July 28 2011
Generally speaking, I do very little public housekeeping here, but it’s time for some remodeling and I want your feedback.
Despite winning some awards and receiving significant positive feedback about the design of this site, I haven’t materially changed the look or the function of Good Grape since November 2006. Times have changed a lot in the intervening (nearly) five years. At the time, Wordpress was a very secondary blogging platform choice behind MovableType (I chose door #3). Facebook had recently announced general availability to the public from its former days of being collegiately oriented; Twitter launched, but was barely a blip on the radar, YouTube was hot (but not ubiquitous) and smartphones were still very niche in general adoption. Tablets like the iPad? Nope, at that point people were stoked about rumors of an iPhone that was set to be released sometime the next year.
A lot has changed in five years and this site has barely kept pace, making due with duct tape and spittle.
A number of regular readers have let me know that pieces and parts of the site don’t always work, or the site is slow for them, or it’s hard to comment, or archive pages are junky looking, or links take you away from the site, etc. And, forget about reading this site on your mobile phone – Good Grape equal’s bad mobile mojo. The list goes on and on and I have my own list of wishes and want-to’s 35 items deep.
So, here’s the question and the crossroads I’m facing:
Do I keep the same general design (with some slight modifications like making the main text area wider and re-doing the navigation) and simply leave a classic design alone, focusing on enhancing functional and technical aspects of the site?
Do I take this opportunity to blow it out and set the bar for what a quality, beautiful, professional wine blog should look like, plus all of the social and mobile bells and whistles?
Readers, friends, colleagues, and peers: Your feedback is very welcome. Should I mess with a good thing for a potentially greater thing, or do stay true to the visual identity in place and simply remodel focusing on functionality, familiarity and usability?
Please leave a comment.