Reddit has been with us for the last 12 years and it is one of the few social networks out there with a retro design that we all love.
The social network also allowed subreddits to be customized, which has led to some communities having the aesthetic of the topic they like discussing about (check out the design of a subreddit like Dank Memes.)
Well it seems that will be a thing of the past, thanks to an announcement by Steve Huffman, Reddit’s CEO made earlier this year.
The CSS Problem
Reddit is working on a redesign of the site and for a very long time, they have used CSS as the mechanism to customize subreddits. Now thanks to the impending redesign process, they will use another system instead of CSS and they have reasons for it.
First, CSS is web only and since they revealed that over 50% of people are using Reddit on mobile (they now have official mobile apps), they want the subreddit owners to customize them which can be seen on phones. He also pointed out that CSS is difficult, error prone, time consuming and some of the changes can cause confusion. Finally, Huffman said that CSS limits them to make changes quickly.
Now Reddit will design a new set of tools to address the above challenges with CSS. These tools will allow the subreddit moderators to select the customization options for key areas of the subreddit like for header images and flair colours so that they are rendered properly on mobile and desktop
Huffman says that mod tools are among the “most complex” parts of Reddit and they know that they are crucial in these communities. They are not out to break them since there are some with large subreddits that depend on third party tools to run them.
Now they are in contact with developers of Toolbox so that they can port it to the new design. After that, they will update these tools which includes supporting natively the most requested features from Toolbox.
In a bid not to initially break these tools, Reddit will run in parallel the existing site and the redesigned site so that if you’re dependent on a tool that has not been transferred, you’ll still be able to use it.
Well, Reddit is planning some extensive changes for its new design and it won’t be long till the process of phasing out the old design begins.