Oh, Hello New Website!

Good morning, and welcome to the spruced-up One Mile at a Time!

We’ve talked about this before, but as the site continues to grow, we need different functionality in order to keep it useable and interesting.

To give a small example, back in the day the home page of OMAAT listed the full text of the most recent five posts. That was great when Ben was publishing short posts every other day, but became clunky with daily posts, which led to the format you’re used to, with long excerpts of the most recent ten posts.

OMAAT Home Page

But even that is impractical with ~60 posts a week, so we’re adapting again. The homepage will now show shorter snippets, but more posts, so you can more easily find the content that interests you. And you can load as many posts as you’d like on the home page.

There are dozens of examples like this, so while we’ve done a bit of Spring Cleaning, and updated the look of the blog (ZOMG, go load the site on your phone, mobile looks awesome!!), most of the work has gone into the core structure of the site. These changes are more subtle in appearance, but should have a positive impact on the overall experience.

Now that we have a more robust framework, we’ll be adding additional features over the coming weeks. I’m pretty enthused about them (that might be an understatement, I think Ben could be more excited for me to stop talking about the redesign than he is about the redesign itself). Hopefully the stuff we’ve been working on will make it easier for you to find information on OMAAT, and make it more enjoyable as well!

We’ve also making lots of tweaks to the back-end — those are less exciting to talk about, but make a difference for us when it comes to producing and managing content on the blog. So it’s fun stuff all around.

But we’re not changing the core of the site that we all love. Posts will still display chronologically, as will comments, and this doesn’t have an impact on content (other than those back-end things that help us out).

We’ll get into all that more later on, but I did want to confirm that you’re not imagining things, and the site really does look different this morning!

Thanks for your patience with comments being down on and off while we’ve transitioned to the new site. I hope you love it! Take a look around — the updated Trip Report Index is live and pretty cool — and keep an eye out for more to come.

Have a great weekend, and make sure you’re following along on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram as Ben continues his Etihad Residence flight from Abu Dhabi to Sydney!

Comments

  1. I love the new site, Tiffany! Do you know if this update fixed the long-running caching issue?

  2. @ Alvin — That’s very kind, but this is all on Tiffany and the BoardingArea team. I suck at tech, and for everyone’s sake I stayed out of this redesign, other than sharing what I did/didn’t like during the initial stages. I think me being distracted on this flight was actually a blessing, since I wasn’t there to bug Tiffany & Co every two seconds about the status of the redesign. So thanks to them for their hard work on this, and I’m very happy with the finished product (well, this isn’t even the finished product, as there’s more coming). Happy to hear you guys like it so far as well!

  3. @BrewerSEA — Should solve the “Where the heck did page 2 go?!?” issue. The comment caching thing…we’ve taken a step towards fixing that with this update, but still tbd there.

  4. New website looks awesome on mobile (which is where I read 50% of the time). Looks the same on iPad/desktop (other 50%) except for the banner which is way worse than the old banner. Just my 2 cents

  5. I really like the look of the new design, but now posts are offset a bit to the left in the screen. I think that looks a bit wierd, especially for someone with dual mointors who usually have the browser in the left monitor. Now the page is “so far away”…

  6. Awesome new look! Very well done.

    I agree with all of you that dont like TPG’s website. It’s so hard to work with. For those of you who still would like to read TPG, try https://thepointsguy.com/all – it’s chronological list of posts with a blurb. Much easier, though since it doesnt show authors, makes it harder to seek out Honig’s articles.

  7. @Jack – that wouldn’t be hard!
    @Tiffany – all my RSS readers I use seem to have this same problem, so not sure if anyone else has it; but I tend to not see the stories drop in as soon as they’re posted. All other blogs I have in my RSS readers do. For example, this post still hasn’t shown up even if I force a refresh. I’m not sure it’s a BoardingArea thing, as 1 other blog I follow on there works OK. Just to clarify also, it’s been happening pre-redesign and still occurs now. When it does then update, 10 or so posts will drop in at once. Any thoughts? Heard of anyone else with the same issue? If I view /feed in the browser, the last entry you can see is the post for “Tomorrow is Etihad Residence day!”.

  8. Now here’s something strange – if I load the feed manually, do a shift+refresh, then update the RSS reader both the browser version (showing the XML tags, etc.) and the RSS feed then reflects the latest. Seems like some sort of caching issue? Is it part of the wider caching issue mentioned above?

  9. Awesome new look! Especially with the Trip report index.

    However, one problem I’m facing is clicking relatively small sized countries like Singapore. No matter how I hover my mouse over the region, I can’t seem to click it. Probably a zoom feature will be helpful!

  10. Advert between the menu and the story photo is too big… but you can’t have a website without supporting adverts… and this is from a Mobile user to the website

    Great work team!

