I've been planning put together an outline of the new site and features here on the Ralphie Report but so much has changed that I haven't quite ben able to find the time in the middle of football season to get it done.
Luckily, one of my SB Nation daily reads, the Steelers site Behind the Steel Curtain, went ahead and created a fantastic post and did a much better job than I could have done.
Read through the guide and then dive into the site and see what you can find. Also, the support team is aware with the new comments issue and it should be fixed very quickly.
The big pictures at the top are called the cover and will be highlighting the newest/biggest stories of the day. Below is a 5-story format, but that can change depending on the news of the day.
There are some idiosyncrasies to the cover though, which we're providing feedback on and hopefully they will be addressed. The story that's in the "featured" slot with the biggest image -- you have to actually click on the title to get into that, or click the little comments indicator in the upper right corner.
That's unlike the other slots where you can click anywhere on the image to read the story.
The cover will always be at the top, but there are a few other...
All of the blacked-out blocks that exist wholly in either the left- or right-hand columns are fixed - Latest News, Fanposts, Fanshots, Active Sections, Twitter, Most Commented - plus the poll and "In Association with Yahoo! Sports" thing at the very bottom.
Anything three-wide is also fixed - namely, SBNation Videos and Trending Stories.
Their placement will stay static on the front page, but everything else will fit in and flow around them kind of like a...
The "river" is just the flow of new stories below the cover. It's just like the old layout or any other blog format - reverse chronological order - and flows right around the fixed widgets.
It also looks cleaner because every post has a standardized block of space that it can occupy - meaning that there are no longer "jumps" to stories. The great news that goes along with that -- I can no longer accidentally nuke the entire front page by forgetting to include a jump in a 4,000 word piece.
There will sometimes be other things in the "river" though, like...
You see that thing kind of between "Latest News" and "Fanposts"? That's our new Hub called Steelers Film Room.
It's actually pinned so it won't flow along with unpinned stories in the "river" (they'll just continue over/around), though it may move as we reconsider the best place for it (it'll probably end up lower in the long-run).
The Film Room began it's life as a Section under the old site called "Anatomy of a Play". But with our newfound access to SB Nation's GIF department this year, our ability to illustrate plays and analyze them has evolved.
A Hub is a beefed up version of a Section, so when you click into a Hub (that bolded text above the image is in fact a link) - it has it's own cover (just like the front page), with all other posts flowing reverse chronologically below.
However, we have not completely done away with...
Sections still exist, but with much better utility. All of this functionality applies to Hubs too (again, they're just beefed up Sections with an interior cover).
On the front page, some articles will have a little heading displayed above their Teaser. This heading tells you what their primary section is:
If you click it, you enter that section. Sections under the old layout only displayed eight stories per page right from the get-go, and it was a pain in the ass sometimes to sift through and find what you were looking for. This new layout displays... a lot more recent ones when you click into them. (Though it does reduce to ten per page if you browse back into the archives.)
Any given story can be assigned to multiple sections/hubs though, and these are all displayed (and clickable) when you're viewing the story:
Lastly, the "Active Sections" widget on the front page shows you which Sections recently had stories assigned to them, and what other recent stories are in those sections -- much more convenient browsing than the dropdown menu that lived on the left-hand sidebar of the old layout (how many of you even knew that was there?)
That brings us to...
THE END OF THE TOUR!
HUGE thanks to the folks over at BTSC for putting this together.