Optimizing the Existing Reddit Interface
An interactive prototype aimed to improve the browsing experience
Design Challenge: Redesign an existing interface
For this two-week long project I created an interactive prototype of a redesign of the Reddit interface. My goal was to increase the efficiency of browsing large amounts of content, and overall create a better experience for users. I did this by visually cleaning up the interface as well as by introducing drop-down content, and an intuitive search function.
Weaknesses in the current interface
Browsing is inefficient
If you click on a link, you will be brought to a new page and have to click "back" each time you want to return to the front page. Then it is difficult to find your place again on the page, which is very text-heavy. Many users want to browse through a large amount of content while on Reddit, and this technique is very time-consuming and inconvenient.
Lack of affordances
Many of the features are not used because even the most avid redactors do not realize they exist. For example, although the video dropdown is useful, most Redditors overlook it due to the cluttered interface.
Difficult search function
The search bar on Reddit is cryptic and difficult to use. Numerous Redditors have listed it as the "thing that bothers them the most about Reddit". Many have resorted to using Google to search Reddit instead. Clearly the confusing nature of the search engine causes significant efficiency problems.
In my redesign, browsing has been made far easier through the introduction of drop down content. This allows users to browse a large amount of content without ever leaving the page. In addition, users can utilize the left and right arrow keys on their keyboard to quickly alternate between posts. External links have an option for opening in a new tab.
This new search bar is far less cryptic than the original. Once users click the text field in the search bar, an advanced search option appears. When clicked, a menu drops down where users can easily input specific search information. Users are then taken to a page which clearly displays the results of their search.
When tasked with finding a poorly designed interface, Reddit was one that immediately came to mind. I began by revisiting Reddit with a critical perspective, observing opportunities for design intervention. I watched other people browse Reddit, taking note of their process and inconveniences they countered. I used these considerations when prototyping my concept. I created the prototype using Axure, and tested it on multiple people. After observing users interact with my prototype, I further refined it.
A live version of this prototype can be accessed here. Keep in mind the prototype is not entirely functional and some aspects vary from the final redesign, due to the limitations of Axure.