far too long, it's easy for people to abuse the like/dislike button with a click of the mouse. eg. in one post, my comments directed towards Peter about a typo in his article generated dislikes (which he corrected immediately - and even Peter himself got few dislikes for his reply). I can't even understand the rationale behind it.

Simmillion's picture

Congrats with this very nice redesign!

lefthandsketch's picture

love it!!

Smarac's picture

This pretty much looks like a Whychess site to me!

And, when I load the CB, in the left-top corner the "Play" video button appears for a second, anyone else noticed it?

Marlena's picture

I had that too, but it was due to an old Firefox-version. Once I updated it, it was gone.

Peter Doggers's picture

WhyChess also uses Drupal, so some aspects will look the same, that's unavoidable. However, I still think we have created our own, distinct style.

chandler's picture

1. Just 3 top stories is too few... often you need to put up 4-5 stories in a day (remember when we had 3-4 tourneys last month?). So i suggest that at the least, you show 5 more stories on a mouse-over on "more top stories" so i don't have to go thru one more page.
2. The new comments section makes for much more difficult reading compared to the older one. maybe color alternations (grey/white) can help... another problem seems to be too much whitespace in the comments' boxes.

+ve comments need more time in coming... :)

chandler's picture

3. I prefer the author's name at the top bcos that often decides if i read the article.
4. "your comment has been posted" appears at the very top of the page... not the right place

chandler's picture

5. The complete summary doesn't show up on the home page. e.g. for the World Cup 4th round... (i need to check if the "more later" at the end has been removed or not, and i have to open the article for that??)

help's picture

Agree. You could always bookmark http://www.chessvibes.com/topstories instead.

help's picture

The link was for your point number one. But I agree with all your other points as well.

How deep can we nest this anyway? ;)

Peter Doggers's picture

Thanks chandler, we'll definitely take your good points into account in our next phase!

chandler's picture

Just noticed that the complete summary doesn't show up on the top stories page either. This is something that has to be fixed immediately IMO (make the sizes larger, or edit your summaries so that they fit in).

6. "add new comment" opens in a new page making it rather difficult to refer back to some context while putting in a comment (e.g. i'm not sure if this is point 6 or 7 but i have to press "Back" to check??).

chandler's picture

note: comment 6 above applies to "reply" within a comment.

7. Line breaks in comments are removed, WHY?? it makes for awful reading.

chandler's picture

8. The color (of the "dot" from rainbow) is also used to highlight the buttons on the top.... the problem is that this color changes for each page which is quite distracting. Ideally, stick to one color; if that's too "maximalistic" then atleast stick to one color per session.

Remco Gerlich's picture

That's a good tip! I like the top stories page a lot better than the front page.

Belkov's picture

You were right about the "WTF" part. But it's a positive WTF :-)

Dick's picture

Well done, must have taken some effort! cheers, Dick

Anneke's picture

CONGRATULATIONS! VERY NICE!

jmrw@free.fr's picture

The weekly Study of Yochanan Afek is Dead ?

jmrw@free.fr's picture

The weekly Study of Yochanan Afek is Dead ?

Peter Doggers's picture

That was something just not finished yet; now there's a menu item 'Studies' at the top of the page.

Janis Nisii's picture

I think it's more 'modern' and organized, also more clean. Congrats and I can only imagine the hard work behind it.
Kudos on the hard work and the courage to decide such a move (decisions like changing also the logo must have been hard to take, I guess!)
Little 'negative' point: it really looks like whychess.org, but probably you two actually use the same template or whatever is its name.

Peter Doggers's picture

Like I said elsewhere too, we both use Drupal. However, we don't use a Drupal template; I think they do: 

http://demo.rockettheme.com/drupal/?theme=infuse

 

sporty's picture

Older was much better, this one is confuuuuuusing.....

The Player's picture

Agree! Where is the like-button in the comments?

Annemarie Hering's picture

It's a wonderful site and a very nice logo with different colours. I am very proud of my son! Good luck! I love you.

Henk-Jan's picture

Ziet er goed uit Peter!

Justin's picture

Nice guys!

DMiA's picture

I like it, clean and modern design. It clearly improves the previous one.
The only thing I miss is the "Current/Soon" box, which was an easy and fast way to discover what was being played.
May be it still exists but I couldn't find it. Please tell me so.

Peter Doggers's picture

Just added a 'Current events' section in the right sidebar. For the moment we'll stick to current events and we encourage everyone to email us link tips!

chandler's picture

is someone looking at the many feedback comments above by the readers?

overall, i think i preferred the older one; the newer one is too jam-packed (kinda like whychess, which too i despise)

CAL|Daniel's picture

Bingo!

And the color scheme on this one is maddening.

sporty's picture

older was better, step back

Justin's picture

Ziet er heel goed uit!!!

Jovan's picture

Very nice,much more friendly:)

Bob's picture

Congratulations! Looks good, looking forward to more great reporting :-)

Morley's picture

I do like the changes! Nice redesign!

Eiae's picture

I used Chessvibes as a portal to tournament webpages. I do not see the old list of current events anywhere, so guess I'll have to go elsewhere.

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