The redesign of stephanieklein.com is long overdue. To design and re-architecture a site so it makes sense–not just to me but to those who visit–it helps if you begin by asking “What works? What doesn’t? What’s missing? and if I could just have a wish or three, what would they be…?” So I’m asking. Go ahead and make your list of things that annoy you (I’m getting rid of the Amazon text links but will be replacing with traditional banner ads), or things you really wish this site had. And if your answer has anything to do with my personality, parenting, or patootie, please post one of those treasured comments and close with “I know you won’t post this” ’cause those are always fun.
Designing a web site is a lot like organizing your makeup drawer, except it’s a bit more costly, definitely more time consuming, and if you do it wrong, it takes a long time to undo. What a terribly analogy. I guess the feeling is the same, wanting a place for every last thing, so it’s easily accessible and has all your favorite products (or in this case, content) in reach. I’m hoping to carve out a spot where videos will always be displayed in a reliable spot, where you can vote on each others’ comments (but not all the time, more for those posts where I ask for a fun finish this sentence, or for future contests). I want a place for my photography lessons to live, where I can post a weekly challenge and you can submit your images. I want a section for all the chi chi drinks and finger foods (along with their recipes and photos) to live, as well as comments from readers who’ve tested said morsels. I’m also toying with the idea of a social networking space, where in that example, a reader could submit their own favorite recipe. So if that day, I had a post for the best brownies, readers could submit their own recipes, photos, and others could vote (or not), etc.
I need to re-categorize all my posts so they make sense. Get empowered. Get Depressed, Get Dolled Up. Get Poetic, or some such system that will be obvious and easy (not my greatest strength, and definitely not those categories). While I began this site as a place to write for myself, it has become more than that. It’s a community, a place I go for advice and support sometimes, a place others use to ask for advice, too. I learn here. So now I’m asking, hoping to learn more about what you’d like to see here.
I’m not asking what you want me to write about, but I am asking what’s most important to you, you personally. In designing a site, there’s “real estate” to consider. It’s not only deciding on content (to include videos, podcasts, and playlists), but where a link to that content should be, and/or if it should be shown in a module, taking up real estate on a main page, and then take you deeper into that main page. See, it’s a real undertaking… as such, I’m taking suggestions. Let me know what it is that you’d like to see more (or less) of. Does anyone really use those “Digg This” tags beneath posts? I wonder if I should do a section dedicated to scrappy goodness. There’s so much I want to include. Thank goodness for content management systems.