I occasionally send a State Of The Universe to the LayerVault team between big milestones. This will be our Designer News State Of The Universe.
I'm interested to hear from you about some questions I don't have answers to yet. We'll also answer questions about DN in the comments. Let's be sure not to turn this into a Feature Request thread, as there's already one linked in the footer.
If this State Of The Universe is enjoyable for you guys and useful for me, we'll make it a tradition.
Designer News receives lots of traffic. Despite not doing anything special in the marketing, SEO, or even design of Designer News, traffic metrics continue to slowly grow.
The graph above shows unique visits each week since inception. We got lucky and were off to a pretty good start right from inception. We continue to get lucky and DN grows little by little.
The holidays are approaching, so I'm predicting a seasonal slow down between now and Jan 1. Don't stress out if people take more time to reply to threads. Spend time with your families and we'll post about pixels and your opinions on flat design when you're back. And, if your family is boring you, DN is quite nice in Safari on iOS.
There are no format guidelines for Designer News. We trust the judgement of our community. However, now that we've recently opened registration a bit, it's probably time to formalize some community guidelines. I have a rough draft.
I'd like to make sure I cover the important stuff. So, with respect to the DN guidelines: What are topics you would like to have covered?
We feared that opening registration would reduce comment and story quality. To test things, registration has been opening daily from 12PM to 1PM, or until available accounts dry up.
I actually examine each registrant, every day. I've deleted a small number of users who failed the smell test. This obviously won't scale.
Since opening the doors, I've seen a healthy number of impressive companies represented. With such a small registration window, we end up with users who genuinely want to contribute but can't find an invite. I think the net impact to comment and story quality is positive.
Designer News Digest
The Digest has been around for a few weeks now. I've found it to be a nice wrap-up. I'm on the site all week, so I'm not seeing anything new. A weekly wrap-up is perhaps too infrequent.
For those of you subscribed, How's it going? We're open to suggestion and opinion here.
Our Jobs Board has been a nice addition. It grows as the site grows. We've used it ourselves with good results. We've heard good things from some of the companies listing there.
It's nice to charge for listings and it works well as a qualifier. I wonder how often designers looking for work think about hitting /jobs. More importantly, with the "freelancer" threads that sometimes pop up, I think we could be doing better.
I don't want DN to compete with services like Ooomf, Folyo, etc. If you guys think it would be helpful, and the proprietors of those companies (Mikael, Sacha) would be into it, I think we could incorporate freelance work into DN somehow. I'm not a fan of bloating DN with features, but it might be an interesting experiment if we can find a way to make it simple and useful.
Does anyone have opinions on how we might improve the job listings, work with freelancers, or work with companies like those listed above?
LayerVault and Promotion
It's always a small shock to people that LayerVault does not advertise itself on Designer News. We really make no mention of LayerVault at all, save for the occasional story about interesting new features. This weekend, I added a covert LayerVault link to the footer which I'll probably replace with a Guidelines link as soon as we have it.
I feel strongly that DN does not belong, nor would it thrive, as some kind of sales or marketing channel for LayerVault. We debate internally, and I wonder often and openly whether I am being too sensitive about promoting LayerVault on DN.
It's no secret that DN is a LayerVault product. In many direct and indirect ways, DN provides value to LayerVault proper. We would never take self-promotion to extremes, but how much of LV on DN do you think the community would tolerate?
The Future of DN
We're going to try to do more AMAs with interesting designers. We're going to add some of the most requested features (down voting, karma sorting). The site's design will continue to be iterated on. The community will probably get bigger, but we'll reward older or more active members with more features and avatar colors.
There are plenty of things we don't know that we're going to do yet, so please let us know what you think.