2018 Redesign for TAW

A Belated Update

In recent years I’ve always had the intention to give TAW another fresh coat of paint and fix several concerns I’ve had regarding how I currently perceive the site itself nowadays and its functionality, but never got around to doing that. With renewed interest in writing reviews having sincerely missed doing them, I finally sat down and got to work and here is the result. Read on for more details on the intentions behind this update and other thoughts.

The Redesign

The new design is a responsive theme using Tracks as a basis, tailored to suit my own needs while pinching a toggle menu from Oblique for tablet/phone devices since I preferred how this one functions over the former’s menus. TAW never did display correctly on these devices before which I needed to address – especially for search engine optimisation. Keep in mind at the time of this post, the theme hasn’t gone through extensive testing on an actual tablet or phone device, so some tweaking might still be store. The main priority is having a good desktop and tablet reading experience foremost, while being at least functional on a phone for now. Over time all three devices should offer a good experience.

My intention during the redesign was to simplify TAW down to what it is: Reviews. Over the years I’ve always attempted to expand the site into several directions by introducing new features and sections, but my heart was never into maintaining those ideas. Going forward I want to focus on writing reviews primarily while my blog section is left for anything else that doesn’t fit such as news or opinion pieces, if any. All irrelevant content is now archived under “Other”. The goal for TAW2018’s redesign was a larger focus on the content itself. That involved making screenshots bigger, bolder and removing clutter by removing borders and increasing text size to reduce density. I wanted the reading experience to feel more relaxed and considering the length of recent reviews, needed to appear less of an eyesore. I’ve also lowered some behind-the-scenes workload when it comes to preparing and uploading reviews which helps save time.

Current Problem

With the new redesign came additional changes for how review pages should look, one taking advantage of the “Featured Image” from WordPress and others just keeping the articles tidier. This means that every post must be manually updated to support these changes and there are over 550+ posts as of current to filter through. Quite the daunting task but it must be done. I’ll be working through these chunk by chunk over the coming months, so please bare with me and understand that older posts might not be very appealing for now. In due time they shall.

Future Thoughts

The comment system. This was an appealing feature I sought after when I switched over to WordPress back in 2006, allowing readers to post their thoughts about the review or levels. TAW doesn’t receive much discussion, which is fine and I’ve always left the ability to comment on over the years. Sadly WordPress as a platform suffers from constant waves of spambots, some days worse than others. I’ve attempted to reduce the volume over the years but it’s getting out of hand seeing nearly 200 daily spam comments waiting moderation and any legitimate comment, as rare as they are, could be easily lost amongst them and deleted. I would prefer to keep the comment section open for those occasional moments but part of me wants to turn this feature off entirely just to relieve myself having to keep spam in check. Currently the thought remains in the back of my mind but no final decision has been determined for now, so this only serves as a mild heads up if changes are made.

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