  11. Just perfect.

    Many thanks to you Tiffany and all the team.

    I love the changing view for each post through the windows.

  12. I don’t know if you actually read this feedback or not but just two thoughts: 1) the header image appears quite “low res” to me on my laptop? 2) on mobile the lack of post description highlights the “clickbait” titles; but I normally read on my PC so it’s not that big a deal.

    The rest of the website looks great though 🙂

  13. Looks good so far. Hopefully it will stop locking up my Android as in the past. Now if we can just tweek it to get rid of the pop-up…….

  14. Love it! Great job!

    Missing Tiffany’s trip reports so maybe now she’ll have time to get back on the road!

  15. I like how the search function has been improved. It also handy to not have to use a login like TPG does, Disquis is so annoying and discourages my from commenting. Good Job Tiffany!

  16. Your blog, your design, but two requests:

    1. Get with the 21st century, and add threaded comments – if you want your blog to be a social experience, and not just a one-way street. Threaded comments allow for greater interaction/conversation.

    2. Add a “Home” button (or “back to top”) on your primary navigation for mobile viewing.

  17. Any chance of being able to up/down vote comments and then be able to sort by them? Some important blogs have hundreds of comments and it would be great to see the most helpful comments.
    Just my thoughts!
    Thanks site looks great

  18. Looks great! Sleek af. I love that all the posts are still chronological. Overall, the redesign seems like it was done with user experience in mind, which is very much appreciated! Too often website redesigns seem to be about flash and ritz, with user experience as a background thought, but that definitely doesn’t feel like the case here! Thanks.

  19. @ Gaurav @ Susan — I think the comments will probably always be chronological at OMAAT. Threaded is better for real-time conversations, but chronological seems easier for people who come to the post later on.

  20. @ Dan — I’ll have the team look at it next week. OMAAT is a massive site, so we have some things in place that keep the site usable given the size, but may also be contributing to a lag with RSS.

  21. @ DaninMCI — Are you talking about the email fly-in? That’s not supposed to happen on mobile, so working on fixing that, but if it’s something different please let me know!

  22. @ Crystal Xue — We’re working on adding it to the top menu (that’s on the coming soon list), but you can also access a search box at the bottom of the home page before you “load more,” or in the top-right of the sidebar if you’re on an individual post page.

  23. The mobile version looks AMAZING! And yea, a million times better than the hot mess that TPG websites became. Congrats on the work you guys! Looking forward to seeing the desktop version later.

  24. …one issue with the mobile version though: as Susan mentioned, you really need to add a home button/banner or a “back to the top” feature otherwise I have to scroll all the way back up to click to go back to the home page – unless I’m missing something !

  25. They don’t really want too much discussion here. I noticed that people continued to share their insights on the transiting Cairo Airport article and the comments section was closed 🙁 It might have been an opportunity for the site administrator to segway the conversation to the forum, rather than kill the sharing 😉

  26. Looks beautiful guys, just such a let down when the first thing you see under the site name is a Quiznos ad. I don’t know how websites work, but surely there’s another way? I’ve been a reader for 10 years and to see that just hurts. Don’t the affiliated links for cc’s bring in enough revenue?

  27. @ SullyofDoha — Huh? The comments were closed site-wide for about 45 minutes last night while we copied all the content into the new theme, but otherwise I don’t think we’ve ever turned off comments on a post (for better or worse).

  28. Mobile version looks.
    However, on my mac using Safari, the image associated with the “Top post” (currently: Andrew’s post about Robot) looks “zoomed in”.

  29. AWFUL. WOW, JUST AWFUL.
    THE ENTIRE WEBSITE JUST F*CKING S C R E A M S AT YOU VISUALLY, RELENTLESSLY.
    IT’S A VUSUAL ASSAULT, VIOLENT. YIKES, MY EYES!
    MAYBE HIRE AN ACTUAL DESIGNER NEXT TIME?

  30. after using the new version for a while, it’s too dark, the fonts make it harder to read, headlines are too thick

  31. Is there a way to have the sign up for newsletter pop-up not show up for mobile. It takes up half the screen and it is difficult to navigate and actually read the post and x out of the pop-up. Wastes data… I don’t have unlimited data…

  32. @Tiffany. Strange, it was the only article I visited that had comments closed. Because it was closed, I did not bother going back to see the change was only for a short time. Happy to know it was a temporary thing. Anyways, thanks for replying, and straightening me out 😉

  33. Looks pretty bad. You chide airlines for the horrible changes they make to their sites, then you do the same things. Looks cluttered and messy. And no one cares about the “backend” stuff.
    If it’s not broke, don’t fix it.

  34. @ J — That is somewhat how things have to work, unfortunately. We don’t control what ads are displayed in those blocks (and some of the ad choices are based on your browsing history). Those blocks are managed by BoardingArea, but I agree that the ads shown are weird sometimes. Appreciate you reading, and hopefully they’re not too distracting.

