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The New Tutorial9 Preview

It’s been a long time coming, but we’re finally ready to share some of what we’ve been working on with everyone. The Tutorial9 Preview is just that—a preview—but it already feels like a lot has changed. If you want the inside scoop of what’s new, read on.

New Mission

The new Tutorial9 has been built around one central idea: We want to share only the best resources for designers, every day.

Our new site combines our own frequent original content, and aggregates outstanding content from other publishers. We are not another digg-clone though—all of the links submitted to Tutorial9 are manually approved by very picky editors. By putting our reputation on the line in our cooperative selection of links, we know our readers can trust that they’re being served only the best of the best.

A Change in Philosophy

But the new Tutorial9 isn’t just about a user submitted links system. We are very much an entirely new Tutorial9. One of the biggest changes that we’re making may come as a shock to some of our older viewers: We’re moving on from being a completely “free” experience.

Up until now, we’ve depended entirely on ad revenue to power one of the largest tutorial publications online. We constantly were going over our monthly budget that for paying contributors. The only answer for us in the past has been: “Well, guess we better create some new ad positions and hope they sell.”

Truthfully, we think this model could probably keep up for several more years just fine. Long term however, we’re not sure this model is sustainable. If ad inventory is limitless, the value is… well, awful. Not to mention, ads start to look messy very quickly when there are too many of them. The long-term sustainability of low-end advertising online is iffy at best for medium to large publishers.

As explained though, it’s very difficult to constantly publish top-notch tutorials and downloads when limited by ad revenue. For this reason, we’re developing a “Club” program that will grant members access to extra materials (and a very powerful license) for a small monthly fee. More details on this program will be available soon.

New Membership System

One of the most obvious new features on Tutorial9 is our new membership system. With the new Tutorial9, we’re attempting to build an engaging community around the best design resources available online. Our membership system provides a few really neat metrics for seeing your status in the community:


Stickers are collectable items that can be earned by performing certain actions around Tutorial9. They keep a historical account of your accomplishments in the community, and provide users with fun-to-achieve goals.

Did you submit your first link to Tutorial9? Have a sticker. Was one of your comments especially insightful or helpful? Yup.

Each sticker is documented in your own personal Sticker Collection (example) where you can see your achievements, or share them with others. When a member unlocks a sticker, they’re also awarded with a certain number of Cloud Points, which brings us to…

Cloud Points

Cloud Points are the currency for your actions in the Tutorial9 community. Points are earned whenever somebody upvotes a comment you posted, whenever you unlock a sticker, and whenever you perform a variety of other tasks on the site. At the moment, they’re a great way to see how much value you’ve added to the Tutorial9 community, but in the future they might just be worth something a bit more tangible…

Progress of the Preview

The Tutorial9 Preview will be updated in iterations as we’re ready to reveal new features. If you find something out of place, please send us a quick email telling us about the problem. We’ll be posting regular updates here detailing fixes and changes as we make them.

This is only a preview. We wanted to share the new experience with our readers before the final product is ready, and hopefully let our community share in the creation of the completed website. Your feedback is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to having you participate in this preview with us.


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    well, gonna say that the new look is okay. i like it, it looks light n clean…. n hope for this site will be better n better in near future…. nice stickers also :D

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    Really nice features. In fact, i checked alexa whether i entered to another site mistakenly :)
    Keep up the great work!

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    This is my first time at Tutorial9, but I like the current preview so far. Did you guys check out the work of DesignFloat or IconBuffet?

    IconBuffet had a great idea too but then they stopped creating free icon sets. However, still a fun site because they seem to have created more than 100 sets to collect before they stopped.

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      Yup, we’re familiar with both (haven’t been to IconBuffet in years!)

      We’re not trying to be another digg-clone like Design Float (not that they’re doing anything wrong). We have our own set of goals. The biggest differences between what we’re doing and a democratic link system is that we’re publishing our own content still, and all links must be manually approved by an editor to ensure top quality.

      There are some similarities between what we’re doing, and what I remember about IconBuffet. While our primary goal is to share the best resources for designers every day, a big part of our new site is creating a central social platform for designers who want to learn and create. We’ve started building a rewards system that will continue to develop over the coming months, and will soon be adding in a “Club” program that will allow access to extra downloads.

      Glad to hear you like the preview so far. Let us know if you have any more feedback regarding the site so far :)

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    You did a great job until now, I bet that we wont be disappointed when you finish the whole job :)

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    Hi David,

    I think that’s a GREAT mission to have – as it’s also one that I embrace :) I also think it’s a great idea to change directions from a publishing model to a hybrid publishing and directory model.

