Let’s get meta for a moment: The Newsprint may look slightly different than it did a few hours ago. Don’t fret — my inner tinkering demon hasn’t reared its ugly head.
Gone is the photo-less landing page — something that came to bother me over time. I love shooting photos more than I love writing these days, so it seemed odd to visit the site and have to click a couple times to see some photos. No more. Josiah did some tinkering and photography has found a new home on the landing page.
The reason we stayed away from photos on the homepage originally was because I wanted the landing page to load instantly. I wanted the first impression to be based solely on whitespace and typography and I didn’t want photos to clog up load times. The singular landing page also had that (in)convenient effect on pageviews: one pageview for hitting the landing page and another for having to click on the article to view the photos and read the writing. It was an easy way to cheat the pageview system.
But I’m not as worried about loading times and pageviews these days for a couple reasons. One, I want the first impression to be as much based on photography as whitespace and typography. Two, pageviews have been smothered in the backseat for quite some time. I forgot to install Quicklytics on my new iPhone and iPad a few months ago, so I forgot to check The Newsprint’s analytics until a few weeks ago. As all those seasoned writers noted when I started The Newsprint a few years ago, pageviews really mean next to nothing.
So, as a result, Josiah got rid of pagination, added photos to the landing page, and made the entire first impression better for The Newsprint’s visitors. Everyone wins.
We also settled on some new typography. Ideal Sans is an instant classic and it’ll always remain dear to my heart. However, I’ve fallen in love with serifs again, as they add an element of elegance to any site. Hoefler & Co.’s Cloud.Typography membership is still worth every dollar, so we combined Sentinel headings and navigation with Whitney body fonts. We think the combination is brilliant and I personally appreciate the maturity the font combination brings to the table.
If we left the makeover to simple design changes, it wouldn’t have been worth the time and effort, though.
The biggest change is to The Newsprint’s backend. The Newsprint is now managed with Siteleaf, a CMS Josiah pitched to me a few months ago. It’s a little more structured than a simple Jekyll blog (something I swore I would never leave) and it gives me the ability to publish on any device anywhere in the world. It also makes way for custom page layouts — something that may be fundamental to a project I’m considering.
Moreover, since we made the big CMS change in December 2014, I’ve only been able to publish from my iPad or iPhone via an Editorial workflow. Unfortunately, Editorial has seemingly been put on the shelf over the last while, rendering my iPad useless for publishing and making the iPhone my indispensible blogging tool. The switch to Siteleaf frees the shackles of that Editorial workflow and should allow me better accessibility to the site as a whole.2
In general, I took a major step back from The Newsprint in 2015. This wasn’t planned. If anything, I’m disappointed it turned out the way it did. 2015 marked the first year of my career, but it also marked the busiest year of school and the entrance of a creative avenue of work. These three responsibilities grabbed ahold of my time and wouldn’t — heck, won’t — let go. And The Newsprint took the brunt of it.
That’s life. I apologize for pulling back. On the other hand, I’m proud to say I’m moving forward in so many other areas.
I hope you enjoy the small changes made today. With hat in hand, I thank you for reading and viewing my work. It’s such an honour to connect with such a great group of people and to snag a few minutes of your attention every few days.
Collectif has been rebranding their page for a little while now, which goes to show how coveted their work has become. Jon and Josiah continue to shake things up, especially in our local region. I’m so excited to call them friends and colleagues. ↩