Wednesday, February 9

We Got a New Look!

The Other Side of the Story has a new look.
This redesign is all about making things easier to find.  As a site with over 500 articles on writing, sometimes it can be hard to find what you are after.  The site now features a comprehensive index and popular feature links to help you find  what you need, when you need it.

Well, the new design is live (yippie!) and I couldn't be happier. I love the new color scheme and style, and I think it'll be a lot easier for folks to find what they're looking for. Let me give you the tour...

 New Contents Menu
On the left we have a lovely new contents menu that breaks down the articles on the blog into easy-to-find chunks. Each link will take you to a page with a breakdown of what's in that section and the most-helpful-popular-nifty posts in that topic, followed by links to pull up all the articles on that topic.

New Features Links
Up top, you'll see a series of boxes with popular articles. These will randomize every time the page is refreshed so there will be new things to see every time. When articles reach "popular" status (determined by my tech-guru and his numbers) then it'll be added to the rotation. 

New Tags
Each article has been re-tagged to better assist you in finding what you're looking for. These tags will correspond to the contents menu. 

New Tags Index
Some topics defy easy classification in an index, and some people like to use tag searches.  We still have a full listing of tags that you can use to locate anything on the site.  The link to the full tag listing is at the bottom of the Contents menu.

Why the New Look?
There's a lot of information on this blog, but it wasn't so easy to find older articles. I really want this blog to become a helpful resource for writers, and to do that, it has to be inviting and user-friendly.  It should be just as easy for first-time visitors to find articles as long-time readers.

And I'm Not Done Yet
This blog will continue be a work in progress, and I'll always be on the lookout for ways to improve it. I'll be fleshing out the contents, adding more info to areas with only a few articles so far, working up more articles on the fundamentals, refining the index, etc.

See Anything Wrong?
This redesign has taken a lot of effort and is a first draft in some ways.  We spent weeks re-working existing content, and creating the new Index pages.  Surely there are a few typos or errors lurking in there somewhere.  If you spot anything we missed, don't hesitate to drop us a note.

40 comments:

  1. Looks great! Very user friendly. Can't wait to dive in :-)

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  2. Very cool! It seems spacious and fun somehow. Great job.
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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  3. Over 500 entries on writing?! Yeesh. You go, girl!

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  4. I like it. Very easy to navigate.

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  5. Question of the week: How does Janice Hardy do it? Does she eat? Does she sleep? Congrats on the great new look and a LOT of gratitude for the content.

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  6. I love the new design. It's so bright and user friendly. My bookmark updated just fine. Is your husband willing to help your friends when we get websites? Not sure my computer husband will be much help. Just kidding. But he's awesome.

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  7. For me too it looks excellent, very clean and extremely well-organised! Top marks - I can imagine it wasn't easy.

    Re pointing out issues, I'd suggest only looking at the vertical spacing between lists to be sure it is regular. For example here:

    http://blog.janicehardy.com/2008/01/craft-and-technique.html

    there's no space between 'Storytelling' and Style'. As you mention, it's entirely normal there'll be minor issues of this type in anything so ambitious; they can just be ironed out over time as spotted.

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  8. Love your new design! Thanks for making articles easier to find.

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  9. WOW! Your blog was wonderful before, now it's uber-wonderful!

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  10. LOVE the new look!! Thanks for making it easier to find your brilliance :D

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  11. Quite frankly, with the vast amount of brilliantly useful writing information you post, I'm astounded that this redesign isn't sponsored by a coffee company. What is your secret?? Do you have 26 hours in your day? Superpowers? Drugs?

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  12. Hi everyone, Tom here.

    Keep in mind that everything great is Janice's work and ideas and anything that's broken or ugly or bad is all me!

    We debated a while over where to create a post about the hows and whys of the changes. While our first reaction was to share the behind the scenes info with everyone, we were not sure if it held any interest for the readership. So we'll leave it up to everyone. If we get enough requests to do a walk-through on the what/why/how, then we'll put something up.

