You may have noticed a few changes around here starting last week. Serendipity being what it is, I was on vacation, and unable to make a proper introduction for our new site design, but after letting it sink in for a few days, and seeing some of the comments from our readers come in, I’d like to take a moment and express some of the intent behind the new look.
Obviously our primary goal is always to provide interesting content for folks to read, and make it as easy to access as possible. The old GeekDad site was the product of the best web design that 4 years ago could give, but it was very static and could be terribly kludgy. In a number of ways, the new template brings us up to date.
The first is the new format of what we call “the river,” the main column of blog posts that updates every day. Previously, you would see either whole posts, or partial posts – it depended upon the length of the story and in many ways the arbitrary whims of the authors and editors. Stories on the river ran very long down the page, requiring a lot of scrolling to access, and site statistics told us that most visitors would only ever read the top 2-3 posts at any given visit, which limited the shelf-life of daily content.
The new design presents stories in a visually-attractive summary format that allows you to see more of what has been recently posted at a single glance, from which you can click through to only the stories that interest you, rather than forcing you to scroll down and search out the day’s offerings. There’s a nifty feature having to do with the page width as well. Depending upon what screen size you view the page at, the story excerpts appear or disappear, to make the best use of the real estate provided (try playing with it by viewing the page at full screen versus a smaller window).
Images are a big part of the new design, and the featured-post gallery at the top reflects this. Time has proven to us that the best way to get people interested in a story is to put appealing visuals with it, and the gallery is turning that idea up to eleven. Each day, certain stories will be chosen for the gallery that we think will especially interest our readers, so keep an eye on the space.
And lastly, we have a new content stream in a new column on the blog: Elsewhere. In may ways, this is an extension of our social media offerings via Twitter and Facebook, as well as our Community site, all of which we use to try to build our relationship with each of you. These will be links out to stories or other content on other sites that we find interesting, but which probably already say something better that we can ourselves. They are mini-posts with their own comment sections as well, so if you want to chat about items with your GeekDad co-readers, you can.
We know change can be jarring, and we’ve definitely noticed a few folks who are less-than-happy here at the outset. But first and foremost know that the content isn’t changing. We will continue writing about the things that interest us as geeks and parents. We honestly feel that this new delivery method will bring you that content in a more efficient and effective manner, and the reality is that we have to keep you all interested and reading if we want to be able to keep doing this. If you have constructive criticisms about the new design, please feel free to leave comments. Of course, if you love it, feel free to effuse about it as well. We’re not immune to flattery!