Inside Reddit’s big redesign

The social news site hasn't changed its look in years. Now casual visitors will get a glimpse of far more content.


Kevin Morris

Internet Culture

Published Oct 18, 2011   Updated Jun 3, 2021, 2:05 am CDT

If you’re a casual Reddit user, don’t be surprised if the self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet” looks quite a bit different.

The site shuffled around its default sections today, taking away one and adding 11.

For the social news site’s more than 20 million monthly unique visitors, that’s a seemingly small but ultimately important change—a “baby step,” according to general manager Erik Martin.

Reddit is made up of tens of thousands of sections, or subreddits. But users must choose to subscribe to a subreddit to view its content. Before today, every Reddit user started with ten default subscriptions.

That’s now jumped to 20.

It’s an attempt to diversify content, and give Reddit users, especially new or casual ones, more exposure to a bigger swath of the site.

In one newly promoted subreddit, for example, r/bestof, users collect all the best comments from across the site. It’s a great way to discover new content on the site.

Before today, redditors would have to stumble upon that section on their own, or see it recommended somewhere else. Now, they’ll see its posts whenever they visit.

Martin said the subreddit change is a small step in a bigger effort to get more users to customize their reddit experience.

“One of the best things about the site is the subreddit system,” Martin said.

It’s clear Martin and the rest of the Reddit staff hope the site’s users come to agree.

Reddit’s barebones user interface hasn’t changed much since it was founded in 2005. The subreddit change is a big indication that the site’s administrators are ready to slowly move to a more user-friendly, less chaotic place.

The one retired section: the  r/ subreddit, a somewhat self-referential legacy of a much older site design.

Here’s the official list of Reddit’s 20 default subscriptions:

  1. pics
  2. gaming
  3. worldnews
  4. videos
  5. todayilearned
  6. IAmA
  7. funny
  8. atheism
  9. politics
  10. science
  11. AskReddit
  12. technology
  13. WTF
  14. blog & announcements
  15. bestof
  16. AdviceAnimals
  17. Music
  18. aww
  19. askscience
  20. movies

Photo by johnattebury

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*First Published: Oct 18, 2011, 9:30 pm CDT