About a month after the launch we talk about how the v10 launch has gone.
We look through the document we set up at the very beginning of this process where we wrote down all the goals for the redesign.
Addressing the content better – Yep! Areas like the gallery and the individual video pages are big improvements. No longer are they jammed into a generic blog-like template, they now have a design suited to the content and the experience of browsing/using that content.
Consistency – Yep! Things like pagination and sub-section navigation are handled much more consistently than they were. Areas like the forums have consistency with comment threads in the blog which makes the site feel more comfortable and looked after. Typographic simplification also helped consistency.
Better Cross-Device Treatment – Mostly. The site was responsive before and it is now. We made some choices that end up with a nicer design on smaller screens than v9 was, but we didn’t accomplish much more than that. We had some dreams to possibly AjaxInclude some non-essential content, but that opportunity never came up in a clear way.
Faster – No better, No worse. If there was one thing that we failed at, it’s probably this. We ended up with one less request on the homepage, which is good, but the page weight and page size are slightly larger. Not the metrics we wanted for increasing speed. However, the numbers are so close to the old design I think we can call it a wash. We’re already doing OK on speed, so as long as it’s not much worse we’ll be fine. And the new design is retina-ready, which we pulled off without decreasing speed so that’s something.
Increase traffic – Some numbers are up and others down. Very very minimal changes though, which suggest the design doesn’t have much to do with traffic. Fine by me, really. I’m optimistic these numbers will grow as with this redesign done I’ll have more time for content which is the real driver of traffic.
Better monetization – We didn’t make as many changes to this as I would have though we would in the beginning, but the small ones we did make have been a huge win. Some changes to the advertising setup are earning me $2,000 more a month than I was, and The Lodge area is looking like it should stabilize at about $3,000 a month. Those are good numbers that make me feel like leaving a job for all this is going to work out OK.
Other – Little things like using GitHub issues to manage site problems after launch turned out to be a great idea. The fact that I’ve closed 163 issues with only 14 left open is a testament that the code base is strong. I can jump around and work on anything quickly and easily. I also like that the site has some whimsy and just for fun stuff. It’s not as over the top as last designs, but still a good sign that we don’t take anything too seriously around here.
In the end we cover a bit of what I hope the future will hold. Mostly, getting back to creating content for this lovely new container for it.