Just a preliminary announcement: The Online Photographer (TOP) is looking into relaunching soon on a new platform. I've been extremely happy with TypePad for many years, but TOP is getting a little stale and I have some new ideas for shaking things up. I will soon be at the stage where we'll be customizing the new theme (i.e., the look and function of the design) of the interface, and I'd like to solicit comments from you as to what you'd like to see on TOP and how you'd like to see it.
My primary objectives are to make TOP simple, clean, and streamlined, and (especially) reliable, fast, and responsive. It will be natively adapted to reading on tablets and smartphones. All of the old content will be present and searchable on the new site. How groups of pictures will be viewed has yet to be determined, but (obviously) I'd like to improve the experience of looking at photographs on the site as well (the meeting on that is next week). I think there will be no ads but each week's posts will have a discreet sponsorship note (starting with our current advertisers). It looks like commenting will require one-time registration, but will not have any firewall after that. And replies to comments will be nested inline. [UPDATE: I think I've now axed that idea. Comments will be kept in strict order, so you know where you left off reading them and can more easily find the new ones.]
With the caveat that I won't be able to reply individually or answer specific questions yet (nothing personal, I just won't have time), I'd like to invite you to tell me what content you'd most like to see (or not see) on the new site or how you'd like information to be accessed. If you want to show me examples of things you like from other sites that might be helpful, but it's not necessary.
I have the luxury this time around of being able to take my time and get it right, and I have expert help. The new look won't be flashy, but it will be elegant. Here's hoping the changes will be pleasing to all!
As ever, thank you for reading.
—Mike, M. C. and Administrator of Janitorial Services
Original contents copyright 2014 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Edward Taylor: "Just to throw my two cents in: Right behind your great writing, I and many of my photographer friends feel strongly that the Comments section is what sets this site apart. It is the reason for multiple visits daily, and because of the length of the Comments section, more time is spent reading comments than the blogs themselves. Your readers seem well versed, well educated, and many are unusually good writers with very interesting and valid points of view. Commentors supply this site with an incredible mix of enjoyable and interesting content.
"Recently, the posting of comments has been frequently delayed and I am not the only reader who felt that continuity was interrupted as a result. I read the blog in the morning or early afternoon and then check back frequently to read the comments. When there are not any posted, it is disappointing. I am rambling a bit, but my point is—please don't underestimate the importance of comments to this site, and therefore, please don't change the Comments section in a way that would detract from the readers' experience."
Dan Daniel: "When you speak about smartphones and tablets, I get nervous. If this leads to the constantly resizing and constantly updating scrolling and position on the page for those of us who still use a 'regular' computer, then you will lose me as a viewer. Pandering to certain formats at the expense of ruining the experience for others may lead to more ad revenues, I don't know, but if I wanted the latest and greatest I'd be on Flickr, Youtube, and Instagram, yes?"
Mike replies: Rest assured, Dan, the site will be designed to offer the best visual and reading experience on regular computer screens.
Dennis: "Jeez, I thought this was a coffee, tea and pool blog, right? Somewhat more seriously, you are at your best writing about photography: its aesthetics, interpretation, history. Less gear, more thought. The post on the Pentax 645Z and the ensuring comments in particular reached a new low. Frankly there are a bazillion blogs/websites devoted that sort of gearcrankism. Who needs it? But if that's what pays the bills.... And in any event it's your party."
Mike replies: I agree—in my judgment my main skill is coming up with ideas for posts and writing the posts. Writing ideally takes time—incubation time; time for research; time to go through the writing process, which ideally includes some time for reflection; and time to rewrite and polish. For me, I also need to be relaxed to a certain extent. I'm not complaining, mind you—it's more a matter of rational efficiency and proper use of resources: I'm good at the writing, ergo the more writing I do and the less other stuff, the better. So basically most of the things I've been doing recently are aimed at enabling that to happen...........................eventually.