Welcome to The Cranky Flier’s New Look

I had grand plans this past weekend. I was going to put the finishing touches on the new crankyflier.com and flip the switch Saturday night. By Monday morning, all was going to be grand. Instead of that perfect scenario, however, I decided to role play as United. It wasn’t pretty. After some technical glitches, I had to revert on Sunday but not everyone had been switched back by as late as yesterday afternoon. (And by the way, if you sent an email to a crankyflier.com email address yesterday afternoon, um, that might not have reached me so please try again.) Tired of sitting in limbo, I decided to flip the switch again as soon as humanly possible. That means most of you should be seeing the new site now. Let me give you a tour.

First I need to be clear up front. The basic structure and mission of crankyflier.com is not changing. I will continue to post on the regular schedule and except on rare occasion, I will remain the only person posting. I’m not trying to morph the site into something new and different. I just wanted a cleaner look that will give you, the readers, some nice benefits.

Redesigned Homepage
Not everyone will love this, but the homepage will now no longer have the full text of each article on it. Instead, it will have endless scrolling with excerpts from each article. Just click and you’ll be able to read the one you want. The idea was to make it better for people who want to browse and find the articles that interest them most. If you preferred the old way, then I would highly suggest subscribing via RSS or email. Both are free and will deliver the daily content right to you. No extra clicks required.

Easier to Read in a Bigger Content Area
I’ve tried to use a better font that’s easier to read. In addition, the content area is wider meaning that you’ll have less scrolling to read everything.

More Prominent Visuals
Some of you love my images, and some of you hate them. Regardless, they’re going to be more prominent now. Featured images will appear on the homepage from each post. And in the post itself, the images will be 30 percent wider thanks to the expanded content area. That means I can my images way more awesome. See what you missed out on in my American/US Airways merger post because of the restricted content size?

AA US Merger Approved Wider Site

You’ll also notice a new set of logo images in the header. Don’t worry. The original logo is still there, but I’ve added 5 new ones (all photos I’ve taken myself over the last few years) and they will rotate when you reload.

Better for Mobile
This new look uses responsive web design. That means that as you shrink or grow your window, the site scales with you. If you get small enough, it goes into a mobile mode that works very well on your phone. Play with your browser and you’ll see how it works.

Faster
You probably had trouble with my site loading slowly before. Or if you logged on the evening, it might have even timed out. You can thank my old host for that. I’ve ditched that host and moved over to Pagely. These guys are designed for WordPress (which I use as my blogging platform), and it should be much faster.

Send Your Feedback
I have a few minor bugs to work through still (tables are messed up, for example), but of course I couldn’t test this on every browser and platform out there. So if you see any issues, please email me with the browser and device you’re using along with the problem. It will help me to improve this as we go.

If you had any trouble with the site over the last few days, I apologize. Hopefully it’s all working fine for you now. Thursday, it’s all back to normal here and we can finally focus on the airlines again.


46 Responses to Welcome to The Cranky Flier’s New Look

  1. BW says:

    I’m interested in hearing about geeky details like what kind of testing you did, on what platforms, and by whom, did you do a beta with a focused group of users, how that all went, …

    I’m looking for graphics awesomeness on the level or higher of the Brett Michaels at TSA picture. Bring it.

  2. Ben in DC says:

    Was surprised at first, but the new look is growing on me. Nice work Cranky! The only thing I miss is the header you had for years, the picture taken from the back door of an Alaska Airlines 737-200 Combi. Hopefully that pops up again from time to time

  3. Ron says:

    I like the new look; the mobile version especially is a real improvement. I’m also happy with the fact that the site still works with text-only browsers (I’m writing this comment using Lynx).

    One issue I have with desktop browsing: the green navigation bar persists at the top of the page, but apparently its height is not calculated when using page-up or page-down, so each time I page up or down, part of the new content is obscured by the navigation bar. This is especially problematic with a narrow browser viewport, when the navigation bar is tall. Problem encountered with both Safari and Firefox on Mac OSX 10.6 Snow Leopard.

  4. David says:

    I like it a lot. Thanks for keeping your blog awesome!

  5. Steve Z says:

    Congrats, Bret! I like the new, cleaner look. It’s a great update and upgrade, and should continue to reflect well on your business as you continue to grow. I think the hard work is well worth it.

