[Update at 3:30 Eastern: I’ll be back at 6pm Eastern time to answer any questions or comments that come in then, or that came in during my afternoon siesta.]
Hey, everyone. WaterGirl here with an update on the site rebuild.
I’ll start with a tiny bit of information about the process. The kickoff meeting with the web developers was just over a week ago on Friday, May 3, and we started the design phase on Monday. The design phase lasts no more than 2 weeks, so it’s a whirlwind! In that time, we decide on all the features and functionality, as well as the look and the overall design, right down to the choice of fonts and exactly where everything will be and what it will look like. The actual programming starts right after that.
So we are in the design phase for just a few more days. Once the programming begins, there’s not a lot of room for adding functionality or changing the look, the fonts, the overall design, or anything, really. So your chance to share your thoughts in a way that could influence the outcome is right now, over the next few days, not once the site goes live.
Maybe you’ll want to know a bit about where we’re coming from? On other political blogs, there has never been a site redesign or site overhaul that I have liked; I always feel like they’ve ruined the blog. So the main goal here was to not do that. First on our spec list to potential developers:
“We don’t want a new DESIGN. We want better functionality. Our primary goal: a speedy, responsive, reliable, aesthetically pleasing site with a reliable commenting system that works consistently, and well — on mobile devices and desktops — with the features outlined in this document.”
What we’re going for here is streamlined and zippy, not flashy with a lot of bells and whistles. We still want it to feel like home, and we’re kind of excited about how it is shaping up. Now we get to find out whether you guys feel that way, too.
So jump in and tell us what you really think, and don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings. Oh, wait, this is Balloon Juice, never mind, I’m pretty sure that last part goes without saying. If you prefer to share your thoughts privately, you can send email to BJfestivus at that google mail place. Whichever way you share your thoughts, I promise we will read every word. Scratch that. I can’t speak for John, but I promise I will read every word.
You never want to give up functionality in an upgrade unless there’s a darn good reason, and we’ve tried to stay true to that. So, for example, you’ll still be able to contact a front pager, but you’ll do it in a different way. We are going with email hosting using the balloon-juice.com domain, so instead of a contact form you’ll send email to directly to a front pager using their name. If their name is Humpty Dumpty, you’ll add a dash between the two parts of the name. (Each front pager can choose whether to keep their front pager email separate or to forward it to another account with their personal mail.)
You’ll see that Quick Links is gone, but there’s a floating bar and a category bar and some links that perform the same functions. So take a look and let us know what you think, but please understand that things are moving quickly and there have already been some changes that aren’t reflected in the mockup posted here, such as the reply button, which will always show for each comment even though the mockup indicates that it will only show up if you hover on a comment. And you’ll see that the checkbox to save your nym is on there, but not to worry, nyms etc will be permanent again and the little checkbox will be gone in the next mockup. If we waited to show you the mockup until it’s perfect, we would lose the window for your input.