Gadgeteer state of the site address

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In the last couple of months you have seen some obvious changes to this web site. At the end of December we rolled out a brand new layout and at the beginning of this month we moved to a faster and more powerful server. I’ve been running The Gadgeteer for close to 17 years now and during that time we’ve had all sorts of transitions. So I’m used to receiving comments from people who love the changes we make and from those who don’t.

Earlier this week we ran a Valentine’s day contest where readers earned an entry by listing one thing they like about The Gadgeteer and one thing they would like to change about The Gadgeteer. I always enjoy these types of contests because it gives me ideas for things that may need tweaked, added or removed from the site. I know it’s impossible to make everyone happy, but always I try my best to make most people happy.

I’ve read through the 140 comments and want to address some of them now (in no particular order).

Mobile site / app – This was a common request, so I want to point out that the new site layout is responsive. If you’re not familiar with that term, it means that the layout will adjust depending on the device used to view it. So we do have a mobile site, but we do not have a mobile app for iOS or Android. I’m looking into that though. Please share ideas on what you would like to see in an app that is not provided by viewing the site on a mobile device.

More non-Apple reviews/news – I think we do a good job providing a variety of different news and review topics. I will make sure that we mix things up a bit more  so we don’t post more than two iOS related articles back to back.

Video reviews – I actually enjoy making video reviews, but I feel like I’m horrible in front of a camera, so I just don’t make them very often. I know that practice makes perfect so I’ll keep trying and let the rest of the team know that they can also do video reviews if they like.

Ads at the bottom of iPhone and Android phone – I have an email in to my ad company that runs that ad spot to see if it is earning very much. If it isn’t, I’ll remove it. Update: I received some earning reports for that particular ad spot and it’s earning enough that I’m probably not going to remove it. Can some of you who hate it explain what it is about the ad that bothers you? When I visit the site with my phone, the ad stays firmly stuck to the bottom edge of the browser window. It doesn’t get in the way, blink or cause any distraction for me.

News posts vs. review posts – This one surprises me every time because it should be obvious that a post with one picture and one paragraph is not a product review. But just to explain again… News posts are short info posts about a new product, service, etc that we think you might want to know more about. Reviews are MUCH longer, have multiple images and have the word “review” at the end of the title.

Different RSS feeds for each category – You can already do this :) Click on a category or tag page and then just put /feed at the end of the URL and add that address to your favorite feed reader.

More Windows Phone coverage – Will do. My main way to review phones is through Verizon. So I will make a concerted effort to do more Windows Phone reviews as devices become available.

Put your search bar and archives on the top of the page instead of at the bottom so it would be easier to see – The search bar is already at the top of the page in the menu bar, but I’ve just added archives there too.

Bring back 2 person reviews – We will definitely do more of those types of reviews as we can. It’s not that easy to get more than one review sample.

Long term updates to products that have been reviewed – Great idea. We will do more updates to older reviews as we can.

Improve the search feature – I agree that the built in WordPress search is not very good. I’m in the process of researching alternatives.

Prefer the old layout (columns) – I’m sorry that you don’t like the new layout. If you prefer columns to rows, you can read through an RSS feed reader or subscribe to our newsletter.

Separate section for news and reviews – You can do this now. Just click on news, list all news or reviews, list all reviews in the menu bar.

Thumbs up/down/in between icon on intro page / Want each review to be preceded by a quick one sentence takeaway and rating – Good ideas. I’ll think about potentially adding those features.

The home is a bit confusing and looks like a lot of blank unused space – Sounds like you have an ad blocker installed. All those black spaces are ads.

I don’t like the pop-up ads while reading on my HTC Butterfly – I’m looking into this because I don’t have popup ads.

There you have it. Please continue to give me feedback about the site good or bad. I take everything seriously.

Posted in: Articles, News

4 comments… add one

  • Hai Vu February 9, 2014, 8:16 pm

    **Mobile site/app:** I like the new site and its responsive design. I am not sure about a mobile app: most of us already too many apps on our phone.

    **Video review:** Don’t be shy; you look nice on video. Furthermore, most reviews focus on the product, not the reviewer. The only thing about video review is the overhead it takes to prepare one.

    **Long-term update:** I love this idea.

    1
  • DStaal February 9, 2014, 11:46 pm

    Just want to say as a comment: I *hate* video reviews. I know, one person’s opinion. ;) But just to let you know that not everyone likes the idea – I’ll skip any that get posted.

    2
  • Joey February 10, 2014, 10:35 am

    Any way you can add the pictures back on the mobile responsive design? On the front page I only get text….no pics. I’m viewing this on my phone

    3
  • Julie Strietelmeier February 10, 2014, 10:47 am

    @joey what device and browser are you using? I’m looking at the site right now with a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 through the Chrome browser and I see all the front page images.

    4

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