As this site has aged, I’ve become increasingly reluctant to change things. When this was a new blog with 20 readers, I was free to change the theme, move stuff around, and generally go crazy. However, now with five years of archives, tens of thousands of readers, and a lot of complex functionality, it’s very, very hard to make changes without breaking something, for someone, somewhere.
Mobile users. RSS readers. New visitors. People using IE6. People surfing the web on their TV or console gaming system. Apple, Windows, and Linux users. Colorblind people. People who have disabled Javasript. People who block cookies. The site needs to be readable and usable for all of them.
I also have to keep a careful eye on CPU usage (which would be easier if I had some way of MONITORING CPU usage) on the server, because apparently this is a problem for my site. I have to use the “supercache” plugin, which means we can’t use the old theme switcher. (I used to have a system that let visitors select if they wanted white-text-on-black-background or vice versa.)
Despite all of this, I did mess with the site a bit this weekend as sort of an experiment. Wondering if some site features were ever used at all, I decided to remove them and see who noticed. Very, very few people did. But now that I’ve had my fun I thought I’d get some more general feedback:
I removed the category selector on the right. The categories are listed across the very top of the site, so that was slightly redundant. I think one person cared enough to complain about this. Do you miss it?
I removed my Twitter feed from on the right. (And just now restored it.) About a half dozen people cared enough to say something. (One of them was Josh.) I guess a lot of people who don’t use Twitter would still read my Twitter feed by coming to this site. (I’m sort of torn about Twitter. I like Google+ a lot better than either Facebook or Twitter, but it doesn’t always fill the same purpose or end up being used in the same way. But that’s a post for another time.)
Now: Is there anything on the site that needs to be more obvious / available? Do you ever find yourself looking for a feature or some information but unable to find it? I’m not promising any changes. I’m just gathering data at this point.
The Best of 2015
My picks for what was important, awesome, or worth talking about in 2015.
The Biggest Game Ever
Just how big IS No Man's Sky? What if you made a map of all of its landmass? How big would it be?
A look back at Star Trek, from the Original Series to the Abrams Reboot.
Bethesda’s Launcher is Everything You Expect
From the company that brought us Fallout 76 comes a storefront / Steam competitor. It's a work of perfect awfulness. This is a monument to un-usability and anti-features.
I'm a very casual fan of the series, but I gave Civilization VI a look to see what was up with this nuclear war simulator.