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Not Just Another 9rules

Written by Scrivs on July 20, 2006

Note: Wow, the chaotic story of this launch will be told another day, but for now here is the original launch entry that should’ve come out Monday then Tuesday then Wednesday and finally Thursday. Hit up the Rulers Community to report any craziness (and there will be a lot of craziness while Colin is on his camping trip).

We unveiled 9rules Communities in January to organize our members and make it easier for readers to find great content on topics they love. Today we’re taking it a step further and releasing the next version of 9rules Communities which will take reader interaction and member highlighting to the next level.

The New 9rules

Our new focus is on the Community pages, and the new features & functionality attached to them. Here’s a pretty overview of things:

Each Community

The page is broken down into 6 main areas, all of which correspond to features requested by either members or readers. Let’s go through each one with a fine-toothed comb that I use to need for my afro:

1 Starting at the top left is the new Featured Blog entry area for that Community. Our Featured blog is where 9rules Community Leaders come to talk about what’s going on in that Community, which members have posted excellent articles, or general analysis of that topic throughout the web. Admittedly this was a weakness in the previous 9rules mainly because our Community Leaders weren’t really sure what to do here and that was our fault by not getting our goals across to them. We kind of dropped them in them in the middle of the desert and wished them good luck finding their way home. However, we are all starting to get on the same page and you may have noticed this week an increase in the quantity of entries hitting the Featured blogs.

2 A new section on the Community page is the Community Leader featured area, where members who are their respective Community’s Leaders are properly recognized. This should seem obvious as to why it was done. Below that is a scrollable list of all members in that Community. In some communities, not having a scrollbar would cause pages to become a mile-long so to keep the page as compact as possible we decided to go with a scrollbar on longer lists.

3 Another new section on the Community page is the repurposing of the “Recent Member Articles” area, tentatively called “Random Members” and “Fresh Members” (coming shortly). In an effort to focus more on the member’s site as opposed to the most recent article title they’ve posted, now when a member posts a new entry their entire site is featured along with a few of the most recent articles they’ve written. The goal for site highlighting is to provide better “sticky” traffic to 9rules Member sites. Readers will be able to switch back and forth between “Fresh” and “Random” members on the fly.

4 The most interesting new feature of this launch is called 9rules Notes, and it’s essentially a way to let both members and non-members post topical content to a 9rules Community: think part forum, part blog, 100% interactivity. For each Community we will list both the most recently posted Notes as well as either Popular or Random ones (TBD).

9rules Notes is an integral part of this new 9rules Community and site iteration, and there will be many features associated with authors and their Notes they post with tagging and RSS to name a few. We let our members in on Notes early (member privileges and all that) so they could get their desired usernames and as you can see they dove headfirst into the Notes system with over 300 posts in less than 24 hours.

5 Both members and non-members are able to post a new Note via the Community page and it will show up in the “Latest Notes” area (Section 4) for everyone to see.

6 To make it easier to navigate between various Communities, a new Community Browser navigation will be present on the bottom of all pages of the new 9rules site.

A New Information Architecture

Each section on the new individual Community page will have a corresponding section devoted to it, as evidenced by the new subnavigation present below the green header. Readers will be able to navigate directly to pages dedicated to that Community’s Featured Blog and Notes section so it’s now easier to explore a Community in depth.

There’s More…

The redesigned Community sections are only one part of the full 9rules relaunch, but we feel it’s the most important for our Members and readers. During the week we will be highlighting new features and finishing touches that we are putting on the site. If you notice some things a bit off that’s probably because we still have a lot of work to do, but we are always open to hearing your thoughts and for this reason we have setup the Rulers Community where you can leave us Notes so we can stay on top of things.

For now go ahead and explore the new digs and get lost in great content. We know we will.

  1. Chris Says:

    That was totally wicked! — to quote the little kid on the tricycle from The incredibles. Nice job guys!

  2. Edward Scherf Says:

    First let me say… it looks stunning. Subtle, yet very stylish. The main page not only looks great, but servers its’ purpose very well. And who could forget those member pages… Great stuff! Congrats on a job well done guys!

  3. Josue Salazar Says:

    Kick ass!

  4. Scrivs Says:

    No Chris, you are wicked because you understand the importance of having a Christopher Reeves Superman for your Gravatar instead of a Brandon Routh one. And thanks. We know we have a long journey ahead of us still, but that’s getting there is half the fun.

  5. Olav Says:

    Looks great, it’s a massive improvement. Congratulations to both coder and designer. 🙂

    Good call on making people register to use Notes, I was wondering how that would play out.

