Open Mic Week for Readers

By Greg Go on 12 November 2007 (Updated 29 November 2007) 28 comments
Photo: o2ma

Wise Bread has a new look! A a spiffier navigation menu was installed to help you find articles that interest you. As you click on the channels in the menu above, the sub-menu will change to reveal sub-channels. We added the sub-menu to help you dig deeper into the topics that interest you.

We want to thank Jacob and his team at Design Disease for creating and implementing the beautiful design. (Check out their personal finance blog Money Crashers.)

We also want to send an overdue thanks to Naomi of Intuitive Designs for helping us craft the layout and structure of Wise Bread when we started the design process many months ago. They were a great company to work with.

Tell us what you think!

In celebration of this change to Wise Bread's look, we've decided to make this open mic week. The comments area is your stage and we want to know what else you think we should change (and what we should keep). Now's also the time to ask your burning financial questions or suggest topics we should explore. Tell us some of your favorite articles you've read here. We want to know what makes you keep coming back, because we definitely want you to come back. How do we make your visit more pleasant and your lives (financial or otherwise) a little bit easier.

Leave a comment and you will be automatically entered in our weekly drawing to win a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate. Deadline to enter is 11/18. Only one entry per person will be counted.

THIS DRAWING IS OVER.  CONGRATS TO BETH TERRY, OUR WINNER. THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED.

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Guest's picture
dana

My first reaction to the design is: It looks cleaner, more legible. The subtle gradients in the interface are a nice change. I like the way that the post snippets are laid out on the front page, with links to the full story. Good job!

However, what I'd like to see is some of the previous Wise Bread personality put back into the design. While the new layout is clean and refreshing, it's starting to feel 'default' by its lack of identity. Maybe that old pig with glasses isn't the answer, but I'm starting to wonder where it went. The use of grey & beige on the page doesn't match the energy in the writing content.

Here are a few nit-picky things (feel free to ignore/dismiss):
- Grey subscribe box on top right should be much smaller
- Try increasing color contrast between main column and the right sidebar

Guest's picture
AmandaD

I'm a regular reader through Google reader, so I don't generally come to the website unless it's to follow a link or read more. It does look really nice now that I am here though. I particularly like the What's New & What's Popular box with the links.

On my browser (IE), the darker blue buttons below the comment section (preview comment & post comment) have what appears to be plain text over the top of the image.

I really like the math question instead of the random letters that are very difficult to read. I generally have to make multiple attempts at those, but I can usually get the math right on the first try.

HTH!

Guest's picture
Barbara

I'm a little bit with Dana about the colors on the page not really reflecting the energy and the vibe of the bloggers on this site. I think maybe the pallette is too soft, and making the colors more bold might pump it up some. Then again, the lighter colors don't detract from the content all that much, which is important.

But I gotta give it to you guys: a lot of the blog sites I visit are hard to read, navigate, focus on, whatever. This layout makes it easier and easier to follow, which is good.

About articles and posts and such? I would love to see a post about frugal gift ideas for Christmas--maybe a post like this where people can be entered for a gift certificate (which means more people post ideas!).

I love some of the posts that discuss anything-saving tips (money, space, food, etc). I can't tell you how helpful most of those have been!

Guest's picture

I really don't have much for feedback as some of the previous readers. I really like the look! nice job!

(one bug I did notice: below on the buttons, I see Post Comment on the image, and Post Comment as text kind of bleeding through - I use firefox)

Jayme

Guest's picture
Guest/Susan

I have just started frequenting your site and therefore cannot give you a comparative, but it looks great now! I do agree about the bleeding on the "Preview Comment" and "Post Comment" tabs below ~ doesn't look good. Small oversite ~ love the colors!

Guest's picture
Naomi

Thanks for the nice mention. We are really glad we could help with the layout. You guys were great to work with too. :) The new design looks really nice. It's clean, well laid out, has lots of white space and is easy to read. They did a good job.

Guest's picture
Guest/Kyle

I am a regular through my google widget and also only end up here following links. That said it looks great. The light colors give a real fresh feel. So what keeps me coming back?.... hmmm? Well I am a frugal kinda guy (pronunced cheap bastard) and wisebread is all over the map. On any given day I can get a good bread recipe, Book reveiw and a coupon. For me this is just more frugal(cheap). All the stuff I want and I don't have togo to four "stores" to get it. Frugal for me is not just saving a buck but a minute here and there too. Rock on Wisebread!! I'll be here as long as you are.

IMAGINE WHIRLED PEAS
Kyle

Guest's picture

Not the site. I think the colors are fine. I mean the content. I read Wise Bread because often ways to live frugally are also ways to live sustainably. I like articles that have an ecological slant as well as economical. I appreciate when the worth of something is reflected in the price. I'm willing to pay more for something that is well-made with sustainable materials, rather than some cheap junk from China that might cost less now but have huge consequences in the long run. And I appreciate articles that reflect that value.

Guest's picture

I think the layout is really nice, but I do agree with the commenter that said the colors make the site look a little bit generic.

