InSpiral has a new name
Remember this post about InSpiral Lounge of Camden maybe closing? Well, it did.
InSpiral as a wholesale food business still exists, making excellent kales chips and raw cakes, but the canal-side café serving food with extremely mixed results is gone.
In its place?
It sounds like exactly the same thing, just with a different name. Now called Campbell’s Canal Café, reports on social media suggest not much has changed with the place. Some of the same staff, still serving cow milk. Mixed reviews on the food.
If you are interested in finding out more about the new incarnation of InSpiral Lounge, you can like the new Facebook page.
Ouch 🙁 Sorry to have to keep talking to you about this but it’s getting worse, not better.
You can’t do stuff like those animated tiles on the homepage. There are globally accepted standards for this kind of stuff, backed by the UK government, looping animations like that without any way to pause them royally fuck things up for people with attention related conditions such as ADD.
Honestly, I wouldn’t say this lightly, but as things are FGV is easily the worst blog that I know of. That’s not drama queenery, it’s a considered professional opinion from someone who has been doing this for a living for 17 years, working for all kinds of household names.
Thankfully the mobile site is still usable, but as far as the desktop site goes please please just stop. I’m happy to help you with some more detailed advice if you want, but honestly you’re best off just getting a nice pre-made theme from themeforest, and tweaking the colours etc to suit.
Again I’m only saying this because I care, it’s one of my favourite sites and it is really paining me to see it running backwards into the early 2000s.
Ian. I can only suggest you use my Facebook page as a blog ‘frontpage’ and click through to the individual stories from there if the actual blog home page is unusable for you. Every single story that is posted on my blog is also linked to from Facebook. It might suit you better too as the dates are clearly visible on Facebook and are in chronological order. I apologise for any distress these changes have caused you.
You’re misunderstanding, I’m not giving you my personal opinion that it is bad for me, I’m letting you know that it is bad full stop. Categorically.
Especially for accessibility, things like the autoplaying animation, poor contrast white on green headings and inverted text colours make it a miserable experience for large numbers of people with a wide range of disabilities.
My day job is to look at designs like this in an objective way, based on behavioural observation.
The most recent user testing sessions I managed were for a well known car brand. They had a section on their car detail page that had the same color scheme as your main dark grey background copy, and it bombed. So many people observed having difficulty reading it, so many comments about how disliked it was. With good reason, there has been a great deal of research into just how bad it is, some of which is summarised here: https://trevellyan.biz/graphic-design-discussion-how-color-and-contrast-affect-readability-2/
And as I said previously we tested many variants of your home page approach many times at the BBC, and they bombed every time. I’ve seen very large sums of public money go into demonstrating that it does not work for this kind of scenario, so you may as well take some benefit from their expense 🙂
It’s a homepage for a blog, not Pinterest, they serve very different functions and need to work in very different ways. Who is visiting your homepage? What goal do they have in mind when visiting a blog homepage? What kind of information would allow them to satisfy that goal most effectively? Those are the right kind of questions to consider. Whether or not you personally like it is secondary. And your heading contrast, there are agreed international standards of what constitutes an acceptable minimum level of contrast, and tools to test it with, and they don’t come close.
Designing websites is a tricky business, with real conquences for slip ups, you only have a few seconds of someone’s attention before you’ve lost them to another site. But decent UX designers are very expensive and in high demand, and properly facilitated user testing sessions cost £15k a go to run.
So in the absence of having all of those resources available to you I’m giving you some advice that will allow you to improve it for all of your visitors – do as many others do, and get one of those themeforest themes that I mentioned. There’s a huge range, they cost $50, and although they aren’t perfect they’re way better than anything anyone un-trained can produce, and it would cost you tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to have something equivalent designed for you by a professional studio. The theme you’re using at the moment – I assume it’s a theme – doesn’t cut it.
If you do go for it and have a shortlist of themes that you’re considering, I’d happily help you choose one that works well. They’re generally customisable, with control over colours and some degree of control over layouts, I’d be happy to give advice on which customisations might work well too.
