It’s ready to be tested: our new and clean redesign

It’s ready to be tested: our new and clean redesign

Today we proudly present the complete redesign of your favorite start page. It should look more modern and attractive now. You can preview the new start.me here: https://beta.start.me. We’ve added some new features and simplified the menus. Nothing major, we promise. Your widgets and your pages are precisely where they were. You have lost nothing. This is everything you’ve gained.

Redesign Header

New Header redesign.
New Header redesign.

The first area to tackle was the Header of our startpage. Until now you had lots of options, depending on where you clicked. There were no less than four different menus you could open by clicking on or close to the Page name to your top left. Now you click just one single button. That’s it.

The familiar Page menu will open, where you can manage the order of your pages. You can also click the pencil and start editing it, just like you’re used to.

On the right side of your Header, you’ll discover a new button, the Share button. This is where you click if you want to broadcast your page to the world or share it with your family or friends. By default, your pages are not shared at all, hence the padlock.

Nothing else is changed here, and the Header will still blend with the color you’ve chosen for your pages. It will be transparent when you’ve selected a background image.

Redesign Add content menu and other menus

New Add content menu (beta).
New Add content menu (beta).

One of the areas we feel was most in need of an update, was the way you add new content to your pages. It’s not that we didn’t provide the service, it’s just that it felt a bit cluttered and disorganized to some of our users. That’s why we’ve made it easier to find new content. You can browse by category now, to discover new widgets or news feeds.

To open the Add content menu, click the unchanged green Plus icon in the header, or any other Plus icon on the page.

We’ve also added over 2.000 new feeds, which makes the total of available news feeds no less than 6.000. Surely, there must be something worth reading for everyone.

Because of this new way of discovering content, we’ve decided to rethink the sections previously known as Discover and Channels. They are still accessible, but since they don’t seem to attract much traffic, we’ve concluded they’re not very useful to our users. We’re hoping to relaunch them at some other time.

Beta version

There are lots of other features we could present and illustrate here, but we’ll leave that for next week. We’re still working hard to prepare everything for our system-wide Go Live.

Until then, we’d love to give our most active users a sneak peek by granting them access to our Beta version. If you’re interested in knowing the future, type https://beta.start.me in your address bar. Or click the address, log in, and there you go!

Try it out for yourself. Do you like what you see? Did you find a bug? Please let us know in the comments below, on our Twitter feed (@startme) or more privately to our support staff (https://support.start.me/hc/en-us/requests/new).

Thank you for contributing!

Stefan van Dierendonck

Stefan van Dierendonck

For many years Stefan has been active as a blogger, building and maintaining his own and other websites. He is also the author of two well-received novels. Wherever possible, he tries to combine modern technology with literary or at least pleasantly legible content.


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17 Replies to “It’s ready to be tested: our new and clean redesign”

    1. Thanks, Donald, for commenting on our upcoming release. You’re right: the new header is just a bit wider than it was before. We made this choice for several reasons, but mostly to make our service just a bit more accessible to all users. To compensate, we’ve made sure the subheader (with the page names) disappears when scrolling down.

  1. Can we PLEASE have the option to keep the current stable version when this new version is released?

    (I ask this because I’m certain your only concern will be bugs as opposed to design and up until now “update” methods have been that past versions are ditched completely with zero option for users to retain past versions)

    Right-off I notice that the header is taking up more space than previously — so I have less space for what I actually care about in a start-page.

    First-rule-of-thumb in regards to start-pages — if changes have to be made NEVER make changes that will take up more page space than what there was before the change!! (frankly a rather obvious notion I’d say)

    You’ve got a reasonably good thing going — no need to make changes imho, but if you do — please always seriously consider the tow most obvious before anything else which should be load-speed and avoid taking up additional page space with headers/footers etc so that there is maximum room available for what users really want and need in a start-page (even the slightest reduction of available page-space makes a big difference imho).

    Thanks for listening….

