Redesign of iwillteachyoutoberich coming — I’m looking for feedback

Ramit Sethi · March 5th, 2009

As anyone who’s run a website knows, whenever you launch a redesign, the community goes crazy, starts ranting about moving to Canada, and then gets used to the changes a week later. So today, I want to show you guys some early mockups we’re been working with for an iwillteachyoutoberich redesign.

None of this is final (!!!), so if you have comments, please leave them below. I’m sure we missed a bunch of things and we’re totally open to adding/changing page elements.

Basic framework:

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One issue is that people come to the site and don’t know what the hell is going on. As a result, I’ll be offering a gentle onboarding process to get people answers to a few common questions (“What should I do with my money? Pay off debt or invest? Should I buy a house?”)

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A little easier to see what’s going on all at once:

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Thanks for your feedback.

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  1. Tom Davenport

    As a design it’s great, but the background colour is a bit glum. A fresher green like the one behind the scrooge strategy logo would be nicer to sit in front of.

  2. Jeremy

    Overall I think it looks great. I really dig the olive green foundation for the site too. Not a fan of bright colors overall. Can’t wait to see the final product.

    Will you be sharing who the designer is as well once completed?

  3. Looks good. I agree wholeheartedly with the concept…I visited the site twice before I started reading it. Both times my reaction was “what the hell is this place…click.” The last time, I actually read the post someone sent me, enjoyed it, got your RSS feed and never came back to the site until now.

    But yeah, I really like the redesign. That last image manages to pack in a crapload of content without overwhelming.

  4. Matt Huckabee

    Love the new design! I really like the onboarding process idea…it would have really helped me when I started reading! Will that community tab go to the Ning community?

  5. John Stephens

    They’re great-looking. Third mock-up looks most complete, and I like that color-scheme best among the options you’ve shared.

    The things I like from mock-up two are the prominence of the newsletter sign-up and the photograph. I prefer that to the video. I presume the newsletter sign-up will be featured in the call to action block?

    Can’t wait to see this come to life.

  6. awesome.. I’m excited for the redesign!

  7. I think everyone will like the last one… out of the three, I think it’s the best. But, I think it’s looks very busy – like, a lot of things going on at once. Maybe it’ll look different when actual content is placed in the TBD areas.

    But yes, #3 gets my vote.

  8. D’oh .. all the same! Nice work overall then!

  9. Looks great, like a grown up website and everything.

  10. Nikola Sivkov

    hmm the third teplate (screenshot) + the first green (screenshot) scheme will be awsome 🙂

  11. I like it! Much more organized… People usually only complain when the redesign sucks 😉

  12. Love it!
    I was wondering if you were going to tie in any of the super bright colors from the book on the site?
    Personally I like the subdued green better.

  13. Jim Puls

    Hey Ramit! You should use my team’s product Backboard ( to get feedback on this. That way, your peeps can highlight what they like and don’t like and see all of the version in one place.

  14. Hey Ramit — looks great so far. The green in the fist example catches my eye right away and makes me feel like something exciting is happening here. The concept of the second is a great way to tailor your content to the individual user, which appeals to the organizational side of the writer/editor in me. Otherwise (and I admit that this is a tad nit-picky), you might consider using parallel headers “_the_ blog,” “_the_ book,” “_the_ community,” etc… Thanks for sharing.

  15. Rachel

    Love it Ramit, particularly the use of design through typography. Number 3 is busy so be careful about that – there is no dominant element on the page and no clear guideline about where the eye should go next. I prefer name of site in black and your photo in the “about” section. I love the “not a scam” and logos of respectable news organizations at the top of the page.

  16. I like the first one better, Ramit please keep it simplistic.
    The more simple the better. =) congrats

  17. Pishabh Badmaash

    I’m Canadian so if I don’t like it, I’ll threaten to move to Texas

  18. Justin

    I like the more subtle sage. The bright colors talking about money remind me of the guy in question marks on the court steps. The last pic looks very professional. When I suggest your blog to friends and classmates, I have to convince them that you are a legitimate source. The more subtle and professional page design adds credibility even before we read the post =]
    One of my favorite blogs to read is Leo Babauta’s “Zen Habits”. Clean, crisp, and still vibrant.

  19. That’s it… I’m moving to Canada.

    Seriously, you got so much good stuff collected on the site, would be great to organize it better. But I can’t really judge how that’s going to work from the two pics alone, a design is just a design.

    Organizing by issues and actions sounds like a plan. But won’t it be a lot of work to keep that stuff up to date? Don’t forget to add a ‘most popular posts’ thing and a ‘first time here?’, that’s always great.

