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This is the first post from our new writer – Alex Vasquez from DigiSavvy

I don’t hate Drupal. However, I can’t help but feel a little giddy when I read stories such as Yahoo’s piece on the New York Observer deciding to move away from some other CMS to WordPress. Though I’m giddy, I still don’t “hate” Drupal. In fact, I use a project management tool that is built atop the popular CMS (it’s called Open Atrium, if you care to know).

It’s true that WordPress powers millions and millions of sites across the globe and we’re no longer surprised. We know that it powers the mighty Mashable. Well the Observer is just one more notch in our favorite platform’s belt. Many times a WordPress Junkie can look at a site and say “hmpf, I’ll betcha that’s a WordPress site” and then look at the code to satisfy their suspicions.

That said, the Observer unveiled their new design today, built on WP, and it is, in my opinion, damn pretty. It’s actually fairly inspiring in the sense that if one were willing to put the time and effort (without necessarily all the requisite know-how) that one could achieve a similar layout. The font for the headers for their articles pop right up with the design. I know I’m probably in a minority of those that love the Georgia typeface, but I really do feel it works well here.

Of it’s former platform, editor-in-chief Elizabeth Spiers has said:New York Observer Was Sluggish When I Got Here And Now It’s Back On Track.‘ The article in Yahoo seems to corroborate that sentiment as well “The paper has ditched its former content-management system, Drupal, in favor of a lighter WordPress CMS.”

The layout definitely has that “magazine-like” spin to it and I like that. I think for WordPress themers there’s a lot to take from the Observer’s redesign. Specifically with regard to how “clean” the layout is. Even though the front page is loaded with information it doesn’t give me the crowded information-overload that I get when I look at a site such as Mashable. Font choice and sizing has a lot to do with it. I think keeping color usage to a minimum also helps the Observer keep one’s eye from panicking and shooting all over the place like a pinball…

All in all, it’s great to see another large publication make the move to WordPress. I think they’ve accomplished their mission with this redesign, which was making a lighter, more agile site built on the platform we all love: WordPress.

What do you think of the Observer’s new rags? Does their new design work?

(still not hating Drupal)


Author:

Alex Vasquez is a web designer, coder, artist and business owner. When he's not lost in his own to-do lists, he spends time taking a hike, or bike ride with his girlfriend and making snarky comments along the way; he's never too far from his favorite craft beer. You can find me on Twitter or check out my business site over at DigiSavvy

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3 Comments

  1. disclaimer: I really like Drupal ;)

    I really like the new design also. Anyway I am a bit puzzled.

    First I want to say: Please let’s not start a WordPress vs Drupal thing, it’s really not about WordPress vs. Drupal. If any we might think about Drupal/WP vs but then again that’s a different topic.

    So why am I puzzled?
    One should always use the right tool for a certain job. Right now I develop an application using Mule ESB, Drools, Smooks and Java – no point in using Drupal for data-integration, no point in using WP there either. However with a newspaper website it is different. WP and Drupal are both valid choices (among others). Drupal is generally considered a bit more feature rich and developer focused while WP has the name of being lightweight and more usable to beginners… but that is not a reason to switch a big website from one system to another, is it!?

    I can’t believe it would be easier to rebuilt the whole site including data migration, creating new work flows, training etc. than changing or adding a few features. Such things cost time and money. Weather you built a theme for WP or Drupal really does not make much of a difference…

    So why did they actually change? Was I’d really like to know.

  2. Why did they change? The only real answer I’ve seen is the one from Elizabeth Spiers who cited “it was sluggish.” However no metrics are supplied. One can really only speculate as to the real reason for the migration.

  3. Komix89 S

    The reason is … because observer.com become small and small comprate to other online magazine. That’s why observer.com needs to reduce their website also.

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