    Porky,
    thanks for the report. I fixed the spacing. It was totally my fault. Anything related to "How many
    tags do I need here?" is my responsibility :)

    Natalie,
    I'm willing to chat with you or anyone who needs any pointers. Overall we spent somewhere around 5 full-time days of my time on the redesign and Janice put in twice that at least.

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  13. Thanks so much everyone! I'm thrilled you all like it. I don't think I've ever had so many comments this early before :)

    The real thanks goes to my husband, Tom, who did most of the work on this redesign. Things I don't even know how he did it. He really knows his stuff when it comes to site design and he's the brains behind it all. I helped and gave opinions (and balked on some stuff until he was able to convince me it really *was* a good idea) but this is all him. I can take credit for the writing part :) And the new header.

    Porky: Thanks, I'll get that fixed! (if Tom hasn't seen these comments and done it already)

    This has also been my whole focus the last several weeks, which helped a lot in getting it done finally. Not a single word of fiction was written during this time, LOL. I'm surprised I was even able to get the blog posts done. It was all worth it, though :)

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  14. I like the new look, really, especially those random articles on the top. I already found one that interests me and is dated 2y ago :D
    Although, I miss the dark colors of the old one since I love reading in the dark and this white hurts my eyes a bit, but that's just my preference

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  15. Oooo, looks fantastic! I can't wait to explore :)

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  16. Love the new layout. Kind of miss the blue, though.

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  17. I LOVE the new look! Really, it's brilliant and so helpful. This is now one of go-to blogs for writing advice and I've recommended it to all my writer friends. Fantastic!

    One thing I don't like, I use an RSS feeder to read blog posts. Your posts are now truncated, forcing me to click through to the blog itself to read the full post. While I do sometimes enjoy clicking through, I also read at work, and blogs are blocked. RSS feeds are the only way for me to get my daily news, so by truncating it, I won't always be able to read.

    Is it possible to go back to full posts on RSS feeds like before? What if I ask pretty please? :)

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  18. I love it, Janice! The links in the sidebar are especially useful. :)

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  19. Love the new look! I don't comment very often, but I love your blog. The new look and organization is much cleaner, very nice!

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  20. Stephanie M. Lorée,
    I've re-enabled the full feed for RSS. That was adjusted temporarily because we were having some conflicting information coming back to us regrading the number of RSS feeds being sent out. Diagnostically we put in some tracking information and adjusted a few things so we could get an idea of how many RSS viewers she had. As Janice would say "You have to know who your audience is!".

    It's all back to normal now.

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  21. Thanks guys! The sidebar links were one of the things that prompted this, actually. I figured there had to be a better way to put writers together with topics :)

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  22. Looking good! Nicely organized so far, and since you have SO much great advice, it'll make it even easier to find that. Thanks!

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  23. So, you know I had to refresh a few times to see the boxes change. Fun. I love the index on the left!

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  24. The new site looks great! The colors are fresh and inviting. Looking forward to reading your future posts and perusing your archives!

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  25. Awesome!! I love the new color scheme and the easy find tabs up top. thanks from one of your dedicated readers. :)

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  26. Hooray! I like the topic list over there. This is officially the best writing blog on the internet, now.

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  27. Whoa! My jaw hit the floor! I love it! Nicely done. And I love the organization. Lovely!

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  28. This looks awesome! Congrats -- the hard work paid off!

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  29. Tom, that is so sweet that you offered to talk to us. A post on why you did what you chose in the redesign would be interesting since I bet you and Janice analyzed it like she does the craft of writing.

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  30. Wow, this is a truly brilliant change! You both did an awesome job.

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  31. Thanks for all your generous work Janice, and you too, Tom.

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  32. This is fabulous. Thank you both for all the hard work to make the site so welcoming and useful.

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  33. Hey, looks nice and easy to use! That's a ton of work you've done!

    I kinda miss the old colors, though. ^_^

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  34. Thanks again everyone! I'm really overwhelmed by all the well-wishes and I'm thrilled y'all like the new look :)

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