At first I thought The Atlantic redesign was good – they are doing interesting things by putting stories in the tab drop downs.
Then I tried to find Andrew Sullivan’s Daily Dish blog (responsible for a good chunk of the Atlantic’s traffic), and failed – I had to resort to search.
On reading the blog I see that Andrew and co-writers are fielding a host of complaints from readers, and that he, a master of the blogging art, had essentially no influence on the redesign. Incredibly he had passed on readership feedback and none of the recommendations were implemented in the redesign. This goes against the fundamentals of good design – observing and listening to customers.
Overall it seems to be a classic case of designers driving to an answer without involving the audience. I can only hope that The Atlantic now starts listening to the audience and delivering what they want through continuous tweaks.
Otherwise it appears that the writers are not in control, that the readers are being forced to do things for business reasons and that ultimately this will be bad for an otherwise wonderful site and magazine. And Andrew Sullivan will simply migrate to elsewhere.