    I don’t have nearly the success you have built from this blog but I’ve made the switch from publishing to directory a year or two back with moderate success. If there’s anything I can do to help you in your process, please feel free to let me know :)

    All the best,


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    Are there any plans for a Tutorial9 forum?

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    Question: have you guys considered integrating BuddyPress with tutorial9? I’ve noticed that you’re using WordPress as the backend, and buddypress may be a great way to integrate some more social features :)

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      Actually, yes! In one of our later iterations of the new site, we started using BuddyPress to help with the development of the site.

      That phase didn’t last very long though. BuddyPress does A LOT of things really well, but many of those things were just extra baggage for us. Instead, we just started developing those features we wanted from scratch, exactly how we wanted them built.

      The result is a faster, more efficient Tutorial9, which ultimately will be more easily built upon since all of the code powering it is custom built for us. We’re going to keep adding more social features, and ways for the community to show off what they’ve created as time goes on :)

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        Very exciting! I do see what you mean about BuddyPress.

        What about bbpress for a forum instead of using WordPress comments?

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          Definitely a possibility, but the same concern applies with extra baggage.

          We’re experimenting with some forum-like prototypes that would work very well with the existing framework provided by WordPress. For instance, we could allow any user on T9 to create a forum thread (using the WP posts table), and entire discussions could be held in that thread via comments (simply using an enhanced set of styles/features).

          Anyways, the point is that when it comes to extending our custom platform, whenever we do it with custom code, we’re only getting the parts we need. No wasteful processes, no limitations without customizing someone else’s code. Looking back at the site so far on the WordPress platform, we’re already considering moving off WordPress altogether in a future update. WP is a great project, and makes rapid development a breeze, but it too has a lot of inefficiencies for our specific needs (since it has to develop for everyone).

          But yes, a dedicated forum system would be pretty neat around here :) Until then, we’re going to experiment with controlled “open forums“.

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            Yes, I see. I was curious as to why you are using WordPress instead of building your own solution off a framework such as Codeigniter – it would seem that the WordPress structure doesn’t really match the functional needs of tutorial9. If anything, something like Pligg ( might be more of a fit. But then again, WordPress is pretty amazing and does have a great community. I also adore W3 Total Cache.

            What you’ve done with the points and stickers is pretty darn cool, and if you decide to move off of WordPress maybe you could spin off those features as distributed plugins :)

            Or if you decide to stick on WP, maybe check out GravityForms: – to deal with user submissions/user threads/whatever. But then again there’s the bloat issue :)

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    the idea is cool, and i believe what we’re seeing now is not the final product, it’s just a beta-test right? a preview?

    high hopes this site will be better, and not becoming another “best of list” website around there..

    good luck guys! oh, btw there is no “write tutorial for us” session again? *lol*

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    new site looks and feels awsome, really loving the sticker idea its a great addition to the site. Reminds of xbox achievements.

    keep up the good work.

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    Vivek Parmar (1 Point) December 8, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    looks good and clean, still waiting for something new

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    looks very clean, fresh and easy to use.

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    Definitely like the new cleaner, sleeker look! Typography is awesome too, great font choice. I’ve been following your blog for a goodly long time and I really think this is a nice, timely, evolution for Tutorial 9.

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    Liking the site. Couple of very nice design features and have been a reader since back in the day. As long as you keep some original stuff coming then I should be happy.

    One thing to watch out for though… You can “vote-up” (if that’s what the little arrows mean) your own comment. I cant see that leading to a bit of gamesmanship.

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    I love the new idea, but I do have one question. Will those who submit top-notch tutorials or other articles still be paid?

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    I love the animation when hovering over the stamps. Its the little things… :)

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    Thanks for this new system. As a Cruzine magazine co-founder I’m happy that now we can post our original articles here :) Thanks

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    Thank you Tutorial9 for the great design concepts, resources, tutorials. I love every contribution and cant wait for the next email update on the hot topics in design, web etc. I love the new design and the approach of membership

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    Bullardino (1 Point) December 7, 2010 at 9:36 am

    Nice layout, looking forward to reading some new tutorial.

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    I have just noticed the search bar. It would be recognizable if you make it lighter.

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    Elizabeth (5 Points) December 7, 2010 at 2:13 am

    I love the new concept and can’t wait to contribute in a more thoughtful and engaged community. Foursquare-esque with the badges; I look forward to earning a few! :) Ahem… them all!

