At its most basic the rebuild of Minnesota Playlist is about giving it a new look.

Over 20 years we’ve watched as websites mirror the fashion industry - trends emerge, trends go out of style. The 2015 rebuild took a site that looked like an early social media platform and converted it to look like an online magazine: big bold images, large scrolling space, multiple landing pages, etc. And for awhile that worked really well. But times change.

With this rebuild I wanted to tap into some of the current trends in web design and our partners over at Ten7 have certainly done a great job of that. More importantly - and you’ll see this throughout these articles - the guiding principle for decision making has been simplicity.

What can you expect from a simpler looking Minnesota Playlist?

For one, there is more white space. The site now looks and feels like it can breathe.

That space allows the site to be visually optimized for mobile - phone or tablet. A lot of the community does their theater arts work at a desktop and the site looks great there, but increasingly we see more mobile use as people pop in to check auditions, or read an article while in line at a store.

The site will shift visually over time. We’ve added back in one of my favorite features of the original Minnesota Playlist (2008-2014): random automation. Articles, shows, and other content that appear on the homepage and other select location will be pulled automatically from current content. So what you see will change as you visit. And with some fancy Drupal 9 programming wizardry, Playlist will be visually responsive to what’s happening in our community. For example when you land on the homepage, shows that list will be displayed according to what is closing soonest. Just one of the cool features we are bringing to the look of the site.

Finally, a big visual change will be the way you get around. Gone is the left hand navigation bar that constantly constrained content. Top of page navigation will allow you to quickly get where you need to go. And the bottom of the page doubles on that navigation so wherever you find yourself in the site you are a quick scroll (or flick) away from navigating to the next thing.

My goal with this rebuild was to maintain the familiarity of Minnesota Playlist while updating many of the things that added confusion to the user experience. Like a great performance, we focused on what really matters and said no to a lot of things. I hope that you love the new look as much as I do.

Thanks to our amazing design and development partners at Ten7.