At first, I liked the "freshness" of the redesign and the ability to see lots of news very easily. But apparently lots of people are complaining about both the brightness of the default theme and the clutter on the main page. I have a few suggestions to remedy this:
- Revert to the blues of the older theme. This doesn't necessarily have to include a change to the layout, but I and others are used to the different shades of blue, it was a good look. Alternatively, a "dark theme" like Jazz or Scoundrel would be cool. My only problem with those two themes, however, is that some elements like font stylings, small caps and the title logo look a bit too formal and "business-y". Jazz is better for its fonts and styles, but I'd still prefer the old logo. It's not too bad, though, so I can get used to Jazz for now.
- As for the layout, I have three recommendations. First, instead of having so many sidebars on the right, consider condensing them into one. You could have a tiered, collapsible display with buttons for "Newest Hacks", "Newest Translations", etc. and when one clicks on those buttons, that view is opened and all others are closed. That would seriously cut down on clutter AND negative space below.
- Second, with the new layout having so much room to scroll down, people might complain about having to scroll all the way back up to the top just to use the normal features of the site, like Submissions. My solution to this would be to have the top bar, which has links to all of those features, a floating top bar, so it stays visible even after scrolling. This would be a great addition to streamline the UX.
- Third, if anyone doesn't like the layout, make it customizable. Give users the freedom to move things around on the main page as they see fit. I wouldn't recommend doing this for EVERY page, of course, just the main one, but that alone would give users a highly elevated sense of choice.