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
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.
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
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
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.