Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bikemag.com gets a facelift

If you haven't buzzed by there in a couple of days, check out the new BIKE Magazine website. It launched a couple of days ago, but I know this has been in the works for months and months.

We all know that the internet and all the fancy tools we use every day that weren't there a month ago make our jobs more complex and easier at the same time. Sometimes, we expect things right now or even yesterday because of the speed with which we get information now due to these tools. It's that way with websites. Everyone's got one so how hard can they be to put up? Or revamp? Or totally redesign? Should be a snap, right? Just ask Tim or anyone else that has gone through this process recently. It isn't an overnight thing. I wish it were, but it isn't. Sometimes it takes weeks, but more often than not, for a whole refresh it takes months.

If you haven't run into Vernon Felton in your travels throughout the bike industry, you are missing an amazing person. Next time you are at Interbike, hunt him down - ok, not literally to scare him or anything, but find him, say 'hello' and see if he's got time to talk. He's fascinating and he always makes me chuckle. He writes for a few places, but he's also the online editor for bikemag.com - the newly revamped bikemag.com (see, this was all tied together....) He's worked hard for the last 6 months or so on getting the site better. I think he's succeeded.

The site before was way too busy. I had a hard time finding things and, frankly, got frustrated most times and gave up. I hadn't been to the site in probably two months (bad, I know...) until I got an email from BIKE announcing the new site this week. Vernon gives a little tutorial about the site here and then he goes on to tell the reader just who he is. It's an entertaining read, yet only one small snapshot of Vernon.

The site has nice drop down boxes at the top to help guide you through the site. Amazingly, I didn't click on one wrong thing - and that is difficult for me because I usually make a few errors along the way when going through new sites. The gear reviews are great, as always. They have newer stuff, but also have things that were on the old site, just laid out a little nicer. Personally, I like this one, but then again I would.....you'll find your own interesting one, I'm sure.

The only thing I found a little confusing was the list of columns. Now, granted, I've been away from the site for a little bit, but others may have been, too. I don't know who the columnists are by their nicknames. You don't know who they are until you click into the story. A chart on the side saying that the "Web Monkey" is Vernon's column and the "Dixie Drift" is Chris Dannen etc. would be nice.

They have a nice draw to the site right now. If you send in the best mountain bike crash photo you'll win a set of Mavic Deetrak wheels. Nice.

Congratulations to Vernon on the revamped site. It looks great. Now we're all just waiting on Tim's new site.....

Thanks for stopping by.

Posted by Donna Tocci at 3:35 PM

5 Comments

  1. Anonymous bryan posted at 5:51 PM  
    I think its a great improvement over the previous version. Its definitely cleaner looking.

    Personally there are still too many things buried in the site to bother digging for. I am a big fan of: Don't make me think, just give me the goods. Web usability is key on massive content heavy sites.

    You know who needs a hardcore extreme makeover: www.mtbr.com
    Great site ( I visit everyday ), but what a frankenstein mountian of content stitched together with three hundred flashing banner ads. Oh, somebody contact Ty Pennington over at ABC and get him over there with his spiked hair, tan, glistening shirt-less chest, whooa. sorry - I got a little carried away there.

    For those who want to check out a wickedly great design with content management:

    http://www.coudal.com/

    http://www.subtraction.com/

    and for those who love to envision information like i do:
    http://www.edwardtufte.com (genius)

    BT
  2. Blogger Guitar Ted posted at 1:29 PM  
    I agree with bryan, the old site was a mess to look at, but the new site isn't very intuitive. In fact, I didn't realize there were drop downs until I read Donna's piece here. (Okay, maybe I'm a dullard, I don't know!)

    Anyway, it is a refreshing change, and I'll just have to poke around a little more dilligently next time!
  3. Anonymous Anonymous posted at 3:27 PM  
    The redesign appears cleaner -- that's good. The drop downs don't work with my browser (Firefox 1.5), so I can't get to the content -- that's very bad.
  4. Blogger Tim Jackson- Masi Guy posted at 8:57 PM  
    As Donna mentions, website stuff is or can be an absolute nightmare. Believe me... my new Masi corporate site will finally be done next week. Well, done enough that it can be launched. Total revamping is a slow process. Tweaking an existing site is tedious enough. Websites are the part of the job I enjoy the least, just because there are so many things you can get wrong. Finding elements from other sites you like and trying to use them can be kind of fun, but then your Web Guy tells you "that won't work with this application because..."

    Good job Vernon!
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