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Haverzine, March 2013 edition

A bit of fun trivia to start off the morning – Haverzine first opened its doors to the general public after months in development on April 16th, 2012 – which means that, yes, Haverzine is under one month away from celebrating its very first birthday. While deciding how we would celebrate this momentous occasion (and whether we should get chocolate cake, or vanilla), it became clear to me that this was as perfect an opportunity as any to bring some big, important changes to the site – some which have been a long time coming, others which I’ll be the first to call “experiments”. I can’t even begin to admit to you how incredibly excited I am to begin this process – which is why I’ve decided not to wait, and to begin the celebrations today, right now, with the launch of the next “version” of our site, which I’ve taken to calling Haverzine 1.3.

You might have noticed that some things look a little different around here this morning. I can’t even begin to express to you the sheer amount of love and care we put into this redesign. Everything that was changed was changed for one reason – to create a better, more modern, rich experience for our readers. We know that the landscape around us has evolved in the last year, and we are more than ready to continue to revolve around it.

So what’s new exactly? We’ve gone to the drawing board on a few key concepts. As you can see, we’ve redesigned large portions of the layout – some changes, like the consolidation of the navigation bar and the logo bar were made to make the most out of the spacial limitations we have in a blog style layout. We’ve also increased contrast throughout the site using a better blend of dark and light colors. And of course we couldn’t help but through in a few visual niceties here and there – and because we’ve worked tirelessly over the last year to minimize site load times, you’ll barely see any decrease in performance. We will of course continue to work tirelessly to bring that number down even further in the weeks and months ahead.

We’ve also added a bunch of other improvements that are meant to delight – featured posts will now have their own unique post layout, individual categories have their own banners to give individual categories more importance, many images have been re-mastered for better visual quality, and more images across the site now support high DPI displays such as those found in the Nexus 10 or the Retina MacBook Pro – meaning Haverzine will look even better on more screens then ever. We’ve worked incredibly hard on bringing the best possible reading experience we can to our readers, and we hope that you love it as much as we do.

Now, the celebrations don’t stop with the launch of our updated layout – far from it. We’ve got plenty more tricks left in our bag which we’ll be launching in the coming weeks. One of the most important announcements we’re making tonight is that we will soon be launching a brand new section of the site where anyone will be able to write and submit their own opinion pieces. From there, we’ll review the submissions and pick the best or most interesting of them to be posted under a special section of the site. We don’t have a launch date (or even a formal name) for this just yet, but I definitely wanted to give any interested party a heads up now. Once you’ve completed your piece, you can email your submission to me at starting now.

Finally, development is picking up on the long awaited Haverzine Mobile, which I’m pretty sure I’ve teased at numerous points in time for close to a century now. We hope to be able to give you a sneak peak at the new Mobile site soon, and hope to launch it before the end of Spring – so definitely stay tuned for that.

We’ll be making more announcements throughout the next couple of weeks as we cement the details, but we really do have a lot of great things planned that I’m truly excited about. I consider myself incredibly lucky to have such excellent readers, the number of which are growing every month. From the bottom of my heart thank you, and keep on rocking.


Status Report: Haverzine, four months in

Hey everyone, just figured I’d put a quick post out there giving everybody a quick status report on the site. First – we’ve had an increasingly steady amount of growth since around May, with mid June being a peak as we launched our first foray into Facebook advertising, which resulted in a large amount of daily readers.

Some fun statistics for you – 39.37% of you are Google Chrome users, 19.06% of you are Apple Safari users, 18.67% of you are Firefox users, and 13.88% of you are Internet Explorer users, with the rest being various other smaller browsers. Most of you – 66.59% as a matter of fact – are Windows users, while almost all of the rest are Mac users.

Now for a big update – today we officially rolled out an updated version of our site and site design, Haverzine 1.1. I’ve focused on a couple of key points with Haverzine 1.1, including the following:

  • Improved site load times. We’ve optimized the layout to finish loading more quickly than before by making images smaller, reducing un-needed code, and replacing images with HTML/CSS wherever possible. This should result in a noticeable improvement.
  • Changed the site colors to have much, much better contrast for certain displays. While things tended to “blend” together on some displays and color profiles, things should be crisp, clear, and distinct now.
  • Changed individual post designs to have more attractive meta-data, and a better handling of tags.
  • Totally redesigned author pages, providing more information about the author of any given specific post including a short biography, the users’ avatar, existing posts, with more to come.
  • Updated most of the images on the site to be totally Retina Display display ready, making Haverzine one of the first sites on the netto make this a primary focus.
  • Removed the “social” badges in the header and replaced them with a drop down menu that’s cleaner looking and easier to update.
  • Added “Add to Homescreen” support on iOS devices, complete with a web app icon.

There’s plenty more little things here and there that you’ll notice while browsing the site, but these are a few I figured would be worth pointing out. We’ve also updated Haverzine to run on the newest version of WordPress, and updated all of the third party plugins we use. If you run into any issue, please let me know in the comments!

So what’s next for Haverzine? Well, now that the desktop site has been updated, I’m going to continue work on the new Haverzine Mobile that I’ve been teasing to those with good eyes, and work on improving the site for our iOS, Android, and Windows Phone users.

Finally, I’d like to thank everybody who has supported me and the site thus far – we’ve come a long way, but there’s still an even longer way to go with some additional announcements coming soon. Keep an eye out!