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    I’m really happy with the new philosophy and the enthusiasm you people have for sharing only the best content out there. I’m sorry to say that a lot of people are just blogging big lists of resources and the’re forgetting to actually write or design something creative. I hope here @ Tutorial9 I’ll find only the best articles and I will help you guys promote only the best content out there.

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      This is exactly what we’re up against. In the previous iteration of Tutorial9, we actually stopped posting anything that resembled a list (almost entirely). We think lists can serve a purpose, but it sure is disappointing to see unoriginal valueless collections popping up too often.

      It’s very reassuring to hear something like this from a reader. Thanks vlad!

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    very clean an easy to use site! love it!

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    Loving it man, not only am I thrilled to see the site going in a fun new direction, but the interactivity and community aspect is great. The design and developer world is full of so many awesome people that I really enjoy any type of interactions that can take place. I look forward to the preview and to see what comes next. Great work!

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  24. Add point Subtract point

    Love the site concept. Excited to see fully loaded version!

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    Wow, awesome site guys! Love the sticker idea.

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    Great concept, please have api for devs, and let us customise the stickers. That way it will be mor personal.

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    I love the concept!

    The design is pretty minimalistic, but I think it fits with what you are trying to achieve… very cool.

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    Andrea (5 Points) December 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    For me now the site lost his SOUL of design.
    I dont like the idea to be another “best of tuts” collector, for this the righ tool is google reader or any feed reader that let you categorize best tutorial..

    And the new design is so minimalistic nothing special, nothing that was amazing like the design before, now seems like any other minimalist design.

    I am really unhappy disappointed with your choices but what can I do..

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    Wow, very happy to have you guys back. By the way really diggin the new point system. Kind of reminds me of Xbox Microsoft Points and also for some reason Call of Duty. It will be cool in the future to use the points to purchase icons, fonts, brushes, textures, PSD files, and anything else. Keep up the great work and cant wait for the new content.

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    I can see that you’ve changed the “personal” look and feel to a more “business” theme. I love the idea of the change more than the change it self. Thumbs up for the light version though :-)

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    Dario Calonaci (1 Point) December 6, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    It’s unrecognaisable! I always loved your look with the central post and the personalised header with big tabs…now it look more like an ordinary company site! It lost all the personality!

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      That’s an understandable concern. We definitely did not aim to be recognized. We want to re-identify with people as a new kind of website from what we used to be.

      We want the characters in our website to become the highlight of our personality. Yes: We’ll still focus on producing premium grade resources, but we want the community here to outshine gimmicky graphics.

      That said, we’ll add in more flavor as time goes on. We have a lot more to reveal. Do you think you’ll be able to enjoy the new direction?

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    Connor (0 Points) December 6, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    For the love of god, change it back :’(
    At the very least you could add a bit of padding on the left hand side and make it better formatted for laptops

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    I enjoy the preview very much. But will my submissions be approved?

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    i must say that Tutorial9 is the best site when it gets to finding tutorials. thought Tutsplus is pretty good to. but T9 is free and that is why it’s so awesome.. stay awesome ;)

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    I think this is a good idea.. I will encourage active participation from the users..

    Would be glad to be a beta tester! Yep, I have signed up.

    I’m looking forward for the final launching and the club program. Cheers!

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    I look forward to seeing what the club program offers … and obsessively collecting stickers.

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    Looking forward to see how this turns out. Even though I like the idea of achievements to make users more active, I guess it’s yet to see how this will work in “real life”.

    Best wishes!

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    No (real) preview-screenshots? Haha. I’m looking forward to the launch of the final site.

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      I’m pretty sure this is what they’re going for, at least in terms of look and feel- Khalid! I think what we’re seeing is a soft launch, with a handful of new features and more to come.

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      *This* Is the preview :)

      We want to test out some of these new features with our fans and see how they work in this open test. This gives us a unique opportunity to work together with our readers int he development of the new site.

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        Khalid (2 Points) December 6, 2010 at 4:18 pm

        @EdoubleLIOT and David Leggett:

        I understand that this is actually a real preview, but I thought that there were some featured that aren’t yet visible so I was referring to a final preview. For example: Maybe you had planned to make a ‘featured content slider’…
        And screenshots of pages with more CSS styling, like the boxes T9 used before for notes, information, table of content et cetera. As a web designer, I always look to that kind of details.

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          Gotcha. Yes, there are a lot of unfinished pieces, as well as some features we’re just not ready to implement yet. I’ll be keeping everyone updated on the progress of those updates here though.

          And we’re definitely open to suggestions from people like you. Be sure to tell us if you have an idea in posts like this. We can’t promise we’ll implement everything, but we’ll always consider new things :)

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