My first blog this week is actually just going to be an announcement about this site and the way users navigate between posts. I've received feedback from friends and followers about how it can be difficult to navigate the site and find related blogs. Feedback is always really important to me and I appreciate all the comments that I receive that help me make the site more user friendly.
To that effect I've spent a considerable amount of time going back through all of my blog posts and photo posts and applying a new location-based system of indexing as well as separating blogs between things like hikes, night markets, waterfalls, temples, etc. Each post from now on will have an index section at the bottom of each post that will direct users to similar blog posts or locations geographically close to a specific entry.
The next thing that I've done is add GPS locations to each blog entry. I've set up a new section on the page titled "Map" which will be separate from the blog but link directly to each blog post using Google Maps. The page has an embedded map and if you click a pin on the map will bring users to that specific post making life much more easy if you are planning a trip in Taiwan and need suggestions in the area you plan on travelling to. I've also tried to add a different icon to each pin so that you will know if it is a temple, a waterfall, etc.
The blog section of the site is also completely different now design-wise. Instead of having everything in the centre the blog will now be on the left with a panel on the right that will assist users in blog for related posts. I've added a search option, an archive, a tag cloud and a section with the most recent posts. With the blog map this should make the blog 100% more accessible and I hope that this will help people find relevant information if they're planning a trip to Taiwan or need some ideas.
This site has been open since late 2014 and in the two years of running it I've never changed the design. Truthfully I loved the design of the site - It was great for showing large widescreen versions of the portfolio photos. The problem with that is that the template design I was using was extremely limited and it was photo heavy.
I've found that the majority of my web traffic comes from my blog and I realized that I should focus more on the design on the blog. Over the past few weeks I've completely redesigned the site and the end-result is a very simplistic design that continues to show my photos in high-res (however a bit smaller) while offering more options in terms of content. The new design rolls out as of today and I will continue to work on it to improve the user experience.
Despite spending hours working on all this indexing, adding geographic locations and the re-design of the site, there are still going to be a few mistakes and flaws. I'm still working on finding the perfect balance with fonts, wording, letter spacing and size. So that'll take a few more days.
If you notice anything or have ANY other suggestions on how I can improve the site, don't be shy. I'm always willing to listen and want to make things better for the people viewing the site!
If you were looking for a real blog with interesting information and great photos, today isn't your day on this site, but I won't leave you disappointed - Check out my buddy Alexander's post about Zhongli that he posted yesterday and is receiving a lot of love from the expat community here in the city!