mrjerz.org reinvents itself again

Posted by Ryan Jerz on Tuesday January 1, 2008.

My mind is constantly in flux. It’s the capacitor that makes this site so damn good. Also, I did not neglect to get the Back to the Future joke that seems so necessary in there. Anyway, For about a month or so I have been thinking of a way to change the site so that it becomes far less of a blog and far more of an informational site. So I set out to redesign the place to make it more interesting and more conducive to what I want to convey.

First, I hate the way blogs display information. I hate that the most viewed page of the day is usually the newest. Why should the fact that it hits the front page of the site that day mean that it’s the most interesting thing of that day? The simple answer is that it’s the newest. And archiving makes it possible to find more interesting stuff through searches anyway, so what’s the big deal. Well, the big deal to me is that there are things that I put up that I know are not nearly as good as things I put up weeks or months ago. I want people coming here for the first time to see the better stuff. The solution for this problem is to use a format that seems more like a magazine than a blog. I started using sections to build a structure that was based upon the types of things I was posting.

Second, I’ve been hearing from people who actually talk to me that I should show more photos. I always tended to not include pictures when writing about something unless I had a photo that I had shot myself. It’s just one of those things I care about that probably doesn’t make sense. But if I didn’t shoot it, I didn’t use it. Mostly. But as the focus of the site became more local I realized that I have tons of photos of local things. And people like them. I like them. So I stole an idea from Robert Payne and built a rotating banner with some photos that I had shot. I built it very quickly and without much thought, so that will be changing. It will also make up for the fact that I tend not to use photos in posts. I always want to use them, but it takes so much time to find stuff from two years ago when you catalog so poorly.

Third, the Self-Importance Meter. I tried to take it down, but was told by three separate people in one day that it had to stay. So it stays.

Finally, I lost the blue. I loved the blue that the site had on it before. It gave it an overall look that I appreciated. But in the redesign I realized I was moving entirely toward white and the blue just kind of went away. The pictures help get some color back in, but overall, the site is a lot whiter, and in looking at it today, I can live with that.

As with everything I do, I’m not done. I’ll be obsessively tweaking things in every spare second I have the next few weeks or months, so don’t get too comfortable and start navigating the site blindly or anything. Tips on easier reading can be given, but may not be used. Thanks a ton to the people who made suggestions. You know who you are.

Ryan JerzRyan Jerz is an all-around good guy who wants people to eventually refer to him as "that dude who climbs mountains."

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