The Dojo has undergone a hefty makeover recently, and if you’ve been re-visiting lately you may have noticed the changes that have gradually emerged. The past 3 months have been inactive content wise because I’ve been working diligently in trying to change the user experience here on the site. The Dojo has been a ‘blog formatted site’ since version 1.0, making it difficult to navigate and manage, especially in the backend. My goal was to revamp the quality of the site, bringing you a cleaner and simpler way to navigate, communicate, and digest the content offered here. Here are some of the major changes:
The tutorials page always existed, except it was usually just a fancy list of blog posts formatted in a gallery. So essentially, you were just watching a tutorial on a very narrow blog post – very lame. The new tutorials page is a totally re-designed system I’ve recently implemented that is completely separate from the blog posts. You now get a much larger video player to watch tutorials in the clearest format! No more squinting or forcing fullscreen. The tutorial description is neatly placed separately below the video player, so no more mashing and clutter. The tutorials page is also a lot cleaner and is sortable, allowing you to find what you want to watch easily and efficiently. It’s also great in the backend of things because the new platform is a lot easier for me to manage and modify.
This is something I’ve wanted to work on for ages. Previously, we had a messy and disorganized product system, having products widely dispersed on many different pages and paths. Now everything is neatly organized on one page! On this page, you can find all of the Dojo Products, Free Products, and even some of my Recommended Products and Training. This is probably nothing special to the end user, but it excites me because the system is now fully dynamic, allowing me to add lots of product details and images very easily and fast. No more clutter and mess.
I’ve made several style changes to the site in attempt to make it look less bland and flat. Let’s just say I did a lot of modifications to hundreds of divs to get everything looking right. I really wanted the end user to focus on the content, as opposed to other distractive elements. A lot of the style changes are subtle, but contribute to the overall experience of the site. Best of all, the site is now completely responsive so everything will look nice on your phone or tablet devices! If you’re a web developer, you know how painful it is to make everything responsive after huge style modifications.
What the Heck Took You So Long?
Yes, I know these changes don’t seem like much, but I’m no web developer. I’ve learned a ton of PHP, HTML, and CSS the past 3 months, with many endless late nights figuring out errors and mistakes. I had the help of some developer buddies, but overall much of the load was carried by me digging through codes, navigating through FTP, and researching reference materials. If I was a dev, these changes probably would’ve taken me a week or so, but nevertheless it was a fun learning experience.
So in the end, I hope you guys enjoy the new site I worked hard on. You’ll definitely see a lot of upcoming tutorials, as I have a bunch planned for 2013. The new revamp has definitely and drastically improved the internal infrastructure and organization of my site, so you can bet you’ll see me push out content faster. Thank you for all your continuous support, all these things wouldn’t be possible without the awesome community! Also, if you find some bugs, please do let me know.