A New Look at Uncornered Market

If you’re looking at this article on our website, either on your desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone you may have noticed that things are looking a little different around here. (And if you’re reading this via RSS or email, we encourage you to hop over to the actual website right now. Otherwise, the rest of this won’t make any sense.)

Uncornered Market has been redesigned!

This has been a long, long process, including several fits and starts over the years. But now we’re finally here with a new look and more importantly, a much better engine.

Why the change?

We designed the original Uncornered Market site and built it from scratch as we traveled through Southeast Asia in early 2007, working in steamy internet cafes and siphoning off wifi signals where we could find them. Although the original Uncornered Market served us well for many years, internet technology, blogging and how people consume online content has changed considerably since then. It was time for a change.

What’s new at Uncornered Market?

That there is a completely new design is obvious. However, it’s the under-the-hood changes that we hope will make the experience on our site more enjoyable and accessible.

New Homepage, New Tagline

Uncornered Market Home
You’ll notice that the actual homepage (UncorneredMarket.com) has changed considerably. We also wanted to better highlight what the site is about through a new tagline: travel wide, live deeply.

We also wanted Uncornered Market to represent all that we do. This is why you’ll see a new homepage that highlights our consulting, speaking, and books (coming soon) in addition to the blog.

You’ll also find links to some of our most popular posts and article series (e.g., Beginner’s Guides and World Cuisine Guides), as well as the latest articles.

Faster, Lighter, More Responsive

This was at the heart of the redesign. We wanted to make the site fast, easy to load and readable on every kind of device. And to improve the readability of articles with bigger font, photos and titles.

We still use WordPress as our Content Management System (CMS), but are now using the Genesis Framework with a slightly modified Genesis child theme underneath. One reason for this is that Genesis 2.0 themes are built to be responsive and use HTML5. As technology improves and changes, our aim is to be able to easily keep up, even as we tinker with and change the look of the site.

Improved 360-Degree Panoramas

Panoramas
It used to be that our 360-degree panoramas were only viewable on a desktop or laptop. No more flash — now our panoramas are full HTML5 and are viewable on tablets and iPhones as well. Not only that, but the viewing experience (especially on the desktop/laptop) has vastly improved. Don’t believe us? Then take a look at this, this and this. Be sure to open them to full screen (four arrows on the control) and take a good spin around.

New Photo Gallery

photo gallery

Since it wasn’t difficult enough to just update our website, we decided to change our photo hosting and main photo gallery as well. We opted to use Smugmug. The reasons for this were many, including SEO, better flexibility with organizing and displaying photos, as well as the ability to instantly resize photos for this site. You can find our photos organized on a continent, region or country level.

The photo switch from Flickr to SmugMug in our articles was also a long haul. A huge thank you to David from Smugmug. Without his technical help we would still be knee-deep in this process.

Your Feedback and Testing

While we originally had plans for more bells, whistles and content to be packed into the new site, we decided to keep things simple with this release, especially since we wanted to get it out there before our next adventure — which begins in just a few days and takes us to places with limited connectivity. Now that we’ve switched over to a flexible theme, we look forward to iterative changes in the future. As we fixed the engine with this release, it’s likely you’ll see more experimentation, particularly in the typography/font and design departments.

As you poke and click around, please let us know if something isn’t working or if something isn’t as it should be. We’d also welcome your feedback and suggestions for improvement!

As always, thanks for your support and being part of this journey.

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Comments

  1. says

    Much “fresher” than the previous version and very nice result indeed. I have just one question related to the photo hosting. Does bandwidth and speed is also part of the equation in choosing to host the photos on SmugSmug and not directly within the WordPress blog ? Because hosting those directly within the blog would be easier from the integration point of view no ?

    • says

      Thanks, Laurent, for your kind words on the new site! Yes, bandwidth is definitely an issue and part of our decision to host our photos on SmugMug. Since we have so many photos and want to display a photo gallery, it would use up a lot of resources to host them all within the WordPress blog. Smugmug provides a lot of options for setting up the photo gallery, so it was easy to get it looking nice and clean very quickly and without a lot of customization.

    • says

      I just host all my photos on WordPress for all my sites (and I have a lot of photos) and have never had a problem and, like you said, it’s far easier to integrate everything rather than counting on a different service – a service that could, of course, close and take all your photos with it.

      I think the secret is to just keep on top of your site’s speed and if things start to slow down upgrade your hosting package. That’s what I’ve always done and it works well for me, as I wouldn’t want to host half of what I’m offering my readers elsewhere.

