Todd's Wanderings Logo

Same Logo, More of it

Well, OK, maybe that title is a tad bit dramatic, but it is true nonetheless. Here at Todd’s Wanderings I am always trying to make the website more user friendly and to enhance your experience. I like it when you are happy, I’m also a bit anal and I need everything to look fresh and cutting edge, and of course I want my site to be more popular than twitter, I’m almost there…15 million more readers to go!

Over the past few months I have been working with a designer to give my website a facelift. I have been trying to make the design and the brand as appealing as possible before I engage a coder. What I have realized is that I forgot to ask YOU what you think.

Yes, I get carried away sometimes.

So, I’m here to not only give you a sneak peak at what the next version of Todd’s Wanderings will look like, but to also get your feedback.

I’d love to know what you think of the proposed new design.

1) What do you like, what do you hate?

2)What else would you like to see?

3) What do you like better or worse compared to the current design?

The internet and blogging is such a wonderful thing. When I’m wondering what my audience thinks, I can take the unusual step of Just Asking You. We often forget it’s that simple.

So here I am asking you what you think. I’ll take your suggestions on the design, add in my own concerns and then we will finalize and roll out a brand spanking new Todd’s Wanderings in the near future.

Todd’s Wanderings New Homepage

Todd's Wanderings Home Page

Oh, and don't worry about hurting my feels :)

Please leave your comments below, and thanks again for being one of the most attractive, well read and intelligent audiences around! I couldn’t be this egotistical without you :)

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28 Responses to “Determine the Fate of Todd’s Wanderings”

  1. FedericoNo Gravatar says:

    Hey Todd

    For what it’s worth ( I know the post is not new) I also thing that the sidebar shoulbe be smaller, the category menu should be the same size as the slider (which I’d make bigger too), and I’d also bring the bottom menu to the top. But it looks very good an professional! I’m thinkg about revamping mine too…

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Federico, thanks for taking the time to offer your advice. I’m STILL working on the design and coding elements so your comment comes at a great time.

  2. Love the new homepage! What did it look like before?

    ~Heidi

  3. Andy NewbomNo Gravatar says:

    Todd:

    dig it. way better than the current site which i find too wimpy and white/apple/empty

    a few things I love:
    1. the blue banner/words underneath the site title
    2. LOVE that your bio box is the highest part and touches offscreen
    3. the colors are tight. Im stealing all of them.
    4. the popular posts/todds favs box is awesome! hope you can code that easily!

    Things that suck:
    1. the big heavy black box on bottom
    2. the email signup box makes me feel spammed/pushed (I know you want signups but move it down a bit and put the where in the world thing there instead, engage em first them hook em)
    3. YOU BETTER make the words in the blue banner up top clickable and I BETTER be able to read a whole shitstorm of gross exagerations
    4. the category menus suck. the black boxes should EITHER end with the photo or NOT end with the photo. right now it looks as if one got dropped in code. either make them stretch and end at the picture end or make them REALLY not line up and be all googely/offsided or something.
    5. move the menu pages to the top, although you can keep non essential to typical readers down below.
    6. this is NOT my site and that really sucks! Seriously. it sucks. bad. real bad. pain in the head bad. sadness incorporated bad. you make me feel terrible and that Im not good enough bad.
    7. me being jealous of your pretty site.

  4. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    I don’t know why I ended up back on that page, even less why I read it again, but – I don’t know if this has been mentioned in an another comment, I haven’t reread all of them, but the home-about-etc menu bar should stay on top, not at the bottom (nobody ever looks at the very bottom of page, well, nobody I know at least).

  5. It’s good. The background colour cements it together. I like it.

  6. Wow, that looks great Todd. Excited to see the final product.

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David, that is high praise from a design and function expert like you :) Thanks! There are still some flow and functionality issues that I need to work out. Problem is that I want the whole kitchen sink in here….but simplicity and focus is best and I’m trying to make some tough decisions on what is and what isn’t essential, useful, fun, engaging, erotic (wait that’s another site)… Hope you are keeping well.

  7. lauraNo Gravatar says:

    The new design looks great and already there are plenty of constructive comments … but, wait, now you are working on TWO books? :) fill me in! See you soon and congrats again :)

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Well, I have my Shikoku Pilgrimage travel book, and my hiking guide to Southern Kosovo! That is two :) I’m considering adding in a travel writing class as well…we shall see :)

  8. I think all around the new design is a big WIN. Looks great, professional, as well as easy to read and navigate. Based on the mockup, not much else to add. Good job.

  9. Hi Todd:
    My initial impression was that it now looks a lot like a newspaper. That might have something to do with the color, which is reminiscent of newsprint.

    I also felt it was a little busy looking, but if you move the “New To Todd’s Wanderings” and “Where in the World” to the sidebar I think it would pretty much fix that. As others have said, that would get your readers ito the content quicker, which is a good thing.

    I’d also think about making the content area wider and the right-hand sidebar narrower. This would go a long way toward resolving the “busy” look. Right now, they’re close too close to the same size and the eye does not know where to go.

    Finally, I didn’t like the big black box on the bottom, which seemed to unbalance the whole page. It seems bottom-heavy. I know you’re trying to get away from a blog look, but the header seems so insignificant compared to the rest of the page, especially when you get to the big black area at the bottom – they just don’t seem to go together. Maybe some design element to offset the elements across the top of the page, so they are more clearly defined as a header?

