If you’re a past visitor to GoldenNumber.net you likely noticed the major change in its design in 2012. One visitor wrote to say that they preferred the old design. Click on the images below to see the old look:
If you really miss the old look you can visit it at the Archive Wayback Machine snapshots of GoldenNumber.net. Here, however, are the reasons for the change in site design and its benefits.
- The old development platform was obsolete – The old site was developed in 2004 with FrontPage 2002, which had its last release 2003 and has been unsupported and obsolete for years. I had to change my web host a year ago to keep it alive and even then it seemed that a number of the FrontPage-based features such as site search and site map weren’t supported or didn’t work well.
- Declining search engine placement – The old site was losing placement in Google search rankings because it lacked the current standards that Google prefers, and in some cases went against things for which it penalizes. Google wants new content and user generated content, so the new format allows users to share commentary on every topic and page and makes it easier for me to add blog-type entries for news. Google doesn’t like sites with over 100 links per page, which the old one had by far. Google likes proper use of fonts and doesn’t like the use of bold fonts, and the old site was written entirely in bold fonts to make the white letters visible against the dark background.
- Not optimized for current screen resolutions – The site was designed for screens with a resolution of about 1024 pixels, making the text on a single line too long on newer higher resolution monitors.
- Outdated file name structure – Google likes descriptive URL names and the old site was using the old standard of eight character names.
The list goes on, but overall it just wasn’t keeping up with current practices and standards for web site design, so most users might not even find it in the search engines eventually if I didn’t change it.
On the upside, these are the benefits:
- Same content and categories with just a new look – The content of the old site is still there in an almost identical hierarchy of topic categories and pages. Once you click into a topic, such as Design, you’ll see that links to all the pages in Design are displayed in the right margin, just like they were in the old site on the left margin.
- Easier to read text – Most people find the black text on white much easier to read.
- New Site Map and Site Search – There’s also now a working site map (give it a try) which lists every page on the site by topic, as well as a working site search box on every page which allows you to search by any search word.
- User generated content – The user generated content at the bottom of every page should add interesting perspectives and encourage sharing.
- Social media links – The social media icons allow users to share content more easily with others.
- Access to the latest web technologies – The new site was developed with a state-of-the-art template in WordPress, one of the best platforms available, which is optimized for search engine optimization and will allow me to take advantage of thousands of plug-ins to improve the site going forward, such as in handling of images and videos.
- Optimized for new tablet and mobile platforms – Another important advantage is that the new site design responds to the user’s technology platform, so it’s just as readable on an iPhone or Android phone as it would be in a high resolution, large screen monitor. If you have a smart phone, try a page on the new site and on the old site on the wayback machine site and you’ll see an incredible difference in usability. With more and more viewing of websites going to mobile devices this too was an important reason to pitch the old design.
The new site design is just a beginning of what can come, so hopefully you’ll find it’s just one step back as I take ten steps forward. Changing from something familiar is always a pain at first but I hope you’ll find that the new site becomes easy to use once you give it a chance and that it actually offers more than the old one in total as time goes one.
By the way, the dividing line between the post content and the side bars is right at the golden ratio point of the width. Perhaps I’ll add some other golden ratio design aspects as I learn the WordPress platform.
Thank you to all my visitors. I appreciate any other feedback you have to make the site better.