      • says

        Years ago, we went back and forth regarding photo hosting — whether to self-host or to go with a service (at that time Flickr, now SmugMug). We decided for a number of reasons then and now (bandwidth, exposure avenues, community, volume of images, value-added services, etc.) to go with external image hosting.

        As you indicated…at the end of the day, it is ultimately about speeding page load and user experience. And if you’re satisfied with your choices, best to remain that way.

  2. says

    Wow the site looks so shiny – congratulations! Genesis is a great theme choice (I use them as well) and I’m glad you migrated out of Flickr and into having photos on your own domain.

    • says

      James, it’s funny how “shiny” has been the adjective used most to describe the new site :) We’ll take that!

      Genesis is really an incredible framework, especially as all of the newer themes are already responsive, HTML5 and easy to customize. We’ll definitely be using Genesis for other projects we have in mind.

      We had put off the migration to SmugMug for years because of switching out URLs in posts, but fortunately their support team helped us tremendously with a switchover chart. Been quite happy with the flexibility that SmugMug offers for organization and displaying photos.

  3. says

    I LOVE the new look and I especially love the photo gallery! I’ve always had difficulties looking through your pictures before, but I can see clearly now (…the rain is gone… ugh.. Sorry about that, blame the Monday morning blues!).

    Now, excuse me while I obsessively go through every.single.one of your albums. AH!

    • says

      Thanks, Andy. I shed a tear or two (or three) for that old theme. Ah, who knows. Maybe we’ll bring it back from time to time ;)

      But we were (over)due for something new. Thanks for your support and guidance, too.

  4. says

    Well done, guys! I especially like how the responsive design adapts well even on the photo gallery pages.

    It would be interesting to track how Google rewards these improvements, particularly the faster load time.

    • says

      Thanks, Josh. Glad you like it. Aside from making our readers happier, Google (SEO and page speed) was on our minds. So far, so good. Time will really tell. Maybe we’ll do a follow-up post with the results.

      Responsiveness was a tricky one. So many devices and each little modification brought its own challenges. We did the best we could with that.

      As for the photo gallery pages, hats off to SmugMug for hosting and their custom sub-domains.

    • says

      Thank you, Oliver! And we so appreciate your continued support for this blog and journey. Keep an eye out on Instagram…think there’s going to be some great photos coming soon :)

  5. says

    Hey guys,

    I must say I find this redesign a HUGE improvement.
    MUCH cleaner, much more professional looking as well.
    I love all the white space and have actually just redesigned my blog myself because I wanted a more ‘open’ look.

    Good job!

    • says

      Sofie, thank you! So much has changed in the last seven years with website design, structure and how people read articles. More white space and cleaner design makes the reading experience so much better. And we (and the site) have changed as well so we’re happy to have a design that matches now.

      Congrats on your recent redesign! We know how much work they can be :)

  6. says

    Have been reading your site since oh, forever, and it’s so exciting to see the new look. You guys have come so far since your early days and it’s great to see the site updated to reflect where you’re at now. Love it! Well done :) Very tempted to delve back into the archives and read it all again.

    • says

      Megan, you articulated perfectly one of the main goals of the new design – to have a site that reflected where we are now and where we want to go. Thanks for your kind words!

      We definitely encourage you to dive back into the archives. As I went through our 700+ posts for clean up I have to admit that there are some gems from the early days as well :)

    • says

      Thanks, Sarah! So much of what we are doing (and want to do) had evolved from when we first set up our site that we really wanted something that represented this. Hope you enjoyed perusing the new site and can find the information and articles you want quickly!

  7. says

    Great new look, guys! I could spend ages browsing your website before, but now I feel like I could be stuck here for hours on end, fiddling with all the cool new buttons and stuff. Very nice!

    • says

      Sam, that’s one of the goals with this new site – to make it more enjoyable to browse around so hopefully readers do get stuck here :) Thanks for your kind words and look forward to seeing you in Berlin again one of these days!

    • says

      Jen, you’ve highlighted one of my favorite parts of the new site as well – the footer. Especially like the countries list on the right – makes it easy for me to find specific articles. Really glad you’re finding it easy to read and navigate around.

  8. says

    I loved your other theme but this is really crisp and clean. I am now a fan of Smugmug. We also got a new theme not long ago and am still tweaking bits and pieces. Like you, let me know if something doesn’t work. Most importantly I think that your tagline is truly representative of you both.

