behold the spruced-up

As you may have noticed, things are looking a lot fresher round these parts in the last few days.

This is why I’ve been (seemingly) absent here over the past couple of weeks. I had intended for the redesign project to be something I’d do in little fits and starts in between everything else, but once I got going on it, it became all-consuming. It reminded me of this cartoon I came across years ago, which is very me:

Once I started, I couldn’t stop. I’ve spent the last several weeks running on weird adrenaline; climbing the steep learning curve of the new WordPress theme I’m using, GeneratePress (which is brilliant); nerding out late into the night; collapsing into sleep to dream about CSS and PHP (both of which I speak only phonetically, at best); then wide awake again a few hours later, eager to dive back in.

It’s been a strange time. Not gonna lie: there were tears of frustration at times. But I’m glad the job is done now (a few bits of behind-the-scenes mopping up still pending), and I’m very pleased with the result.

The site hasn’t had a significant update in almost a decade: by pure coincidence, on Thursday, when this new look went live, it was exactly eight years to the day since the last big refresh, when I moved the site from Movable Type to WordPress. That was on May 27, 2013.

I’d been feeling for a while that the site was looking dated, and technically it wasn’t up to scratch anymore. For one big thing, this new design works infinitely better on a mobile phone than the old one did, and that’s incredibly important these days. Astounding numbers of people are reading this site (and the web overall) on their phones, and of course I want them to have the best experience possible. And because of that, Google is now ranking sites based on their mobile accessibility first, even above their desktop accessibility, so it’s super important that a site is easy to read and browse on a phone.

Take a look at the new review pages, like this one for A Quiet Place: Part II: I’m stupidly geeked that I could get all the movie meta info — IMDb link, ratings and release dates, Amazon and Apple links, and so on — into the sidebar. It’s something I’d wanted to do for ages, but it just wasn’t technically possible before, at least not for someone with my minimal technical ability. But GeneratePress made it possible. Yay! I kinda can’t stop marveling at it.

As always with this sort of huge overall, some old pages at the site have been left a bit in the dust, at least until I can get to the manual updating that fully migrating them to this new look requires. But even those not-quite-there-yet pages still look infinitely better than before.

Feedback welcome! Let me know what you think, and absolutely do let me know if you have any ideas for how it all could be even better.

HUGE shoutout to Lawrence and especially David at my host Fused, who went above and beyond to help me over the technical speed bumps I hit along the way. FlickFilosopher has been hosted at Fused since 2008, and I cannot recommend them highly enough if you’re looking for the best hosting on the web.

Also enormous thanks to Ken, Bonnie, bluejay, and danielm80, who offered valuable feedback on the redesign as it was in progress.

What’s next? Well, I just realized that 2022 will be the 25th anniversary of FlickFilosopher, and that deserves a big blowout. I shall put my creative thinking cap on… and I’m open to suggestions as to how we should celebrate.

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Jess Haskins
Jess Haskins
Mon, May 31, 2021 10:12pm

This all looks lovely! Congrats on the site refresh…and the upcoming 25th!