Been awhile. Been a looooong while.
As a couple* folks have noticed, this blog’s been closed for remodeling for more than a year, and the why part is a bit tricky.
What I’d love to say: I’ve been slaving away for months, crafting the jo-block perfect Morganica website, and so now…taDA!!!…here it is: The world’s most wonderful resource for glassists and the story-needy.
Enjoy. The end.
The truth: Uhmmmm…honestly? I just haven’t had much time to work on Morganica, between art and friends and family and cats and home renovations and, oh yeah, my dayjob. See, by day, I’m an information architect, and so the last thing I’m gonna do when I get home at night is…information architecture.
Information architecture is one of those professions that sometimes sounds like a solution in search of a problem. But…ever seen one of those hoarder shows where some poor soul stuffs every nook and cranny with potentially useful stuff? In few years they’ve got enough empty toilet paper rolls to build a bridge to the moon, the neighbors are complaining about funny smells, and it would take a trained archaeologist to find the spoons.
In comes the organization expert, a nice-but-firm lady with a backhoe and an unlimited Ikea expense account. She shovels out the piles, dumps essentials into see-through bins, and leaves the homeowner happily contemplating the now-visible linoleum.
That’s me, only I do it for websites. I figure out the essential stuff in a website and dump the rest (often with the content owners still attached, screaming loudly). Then I build a site taxonomy that optimizes user experience and maximizes interactivity, part of a content plan covering 12 months of launch and refresh.
Oops. Slipped into jargon–easy to do in my job.
Translation: I figure out what website owners want to do (sell stuff), what website visitors want to do (buy stuff), and get rid of whatever makes that harder. Whatever’s left, I translate into something that makes sense to your average joe.
Ever gone to a website intending to buy something, but instead clicked off to Amazon, frustrated as heck? You couldn’t find what you were looking for, or you found part of it but not the part that would tell you “Yep, this is what I want.” Or you found it, added it to your shopping cart, filled out the forms and clicked “place order” …only to find it was out of stock?
That’s what I fix.
I work in a great company, on team of buddies much smarter than me. (I must modestly add that this is rare for me. Being the dummy in the group is not entirely comfortable but I’m learning a LOT).
Organizing a website is immense fun and rather like eating Kettle baked potato chips:** You dive in, totally immersed in spuddy goodness, and only emerge when the bag is empty. When I dive into a site, I may not emerge for hours or days…which doesn’t leave much time for fixing my own website.
And as a fixer-upper, Morganica was in the tear-it-down-and-start-over class. A private WordPress journal that grew way out of hand, only about 1,000 of its posts were visible at any given time. Behind the scenes I had to clean up an ungodly mess of 5,700 additional posts.
Some, like the glass projects, were long, rambling and hard to read. Others, such as product reviews and resource lists, should have been standardized, but weren’t. They each needed their own templates and some better way of searching and finding them.
So I noodled and designed and redesigned. I tried maybe 60 different design iterations. Sometimes I started a whole new website. Sometimes I munged them together. Iteration #56 was, for example, almost perfect for easy-reading glass project posts. Unfortunately, building each post took about 16 hours. At that rate, it’d take more than a year just to republish the old stuff, let alone get anything new out there.
Besides, my glass projects have been picked up by an amazing number of websites (often without permission). They’re referred to in forums, pinned in Pinterest, etc. Simply shifting them to a new website, even with redirects, would break a LOT of stuff. (The cardinal rule of website redesigns is “Never break a link.”)
In the end, I decided to leave Morganica-the-oldsite right where it was, without alteration. You’ll still find it at morganica.com/bloggery, or by clicking “miss the old blog?”query on the home page.
What you’re reading now is Morganica2. I’m sticking all my new posts here and, gradually, the best of Morganica-the-first. At some point I’ll probably consolidate both blogs into one, and the old blog will vanish…but that won’t be for several years.
Design-wise, I’m not doing anything special. I am sticking with “responsive” design, i.e., a blog theme which rearranges itself to make sense on anything from a 50-inch monitor to a watch. Other than that, I’m starting with a simple, straightforward design that will evolve as needed.
So…right now there’s not much to see. But keep watching. And send ideas my way.
*Couple hundred folks, if you go by the emails and comments…
**Kettle baked potato chips are a Northwestern US phenomenon; if you can’t get them, poor you. They’re wonderfully crunchy, totally potato, and don’t make your fingers greasy.