It's October and that means Pistons basketball is just around the corner, but before we get into more Pistons-related material, I want to first address some housekeeping.
To start, I want to apologize for not doing this sooner. We knew what kind of changes were coming to DBB and, although we teased it, we didn't do as much as we could have to prepare the community for the drastic changes that went live last Tuesday. Understandably, it has been quite a shock. Despite training with the new layout before it launched, your staff is still getting used to it, too.
Since the launch, we have read all your feedback on the changes and a handful of your concerns have even already been addressed by the inimitable SB Nation tech team (I.e. darkening the new and green'd comments). While they continue to tweak some of the things under the hood to enhance your DBB experience (like, even faster load times, the ability to rec articles and fixing the 'new comments' prompt), we want to highlight some of the new elements in the editorial with which we have to play, so you can start to feel more comfortable when navigating the site.
Let's start with the cover -- the top of the page you first see when you load DBB. Actually, our friends over at Bullets Forever already did this for us. This will be recent content we want to emphasize. We're currently in what's called a "5-up" layout and it puts more emphasis on one story while the other four are boxed to the right. The other options are 1-up, 3-up, 4-up and "tryptic," all of which have one story isolated and the others boxed accordingly. You can see screenshots of how each looks on BF. We'd love feedback on how we should use these, too, so we're not scaring people into thinking Jonas Jerebko has been traded simply by highlighting a Jonas Jerebko analysis post.
Sometimes you might see "StoryStreams" in the cover (or below). This allows us to update stories in an isolated location to keep the news organized for readers (and us). You can subscribe to the stream and get emails whenever we update the story. As an example, our first StoryStream on DBB was on the 2012-2013 schedule. SB Nation has used these with the regionals and the dot com for quite some time and they're awesome. I'm excited DBB finally gets to play with these to organize Pistons stories.
Below the cover is what's being tabbed as the river. For the time being, we will try to keep this as close to reverse chronological order as possible, so you know that the most recent stuff will be near the top, like the old blog. There will be times though when we play with it to put emphasis on more opinionated pieces that we think deserve prolonged attention. For example, when we first launched last week, I put Boourns' awesome post about his Dad with some others up top even though they were posted weeks ago. Again, the tech team is working on fixing the comments indicator, so you will be able to scroll down the page and fairly easily be able to tell where there are new comments, if you've already read a particular story.
Currently in the river, you'll notice a couple off-color blocked sections or groups. The sections are not any different from the sections of old, but it allows us to give special importance to a particular one by placing it on the front page. Right now, we have the spectacular player previews at the top of the river. Groups or (SuperGroups) will be a way for us to highlight specific content on the site or around the SB Nation network. For instance, we have the NBA previews that Jeff Clark at CelticsBlog spearheads every year currently in the river. When you click on these, all the posts therein will come up in reverse chronological order and you can again see which ones have new comments and surf accordingly.
On the river, there's also a Latest News box where you can get just that. We won't be putting any strictly-analysis or e-pinion posts in there, so that's where you will find largely straight forward news items, like a roster update or an open practice announcement. At times, you may also discover that the author of said post will be "NBA Staff" or someone else you don't recognize on the masthead of DBB. That will happen when we don't have time to get to something, but our talented Newsdesk team, which works around the clock, does.
As you continue to scroll down the river, you'll see the FanPosts and FanShots still there, but on different sides now. This is merely a visual change; nothing else is different with how you use these parts of the sites. FanPosts are meant to be reader-submitted articles of a minimum 150 words, which can be recommended by the community and front paged. FanShots are quick-hit items, like links to other stories or videos elsewhere on the web.
Farther down, you'll see some new widgets on the sides of the site, too. There will be a look at the most Active Sections, sometimes a weekly Poll, DBB's Twitter feed, and then where you can find the Latest Comments. Again, knowing where these are will take some getting used to, but these locations will most likely not change.
I know there's a lot to digest. If you have any new questions not in the SB Nation United FAQ, leave them in the comments below. You should also feel free to voice any constructive criticisms or notify the tech team of any bugs you come across by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.