Refreshing

Early last year, we mentioned that we were launching a new site, and we had planned to spend the year adding features and improvements.

The problem is, after a few months of that, the site got complicated. And before long, we started second-guessing our decisions. We realized we’d have been better off starting with a different (simpler) framework. We felt that we were piling on features, like full podcast support, and it was just slowing down the site. A lot.

My biggest concern was the home page. While it appeared to load quickly, no matter where it was hosted it ended up taking at least 10 seconds to completely load. And while our visitors didn’t notice or mind, search engines did. And if your site appears slow, you get a penalty for that. It hurt our ranking in search results, and that’s not cool. On a slow connection, or a cell phone, it could get painful.

Now we’re at a nice dedicated host with a content delivery network set up, which means all the media loads a ton faster. It’s clearly better. We’ve stripped out unnecessary junk like the two sliders on the home page, which made it extremely slow. And taking out other features we weren’t really using helped a lot.

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Another big concern of mine was the work pages. You wouldn’t see a single image until you were halfway down the page. The solution was an image that ran from the top of the page, down both sides, filling much of the screen right away. On top of that we added a device image to show the work in action, as well as a title and brief lede paragraph. We can even set the foreground and background accent colors, which makes each page feel a lot more personal.

Finally, our podcast The Job has a new home, with a second season on the way. A new logo, too.

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Like last year, we’re not quite finished. Our clients still come first, after all. But we’re a lot closer to being done than we were last time, having learned some lessons from that experience. I would say we were half done when we launched last year, whereas we’re at least 80% there today. And most of what remains is fit and finish.

All this is to say that I’m delighted to share this news with you in what coincidentally is blog post number 1000.

Our new site suits us better: it’s a lot less crazy ambitious, and a lot more solid. It encourages us to think a little about the design of everything we put up, and we love that. And the 20% of work left is icing on the cake, because the foundation is so solid.

We hope you enjoy it. Here’s to ten more years and 1000 more blog posts!