OTB Site Refresh
The long-overdue redesign of OTB is now live.
The long-overdue redesign of OTB previewed back in December is now live.
It will look familiar to long-time visitors, at least those viewing it on larger screens, as it’s based on the design launched in 2010. The colors, fonts, and layout remain essentially the same but the site is now variable-width rather than fixed. We’ve also bumped up the size of the fonts and post images and thumbnails a skosh. (The thumbnails will look wonky for a few hours as the database rebuilds them. That’s a one-time nuisance.) As I looked at other news and information sites for ideas, I couldn’t help but notice how incredibly cluttered most are. And, ironically, when I stumbled on a site whose fonts I liked better than ours, it turned out they were using the exact same ones we were–just bigger.
Otherwise, the most obvious differences are the ones that prompted the effort to begin with.
First, the site now looks much different when viewed on a smartphone or other small-screen device. The old design was done with personal computer viewers in mind and had no capability to adapt to the small screens that so many readers use to read and comment on the site. You should find the new version much more readable and functional.
Second, the spammy advertising units that our former ad manager gradually added to the site are gone. We’ve retained a top banner and two sidebar ads and will likely play around with some other options now that I’ve brought the ad management back in-house. But there should be no ads popping up in strange places or in the middle of posts.
Related to the second, the site should now load a lot faster. Our new developer, Jason Lefkowitz of Rogue Repairman, made some tweaks back in January to speed up the existing site but this version is a complete rebuild. You should notice a significant difference, both because fewer ads are loading and because the new design is more efficient, taking advantage of advances in WordPress over the last eight years. And it’ll get faster, still, as we plan to move to a more modern server in the near future.
Otherwise, there have been minor tweaks to the Related Posts and social media sharing features and a long-asked-for ability to click on an author’s byline and find their posts in one place. A few other minor features and cleanups are still in the works and will roll out in the coming days. I’ve been cleaning out some cobwebs from static pages that haven’t been updated in ages and am still working on that.
If you notice anything broken, a beloved feature that’s gone AWOL, please let us know in the comments below.