March 25, 2013

Housekeeping: a clearer view for The Climbing Cyclist

If this isn’t your first visit to The Climbing Cyclist you might notice that the homepage is a little different to how you remember it. Don’t worry, you aren’t going crazy; the homepage has indeed been changed.

I’ve removed the static landing page and replaced it with a more dynamic blog layout. That is, the homepage is now dominated by recently published content with the newest article at the top. Why? Well, things have changed The Climbing Cyclist.

When I first started this site in 2009 The Climbing Cyclist was simply a resource for Victorian cyclists — a series of guides about the various climbs you could find around this great state of ours. But sometime later I introduced the site’s blog, in which I published (and continue to publish) articles about my own rides, articles about events I’ve organised, articles about climbing more generally and articles from guest contributors. Over time, that part of the site — the more-frequently updated part — has attracted the most attention.

I’ve also had a number of people tell me that they found it hard to find recently published articles or to get a sense of what was new on the site. So I spent 10 hours tweaking the frontpage to make the blog more visible. For those of you that particularly liked the map that was on the frontpage, rest assured: it still exists. You’ll find it over on the Climbs page.

And speaking of climbs, the redesign of the homepage doesn’t mean I’ll be focusing on new climbs any less. In fact, I’d like to think I’ll get better at adding new climbs to the site more regularly. I’ve got a whole pile of climbs I’ve researched and taken photos for, I just need to get around to writing them up so I can add them to the site.

And finally, you might have noticed that I’ve also made a couple of other changes to the site. I’ve moved the social media links from the top-left of the page to the sidebar, adding a link to The Climbing Cyclist’s Instagram and YouTube accounts in the process. I’ve also moved most of the links in the sidebar to a separate page, creatively titled “Links”. And I’ve added a page for first-time visitors to The Climbing Cyclist in the hope that it will help such visitors find their way around.

So these are a few of the things I’ve been up to. There are also a handful of other changes in the works. In the meantime, I’d be keen to get your feedback. Does the new layout make it easier to find your way around? Have you spotted any bugs or glitches that I’ve inadvertently introduced while changing the homepage design? And are there other things, design-related or otherwise, you’d like to see (or not see) on The Climbing Cyclist?

As always, I’m always keen to hear your thoughts. Every little piece of feedback helps me understand what you are looking to get out of the site.

Until next time, thanks for visiting!

19 Comments

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  1. Jon Thornton / Apr 2 2013

    How about a mobile version of the site?

  2. David S / Mar 30 2013

    Sorry, forgot to say- like another respondent I found I didn’t have word wrap in a “reply” dialogue box- as I kept writing what I was typing just disappeared off to the right out of sight and.

  3. David S / Mar 30 2013

    I think the fundamental changes are good. I am sure that most people who visit your site are, like me, repeat visitors and so don’t need the standard text describing the site to be the first thing that appears.

    Like someone else I found that Firefox didn’t render the page as well as Safari. Just out of interest I did a comparison on a different website and found that the rendering was the same for that in both browsers.

    Call me lazy if you will, but I have become used to photos on sites being a link to the article the photo is illustrating. On your site I have to go to the underlined link. I find just about always I click the photo first, then remember it is not a link and then go to the actual link. First world problem, I know…

    But, as always, thanks for creating and keeping the site going. It keeps getting better all the time.

  4. Chris K / Mar 27 2013

    Hi Matt

    how about a section in the sidebar for the Dirty Dozen? I can see this ride becoming a Melbourne institution and it would be good to be able to access previous blog posts and a map of the climbs (with direction arrows) so that my pigeon brain can easily determine the route!

    cheers

  5. Matt / Mar 26 2013

    Thanks for the feedback everyone. It really is appreciated. 🙂

  6. Kon Korkovelos / Mar 26 2013

    Really like the new home page Matt, good work.

  7. Gary / Mar 26 2013

    Is Don, is Good. Alton Rd absolutely needs to be added to the list of climbs.

  8. Pete / Mar 26 2013

    Heaps better. The old landing page did look a bit funny.

  9. Jon Thornton / Mar 26 2013

    I much prefer the new layout. When I visit the site, I look for the most recent post. It is nice to be able see what is new directly from the home page.

    In Blog Categories you have a 7 Peaks Domestique Series link. The page at the end of this link provides links to all of the rides, but it does not link to the 7 Peaks Domestique Series overview page. Have you considered adding a link to the overview page?

  10. Aaron Freedman / Mar 26 2013

    I rate the new homepage. Easy to navigate through the latest articles and is still simple to use.

    I have been on the bikes for less than a year now but have made it part of my daily routine to check this site and read up as much as I can . Slowly, but surely, I am ticking the climbs off my list!

    The descriptions of the climbs are absolutely spot on and help a lot when preparing for these big rides.

    Keep up the great work!

  11. Dylan Nicholson / Mar 26 2013

    Clean, but the default font for the main article is very small for me?

    • Matt / Mar 26 2013

      Hmm, strange. Do you mean on the home page, or on the article itself? Which browser are you using?

      • Lex / Mar 26 2013

        Formatting in Firefox is not great (font size on articles and contact tab location).
        Seems fine on Explorer, Chrome & Safari.

        Like the changes. Perhaps add a list of the researched but yet to be documented climbs.

        • Matt / Mar 26 2013

          Great feedback Lex, thanks. I’ll check that out tonight. 🙂

      • Dylan Nicholson / Mar 26 2013

        Seems ok now, though now there’s a more serious problem – if I type more than a medium length sentence, the end of it gets cut off (“ium” in medium for me). Using Chrome, no unusual settings or resolutions etc. Actually the entire word ‘unusual’ is invisible too…

  12. Aaron / Mar 26 2013

    Nice job! Very clean and organized.

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