  6. 9rules: Add More, Subtract More » Wisdump Says:

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    To deal with the influx of new members that joined 9rules in Round Four, the 9rules crew just decided to go ahead and completely revamp the site. One of the main problems with the last design regarded usability concerns surrounding communities. The f…

  9. Paul Stamatiou Says:

    This is as hot as it was in Sunnyvale yesterday…

  10. http://pierrelourens.com/blog/2006/07/20/the-new-9rules-looks-awesome/ Says:

    […] what the 9rules team have done, I really do. Read more about 9rules and it’s updates here. No Responses to “The New 9rules Looks Awesome&#822 […]

  11. Pierre Lourens Says:

    This is great, navigating through communities was made so much easier. For any user, I think it’s easier to just look at and get it. This is what 9rules is about–simplicity. Bravo!

  12. New design of 9rules Communities - RotorBlog.com Says:

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  13. Andrew Faulkner Says:

    Fantastic colours and a good use of space. Well done guys.

  14. MacDara Says:

    Looking good! But in case you didn’t know, the footer isn’t loading:

    Fatal error: Call to undefined function: phoenix_ulcommunitieslist() in /home/httpd/vhosts/9rules.com/httpdocs/browse/phoenix_footer.php on line 3

  15. Ivan Brezak Brkan Says:

    To be honest, I’m not sure what I think about the new design. I love the new information architecture, but the style hasn’t been that big of a WOW. Don’t get me wrong, it looks really nice, but I prefered the old design… 9rules still rocks though 😉

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  20. Robert Day Says:

    At least we can get glimpses of the old site if we are feeling bored..

  21. Anthony Deloso Says:

    Notes = great idea. It expands your community base and involves your members. Good job.

  22. Eddie Sowden Says:

    While I would like to say I love the new look I don’t. I prefer the old look, it was fresh, bright and contemporary. This looks alot older, sophisticated and well not as fun. I am sure it will grow on me though. In terms of discovering new content on the other hand it seems to be working very well.

    Just two small things. There needs to be a visual break between the bottom of the blog post and the comments / trackbacks here. There seems to be a slight error with the footer on this page (I am seeing a nasty php error).

  23. Mike Rundle Says:

    Hey guys, thanks a lot for the comments. We do have work left to do on the site (Eddie, you found one of the bugs on our list) but we appreciate all the feedback.

  24. Nicole Says:

    Nice work, guys. I’m digging the contrast of the white content area against the dark background. And the red comment area is hot.

    I actually don’t get away from the 9rules blog very often, but I’m going to have to go dig around the communities area now.

  25. Michael Simmons Says:

    Looks amazing, guys. Good work.

  26. chris rhee Says:

    Very nice work by the whole 9rules team!

  27. Melissa Petri Says:

    Congratulations to you, Scrivs and all the other 9rulers. I was impressed then… still impressed now.

  28. Christian Montoya Says:

    9rules redesigned, realigned, etc.

    Wow, one look at the new 9rules makes me very glad to be a part of the network. Read more about it at the launch announcement.

  29. weisheng Says:

    I’ve not been so excited about something since Mac OS X Tiger came out. My heart is jumping with delight now, everything’s looking great. Can’t wait to get exploring!

  30. AsceticMonk Says:

    Good work 9rules team! I like the Notes section, it facilitates communication between users.

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  32. Phu Says:

    Wonderful work guys; in particular, I love what’s been done with the community pages.

    Great stuff!

  33. Stephen in Mpls Says:


    I am just a casual, every-other-day visitor to 9rules, but I have to say I am blown away by the new site. It’s like you guys have redefined web community. The marriage of backend, design, and fresh ideas is incredible.

    I’m running out of superlatives…

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  35. Those Bastards Says:

    We’re a political blog?

    Well, I guess sometimes. I guess we just aren’t funny enough.

  36. Nick Says:


    I really like the new design. I’ve always been a fan of Mike / BusinessLogs.com design style and the new 9rules has taken it to the next level.

    One thing I was unsure about was the Notes. I didn’t fully understand how it worked and what it was useful for. After reading through a lot of notes and posting my own, I am enjoying the notes section.

    Great jobs, 9rules staff! I’m sure we’ll be seeing a lot more innovations and enhancements in the future!

    Rule 8: Must constantly improve.

    9rules has done it again!

    Best Regards,

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  38. Carlos Eduardo Says:

    I like it too much! Very good redesign! =)

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