    1. Hi Mike, Thanks for commenting on our upcoming version. It’s important for us to understand the priorities of our users: we intend our changes to improve our service. First off: we’re very sorry, but we can’t support both versions simultaneously. We see the new version as an evolution of the old one, not a radical revolution. The new design is the foundation for future improvements. Still, you’re right: our header has become a bit bigger. Not by much, but yes. Bigger. We felt it was necessary, mostly because we wanted to make our service a bit more accessible to all users, including users with disabilities. To compensate for this change, we’ve made sure to hide the subheader (with page names) when scrolling down. These changes don’t alter the load speed at all. And thanks, for reminding us that some users prefer to maximize space on their startpage: we’ll keep this in mind!

  2. Sorry — but I actually prefer the previous header. I personally do not see the need to add the rather large “Share” button toward the right-end of the header first of all. Secondly, both the rather large newly designed “My Start Page” drop-down and the new “Share” button is glaringly obnoxious in a dark-theme with its glaring white colors. The current header blends far better with my dark-theme start-page.

    Previously the “Share” button was fine in my opinion that was previously incorporated in the previous drop-down icons. I don’t know about others — but I have no need of the “Share” button at all and to add it so that it now displays in “white” against my dark-theme is overkill and far less aesthetically appealing than the way it was before for this option.

    I also prefer the “sandwich” button for the start-page access and other options which provided the convenience of visualizing the theme colors for each start-page which is no longer the case in this beta version.

    Frankly — it appears to me to be an “update” just for the sake of having an update with virtually little if any advantages over what we had previously.

    Change for change-sake is not an advisable path — if you have something that is aesthetically appealing as is the case presently then why make changes that are essentially just moving things around that were already present in the first place?

    I have to say I’m an unhappy camper in regards to this new beta release — again I have no need to “Share” but again for those who do it was already available in a more discrete way.

    With that all said, I’m under no illusion what I say here will make any difference so just venting is all I’ll get out of it unfortunately. As is in most cases we are getting changes that are totally unnecessary hence not an upgrade of any kind in my mind. The old adage “if it works don’t fix it” and in that regard why change a start-page that gets the job done very well indeed just for to a large extent the sake-of-change.

    1. Hi AI, We’re sorry to hear you’re not happy with the changes we’ve proposed so far. We knew that any change to our header would take some getting used to, so we hope you’ll come around eventually. The problems you describe with the Dark theme we can’t confirm, but this might be a beta thing. The same goes for the visualizing of theme colors: this shouldn’t be affected by the new design. Are they still a problem when you check it now? Your comments about the Share button are striking: in our growth plan for next year, we hope to further expand on our sharing options. The new button is just the first step in this strategy. For example, we hope to make it easier for teams to collaborate, and for users to publicize their own pages. We’ve been busy planning a lot more changes, and they all build on our new modern, accessible and simple design. The reason for these changes is more than aesthetic: we hope to retain and activate more of our users. We hope you’re on board!

      1. In reply to: “The reason for these changes is more than aesthetic: we hope to retain and activate more of our users.”

        Actually in terms of aesthetics — it’s a “downgrade”, imho! Nobody prefers being overwhelmed with obnoxious option buttons considering the fact once they are “known” to users all they do at that point is take up valuable space. That said, I’m under no illusion as to why you’re making the changes — it’s presumably a matter of more exposure to start-me from the perspective of revenue which is fair enough.

        In regards to the floating the header — do you really think it’s that good of an idea to go to the extent of this much user exposure to the header? Seriously — while you may be bombarding your users with a “floating” header for reasons mentioned, you are at the same time restricting access to your users start-page size (all parts of the page behind the header are inaccessible) as a result of a reduced page size due to the ever-present header. Do you guys really think it’s a good idea to restrict the size of your users start-page at all times as users navigate their start-pages with an ever-present floating header?

        Did you guys consider offering an option to users to have the header either float or remain static (in place)?

