A few months ago I asked y’all for feedback on what you’d like to see in terms of updates to the blog.
There has been a lot of “behind the scenes” work and conversations since then, but I thought I’d share some of the progress we’ve made, and what you can expect to see in the next month or so.
While some of you
were far too kind said the blog itself “looked” fine, I’ve been wanting to update the style of the blog for some time now, and this seems like a good opportunity. The current theme looks like something I threw together in 10 minutes back in 2008 when I had slept through an exam and decided to start a blog to feel more productive.
That’s sadly not a metaphor.
I’ve always felt that content is the most important thing for a blog, particularly mine, but I wouldn’t necessarily mind having something that looks a bit classier. Because if there’s one thing that religiously watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta teaches me, it’s class. 😉
Those of you who mentioned that the current theme looks “cheap” are spot-on, and it’s always a little embarrassing when a media outlet links to the blog with the current amazing header image.
More importantly, the current “theme” doesn’t allow for a lot of the other features that were mentioned, many of which I’d like to implement. Even basic things like drop-down menus aren’t possible with the current set up, which definitely contributes to things feeling cluttered.
So we’re going to clean things up a bit, in general.
In considering everyone’s feedback and working with the folks at BoardingArea, I think we’ve come up with a design that will be a tremendous improvement. I’m really excited to have something clean and updated, and am really enthused about the additional features we’ll be able to utilize eventually.
So what will it look like?
This is a very rough draft (we’re still working on the logo/header situation, have to block out space for ads, etc.), but here is a mockup of what I’m envisioning the site will look like:
In terms of how it looks, I like that there will be more posts on a page, but not in a way that seems disorganized or cluttered.
I also like that the sidebar is more useful, rather than being so much text. There will be a drop-down for the archives, a calendar of recent posts, and snippets from Twitter and Instagram.
I also like the fonts and color scheme in general, and think it will make the blog much easier to read.
This isn’t the final version, of course, but I wanted to give you guys a general idea as to the direction we are heading.
As far as functionality goes, there are a few specific things you’d mentioned that I’d like to address.
This is a huge opportunity (over 13,000 comments and counting), and something that is taking a lot of research. We’ve looked at exporting/sorting comments, building forums, and a half dozen other things.
For now we’ll be adding drop-down menus to the Ask Lucky tab, so that there will be one page with an FAQ and space for current questions, and then other pages with archives. This seems like the best short term solution to help with load times, and we’ll keep looking for a good long-term setup.
Trip Report Index
This is an area I’d really like to focus on, and y’all had amazing suggestions in terms of how to make the trip report index more useable. This is a space I think will continue to evolve as we try things out and see what works, but I’m definitely trying to include the following features:
- Ability to quickly find reviews by airline, aircraft, or class of service
- Grouping hotel reviews by city/country, and possibly chain
- Sort lounge reviews by airport or alliance
We’ve also been brainstorming better ways to display the information – some people like lists, while others are more visual, and I’m trying to find options that accommodate as many of those preferences as possible.
One of the most important things to me is that we keep the great conversations going in the comments. Interacting with you is the best part of my day, and I don’t want to change that.
So, it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to add Disqus right away (but may eventually go that route), but the new setup will allow “threaded” comments. So you’ll be able to hit “reply” to a specific comment, which I’m hoping will encourage even more interaction!
Those were my main things, and I’m really excited with the direction this is going.
What other things would you like to see included, and do you think I’m on the right track?