• Six weeks later, another blog pops up. I’m sorry for the sheer lack of updates on here, but I’ve only really been gunning for about a post a month and have just got held up most of the time. Big apologies to my readers, aka nobody. But I do have a couple of things to talk about today. The main thing is about the springfield connection, which was redesigned in June. The last six months with this design have flown by, and it has firmly settled into a monthly update format that is working really well. I thought now would be a good time to take a look back and see whether it’s been a success, and share some statistics with you. If you’re interested, of course.

    In my opinion, the design is still feeling as fresh as it was the day I released it. That was one of my main objectives when designing it – how easy it was to keep it visually interesting and fresh even if the updates aren’t flowing in daily. The most obvious example of this is the welcome tab, which rotates through a collection of the Simpsons family that changes at each update. They’re all similar styles, and feature some muted rainbow colours to keep some consistency going. And I think it’s really worked well so far. And, obviously, if I start to think it’s getting a bit repetitive, it’s ridiculously easy to through some new main pictures into the mix.

    The standout feature of the new design, and inparticularly the new homepage, is the tabbed area, and it’s worked much better than I imagined it would. The old design was pretty restrictive as far as the homepage was concerned, only allowing space for the latest updates, the mini-guide and a tiny area for a featured section. Version seven is the complete polar opposite – updates don’t dominate the site at all, and the six additional tabs have made it really easy to drive visitors inside. And it provides some really useful information – the Drain tab generally has something new every day, the episode guide has the insanely useful search feature straight from the front page and an expanded mini-guide, and, when I keep it updated, the upcoming tab is obviously handy if you’re watching the show in the UK. The classic clip adds something to the homepage too, in my eyes.

    The remaining two tabs were originally meant to rotate through different sections on the site, and that has happened to some degree. I physically can’t remove the wallpapers tab – according to the Crazy Egg statistics, it is far and away the most clicked tab. In the 93 days that the Crazy Egg report has covered so far, it has been clicked 609 times – ahead of the guide with 441. After looking at these statistics, it has made me realise that it’s not worth taking it out, so it’s become a permanent feature on the homepage – even though wallpapers isn’t one of our biggest pages. I’ve taken it a bit further with the recent Halloween and upcoming Christmas designs, embedding special wallpapers directly into the tab and bypassing the wallpapers page entirely. The other tab has been taken up by the trivia contest, although in the new year I’ll start to rotate that one again and slip the trivia contest into the smaller ‘You might like…’ section, which has also been working really well.

    One of my initial reservations about this design was the navigation underneath the main area as opposed to the top. I could have easily implemented the interior navigation into the homepage if I’d wanted to, but I opted not to so as to make the feature area as dominating as possible. And while there haven’t been as many clicks on the navigation area as the feature area, all of the content in the tabbed bit takes people inside anyway, and they can then navigate their way with ease. I might investigate some ways of drawing more attention to the navigation, so watch this space.

    And as far as the insides themselves go, I’m still really pleased with them. I’ve recently refreshed a few pages – most notably the characters page and Drain, but also the introduction page – and they all demonstrate just how flexible this design is. It’s in a completely different league to our previous design. Things like the unique character carousel wouldn’t have been half as effective without the new extra-wide content area, and it’s really let me flex my creative muscle. I’ve also discreetly implemented some share this buttons into the footer of every page, and I might investigate adding Twitter and Facebook integration into Drain sometime in the near future too. Ooh, cat out of the bag.

    When I began designing version seven, I was initially a bit reluctant about changing a tried and tested design and straying from the traditional formula of Simpsons fansites. But, six months on, I have absolutely no regrets, and it has really helped the site to become what it is today – a much more respected site in the community. This is helped in no small way by the domain, aswell, for which I owe Brian a huge debt of gratitude. I am loving running and designing for the site again, and while content updates are much less common nowadays, I feel that there is a lot of content on there now that just needs tweaking and adding to from time to time. I’m not going to be updating the site forever – obviously – and if I were you I wouldn’t expect any more radical redesigns from me. I’m one hundred percent happy with this, and when the updates do eventually dry up, I can’t think of any design that would be better suited and prepared for it.

    As a quick side note, I wrote last time about my new project that I was looking to launch in January, Bite. I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently, and have come to the conclusion that I’m going to indefinitely postpone it. I would love to do something like that one day, but I just don’t really think I’d get the visitors to justify the huge effort that I would have to put in. I fell in love with the design, and didn’t really think about my workload. I’ll go into further detail about this in the next blog, maybe, and I’ll even show you the design and explain the premise a bit more. As I say, it could happen, but definitely not in January.

    Noteworthy
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  • [...] probably remember Bite being a recurring theme over my last few blog posts, and how I have decided to put it off for now. I realised what a mammoth project it [...]

    ...Thinktank on
  • Какой забавный топик…

    Sorry for the big gap between updates…..

    ...Alex Gordon on
  • Замечательно, это весьма ценное мнение…

    Sorry for the big gap between updates…..

    ...Kylie Batt on
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Hello my name is Andy.

I am a twenty-one year old student from Liverpool, UK.
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I also run a successful fansite dedicated to The Simpsons.
The Springfield Connection