    Great work, looking forward to seeing the finished product.

    • ToddNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Barbara, thanks so much for your critical eye :) I myself have been thinking alot about the bottom area and I think it is a bit heavy as well. As someone else mentioned, the print is also a bit too small for so much space.

      I didn’t notice that the side bar looked almost the same size as the content. It is the same proportions as my current design. but I’ll take another look in full screen to see how it feels. I hope the Dali Lama treated you well!

  10. I like it overall – little tweaks here and there aside, the one thing that grabbed me and made me stick around was your video, where you introduced yourself. As a first time visitor it really made an impact and made me feel like I knew what you were about (and quickly -without having to comb through a bunch of articles). I was excited about the potential travel stories because I saw a bit of where you were, not to mention you seemed friendly but also that you knew what you were talking about. Something to keep in mind for the newbies. Would be a shame to lose that.

    • ToddNo Gravatar says:

      Hey Sasha, thanks for the feedback. Yes, I like the video too and am planning on keeping it. I have been debating having it on an about page, but there is a value on keep it in the sidebar too. I will be switching the interface over to vimeo, which looks a lot better than youtube :)

  11. SimonNo Gravatar says:

    Great job, Todd. And good comments and suggestions.

    As for moving WITW and New 2 TW, I share Amanda’s and Ben’s view. However, I understand that the choice to position them where they are is part of your strategy and from this standpoint it makes perfectly sense.

    I’ll add a few notes on design and usability.
    a) It might be due to the screenshot, but header and menu are not perfectly aligned on the left
    b) Box ‘Hi I’m Todd’: I would make it of the same horizontal dimensions as the right toolbar
    c) Search: IMHO, this is one of the most important features on a website. thus my suggestion would me to movie it on the very top, right under the presentation box and over the ‘Join 12000+’
    d) The space occupied by the Menu buttons is smaller than the one of the slider. I think it might look nicer and with better proportions if it were the same width
    e) Agree with Amanda regarding the white background of the ‘favorites’ box
    f) About, Contact, Links etc. in the footer: Aren’t they a bit too small? Have you tried a larger font and all caps as in the boxes above (‘Advertise’, etc.)

    Hope this is useful. Can’t wait to see the new layout online!
    Hugs,
    Simon

    • ToddNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks for the detailed suggestions Simon. All great points and I’m taking notes :) On the one hand I’m trying to get away from the box, tired, blog look. To do this I need to realign certain areas and have a more creative flow. On the other hand I don’t want things to be out of proportion or to look unbalanced. Quite the hard balance to find.

  12. AmandaNo Gravatar says:

    Ooooo, I love the proposed new color scheme. And I like that your site title would appear larger.

    I agree with Ben though about moving the “New to Todd’s Wanderings” and “Where in the World” boxes elsewhere. You want your readers to see your content first!

    Also, the box in your sidebar with your best “All Time” posts, “Todd’s Favs” etc. looks odd being the only all-white element on the page.

    • ToddNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Amanda, thanks for the feedback. I hadn’t even thought about the white space! Yeah, I need to really think about the Where in the World Box. As if it is not in a prominent place people might not participate as much.

  13. I’d move the “New To Todd’s Wanderings” and “Where in the World” somewhere to the sidebar. Definitely the WITW part. I think first time readers are more interested in the posts than the game – at first.

    The top-right intro graphic is a nice touch.

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Thanks Ben. yes, I have been considering this as well. Do you like the Where in the World Segment? My plan with it is to keep it out of the Recent Posts lists so that it doesn’t overwhelm the over the posts. But if I move it to the side then it might get lost and have less hits. Tough balance I think…

  14. DavidNo Gravatar says:

    I’m not sure what I think of it.
    I love the colors and the header, but I feel that the thing is a little bit too stretched.
    However, this may come from the picture, are you sure the proportions are right, as everything seems stretched, pictures and all.

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi David, I think it is just the way WP put the photo in. Plus you are looking at basically the whole blog page in one view without having to scroll down. It takes some getting used to the picture a blog this way :)

  15. DeniseNo Gravatar says:

    Well Todd, I think the new design is super sophisticated, and if appearance is one of your main concerns, then I would choose that design over the one you have at the moment. But, it won’t make me come back to your website more often…POSTING MORE OFTEN WILL :D What I mean is that the new design could hook more new readers, but to give old and loyal readers a reason to visit your blog more often you need to start posting more as you used to do in the past.

    Denise @ the art of slow travel

    • Todd WasselNo Gravatar says:

      Hi Denise, thanks and point TAKEN!!! The focus on the new design is also to motivate me to get more posts out to all of my loyal, attractive readers :) I know that no one wants to hear excuses about why I have not posted as often (saving the world, having a baby, publishing two books, writing a third, ending a job, looking for a new one, traveling) so I won’t even bore you with them :)

      I am certainly posting more often and getting back up to my previous schedule of twice a week plus a Where in the World. But along with the design change I have also been working behind the scenes on a new strategy :) Oh, and I hope you are doing well!!!!

      • DeniseNo Gravatar says:

        I am doing well. And of course, I know roughly what you’ve been up to, and it must be hard to juggle everything. My comment was meant as a ‘gentle’ encouragment. I wouldn’t bother commenting unless I really liked your blog.

        Looking forward to the future ‘todd’s wanderings’

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