  6. Steve Z says:

    Oops… misspelled the name. Sorry ’bout that, BreTT.

  7. Eric says:

    Dear Mr. Cranky,

    I like the new web site as much as the old one, and thank you for keeping the “2006: J F M A M J J A S O N D” archive format. It reminds of of how long I have been reading your excellent and whimsical postings since college.

    Wishing you and Team Cranky the very best!

    Sincerely Yours,

    -Eric

  8. CF says:

    BW – Well, I tested in Chrome, IE, and Safari on the PC and Safari and Chrome on the iPad as well as Chrome on my Android phone. I sent it out via Twitter and asked for a group of beta testers a little over a week ago so I took their feedback and fixed it up. I still have a long list of stuff I want to fix and upgrade, but it wasn’t enough to prevent me from launching. (The speed and downtime issues of my previous host really pushed me to make this change quickly.)

  9. Eric says:

    Forgot to mention this, but the graphics is still good… the stick figures w/ the crescent torso and the prominent butt pose still gives me that awkward “what the?!” feeling.

  10. CF says:

    Ron – Can you send me a screenshot of what you’re seeing? Please send to cf@crankyflier.com.

  11. JayB says:

    At first, I thought I was being redirected to HealthCare.gov,, but, of course, this was actually working. OK!

  12. Jeff says:

    Brett,

    The feeds appear to be down. My existing feed won’t load and when I try to set up a new one, I get an error.

  13. CF says:

    Jeff – Yikes, you’re right. That was most certainly my mistake as I forgot to update it when I switched. I’ve fixed it now. It can take a few hours, but you’ll be up and running by the time Thursday’s post gets here.

  14. I haven’t checked it out on my laptop yet, but on my desktop I just won’t see the right side of the screen unless I use the scroll bar at the bottom to move it over. At least the blog and replies are on the left so that ok to view.

  15. David says:

    When I look at the site on my Android device, it’s set entirely to look in mobile-style. Would it be possible to put in a link so that I can view your site in desktop-mode from my Android device ?
    Yes, an Android has a smaller screen than a PC, so you have to cut down what appears to make the text large enough to read. However, that cutting down of functionality is a tad annoying sometimes – perhaps you could give mobile device owners the chance to switch to desktop mode (even if the text is tiny) so they can have the desktop functionality when necessary ?

  16. Denny says:

    Web 3.0!

  17. Sanjeev M says:

    The mobile site is so much better. Thanks for the update!

  18. Cedaglen says:

    Looks pretty good to me. If it matters, I use Firefox. Can’t comment about any mobile apps or similar as I don’t do mobile.

  19. Looks quite good.. I wonder do you have the version before the most recent one still around? It might be some fun geekiness to compare them.

    Also, one thing that looks a bit odd is in the J F M A M J J A S O N D thing the months without links are black, and the ones with links are a light gray. I get this is a result of the standard stylesheet that text is black and links are light gray, but it just looks to be the complete opposite of what you’re trying to communicate here.

    Also, are replies still around? (I’m going to test in a moment…)

  20. I’m testing replies.. Although on OS X Safari 7.0 it had to reload the whole page, unlike the old design.. :-/

  21. and apparently replies don’t work.. (or if they do the rendering doesn’t make that clear..)

  22. CF says:

    David – I’m afraid not. It’s all a function of screen resolution so there isn’t a desktop site to redirect to. If you can somehow alter the resolution or trick your browser to thinking it has more resolution, then maybe that would work. But you aren’t missing out on any real functionality from the bigger site.

  23. CF says:

    Alexsarkis – Yes, you’re right. And here’s what the rest of them are, if you’re curious:

    http://crankyflier.com/wp-content/uploads/header-image/background1.png
    Original logo – taken from Alaska 737-200C upon boarding in Prudhoe Bay in 2004

    http://crankyflier.com/wp-content/uploads/header-image/background2.png
    Taken from Terminal 2 at LAX of first Air NZ 777-300ER delivery flight that had come down from Seattle in 2010

    http://crankyflier.com/wp-content/uploads/header-image/background3.png
    Sounds funny, but I can’t remember what this was, but I’ll have to look it up somehow

    http://crankyflier.com/wp-content/uploads/header-image/background4.png
    Lufthansa 747-400 taken from Bradley Terminal at LAX before I flew to Frankfurt in 2011

    http://crankyflier.com/wp-content/uploads/header-image/background5.png
    Tails at SFO’s international terminal upon returning from Frankfurt on the A380 inaugural (yes, this image is reversed)

    http://crankyflier.com/wp-content/uploads/header-image/background6.png
    Allegiant MD-80 at Long Beach Airport taken before flying to Vegas in 2011

  24. CF says:

    Nick – You’re right. Replies don’t work and that’s annoying. I’m going to look into third party comment systems to override that. FWIW, the theme author assured me that the replies work. I sent him an example and haven’t heard back since.