    Also, well, I can understand that people come to the site and have no idea what’s going on. Why not put a little bit of text – like one paragraph, where you summarize the whole philosophy. Don’t rely on just a video (which is a good idea btw, because people are not always able to watch a video… like, at work). A bit of a challenge, sure, but if it resonates with what the visitor is looking for, you take away the ‘oh, yet another PF blog…’ thoughts… Because this stuff is unique, man!

  20. I think the third is the most modern and feels the most like a complete site. As long as the blog remains straight forward and easy to read, then it’s the strongest of the three.

    Just be sure to keep your ad space up top capable of handling 728×90 as well as 468×60. I work for an ad network, and the number of available campaigns, as well as the rate they pay, is far greater for 728’s than it is for 468 these days.

    Also, your pic in the second one looks like you’re attempting to channel Don Johnson and would probably work better if you were attempting to get me to buy large reflective sunglasses, rather than finance books.

  21. I like the design, especially of the third comp. The background is more subdued and the layout provides a lot of content without overwhelming.

    My one issue with that design, though, is that I don’t see your tag line or any immediate messaging that tells the uninitiated user what this site is. The current site at least has a tag line “A blog on personal finance (banking, saving, budgeting and investing) and personal entrepreneurship.”

    Make sure that a new user IMMEDIATELY knows what they’ll find on the site… and I think you’ll be good to go.

  22. My only gripe is the “IT’S NOT A SCAM” line. Been following you for years already, so I know you’re not a scam. But reading that makes me think of a politician who starts a speech with the words, “TRUST ME. I’M NOT LYING”.

    After that, my bullcrap detectors go into overdrive.

  23. I like 3. The call to action block is very good. I would stretch the size of the content block, and shrink or move the “recent posts” block.

  24. The “IT’S NOT A SCAM” line will have a negative effect. Don’t scare people off before they had the opportunity to know you (or the blog, in this case).
    I really like the “gentle onboarding process to get people answers to a few common questions” section. It’s a nice thing to show newcomers.
    Mockup #1’s green is a bit too flashy.

    Go redesign, go!

  25. guinness416

    I like the screen shots a lot, except what I can see of the logo/IWTYTBR text on the top left. Love the piggie, could you put him up there?

    I’m not trying to be smart, but is the stanford stuff really meaningful to anyone? I don’t understand why you highlight that, putting what your day job is or something would make more sense to me.

  26. Good design. Not quite sure what the color scheme is. Not enjoying the lime/gray/olive.

  27. The new design looks pretty good (although I usually read through RSS). I have one request … can you please get rid of that stupid ‘guy getting punched in the face’ picture that appears after I leave a comment? I have no idea what a knockout has to do with a comment, but several times I’ve refrained from commenting because I don’t want to see that gross image.

  28. Jeremy Salter


    I really like the redesign! Layout seems to be good, gives a clear overview of the different areas of the site. I especially like the “Why are you here” part, it’ll give people the confidence that the information IS relevant to them. I might suggest you go with a darker green though, I’m not a big fan of the olive-ish…


  29. Agustin

    Ramit, I liked the first one.

    Greetings from Argentina

  30. I like that it looks more like a website that has a blog

    Will there be categorized blogs? Most popular posts

    I would really love if things were categorized so that i don’t have to look back 25 posts to find something.

  31. Forget that last comment.

    i like the new design 🙂

  32. Sorry about that last comment….I like the new design.

  33. Carlin

    Sell out. Looks better though.

  34. I agree with those saying that it looks good but is a bit too busy (number 3), especially to newcomers. I think most internet site layouts are overly busy, BTW.

  35. Just seconding other comments: I like how it looks like a website and not just a blog; you should standardize your tab titles to either all include definite articles, or none at all; you should take out “It’s not a scam” (but leave the news logos); and the knockout comment picture is indeed irritating.

  36. Battra92

    If it fixes some of the broken links (links to articles from articles seem to be hit or miss around here) than I’m all for it.

    They all look vaguely mac-ish.

  37. I like the simplicity and usability of the design, but the choice of green is questionable. I like the colors on your scholarship website. Very clean and elegant. The green on these mock-ups are a little too eye popping (the content & background on the first one) and too glum on the other others (background on the rest of the images)

  38. Number three makes my eyes bleed.

    Honestly though, I feel it is overloaded and busy. Video here! Clickable drop-down there! Archives below! ACK! Where do I start? Should I tackle them in a circle? Left to right? Do I run them all at the same time! Sites like this overwhelm.

    I get anxious just looking at it for fear that as I am reading one thing, I am missing information elsewhere on the page. Guide the users eye. Too much information on one page causes paralysis and users will not get the most out of your fantastic content. Your info is too good to miss, and your website should reflect that – perhaps have a “Ramits Videos” tab and a “Widgets” tab. Compartmentalize, streamline, simplify.

