And Then Things Stay the Same
So, I’ve had to (hopefully temporarily) change the blog back to the old design. I am incredibly sad about this for a number of reasons. I’d worked a long, long time on creating a design that I feel best represented Clear Eyes, Full Shelves (the design you see now was always a temporary one that we ended up launching with), and it really worked for us.
Plus, it was responsive, meaning that it was smoothly adaptable to any screen size or device—yay!
**sob** I miss my beautiful site so much already.
I’ve had a lot of questions on Twitter about what the problems were that I’ve encountered, especially since many folks also know that I’m a big advocate of Squarespace (I even teach a class in it at the Pacific NW College of Art).
Here’s the rundown:
- Excerpt handling is a mess. I hate long posts on blog homepages. They look sloppy and no one wants to scroll through loads of text if they just want to see what’s new. In Squarespace 6, I could only have a thumbnail image in my excerpts. I spent ages coding the CSS to make my thumbnails display nicely. A simple solution on the part of Squarespace would be to allow excerpts to handle traditional images, as the older version does.
- Linkwithin/Outbrain are non-functional on 6. These related posts plugins are a huge traffic booster for us, and their not working made me sad. :( I assume one or both of these plugins will eventually be compatible with 6.
- Not being able to toggle between WYSIWYG and HTML sucks. Pure and simple. Many problems are easier to fix with a bit of HTML wrangling, but in 6, you have to work in blocks, one of which is HTML, but most are visual elements (image, audio, etc).
- Firefox issues. I have grown to hate the Firefox browser (I use Chrome) and naturally, Firefox knows this because images were completely whack on the new design when viewed in Firefox. Update: basically, this is a webkit browser vs non webkit browser issue. I am guessing someone will develop a hack as this is an issue for loads of content management systems.
- No custom ordering of categories. I believe this is a bug and I’ve reported it.
- File storage sucks. It’s unlimited, but it’s hard to reuse images without a really ridiculous workaround. This has got to be fixed. File storage in Squarespace 5 is handled brilliantly, with easy-to-organize sub-folders.
- Creating my List-O-Rama posts is a nightmare—and what prompted the switch. These each contain 5+ images. The way my workflow for these goes is 1) write text 2) format text 3) add links 4) add images. I followed this workflow and it took nearly four hours to format a post (these usually take me about 30 minutes). In order to follow my usual format, I had to write the entire thing out in HTML. This is not sustainable, and defeats the purpose of using a WYSIWYG.
I am very hopeful that I will be able to make the switch back to the new site if I can figure out workarounds or if Squarespace fixes these problems.
I still highly recommend Squarespace (like I said, I teach a class in it and I think it’s a great alternative to Wordpress, which I use for other projects, but has its own issues as well), but I know I’ve gotten a lot of questions from folks lately whose interest was piqued by Squarespace as a result of our redesign, so I thought it would be helpful to answer some of the questions I’ve received about the platform. (Honestly, I don’t understand why more authors don’t use Squarespace—I see so many of them wrestling with Wordpress and they could make a nice website for themselves on Squarespace without trying to muck their ways through CSS.)
For what it’s worth, I believe I am not a “normal” user when it comes to the web. Like I said, I teach web design classes, am proficient in CSS and HTML and a huge chunk of my business involves the web in some way. Many of the issues I have encountered are ones that “normal people” won’t notice, but for me, they’re deal-breakers.