This post was published back in 2008. It may not function as originally intended or may be missing images.
Idea Shower Redesigned, New Sections Added
As you are probably now well aware, the look of the Idea Shower has changed. I've updated the look to clear the way for new expansions (some now already in place, see below). Here's a look at what's new, what's changed, and why.
The WhyThe primary goal of the update is: focus. The most important part of this site is the ideas, and the previous design simply did not focus on them. I would like visitors to immediately know what's important and intrigue them.
The second goal of the update is to encourage more pageviews per visit. The previous design didn't push any additional content on a visitor and as a result, pageviews per visit have only averaged at 1.77 for the past few months. My goal is to bring this number to 3 pages per visit over the coming months.
New Homepage LayoutThe original Idea Shower design had a run-on homepage showing the most recent blog posts. Though the blog plays a vital role on the site, it is not the important one. I wanted the new homepage to first showcase the ideas, and second, to give the other sections of the site a little bit of fame. So the new homepage now gives a sampler of everything on the site which gives a visitor a good taste of what the site has to offer.
Updated SidebarKeeping my goals in mind, I separated out the ideas from the other elements in the sidebar to make them stand-out above the others. In addition I replaced the simple unordered list with a brighter list complete with visual icons to attract more eyeballs.
Below that you'll see something new to the site, which is the 'Most Popular' list. This shows the most popular posts on the site, sorted by the number of comments. The Idea Shower is still a very new website and the majority of my traffic still comes from new visitors (80%). So after showing off the ideas, the next thing I want a new visitor to see is what has been interesting to everyone else. If the green number of comments box looks vaguely familiar, there is a reason for that. A huge portion of my traffic comes from Digg visitors, and who better to present your best posts to in a visual format they are already familiar with.
I'm hoping between the more attractive idea list and the popular post list, new visitors will start to find more content they'll like on the site, increasing pageviews per visit.
The last update to the sidebar is the in-your-face Subscribe button. Building a huge subscriber base is exactly what the Idea Shower is meant to do. With every idea I launch from here, I receive more subscribers. And each subscriber is one more person in an audience who will immediately see the next idea I launch. Therefore, I want to make subscribing an obvious and easy process.
New Master Ideas PageOne of the biggest updates is to the Ideas page. Because again, the ideas are the most important part and the previous design simply didn't do enough to showcase them.
The Up-and-Coming category will hint at projects that are soon to be released and typically will give off a rough idea when they will be launched. The Backburner category lists projects that I have started working on, but have since put off. I normally have a few projects going at the same time, but if a better project comes into play, I'll put everything off to launch it.
New Individual Idea PageAside from updating the headers and look of each idea's page, I've begun to provide more information about each idea. On the bottom of each idea page you'll now find Traffic and Statistics, with information about Pageviews and Visitors as well as the amount of revenue the idea is generating. The goal of the Idea Shower is to not only launch Ideas, but to provide insight into how they are working as well.
In addition, you'll see on some ideas, I've added information about their Idea Path. Which will show you how some projects lead to others.
New Solutions Page, and a New Section: What I've LearnedThe solutions page got the least amount of love out of the previous design. It was a total afterthought. So I've revamped it to list the most recent solutions better.
I've added a new section under solutions called, What I've Learned. With every project, I find myself learning little things almost every day. Most of these are just little tidbits and tips, but are things I've found incredibly helpful to know. I'll begin adding these in as I discover them.
The reason for the new section is two-fold. First, the web community is fantastic because it is seldom that you cannot quickly find an answer to a problem just by Googling it. I want to make it easier for people to find the answers to their questions about web programming and beyond. Second, but in the same vein, I'm hoping that each item that I learn and post is another way for someone to find the Idea Shower so that I can continue to build subscribers in between launches.
The solutions area is one that will be receiving a few new updates and sections in the coming months in addition to those already made.