    • says

      Paula, the tweaking that goes with a new theme and site seems never-ending, doesn’t it?! Thank you so much for letting us know of some problems during the first days of the site. I bounced around on your site and everything seemed to work as it should, but will let you know if anything comes up.

      As much as we loved our old tagline, it didn’t really say much about what we and Uncornered Market were about so it was kind of confusing. Also really like this new tagline. And in full disclosure, my mother should get credit for it as well :)

  9. says

    Great job guys! Heaps more ‘inviting’ and ‘clean’. Easy navigation too. Looking forward to fishing around some more. You must be very pleased with this result :)

    • says

      Thanks, Anna! Glad to hear that you’re finding it easy to navigate around – that was one of the big goals. Yes, quite pleased with this result and very happy we were able to finish it in time for our next trip.

  10. says

    Your new design really looks great and seems easy to use so far. I love your guys’ content so much, so I’m excited that your new design makes it easier to view it on a mobile device or computer. Nice job!

    • says

      Jenna, great to hear that the site is working well on a mobile device! One of the great things about Genesis is that their new themes are all responsive. Since we customized the theme we had to do some tweaking for the mobile/tablet side of things, but the basics were already there which made it much easier.

  11. says

    Inspiring new tag line!

    Clean and easy to navigate! Love it!

    Who designed it? I’m viewing on an iPhone. So smoot. Although now that I’m entering a comment, a share box pops up over where I’m entering my email and website.

    So happy you are sharing your passions with the world.!

    • says

      Soness, thank you!! It was a long road to get here, but we’re happy with the new tagline and site.

      We took an existing Genesis StudioPress Theme (Magazine) and then customized the home page and a few other things from that. Then we worked with a couple of developers to make sure that all the sharing and other features were customized for the mobile/tablet experience. Can send you more info on Genesis if you’d like.

  12. says

    It’s beautiful! I love the new site and design, and how it better showcases all the content, stories, and guides you have built over the years. Congrats on getting the new site live. :)

  13. says

    Congrats on getting the site up guys, I remember you talking about it awhile back so nice to see the final product.

    Being the tech guy I am I did find a couple of bugs…

    The “destinations” drop down doesn’t work on mobile devices, all drop downs have that problem so best to get your dev guy to make that menu work like your top one does for mobile devices.

    your “most popular of all time” section is a little out of alignment on mobile/tablets

    otherwise looks good. The genesis framework is something I’ve moved to working with now and found it really good. Not as many bells and whistles like some others but nice and fast and conforms to all WordPress ways of doing things.

    • says

      Way belated thanks, Chris. Really appreciate the heads-up on the bugs. We are addressing our bug list slowly and surely. Releasing the site before a long trip to Africa is not something I would do again — or recommend :)

      Agree with you on Genesis. So far it’s proven to be powerful, flexible, resilient, speedy — and to your point — in line with the WordPress way of doing things. Very important, especially when migrating a WordPress-based site like ours that had been around for several years.

  14. Ray says

    THE most informative, comprehensive and organized travel site out of the hundreds (still looking) I have perused.

  15. says

    First of all I just want to thank you for your lovely site and all the hard work and beautiful photography you take!! I was excited to find your site because we are planning our RTW family travel adventure and I decided to go with the Genesis Magazine Pro Theme as well. I probably played with 20 different themes but like you, I think this theme is great for finding and sharing information quickly. My wife and I argued this point because I wanted something a bit more “cool” but it was actually your site that sold me and helped me to feel as though I had made a good choice.

    I have always used Flickr and we as a family have years of photos there, I am like the way you have incorporated smug-mug and may consider doing the same. Instagram is also calling me but I just haven’t played with it that much.

    If you don’t mind sharing your experience, how did you customize your home page so nicely. For some reason I can’t seem to change it to a more static page. Are you using a genesis plugin?

    Thanks again, and I will probably spend the next few hours here consuming your photos and content. Best to you and safe and happy travels!!!

    Stephen

    • says

      Thanks, Stephen. My apologies for the late reply, as we were traveling in Africa and some comments got lost in the shuffle. I can recommend that you not launch/re-launch a website before traveling somewhere with limited internet :)

      As for the home page structure, we swapped a customized home page (which you can either do by hand, or by using the Genesis Extender Plugin. It’s particularly helpful if you don’t have a lot of coding experience and would like to perform on-the-fly site customizations in Genesis.

      All the best!

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