New and improved!

In honor of our upcoming first year anniversary, less than one month away, I’d like to welcome you all to the new and improved Food Geekery!  When first building the site I was in a rush to get it done and didn’t really focus that much on usability… mostly just content.  Unfortunately over time as the site got more and more visitors, I just wasn’t impressed with what I tossed together and decided that it had to go.  While a lot of when existed was fine, there were many things I thought needed a change and this is the culmination of many, many changes.  For those of you who are new (or just don’t remember what the site used to look like), here is a side-by-side of the front page in both the old and new format showing the exact same items:


Click to see the full side-by-side comparison.

The first thing you’ll notice is that the old theme has a lot of wasted space, so that just had to go.  I’ve increased the size of the thumbnails (and rounded the edges) as well as increasing the amount of preview text shown.  I did away with the custom excerpt and now it displays the first few lines of the post itself.  I wanted to do that originally, but the way the previous theme was setup it wouldn’t allow it.  Speaking of preview text, I’ve made sure to add it down below where before it only showed the post title.  It isn’t much, but some content is better than none!

One major change with the front page was the doing away with the “Featured Article.”  In the old theme I had a featured article that was displayed at the top, but unfortunately it took away from newer articles.  In the new theme the “featured article” space is reserved for the latest post and is automatically replaced as new posts come around.

Besides front page tweaks and minor cosmetic changes, I also changed the way the search and archives work.  In the old theme they didn’t look the same and had quite a few bugs, so I spent plenty of time fixing them to not only look the same, but be pretty much bug-free.  It now tells you more details about the post instead of just a couple lines and a title.  I’ve added the thumbnail, page views and more.

Inside the posts themselves I didn’t alter too much.  The biggest change was that I removed a lot of the “meaningless” bits and expanded on the (possibly) related posts.  The last major change that took place involved my 404 error page… now instead of just getting an “Error: Page not found” message, you get some options that can help me to fix the issue (if it is on my end) as well as a few suggestions of other pages.  Any help is better than none, right?

One last thing to mention regarding this change is that when working on it, I had a few people take a look to make it compatible with IE6, and unfortunately none of us could get it to work correctly.  I decided that instead of spending any more time on it, I’d make a very basic alternate theme for Internet Explorer 6 only.  You can see below what it looks like, and yes, it is very basic.  I added a warning that their browser is out of date as well as a link to upgrade if they could.  I’m aware that some people can’t due to being in a workplace that doesn’t allow it, but many others just don’t know they’re on an old browser.


What IE6 sees... scary stuff.

I figure it’s the best of both worlds… the content still exists and I don’t have to waste time (mine and others) on trying to code this to work.  If anyone wants to know how I did it, just let me know.

Last thing regarding the changes… I now have a lot more space on the sidebar, so I would love to exchange links with fellow foodies out there!  If you’d like me to add you to my list of food bloggers, just shoot me a message and we’ll get it done! Thanks for sticking with me for the past year and hopefully you’ll continue to follow along as time goes by!

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