        I guess it’s a mater of whether you guys think the added exposure due to the ever-present header will out-weigh the inconvenience of having less start-page space access. I’m not convince you are on the correct side of the equation in regards to your presumed “marketing” approach. Time will tell whether potential “new” users outweigh potential “lost” users over time I suppose. From my perspective “retention” of current users is probably something that should considered in strong terms since current users are a known factor as opposed to the unknown factor involving the potential of adding “new” users — but then what do I know.

        1. Hi AI, Thanks again for replying to our new design changes. You claerly make a lot of valid points, and we understand that these changes might be unwelcome to some of our users. We still hope the relatively small changes in header size won’t turn too many users off of our service. And yes, we’ve considered the option to leave everything as it is, but we clearly felt we needed the new, simplified design to build on in the future. We’re not just looking for retention, but also for growth. It’s a balancing act, we know. So, please stick with us as we continue to improve our product with new features and widgets. In the end, we’re aiming to help everyone to navigate the internet more efficiently. We love your support!

      2. We are here for a start page functionality. That’s it. Team sharing and collaboration are not start-page related. Are you trying to kill this service? Because that is what you are doing.

        1. Hi Bob, thanks for giving us your opinion on our new header. It is very important for us to understand the needs of our users so we can improve our service. We understand that you don’t use the collaboration and team share options of our start page, but many users do. In fact, it’s one of the features our users would like to see developed and improved upon in the future. We hope you’re still on board!

  3. I have to agree with the other posters and was quite surprised to find the header much wider than it used to be. I would suggest an option to make it slimmer for people without disabilities, also while I’m commenting an option to have rounded corners on the boxes like it used to have would be nice.

    thanks.

    1. Hi Todd, You’re right: the beta header was bigger than the old one. Following the feedback, we’ve decided to trim the header a bit, to make the difference with the old header less big. It’s about 8 pixels now, which we hope will be a nice compromise for all users. Thanks for your feedback!

  4. It is still way too big. You are eating up way too much space on the screen with this header box. It is about 1/3 bigger than the previous version and the previous version itself was too big. I see comments that you have made an adjustment of 8 pixels — has that already been done? And if so, that isn’t enough. Users are here for the start-page functionality, not to see your search box taking up so much screen real estate.

    1. Hi Robert, thanks for your reaction. We’ve made this workaround, to eliminate the header altogether: you can add “?embed=1” to the start.me page URL and it will disappear. Hope this works for you!

  5. Hey Stefan, I have been a fan of start.me for a few years, however this change to the size of the header is simply not something I will swallow. It is entirely too big and eats up way too much of the screen. How about making the header optional for pro/paid users? If we don’t have an option on this, I shall begin looking for another start page.

    1. Hi David,
      We won’t make the header size optional, but as a workaround, you can add “?embed=1” to the start.me page URL and it will render the page without any header.

    2. Hi David,

      I sympathize with you — but I’m afraid you’re not going to find another start-page even close to being anywhere near as good as the start.me start-page. I’ve made a point to look and I can safely say that the start-me crew without a doubt have an exceptional start-page overall that beats out anything else out there. This is clearly a reflection on the creativeness of the start.me crew no doubt of which I am eternally grateful for the really great product they provide us users to make using the Internet so much better.

      That said you suggestion imho opinion is a good one and have made a similar suggestion as well to provide “Pro” users with the option to toggle the header on/off. Listening to their users would in my mind be a pragmatic path to take to ensure greater support for the start-page — but it all comes down to opinion on approaches to “marketing” in regards to these kinds of decisions.

      That said, another option you can take is to use CSS code (i.e. depending upon the browser you use — add the extension “Stylish” to do this) to modify the Header to your liking (i.e. keep what you want, modify size, round corners on Widgets etc etc). And by the way — using the extension I referenced you can then turn the extension on/off so that you can disable the code to access the full compliment of the header in the event you want to and otherwise leave it enabled which nicely provides the suggested concept of toggling start-page settings on/off as opposed to the “workaround” that permanently disables the header.

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