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Medium revamps design, upgrades ‘Beautiful Stories’

Medium, a blog publishing platform from the creators of Blogger and Twitter, has updated its design to focus more on visual elements in a post, and has also changed the way its collections work.

by Nick Tjaardstra nick.tjaardstra@wan-ifra.org | December 5, 2013

Medium, launched just over a year ago, has always had one key objective: “to make it dead simple to write and present a beautiful story without having to be a designer or programmer,” said Evan Williams co-founder of Medium in a blog post.

Its redesign, called Medium 1.0, is working towards making stories on the website have more visual power and greater impact.

Mathew Ingramin an article for GigaOm, spoke of the benefits of the new design for Medium. The new collection of posts that Medium calls Beautiful Stories or, “stories that showcase what you can do with Medium,” really demonstrate what remarkable visuals can accomplish.

The Beautiful Stories collection includes, “How We Make Chocolate: From bean to bar at Dandelion Chocolate,” a visual story that takes you from the cacao trees to show how Dandelion chocolate bars are produced. The collection also shows haunting images in, “Imaging the Post-Antibiotics Future,” an article on what everyday life might look like if antibiotics become impotent.

Beautiful Stories places visual elements at the forefront of the story. Medium 1.0’s accentuates these features; making it simple to include various kinds of images such as large cover photos for the posts and full-bleed images in the article, which can also include text. Medium has made countless adjustments so that its stories look better on all devices.

Medium recently opened its doors so that anyone could publish articles on the site – but this caused a bit of confusion. Therefore, Medium has also modified the way their “collections” work, which is what Medium calls groups of stories organized around a certain topic such as fashion or photography.

In the past, collections could either be invitation-only or open to the public. The redesign is making all collections the property of their creators – which Medium will now call “editors.” This modification allows “editors” to approve or reject individual submission, previously anyone could add a story to an open collection.

Medium is possibly making these changes to counter some accusations that the company needs to grow up.

Since its creation there have been many questions about what Medium really is. They have housed compelling articles but also hosted incredibly controversial stories such as Patrick McConlogue’s on teaching the homeless how to code.

Medium continues to re-iterate that it is just a platform for people to publish what they like –Twitter experienced a similar dilemma – but many believe that the line between platform and publisher is unclear at Medium.

Medium 1.0 doesn’t necessarily give any more hints on where this company is headed. But it does present a more refined blogging platform geared towards creating more visual and powerful content.

“We think these changes will provide a powerful ecosystem that helps all those who want to discover and share stories and ideas,” Williams said. “We’re just getting started.”