Behind the Myspace Redesign

Myspace underwent a thorough redesign that it began rolling out to users in late October, and vice president of user experience Mike Macadaan detailed some of the thinking that went into the social-networking site’s new look in a post on the MySpace Blog. Highlights:

From a technical standpoint, redesigning a site as massive as ours was no easy feat. The original site map (which we jokingly referred to as “the human genome project”) was unnecessarily complex and contained sections and features that didn’t reflect a single, coherent vision. We knew we had to address this by sunsetting features that weren’t important to our users (I’m looking at you, “Horoscopes”) and then rearchitecting the site from the ground up. All of that said, Myspace has a valuable heritage in social and music discovery that we wanted to preserve.

When you compare the old Myspace to the redesigned version, the new Myspace is drastically simpler and more cohesive. Over the course of the redesign, we reduced the number of: overall pages from 800 to 347 (not counting profile pages); page templates from 152 to seven; button styles from 81 to two; and logo directions from 117 to one.

Aside from the site’s information architecture, one of the projects we tackled very early on was our logo. The new logo — the word “my,” followed by a bracket — illustrates our strategy perfectly by enabling users and artists alike to showcase what they’re into. And while the new logo might seem like a radical departure from its predecessor, we still retained a nod or two to our brand heritage. For example, we stuck with a sans serif typeface, upgrading the old Arial Rounded to a modified Akzidenz-Grotesk medium, which allows for a cleaner, more stylized look without losing the minimal theme.

With the same approach in mind, we chose a neutral black and grey color scheme that enabled the content to jump into the foreground. It’s also important to note that we didn’t completely abandon our roots in blue. While the original Myspace blue had become cold and corporate (as indicated by our test groups), we did want to hold on to this piece of our history. In the new design, you can see hints of a more vibrant “electric blue” around actions and features that are intended to spark social engagement and discovery.