  39. Christina

    Take off your glasses! I like the new profile picture in the redesign. You look sexier and older without your glasses.

  40. Jermaine Holmes

    I do like the new redesign. It’ll make the website more navigate-able instead of having everything fit on one page. Hope its implemented real soon.

  41. 1st one is the choice to go

  42. I like the brighter green rather than beige. It’s more exciting.

    The third pic is too busy; I’m a fan of simplicity. What will a page with just a blog post look like? I hope it’s more uncluttered.

    Perhaps instead of mentioning “It’s not a scam” (negative connotation), you can just use “Featured in:”

    Love the new picture of yourself.

  43. Another echo in the chorus for design #1; it’s more of an eye-catching color, a nice, simple design, and it’s well-organized.

  44. Alex B

    The best thing from these is that the newsletter sign-up is not taking up all the prime real estate. Coming here for the first time, I might not realize that this is a blog and not just a book/newsletter landing page. Also be sure to make your tagline, “A blog on personal finance (banking, saving, budgeting and investing) and personal entrepreneurship.” – stand out more. It’s hard to read as it is now.

    It looks like your designs are going to make the site much easier to use.

  45. Thomas

    I see how this helps you increase page views, but how does this help me as a reader?

  46. The tab metaphor should be used only when you want to display similar info in different views, not when every tab will contain a different section of the site (as per Nielsen).
    Also, I don’t see any space allotted for advertisements in the first two concepts. That can get seriously messy if you try to shoehorn ad space into an already busy layout, and can screw with extensibility should you need to pull in a bit of additional money.
    Further, I’m not sure what sort of content will be living where, but if the users (us) are going to be able to tunnel deep down into the site, consider including a breadcrumb somewhere to let us know where we are in relation to the homepage (this is especially helpful after finding a page via on-site search on trying to orient yourself).
    And my final thought (for now), is that without seeing any sort of metrics, most people are coming here to read your blog posts. It LOOKS like you’ll only be featuring the full text of one post on the homepage, which again, based upon my assumption, is a very small fraction of what a large portion of your usership is really interested in getting at. Think about maybe breaking out a few of the more recent posts, even if theres a ‘Read More’ link or something that goes along with them. A little synopsis offers way greater visibility, especially considering the fact that some of your headlines are a bit more tongue-in-cheek than your average financial blog (IE without contextualization via preview text, ‘I am a moron part 635’, or ‘A special kind of hell’ don’t give the users much of a clue of what they’ll get upon clicking to read the full text).
    Just my two cents, cheers!

  47. As long has you have a search function I am happy. The over all design looks nice and clean.

  48. I especially liked the third image– as long as the Blog tab gives you a clean look at all the entries as we currently see it? And I agree that the “not a scam” line makes all kinds of alarms go off– I really hope you will reconsider it. You know about the “Bob not linked with the Mafia” phenomenon?
    ( I’ve found your advice very useful and like to recommend your articles to family and friends, but they are already pretty leery about taking financial advice from a “blog;” in addition to their already existing concerns about how to judge the expertise of the person writing the blog, having the word “scam” coloring their judgments (and making them wonder “so, what exactly is the proof that this isn’t a scam? What if he’s just fooling all these journalists as well?”) is not very helpful. 🙂 Can you put it in a funny but positive way?

  49. I agree w/Emma. The “This is Not a Scam” jumped out as simultaneously desperate, obnoxiously sarcastic, and scammy.

    Very strong search functionality is key, as is maintaining a balance on the home page between self-promo and useful information. May need to tip more towards useful information based on the above “home” screenshot. In the “home” example, I’d like to see the blog content have a much higher priority, e.g., wider area of the screen, more lines of content on the entries that fall after the first one.

    “Resources” as a navigation button is fairly boring. Don’t you have something more peppy, Ramit!? 🙂

    In the “products” section, the iconography is jarringly different between the pig, the boot, and the different typefaces. Way to standardize, or have each product have its own background? That section is just overall oddly placed and awkward.

    Unclear about what the graph “How much has Ramit saved you” is about. what is the 1st, 2nd 3rd?

  50. Gopakumar Sethuraman


    Another shoutout for Design #1 (it’s clean and the “Why are you here?” should probably go under a FAQ rather than a drop down) and for removing the “It’s not a scam” tagline. Maybe replace it with the equivalent of “Live by Design not by Default”?
    I loved the design of the Scholarship ( and I’d like to see that aesthetic in the redesign. Is Rasteroids Design ( doing the redesign of the website/blog/weblog?


  51. Rammit,
    After a month of using the new site, I know what bugs me. I can’t print just the article. I like to print and read, but I don’t want to print the 50 or so comments with it. Any way to add a printer friendly button for me? I know I’m killing trees and all but it’s just a nice function I like to have.