September 6th, 2003


That awful new LJ design

So, perhaps you've noticed that LiveJournal changed to a new default skin recently. If you've been following news, you'd have heard about this new skin when it went into beta testing months ago. I tried it out then, discovered how horrible and unusable it was, posted a comment detailing what I thought were its flaws, and forgot about it. I was hoping it'd never make it to "release", but unfortunately it did, mostly unchanged. I think the site designers are too blinded by the fact that it looks a bit slick, and by the fancy scripting they're using for the menus, to realize how truly awful it is. Fortunately, you can change back to the old look - it's a per-account preference.

So, first, comment on this post to let them know what you think of the new design. Maybe an overwhelming outpouring from the userbase may get them to retire it or at least change the default back. Second, go to browse preferences, where you can click on the screenshot of the old skin to select it. Once you do that, every time you're logged in from the same account, you'll get the old skin.

Now, I'm not saying the old skin is wondrous and perfect. It's a little frustrating to learn at first, because some of the more useful features of it are hidden in places you might not think to look until someone tells you. And the colors are kinda hokey. But once you know it, it's usable. Everything you might need is usually one click away, or two if you're on a friends or journal page. It's compatible with most browsers, and doesn't depend on scripts. And it's compact enough that, somehow, more stuff fits on your screen than with the new "cleaner" skin. There are things I think they could improve or fix, but the new skin highlights all that's good about the old one - by throwing it away.