That being said, I will continue to read. I keep coming back for the great content. Keep up the good work!

Guest's picture
Dwight

My other post must have been eaten by e-gremlins.

I just wanted to say that I enjoy the articles. They're very well done and informative.

Also, I'm curious how you guys got together and decided to do this. You're all from different areas and different walks of life, but the synergy makes a for really nice web site.

Guest's picture
Justin

I'm pretty new to the site, but I like the new layout. I did really like the old color scheme and graphics, though.

Guest's picture
Marta

I really like the new design - I like the "streamlined" look and personally, I prefer the pastel colors to the red.

What's best though is that content is still fantastic!! I love the personal finance blogs and love that you cover so many other different areas.

Guest's picture
ams

As I scroll down to read the articles, it keeps popping back up to the top of the screen. Is it my settings or your website design? Otherwise, I like the new design.

Guest's picture

The new design, though more subdued, lends to greater legibility and ease of navigation. I like that the design also allows the reader to focus on the writing instead of an overly-graphic site. I really like the dual tabs in "What's Popular" and "What's New" in the singular sidebar.

Classy, clean and focused design. Great job to Design Disease!

Guest's picture
Jean

I really hate the way it pops back up to the top after I finish an article. Otherwise, I think it looks pretty good.

I am curious about what is the least amount of money it would take to eat healthily for a week. Has anyone done an article on that? Really frugal food that still has enough vitamin content. Like, could a person eat for a week for $10 and still get adequate nutrition?

Guest's picture
Guest

Bring back the piggy with the glasses!

That is all.

Guest's picture
Kate

As an occasional reader on the site, I agree that the new appearance is more formal, less personal and homespun in tone. The color palate is rather cool and subdued; so pale that they nearly fade out completely depending on the angle of my laptop screen. But the links and layout work well for me. Whether or not the appearance makeover was a success or not depends on what you were aiming for, I suppose. Certainly it seems solid in terms of performance.

Guest's picture
Guest

The automatic move the page to the top every time I hit back or forward or whatever is really annoying. If I want to go to the top of a page, I just need to hit the home key, but its much harder to get back to where I was reading somewhere in the middle of the page. It makes no sense to me why this feature is in here.

Guest's picture
WanderingOak

I am another individual who does not like the 'leapfrogging' back to the top of the page in IE 6.0 and XP. Whenever I open an article and start scrolling down to read, the browser 'leaps' back up to the top of the page. The back arrow behaves the same, forcing me back to the top of the previous page. That is rather annoying to say the least. However, the site will not even load at all in Netscape 7.0 (my browser of choice, compared to IE 6.0), which is worse than annoying. While your site does have good content, and I am allowed to post coments without a long, rigorous registration process (a major advantage), these browser quirks cause me to visit less often than I would otherwise.

I know these aren't exactly the 'latest and greatest' browsers, but they are what I have on my work computer and there are no plans on updating the browsers anytime soon. I use FireFox on OSX 'Tiger' at home, but haven't had the chance to view your site from home to let you know how it performs there.

Guest's picture

I think the new theme is very slick and high tech looking, but I think it's better suited for one of those "blog about blogging" sites.

With Wisebread's demographics, I think the theme probably should be more femininely designed... I think people like the pig wearing glasses

-Raymond

Guest's picture
Michelle

Re Raymond's comment: please *don't* make it any more feminine than it is at this moment. It already looks like a spread from Real Simple minus the whitespace. I do read the magazine as a "guilty pleasure," but mostly because all of the "women's magazines" my grandma reads are total visual overload, stuff crammed into every corner. Anyway, this design is already plenty pale and fussy. (And there's the thing about the tiny comment font, but I emailed you all about that before you put the open mic up.)

Guest's picture
Guest

One thing you might talk about is how to choose a mate. I think the divorce rate and the prevalence of unhappy marriages would be a lot less if someone actually gave people some information on how to choose a mate. Too many get married for the wrong reasons. It's no wonder the relationships don't last.

Guest's picture
WanderingOak

Well, the site is not jumpy at all with FireFox on OSX, so apparently the main problems are with Windows. Why am I not surprised....

Guest's picture

How about including a loaf of bread cartoon graphic on the main page...bread...wise bread...get it?

Or is that too corny.. :)
-Raymond

Guest's picture
Guest

I think it is prettier. Easier to navigate. Clean and simple.

Guest's picture
jess

while i do find the new layout a tad boring, i think it is better to be slightly boring, than border on the obnoxiously bright side that a lot of blogs take. that being said, ever since you guys started the thing where one article is continuously featured at the top of the page, i dont visit the page as much. i have little buttons that go across right under my address bar for all my favorite websites so that i can click right through them. i know its totally subconscious, but that extra step to scroll down makes me not as interested as i would be if i clicked and a new article caught my eye...basic marketing pretty much...coupled with ADD. haha

Guest's picture
mel

Lately I haven't seen any postings about freebies. Gotta love them! Give us more! Overall, love this blog.

Guest's picture
Carla

I miss the pig. :(