First Impressions of Medium’s New Profile Pages

Medium has launched the beta of their new profile pages — what’s changed?

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Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Earlier today, Medium launched the beta for their redesigned profile pages. If you haven’t seen the new design yet, you can check it out on my profile.

What’s New

The redesign includes two major additions to the profile pages. The first is adding customization options which allow writers to have more control of the visual appearance of our profile pages. We can now choose background and accent colors, adjust the header (including adding a header image), and enable/disable a sidebar with our profile description.

It’s nice to have these new customization options, although they do feel a little limited at the moment. I’m useless with visual design, so I just tried out a few color combinations from Color Hunt until I found one I liked.

The second major addition in the redesign is that the stories on the profile page now display the first few paragraphs of each post. In the past, only the title, subtitle, and picture were shown.

I assume that this second change is intended to help with reader retention. I can definitely see how it would help build a reader’s interest and convince them to click through to the full story. The downside is that profiles now feel a little clunkier to navigate.

What’s Gone

The redesign didn’t just add new features, it also appears to have removed some of the information that used to be on the profile page.

The new profile pages seem to be missing follower counts, publication membership, and whether the writer has “top writer status” in any topics on Medium. The links to our social media pages are also absent.

I’m not sure whether this is an intended permanent change or not. I think it was nice to have all of that information in one place, and some of it is now nearly impossible to find. That might be the point though. It makes me wonder if Medium might be phasing out or deemphasizing these features altogether, especially “followers” and “top writer status.”

As far as I can tell, they’ve also removed the ability to feature a specific story at the top of your profile. Now stories display in strictly reverse chronological order. This is the change I’ll miss the most, because I liked to always feature one of my better posts at the top of my profile so that new readers can start off with the writing that I’m most proud of.

I think the ability to feature stories should even be expanded on — allowing us to feature multiple stories, or to sort our stories into different categories on our profile, as if it was a publication. Unfortunately, for now it seems like we’ll be stuck always seeing the most recent story first.

Glitches

So far, the new profile pages seem to be working nearly flawlessly. The only glitch I’ve noticed so far is that my profile description displayed a little incorrectly on my phone. I sent in some beta feedback about it, but it’s such a minor point and it really doesn’t affect usability.

Closing Thoughts

In the end, I wonder how much any changes will really affect the reading or writing experiences on Medium. The truth is that I normally only look at a writer’s profile when I first start following them, and then I rely on Medium’s front page to show me when they’ve written something new. It makes me wonder how much our Medium profiles actually matter.

With that said, I’m overall a little underwhelmed by the new profile pages. They definitely look nicer, but I think Medium removed way too many features without adding much new. I hope that as the beta continues they’ll either bring some of these features back, or replace them with even better new ones.

Written by

I’m a lawyer and teacher from North Carolina. I write about sobriety, mental health, running, and more.

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