Whoever said change was good was a liar. Probably.
This is the most significant change to LolSnaps since our beginning in May 2010. And every time we make some kind of change which forces users to engage with the site differently, it’s a pretty significant issue for the community. With this change, we think it is overwhelmingly good… but many users may disagree and when there’s disagreement our efforts should focus on creating clarity. In other words, creating some level of understanding as to why we made the change. The answer comes down to 2 significant issues.
1. The old LolSnaps.com was based on outdated technology
We’ve been using some of the same code for almost 7 years and it was clear a couple of years ago that we needed to move to updated and progressive web platforms and technologies. In fact, it has taxed our lead developer for almost 5 years just to keep the site up and running. And let’s face it… LolSnaps is NOT a complex website or structure. It shouldn’t have been this hard. However, our lack of investment has been showing for a couple of years.
With this website change, we’ve moved to a content management system used by millions around the world: WordPress. WordPress has some amazing capabilities and frustrating quirks, but it is stable, secure, and user friendly. Out of the box, it replicates 80%+ of the old LolSnaps functionality and gives us huge room to add things we think might be fun and interesting in the future. There will be some adjustments for the first several weeks as we fine-tune and optimize the site and you’ll have time to explore at your leisure some of the cool new features we’ve added to LolSnaps.com.
2. User experience has been inconsistent with no real opportunity to experiment with new ideas.
For those who have been visiting LolSnaps.com from your mobile device, I salute you. I’ve said it many times: our old mobile site sucked donkey ass. We couldn’t show videos and other embedded content. Navigation was so gamey that users ended up clicking on advertisements more than on “Previous” or “Next”. We had no way of adding additional features to our desktop version of the site without having to spend even more money on the mobile site (yes, they were coded separately). With our new website, everything that works on a desktop computer also works on a tablet and mobile phone. One set of code for all environments. Folks, this isn’t particularly innovative… we’re several years behind the rest of the internet. But I’m glad we’re finally here.
So, what’s changed?
We’ve really tried to limit changes in the core user experience. We continue to use the Disqus comment system we’ve had for several years. Desktop users will still be able to enjoy our keyboard short cuts to navigate and vote more efficiently. We still have a VOTE section, renamed to FRESH and the NEW section is now known as the FRONT PAGE. It still takes community votes to advance to the FRONT PAGE. Much of our navigation has remained unchanged and the basic layout and color scheme is intact, but there’s an extensive list of changes and improvements. Here’s our take on the most important ones.
- When coming to the homepage (FRONT PAGE), users can opt to scroll through a page with several posts on it (multi-post view) or can simply click on the first post to navigate the way we’ve done it for years (single post view). Single post view is the only way to see and/or participate in the comments. As a side note, multi-page view is particularly attractive to mobile users as it allows them to scroll through many posts at a time without having to take additional action.
- For the desktop users, the sidebar navigation has changed a lot. Not many used the old format very much, so we don’t think people will miss it much. Some of our sidebars now have larger thumbnails and they support gif and MP4 images.
- Community members are encouraged to continue to vote on posts and you do not have to log in or create an account to do so, but the number of upvotes and downvotes are not shown… just the sum of the two (upvotes minus downvotes).
- Users can opt to create an account to enjoy added features, but this is not mandatory. A few of the added features include a private messaging capability, a points system we call ‘Fake Internet Points‘ (FIP), and the ability to upload posts. Only users with an account will be able to upload images.
- We can now upload many more types of images and have them be seen across all platforms. These types include MP4, Instagram, Twitter, and DailyMotion in addition to the formats we used in the past such as Youtube, Vimeo, jpg, png, and gif.
We hope you enjoy the new site. Leave your comments, concerns, or suggestions in the comments section below. We will monitor the comments and try to reply as quickly as possible, but it may take a day or two to get back with you or respond to your comment. You can also contact us via private message.