  25. LieuBoy says:

    Hooray for mobile responsive! Does this also mean that the content will be improved? J/K

  26. Is your graphic hinting that Southwest Airlines may have influenced the DOJ, LOL?

  27. BOS says:

    Looks good Brent.

  28. BOS says:

    er…Brett.

  29. SEAN says:

    Looks great Brett, but can you please ajust the title font size while leaving the text size where it is? The title font is a bit too big & this is coming from someone who’s legally blind! LOL

    Thanks,

    Sean a loyal reader.

  30. CF says:

    Nick – The following has been fixed so you know longer see the ones that are empty

    Also, one thing that looks a bit odd is in the J F M A M J J A S O N D thing the months without links are black, and the ones with links are a light gray. I get this is a result of the standard stylesheet that text is black and links are light gray, but it just looks to be the complete opposite of what you’re trying to communicate here.

  31. CF says:

    Sean – I was actually thinking about that. Your post made me act. The title is now smaller.

  32. stan says:

    on the desktop, it’s absolutely sloppy-looking and difficult to use

    the left-to-right, top-to-bottom flow is jagged an haphazard. there is no sensible way to tell, chronologically, what the most recent articles are because the layout appears random. needs to be cleaned up

  33. Dave Starr says:

    Overall this is a very good choice and implementation, CF. I love the “next/Previous” buttons on the sides, BUT they have no label or indication of their function, so people looking for the next article will have no way of knowing …

    The only real significant issue I have though is, readability. For some reason every web designer asnd his dog for the past year or so has become addicted to the low-contrast dark gray on lighter gray text/background.

    It’s damn herd to read, at least on cheaper LCD monitors. Not enough contrast, the text blends in and causes eyestrain. I know _everyone_ should have some esoteric large-screen super-duper Retina display, etc., but some of us are saving money for flying. Please change the color of the text of good old black, #000000 and the background to white, #FFFFFF just liie the good old black and white the world found adequate before the movie “50 Shades of Gray”. Thanks.

    • CF says:

      Dave – Are you talking about the sidebar? Posts are on white backgrounds. The font is a little softer than straight black, but readability seemed better to me. If others think it should change, let me know.

      • Dave Starr says:

        No, Brett I am talking about the main text area where we read editorial content and/or comments. Like right here where you are reading these words now.

        I stand corrected on one item, the text background _is_ white, #FFFFFF. Sorry about that. But the actual text is #4B4B4C, which is a long way from black, #000000.

        This makes the whole display lower contrast and definitely more difficult to read.

        (incidentally, on a number of sites I have owned/managed, changing the text to pure black has increased visitor rates and well as increase in Time On Page. It’s worth a shot.)

        Thanks for responding, and whatever color scheme turns out best for you, keep on writing … it’s good stuff.

        • CF says:

          Dave Starr – Well, the difference is pretty small in my eyes, but there is a bit better readability with black I guess. So I switched it.

          • Dave Starr says:

            Well I can see the difference, and I appreciate this time you have taken very much. You know where you can really see the difference? Scroll up to the cartoon and note the print just below the image. The clothes oin the character in the image are #000000. There is certainly an obvious difference to the eye there between pure black and “shades of gray” text.

            Anyway, thanks again, the CF has made this OF very happy..

  34. Jack says:

    Another good content website now made insufferable for desktop use by needless and annoying redesign.

    Infinite scrolling is seldom a good choice and it is a bad choice here. Perhaps, it makes mobile usage a ever so slightly easier, but I doubt it for this particular site. Do you have evidence that most users visit this site with small mobile screens?

    The side bar left and right arrows? Once again nonsensical for desktop use.

    Multi columns that don’t align? Madness on any platform.

    This site wasn’t broken before but now it needs to be fixed.

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