SqncBrk Rebirth

Case study of the most recent redesign of SqncBrk, done in 2018–2019.

The redesign of 2015–2016 is covered in a separate study.

Screenshot of SqcnBrk homepage
Screenshot of SqncBrk homepage

By late 2018 I hade a small list of UX issues, architectural issues and just general visual improvements that I wanted to introduce to a new version of SqncBrk. It was time for a big rewrite. Firstly, I wanted to part ways with old logo and set way for new glitchy branding reflecting updated vision for the project.

New logo hover animation

New tone was set by blocky Alternate Gothic Pro that was used to typeset the logo and glitch effect used for the hover. The “Load more” button got an appropriate matching hover style.

“Load more” button hover animation

Same visual style continues throghout the whole site motif: i.e. the styling for lazy-loading images embraces lo-fi pixelated aesthetic instead of going for more traditional blur-up technique or showing spinning preloader.

Pixelated low-quality loading state on the left. Fully loaded, high quality image on the right
Screenshots of loading progress on mobile viewport

The general layout of the page was refined and re-done with CSS grid. The asymmetrical distribution of whitespace stayed, but the proportion of it and looks on big HD screens was fine-tuned to be less awkward. Mobile layouts were improved as well.

Comparison of HD and mobile layouts

One of the best things to come out of this redesign was finally getting rid of hamburger menu which was there for the first two versions of SqncBrk. I always disliked it for all its UX shortcomings, but couldn't quite figure out how else to provide top-level links to two most important articles on the website (About and On Metroidvanias). The solution was simply letting go of the idea of their importance and realizing that the key interaction in that menu was search which now was a key action. Links to the two articles were just attached to it as suggestions.

Search animation

Search results page was revamped to follow suit. Another minor accessibility fix that was introduced — a prompt on how to trigger search request right underneath the huge prominent search input.

Search results page with two-column output with previews
Screenshot of search results page

The last piece of eye candy was all new “slide-in” footer. It utilized the same grid as everything else and just a tiny bit of creative CSS for pleasant visual effect.

Footer animation

Performance of the site was also vastly improved with this rewrite. While it was good previosly, there were still a few things to improve. This time having more knowledge about optimization techniques and component-based CSS model I managed to achieve a perfect score in Google's Pagespeed Insights. Fast loading time was a win for my readers as much as it was a reason to be proud of my developers' prowess.

100/100 speed score of sqncbrk.com