Well, it looks like Smashing Magazine launched a new layout without telling us. They’ve retained the clean look from the previous design, though the main content area isn’t nearly as wide as it had been previously.
About 50% of the screen (1024×768) is devoted to the content, and the remaining 50% is used-up by the sidebar. The content area is relatively sized, so it shrinks and expands depending on your browser size…so don’t view SM at 800×600 resolution!
The new horizontal navigation looks great, and it makes it a lot easier to jump to specific categories, something I do a lot when I visit Smashing Magazine.
The space below the horizontal nav looks a little empty to me, containing just the logo. They could use something there, but Smashing, if you’re reading this, please don’t put an ad there! Before the redesign, the site was getting a little ad-heavy, but it looks nice and clean now.
Smashing Magazine has done a good job at making their previous “overly-clean” theme more interesting, without giving up all of the whitespace. My only real complaint is that the AdSense blocks on the post pages seem a little wide for the 500px (approx.) content area you get at 1024×768 resolution. It probably looks better if you have a nice big LCD monitor though.
To wrap this design review up, here’s a content map of the new design: