New Year, New Look for the PWM Site

NewHomePage

New home page

Get ready for a new-and-improved PopularWoodworking.com. Tomorrow, or possibly on Monday (because goodness knows we don’t want to launch a new site on a Friday), when you visit this site it will look a little different.

The home page will feature a slide show of new content, plus you’ll see links to our various blogs, new projects and techniques, and more. It’s a less-cluttered look, with one main navigation bar instead of the current two.

You’ll still find all the same expert woodworking articles and blogs – but they’ll be easier to navigate, and give you more information up front so you know what to expect when you click through.

And, the new site is a “responsive theme” – that is, it will recognize if you’re viewing it on a computer or a mobile device, and will adjust itself accordingly for the best user experience.

NewBlogPage

New blog page

We consider this a work in progress – so if, once the new site is live, you have suggestions for tweaks or how it looks, please post comments on this blog – that way, everyone involved can see all suggestions and comments in one place.

— Megan Fitzpatrick

17 thoughts on “New Year, New Look for the PWM Site

  1. sean3047

    After a few weeks with the new site, I’m liking the changes, particularly the responsive design, however I do have some feedback.

    The first is regarding the responsive nature of the site, the method used for scaling fonts doesn’t seem to recognise the pixels-per-inch of the device, meaning that on high-PPI devices (such as many modern smart phones), the text is overly small. Readable still (at least by my 30-something eyes), but only just.

    The main piece of feedback I have though is regarding advertising. As with good furniture design, often less is more. When it comes to viewing content on a mobile device this is especially true. For most articles on your site that I view on my phone, at least half, if not more, of the content downloaded is advertising or other surplus content. Most of this content I never see (nor would I care to) as it sits below the main article content, however it does impact page loading times, and the amount of data downloaded (in Australia our mobile data plans are incredibly stingy, and very expensive once you go over your set quota). Serving up this content which never gets looked at would also likely affect your hosting costs.

    Having been involved in website redesigns for large organisations myself, I understand that the conversation with marketing and other content owners about removing or limiting some of their content is often a difficult and heated conversation. But, the truth is, not only is “less more” for your readers, it actually translates into better outcomes from an advertising perspective as well. A limited amount of well placed (and targeted) ads will always outperform (in terms of click throughs and sales conversion rates) a page with a huge smattering of ads all of the place.

  2. Jonas Jensen

    I think the new lay out looks pretty good, cleaning up the “blog network” list was a great leap forward, thank you for that.
    Maybe a bit off topic, but – has Adam Cherubini gone missing?
    I have always enjoyed his blog, but there has been preciously little activity on that front for the past 7 – 8 months.
    Brgds
    Jonas

  3. sean3047

    That’s great to hear Megan, as mentioned by others it is desperately needed.

    Would any work to ShopClass also include it being managed a bit better? The ‘coming soon’ page is almost always out of date, and when it’s not often doesn’t provide much more than a couple of weeks ahead. Video descriptions can also be poor at times (Ron Herman’s series on restoring tools all have the same description, so you don’t know ahead of time which video covers what material).

    It also seems that the delay between material being released on DVD and appearing on ShopClass is getting longer. In particular I’m very keen to know when Chris’s “A Traditional Toolchest In Two Days” will be coming (which is really just lazy of me considering I did the Anarchist’s Toolchest class with Chris when he was in Australia).

    Also, while I’m here, I’ve had issues with every single book purchase I’ve made being sent to Sweden instead of Australia (luckily the Swedish Post guys are on their game and redirect it in a special tamper proof bag each time). It seems the labelling system there cuts “Australia” down to “Austral” and Fedex somehow think that means Sweden. I’ve sent feedback about this before, but nothing seems to have changed (especially annoying considering that my last order of $120 was $50 in postage). Mentioning this here hoping that you may be able to forward this to the correct people given my previous feedback seemed to go nowhere.

    Despite the overall grumpy tone that may have come across however, I do absolutely love the work that you and the team do. Being relatively new to woodworking and keenly interested in handtools and traditional techniques, while still wanting to build more ‘modern’ skills, I’ve found that your magazine is the only one that fills all these needs well (that’s including the UK and Australian mags as well). I have noticed and greatly appreciated the direction the magazine is being steered in under your editorship and look forward to reading PopWood for quite a long time.

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick Post author

      Sean,

      I’ve forwarded your comments about shipping (that’s a new one!) and the ShopClass site on to the responsible parties. Hope to have some answers for you soon!

      (And if you’ve already built the dovetailed version, what the heck do you need another one for?! I think you must have too many tools…)

      1. sean3047

        Thanks for the snappy reply Megan. Again, sorry to be a sook but I struggled to hit the “Submit order” button each time due to the cost of the shipping, so this really got under my skin.

        As for another chest, I don’t have anywhere near too many tools, still building up the basic tool set. I just love the look of it and would like to build a similar chest for my son (thought being that it can be toys for now, and tools when he gets a little older).

        Also, thank you so much for moving to a responsive design. I know some people don’t like looking at a queue in a shop full of zombies glued to their smartphones, but at least in my case this zombie is on the PopWood website, or watching a PopWood video, or reading a PopWood (or Lost Art Press) ebook. Now I won’t be squinting quite as much when ‘zombifying’ out on the phone!

        Cheers!

    2. Nicholas Sanburg

      Good morning Sean! I’m the responsible party to the Shopclass site. I just want to touch base with you this morning on some of your concerns – which are similar concerns that other customers out there have had.

      In the Fall of 2013 we started the process of updating and redesigning our Shopclass site. Similar to the redesign of Popular Woodworking – we wanted the user experience to be more enjoyable and friendly. As you can imagine the process for updating and creating a new wesbite can become well…intense. And Shopclass was no exception.

      The delay in new videos, shortened descriptions, and the lag time between DVD releases and Shopclass uploads were all a result of this new upgrade. Many different moving parts in the background had to be carefully moved around and worked with in hopes of not taking down a whole site.

      But the good news is there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Later today we will be sending out an email showing you images of the new site, some new options customers will have, and some expected video uploads in the coming weeks.

      I can tell you that the request for Chris’s “A Traditional Toolchest In Two Days” will be one of those videos.

      From all of us at Shopclass I want to thank you first and foremost for your continued business and also thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your patience and understanding. 2014 looks to be a great year!

      1. sean3047

        Hi Nicholas,

        I’m overjoyed to hear that there’s been so much going on behind the scenes. I was beginning to get worried that Shopclass was getting less attention, obviously I now know that nothing could be further from the truth.

        My own background is in web development and user experience design/testing, mainly with an older Internet Banking system that saw many similar changes, so I fully appreciate how ‘intense’ these projects can get. I wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing the products of your hard work.

        I would also like to say that I think that my Shopclass subscription is one of the best investments I’ve made in woodworking. While I love diving head first into a book, there’s nothing quite like having a Shopclass video playing in the workshop while I tidy up or sharpen some tools. Now I just need to find the room in the budget for the Woodwright’s Shop channel and I think I could officially do away with my TV :)

        Thanks

  4. Steve_OH

    The responsive layout needs a little tweaking: The Search box overlaps the blog post title at some widths.

    Also, and this is more a Firefox issue than a site issue, the default body text font size on Firefox is on the small side. (Chrome and IE look
    okay.)

    -Steve

  5. jkbrower

    Sorry if this is off topic, but while we’re talking about improvements to the web site, I was wondering if there were any plans to improve the ShopClass on Demand web site. That user experience is, to put it bluntly, awful. Unless you know exactly what you’re looking for, it’s nearly impossible to find anything. If you just want to browse, forget it.

    I love the content, but for the price I would expect a better online experience.

    If shopwoodworking.com and shopclass.popularwoodworking.com are not your department, never mind. :)

    1. Megan Fitzpatrick Post author

      While I don’t work on ShopClass directly, I’ve been told by those who do that there will indeed soon be a new and far better site.

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