  35. @n — Nope, but haven’t had much I can add to your other comments. 🙁 The headline font we know about — Google pushed an update for the size and weight we were using that eliminated half the punctuation marks, so we’re punting a bit until that gets resolved.

    We’ll continue making adjustments in general, but also understand that not everyone will like every aspect of any site. But I do appreciate you sharing your thoughts — it’s all very helpful!

  36. Looks pretty good. There is always some push back after a redesign but I think this work alright. One issue I noticed on the desktop site…when I click the blue comment count box link from the homepage, instead of it pushing the browser down to the first comment, it just sits at the top of the article when the page loads. This was not an issue with the old version. Other than that it looks good. Nice work!

  37. The main annoyance with not having threaded comments is that an admin response to a comment generally comes several comments later, and looks something like this:

    @weird-screen-name — Yup/nope, here’s a response without context to that thing you said that nobody else can understand without having to scroll back up and look for your handle! 😉

    At least admin responses should be nested within the comment they are in response to. Or maybe the ability to link back to the original comment would help? Or a quote feature, like in a forum?

  38. Therex absolotely no ned to be abl to editt ccommentts and iem gladd yu diddntwasteanytime addin that fghvxeature in

  39. Apparently I’m in the minority when I say “WTF is this?” – this new template is just WAY TOO BUSY… just like TPG, who’s site I stopped reading when he did the same thing. Holy Effing crap…

  40. The OMAAT site redesign looks sharp, and basically mirrors the main boardingarea home page in terms of the 3-across tile format for each story/post. Whereas the link back to boardingarea used to be on the top-left, it’s now a link at the bottom-right.

  41. TIFFANY I MISSED YOU!!!!!!! Craving more of your posts!!! Great job btw-just wondering if you’ll still add at the top the total number of comments the post has in the blue box again- that was SUPER helpful knowing if I’d want to read all the comments or just some before starting my reading. Great job nonetheless!

  42. @Fonn – go away if you don’t like it. There is no need to yell in caps just because you disagree.

    @Kevin – you could have just said you thought the site was too busy, but no, you had to be abusive with it. Again, go away if you don’t like it.

    Some people love to hate don’t they?

    @Tiffany – great job to you and everyone involved. Reading your responses I’m sure you’ll take on board the negative as well as the positive to continue improvement.

  43. Definitely doesn’t suck as much as TPG, but still a step backward. Not sure why you have to follow the trend of millennial c8#k sucking by throwing around buzzwords such as web 2.0, responsive, etc. etc. but too late to get feedback now. Even if you agreed the site was a step back your pride and bank account wouldn’t let you unwind any changes. Maybe a similar drop in readership, just like TPG is experiencing and hiding that fact, may force your hand. As long as you are fixing bugs, why the FFFFFFFF is website noted as required field for commenting. So I now need to go buy a domain just so I can post. Fix that please.

  44. I actually like the old website better because it differentiates you. The new website just looks exactly like TPG’s. There’s no differentiation.

  45. This site does look quite busy right now. Apparently, from the other comments here, this means that I should stop reading this site as my opinion isn’t shared by some others. I think it’s probably due to the heading being in the images rather than in a separate header. It’s harder to read the titles when they have a image as their background.

  46. Hmmm…

    Count me as one that prefers the old look. I’m sure there are things happening on the back end that make your (i.e. OMAAT contributors) lives easier, but apart from the new font, I find the new design…cluttered, and just too busy. I dont know what drove you to this specific ‘new look’, but the site has lost its unique ‘feel’ in this update.

    If I were to ask for anything, it would be a comment edit button. More than once I have posted something and then 30 seconds later had a thought I wanted to add or clarify but couldnt. I’ll also stick my oar in for KEEPING the chronological comments, since I dont always get to read OMAAT posts as they come out.

  47. @ schar — Hah, thanks! The comment indicator is still there — it’s the small blue box next to the byline of each post.

  48. @Tiffany,
    I just looked at ‘The Adventures Of Doing A Direct Turn At Cairo Airport’, and the comments section is still closed off!? Thoughts?

  49. @ SullyofDoha — That’s so strange, no clue why that happened. Went ahead and turned them back on (for whatever reason the “allow comments” box was unchecked). Definitely a glitch and not intentional. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

  50. As someone who does UX for a living, comments from users after a redesign are always really interesting to read. For example, to me this redesign is very different from TPG’s. Sure there are high level similarities but they’re hard to avoid if we care about UX patterns at all.

    A small suggestion would be to do something about “TIPS, TRICKS, AND TRAVEL WITH LUCKY” in the main site title – all caps doesn’t add any value aside from a visual one, and I for one think OMAAT would benefit from moving towards a more understated tone.

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