Welcome to the bloggy home of Noah Brier. I'm the co-founder of Percolate and general internet tinkerer. This site is about media, culture, technology, and randomness. It's been around since 2004 (I'm pretty sure). Feel free to get in touch. Get in touch.

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NoahBrier.com 3.0

So everything on my 3rd redesign is starting to come together and I just wanted to give a quick explanation for the changes.

Over the last year or so I have been tweaking the design to make it work, but I’ve still been kind of upset about the overall usability. The archives sucked and there was just a lot of room for improvement. So when I started out I wrote down these as my goals:

  1. Fix the archives: Make them easier to browse.
  2. Make the search work better: The old version had links on top and entries beneath instead of having them split up.
  3. Make it not hurt my eyes: How come no one ever told me it hurts your eyes when you look at it on a real monitor (not a laptop).
  4. Bubble up categories: There was no mention of categories on the homepage of the old site. I wanted that to change.

Here’s how I addressed those issues:

  1. I made the archives revolve around categories now, since I think they’re far more important than dates. If someone is looking for a date they’re most likely looking for something specific that they can use the search for. Categories are much better for browsing. I also added a way to browse categories by the number of entries in the category. This required a bit of PHP, but I think it’s a very logical way to browse. I’m also in the process of paring down the categories and adding descriptions for each. That will take a bit of time, though.
  2. I split the search to display entries on the left and sidenotes on the right. Now you can see them side-by-side rather than having to wade through a bunch of links when you’re looking for an entry.
  3. By adding some more contrast and changing the link color to a darker green it shouldn’t be as painful on the eyes. If it is, let me know.
  4. The importance of categories as a browsing tool I already mentioned. I wanted a way to see the category of an entry on the homepage. That’s what the little last five table does. (I used a table, blasphemous, huh?)

There are some other little changes you’ll discover (changed the comment form, added previous/next entry links). There are also a few things that aren’t done (haven’t quite figured out what’s going in the lower right box on an entry).

Otherwise, though, I’m very happy with the way it’s working. I think that I’ve improved not only the look, but also the experience of the site. Let me know what you think (and if anything is wrong).

April 17, 2006