But what you have at the moment is – and this is an objective professional analysis, not a personal opinion – a big step backwards from what you had before. You’re putting lots of unnecessary time into this work when you could have something hugely better already made for you for the sake of $50. I can’t make you take my advice, but I hope you do.
And either way I’ve said my piece now, so I won’t bug you again about it. The information is there if you want to use it.
Sean, I have to say I’m with Ian on this, and although I don’t have a very well-informed professional opinion on web design, I used to work with disabled people a lot, and the current design would have caused many of them major issues.
As for myself (and I don’t identify as disabled), from the squares on the homepage I can’t tell what the hell the posts are about–I always used to be pulled in by seeing the headlines. You write good headlines and often have good opening gambits to make people read further, and those are lost with the pictorialisation.
I’m also finding it hard to navigate to past posts–just now I came here to find the link to the post you did about the Italian food bus, but it’s already slipped off the front page and I couldn’t see a link to older posts. I’ll probably try to find it via a search engine in a moment.
Just to let you know, again, that your blog is one of the brightest things in the vegan webosphere and we say this because we love it and you’re awesome. 🙂
Hey Oliver, I found the older posts by accident, they’re extremely well hidden!
Keep a close eye on the ‘follow me on instagram’ box at the top right of the homepage. Then move your mouse over any of the items in the grid, so that you get the fading out effect on all the others, then as they fade out you’ll see that a small right-facing arrow appears on the ‘follow me on instagram’ box. If you click directly on that arrow rather than on the box itself, it’ll take you to page 2.
Sean, You can clearly see someone here expecting it to have a simple HTML link to older posts, as on nearly every other blog. This is an example of why you need to stick with conventions. When someone goes to use a website, they try to apply their existing mental models of how websites work, and if the way the website works matches their mental model, that’s what’s known as it being intuitive.
I know I said I had said my piece, but something else that might be useful – amongst the themes available on themeforest there are a range of ones aimed specifically at food blogging, that have dedicated page layouts to handle recipe posts, such as your pico de gallo one, with built in functionality for nice ingredients lists, step by step instructions, etc.
And something else that’s worth looking at with the current approach Sean – try writing a long comment, longer than the default height of the text field that you’re typing in. It pushes the log in fields and submit button down out of the bottom of the frame, so unless you know to use tab to manually navigate down, it’s impossible to post the comment.
I thought you weren’t coming back/commenting on here anymore Ian. 😉
I got an email notification. Do any of the points Oliver or I have made seen reasonable to you?
Ian, your obtuse and unsolicited comments are making me feel slightly harassed. Of course I take everything on board that my readers say for consideration, but I have more than two readers and a lot of them have reached out to say they enjoy the new design (which is still a work in progress). I do not have the time or the inclination to respond to all concerns posted in these comment sections. I will consider what you have said and my blog will continue to evolve when I have time.
Obtuse? Unsolicited? Harassed? Christ, what a way to speak to your readership.
Tips on that:
An important step as a designer is learning to separate yourself from your output, just treating it as a proposal you’ve put forward rather than a representation of yourself. Until you can do that, you’re personally invested, which means you can’t help but take criticism of the work personally, regardless of how valid the feedback might be.
I’ve explained what the very real usability problems are, given you guidance on how to fix them and gain some nice extra functionality to boot, and offered free professional assistance. I’ve also stepped in to help out another of your readers who is experiencing difficulty as a result of those very real usability problems.
Perhaps to investigate his issues finding older posts you could take a look at your analytics and see if there is any difference in referrals from your older posts, that’s one valuable tool you have access to that doesn’t require a load of cost. Search engine traffic will be the same regardless, but as time goes on and you start to build up enough data to be able to make an accurate call, keep a close eye on whether the traffic they recieve directly from the homepage has changed at all from pre-redesign.
As we’ve both said, you’re only getting this feedback because your content is so valued by your readers. It’s far better than no-one caring either way.