What do you think of the new SmartPlanet?

Welcome to the new, improved and redesigned SmartPlanet. Here's why we changed things, and why we're so gosh darn excited about it.
Written by Andrew Nusca, Contributor

Welcome to the new, improved and redesigned SmartPlanet.

We'd like to take a moment to walk you through some of the changes and why we made them.

If the new look feels familiar, it should. We modeled this redesign on the layout of our big brother sibling sites BNET, TechRepublic and ZDNet -- plus incorporated the feedback you've sent us since we first (re)launched in 2009.

We hope that by establishing a more finely-tuned navigational scheme, you'll be able to more quickly and easily find content that's of interest to you.

Internally, we had three goals:

  • More easily find what's new;
  • More easily find what's original;
  • More easily find a way to interact.

So here are some of the highlights of SmartPlanet 2.0:

Understanding our mission. The old site told the SmartPlanet story with three terms: "Smart Business," "Smart Technology" and "Smart People." While that explains our mission from 30,000 ft., it doesn't help a new visitor understand what we're really about.

The new SmartPlanet still offers "big picture" buckets, but we've added a new one -- "Energy" -- and renamed "People" to "Innovation," which is what that section was always really about.

Secondly, we added a secondary navigation based on all the different topics and industries that we cover. That way, if you're really into stories about the smart grid, or robotics, or cancer cures, we can send you to a dedicated page with all the new stories about that topic -- no matter which blog covers it.

Show, not just tell. We have a crack team of writers here at SmartPlanet, but often a story is better told through visual means. And with all the amazing things we cover -- electric cars, greener buildings, nanotechnology of all kinds -- you really need to be able to see it.

That's why we've added image thumbnails for every new story. And a big, honking carousel to show you the most important, best stories of the day. And added support for photo galleries, which we didn't have before. And enlarged the video player, so you can see more (award-winning!) content by default.

We've also expanded the blog post column quite a bit -- it used to be about 480 pixels wide, and now we're at a more airy 620 pixels.

Engage. We've added comment counters to each story in the "rivers" of the site -- that is, the directories of stories on the front page and on the section pages. We've also added "most popular" roundups on the mouseover condition of the primary navigation, as well as implemented a few smaller "hot" lists around the site so you're never far from a great discussion.

But it gets better. We've also deployed a massive upgrade to our community system. In essence, our commenting system makes a lot more sense than it used to. In the old system, you couldn't reply to a specific comment. In the new one, a threaded view allows you to do just that -- plus, you can vote up and vote down comments that you think are or aren't worth other readers' time. (Editors also have the ability to single out a particularly exemplary comment, too.)

—Stay connected. To coincide with our brand new iPhone and Android apps, we also gave our mobile site a serious facelift. Check it out!

But don't take our word for it. Take a look around the site and let us know what you think. You can post your comments/suggestions/fixes in the comments below, or provide feedback through our standard customer service channel.

Let us know how we're doing. We're listening!

-- The CBS Interactive SmartPlanet team

P.S. -- If you're wondering who's responsible for building and operating SmartPlanet, well, look no further.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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