Thursday, 13 January 2011

State of the Blog: DMD3, 'Caprica', features, etc.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

New Year, New Look

Obviously, the planned revamp of DMD went ahead on New Year's Day without too many hiccups. A few minor issues were swiftly dealt with that weekend (such as a "sharebox" that obscured text in lower screen resolutions), and minor improvements are ongoing. I was surprised and delighted that there was no outright hatred of the changes, with most people very happy to see DMD get a fresh lick of paint. Phew!

I'm not sure if this is related to the revamp itself, but traffic increased over that launch weekend, with DMD even breaking its page-hit record on two consecutive days -- with over 4,000 visitors! I hope those extra people continue to visit. It perhaps shows how much people appreciate a cleaner, improved design to the sites/blogs they read. Or maybe this was a total coincidence and things will quickly get back to normal...

There are still some changes to DMD on the backburner, mainly because I'm not skilled enough to make complicated coding changes myself. My main priority is restoring "labels", although it doesn't seem to have affected things too much without them -- as people tend to use the Label Cloud, my bespoke "On The Box" widget, the LinkWithin thumbnails, and search box to find what they want. Is that the case?

Caprica catchup

Secondly, I've had a few emails and tweets about resuming my reviews of Caprica -- the remaining episodes of which Syfy recently "burned off" in one evening. Indeed, I'll be covering those final episodes sometime fairly soon, in bite-sized form.

Get Obsessed

Finally, most of you will know this, but I thought it was worth reminding people that I also write TV news pieces for Obsessed With Film. I retweet my OWF work on Twitter, but otherwise don't call attention to those posts here. You'll just have to keep checking OWF, bookmark this page, or follow me for alerts. The only OWF articles I draw attention to at DMD is the exclusive TV premieres I write for them. I just thought it was worth reiterating this situation, as there may be new readers who aren't aware that I split my blogging. If that's you, then I hope you check out OWF!

Also, continued thanks to the regulars here who occasionally chip in with comments at OWF. I feel proud that my reviews there attract an above-average number of hits and comments, which is what OWF hired me to achieve, and I simply can't do it without you guys! Always great to see a recognizable avatar and username over there.

Avatars: don't be blue

Speaking of which... I've noticed that quite a few people I'd class as "regulars" haven't uploaded avatars to go with their Disqus account! This means their comments always appear alongside a grey square. How boring. So, if you have the time, why not upload an avatar of some kind? It adds extra colour and personality to DMD, which is nice, while also getting rid of that weird feeling of anonymity avatar-less commenters have. Take a leaf from reader Alex Mullane's book -- a brand new DMD commenter, blessed with one of the coolest avatars from the get-go!


Finally, I'm still intending to introduce more new features to DMD, even if success with these has been mixed in the past. At the launch of DMD3, I started the "Jump The Blast" meme (screengrabs of people avoiding explosions in TV and film), which appears to be popular in terms of page-hits, if not comments and user submissions. I'll be running a few new ideas in the near-future (like themed Top 10's, maybe something involving standup comedy), but I generally rely on feedback to decide if I should continue with something new.

That's it for the first State of the Blog update for 2011! Any questions, thoughts, opinions, suggestions, or OT conversations? This is the place to air them.