The dangers of change

To paraphrase an old joke: How many Floyd Countians does it take to change a light bulb?

Answer: 200. One to change the bulb, 29 to praise the change and 170 to say how much they liked the old bulb better.

A week ago, I launched a redesign of Blue Ridge Muse, the first redesign of the web site in four years. I was proud of the new look and a lot of work went into it.

Several people praised the change…at first. Then the complaints started coming in. It was too confusing or it loaded too slowly and it put too much emphasis on photos and videos or it just “didn’t feel like” the old Muse.

A long-time reader came up to my table at Blue Ridge Restaurant this week and told me that “you forgot the old rule that ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’ ” Another commented after the board of supervisors meeting Tuesday night that “change for change’s sake isn’t always good.”

I’ve tweaked the new design several times to try and accommodate reader complaints but I’m starting to wonder if the best solution is to just go back to the old layout.

What do you think?

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13 thoughts on “The dangers of change”

  1. Well, I’m a KISS kind of guy. For whatever reasons, this new layout is still clunky and not friendly to my browser IE8 with my connection speed.

    It’s redundant for no particular reason. The slide show featured box doesn’t add anything as far as I’m concerned and I can’t jump ahead using the list immediately to the right of the revolving pics for a number of minutes I have yet to define.

    Since you can’t duplicate my situation you can’t experience it. I already said it’s my personal problem so my criticism is and should be taken as feedback, nothing more or less.

    Subjective matters produce many opinions. File mine away wherever you choose to.

  2. What do I think? I think you are like a lot of web developers, you found something new and changed your layout. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. The latest (current) format is better than the previous. With the current one it takes me 2 clicks to get to an article I want to read. Should be one click away.

    I think you are trying to find yourself. Like many people, you have many identities. My wife and I found you during your photographer phase. I think your real love is photo journalism, or are you a reporter who photographs. We have kept returning because we are also interested in what is going on in other parts of the country. Your current photography holds little interest for us.

    The real question is “who is your blog for?”. What do you get out of it? What do others get out of it? I think your are providing a valuable service for your community. You cause people to think. Some will agree, some will not, but to react they must think. If they don’t think, then it’s time to start shoveling the dirt.

    Just remember, there are all kinds of us out here, so you can’t please all of us.


    • Wow. At 64 I’m still trying to find myself? 🙂

      My real love has always been photojournalism but that profession has morphed, through technology, into visual journalism over the years. That’s why Amy and I have been doing video since the 1990s. I find telling a story visually much more challenging than doing so with words.

      I’m not a web developer. I’m just someone who doesn’t believe things should ever remain static, be it life or what one does with life. I’ve never considered Muse a blog. It’s a news site, first and foremost. I don’t consider myself a blogger. I’m an ink-stained newspaperman who still toils every week for a medium printed on processed wood pulp who also happens to publish the oldest political news site on the ‘Net (Capitol Hill Blue, started in 1994) as well as Muse and other sites.

      I love to take pictures. I love to shoot video. I love to write. Always have, always will. Some say I’m good at it, some say I’m not. It’s all a matter of perspective. I do it because I love it — nothing more, nothing less. If people like it, that’s nice. If they don’t, that’s OK.

      My favorite movie is Citizen Kane. In one scene, Kane’s longtime financial adviser, upset over the newspaper’s losses, asks:

      “Is this anyway to run a newspaper?”

      Kane replies: “I don’t know anything about running a newspaper. I just try everything I can think of.” 🙂

  3. Hey bud I think internet speed could be a factor to some with the video downloads, but
    Really it’s just excellent and thanks I know the work and time it must take , a lot, and it is MUCH appreciated by me to see whats up back in Floyd.
    Thanks for the videos and efforts you put into your site,very nice.

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