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How the New Site Works
by Katherine Neer

We all do it from time to time. Maybe you've decided to reorganize your tools in the garage to cut down on prep time for home projects. Or you're going to cut your hair shorter because it's taking you too long to get ready for work. That's pretty much what we've done here at HowStuffWorks. As of February 1, HowStuffWorks has a whole new look and a more efficient, user-friendly design.

In this edition of HowStuffWorks, we'll take you on a tour of the new design and layout and we'll explain one of the most important new features -- the HowStuffWorks channels. We're really excited about our new, sleek, easier-to-navigate setup. You'll be browsing, reading and digesting the same reliable content you've come to expect from HowStuffWorks, but you'll have much more fun doing it!

Channel Vision
A lot of people visit HowStuffWorks every day. You come to our site for many different reasons, seeking all sorts of information. For some, it's the variety of topics we cover that brings you back, while many of you enjoy articles within one particular subject area almost exclusively.

With this in mind, and for more fluid navigation and organization, we've devised a system of nine subject categories, called "channels." Each channel has its own subset of subject groupings, or "subchannels." Every existing article and all new articles are grouped within the appropriate channel and subchannel.

To make it even easier for you to find what you like, we've taken the idea of channelizing our content one step further by creating individual "home pages" -- distinct HowStuffWorks sites for each of these channels. So, in addition to the main HowStuffWorks home page, you'll find these new HowStuffWorks sites:

  • AutoStuff
  • ComputerStuff
  • ElectronicStuff
  • EntertainmentStuff
  • HomeStuff
  • MoneyStuff
  • PeopleStuff
  • ScienceStuff
  • TravelStuff

In the next section, we'll show you how to navigate these new sites!

Guided Tour
Whether you're arriving via search engine, the HowStuffWorks home page or one of the new channel (category) pages, some of the first things you will notice are:

  • a new HowStuffWorks logo
  • a new navigation bar
  • a cleaner design/layout

Let's take a closer look at some of the changes and new features. We'll use the HowStuffWorks AutoStuff channel and one of its subchannel pages as an example.

As you can see in the screenshot above, the new navigation bar does two things:

  • It gives you the opportunity to jump to another channel.
  • It tells you which channel you're currently visiting by highlighting the appropriate button.
Along the left-hand side of the screen, you'll immediately see two menus. The first features a list of categories -- in this instance, it shows you that the AutoStuff content is divided into the following subject areas:
  • Cutting Edge
  • Options & Accessories
  • Safety
  • Under the Hood
One additional feature to note here is the opportunity to browse through the entire library of articles within that particular channel, without having to click on each individual subchannel.

The second menu lists the most popular articles, according to viewer ranking, within the AutoStuff channel. To the right of those menus is the featured article for that channel. Below the feature spot, you'll find a sampling of articles from the AutoStuff library, grouped according to subchannel.

You can easily search the HowStuffWorks Web site or the entire Web by entering your query in the search box located in the upper right-hand corner of every Web page of our site.

Farther down the page, you'll recognize several popular HowStuffWorks features, including:

  • a survey
  • links to HowStuffWorks merchandise, such as books and CDs
  • gateways to the HowStuffWorks classifieds, newsletter, and forums
If you select one of the subchannels -- Cutting Edge, for example, you will find a similar template to the AutoStuff page. The main difference is that instead of a single featured article, you will see a list, along with a brief description, of several featured articles within that subchannel. You will also be presented with a list of the entire library of articles for that particular subchannel.

Along the bottom of every page, there's a sub-navigation bar that includes links to the home page, the HowStuffWorks store and information regarding:

  • the Newsletter
  • Advertising with HowStuffWorks
  • our Privacy Statement
  • the HowStuffWorks FAQ
  • Contacting HowStuffWorks
  • Company Information

Okay folks, that concludes the tour of our new layout and design. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please let us know!

Enjoy the new HowStuffWorks site!


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