Yes, BMWBLOG is getting a FACELIFT

Others | May 29th, 2009 by 34
bmwblog-facelift

We don’t even know where to start…..it has been several months of planning, brainstorming, more planning and again brainstorming trying to figure out how to …

We don’t even know where to start…..it has been several months of planning, brainstorming, more planning and again brainstorming trying to figure out how to create a new, better, modern and user friendly design.

We started from the idea of creating a new theme that will focus mostly on you, our readers, and providing more content at your finger tips and just a click away. Another goal and quite difficult task was to reduce visual clutter to improve usability and we believe we manged to achieve that.

While the old design has done an amazing job offering content in a simple straightforward way, we wanted to evolve from that and move towards a magazine type of design, where all the content is well structured and defined.

Yes, BMWBLOG is getting a FACELIFT

The first step was to increase the font size, this has been a request that we have received since last year, we acknowledged it and received a high priority on our list.

By doing that, we implicitly had to go over to a wider reading column, a design feature that we always wanted to change. As you might have notice, we post a lot of photos and I mean…A LOT…last year, there were over14,000 photos uploaded by us. Since we know how much you enjoy seeing photos right in front of your eyes, we thought it would be a great idea to show them to you in a larger format.

The increased fonts and the wider central column will substantially increase the overall browsing and reading experience, maybe now all that tiny, but still important text will not be overlooked anymore. Also, the entire commenting system has been revamped, redesigned and  brought up to the current standards. How did we do that? Well, beside the Facebook login that we offered in our previous design also, the comment replies are now threaded, so if you would like to reply to a particular member, simply click on the Reply link below their comment and an indented box will appear. Pretty cool, right?

What else have we done? OH YES…the top menu, which keep in mind, it’s a work in progress and it will better organized and categories well grouped together. So here, we decided to go with a fairly simple design, regular text link menus with a sub-menu that will display topics within the main category, this way, we can break down now several models that belong to some of the BMW Series. Above the main menu, we kept the usual Contact and About pages, but to the right of that, we added all the other blogs in our network.

As some of you might have noticed in the past, we expanded and now we control equal shares in BimmerToday.de, a very successful blog operated by our former contributor, Benny H., and also BMWBLOG.ro, the Romanian version of this blog. All these websites serve over 1 million pages to BMW fans around the world. But more on our future plans in another article…

Incorporated in the menu, you can see some placeholders we created for auto related services, of course the focus of these pages will be to provide tools and resources for all the BMW owners, from looking up new and used BMWs, to car insurance, warranties, financing and even classifieds. In the next few day, all these sections will be populated and even more content added in the future.

You might have noticed that our famous German license plate type of logo is not there, but no worries, it will return shortly since it has been part of our blog from the beginning and we intend to keep our identity intact.

Now onto the right sidebar, one of the most important pieces of puzzle in our re-design process. We strongly believe that the sidebar is one of the most powerful, useful and content display tool on an auto related site. If done well, it can help provide the readers interesting information that might be lost within the thousands of past and new articles. Beside that, it brings upfront some of the most popular articles and accessible with a click of a mouse.

We wanted to keep it fairly clean, so we grouped together some of the things like Recent Comments, Top Articles and our newest invention, Editor’s Pick. Once again, it’s still work in progress and we know there are a few bugs that need to be corrected.

Part of our increased usability plan was the addition of pagination to the entire blog, so the popular Next/Prev links have been replaced by actual page numbers, so this should help you browse back and forth the pages way faster than before.

So in the end, why al this brainstorming? Well, we wanted to create a platform, a base for our future plans than can be built on top of this new layout without having to make any compromises or overloading the pages even more. We have been blessed to have such a great community of BMW  fans and not only, formed around our blog and we owe you the best experience possible. Your comments, suggestions, feedback and even criticism has always been appreciated, and with your help and support, we came a long way and we promise, it will only get better.

Now putting away this emotional monologue -at least for us it was- we encourage you to report any bugs or issues that you might notice, please feel free to either leave a comment here or send it through our Contact page.

We hope you enjoy our facelift and while it might not be better than the one on an M3, M5 or Z4, we’re confident that you will appreciate it.

Many thanks to the talented team of designers and software developers at WP-Design, especially for putting up with the never ending change requests and additions. Awesome job Paul and Nicu, and we already look forward to our next project.

  • Giom

    Well done and great job. Excellence doesn’t happen over night, so I believe that the hard work will pay dividends for a long time to come.

  • http://www.bmwvideopost.com Tony

    Very nice, fresh and clean. Hooray web 2.0 :)

  • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

    Thank you guys, glad you like it….I’m very excited also!! I can’t wait until everyone wakes up and sees it :)

  • lisiy

    Nice look! ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=643868286 Mohammed AlMomen

    Congrats on the new design looks great, top work :)

  • Jag

    yup, well done, guys!

  • v1p3r

    Congratulations, it looks great! Bang up to date ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=612838654 Silvia Enache

    Great job! Excellente new design.
    Congratulations for the team!

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      Thanks Silvia, great to see readers from all over the world :)

  • tony

    Yo BMW BLog.Ur new Interface RRRRRrrroooOOOOoCCKkkkkkSSSsssss!!!!!!!!!

  • http://indianautosblog.com Indian Autos Blog

    Nice one H…all the best!

  • Sebsie

    Great stuff – well done!

  • Mauro Corti

    The comment area is much better than the old one, more clear and simple!!

    The only thing I don’t really like is the colour of the top bar with BMW BLOG name, too much dark in my opinion

    Anyway you have done really a good job, nice facelifte :)

  • BenC.

    For a sec I thought I typed the wrong web address, haha. this new look is great!

  • bunker

    Nice Job, Horatiu! Looks great.

    Comment font could maybe be bigger too…??

  • AlexD

    Overall I like the redesign, my only comment is that I think alot of originality was lost with this redesign as its just a copy of bimmerpost.com’s website design

    I do like the top articles and latest comments boxes on the side I find those useful.

    I know you made a point that you wanted the fonts to be larger but I do think the fonts are a little too large, I feel like this is a playschool site in that sense with big letters, most of us already have our computer fonts and resolutions optimized for what we like to read.

    Overall a clean and functional work

  • Horatiu B.

    Alex, we started the design and planning 4-6 months ago. Believe me, Not even a slight chance we copied anything from anyone, especially a BMW forum wannabe blog now. We stick to our original concept, not trying to become something else. Oh and their “new design” came up 2 weeks ago, kinds late for us to go back to the drawing board and steal an idea.

    We believe we’ve done something different, unique and very user friendly.

    Noted all the other things you mentioned.

  • BA

    nice job!

  • Haitham

    1000 congrats on this new facelift, loved the website now in love with it!!
    Keeeep up the good work!!
    BMW RULZZZZZ

  • www.X5.by

    CONGRATULATIONS!!!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=584867244 Matt Stokes

    How come it wasn’t wearing some funky FEP camouflage in the final days before the change over..?

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      :) Funny Matt…didn’t even think about it….it would have been cool to build the excitement and then release the new design

  • Teamspeed.com

    Guys the new look is amazing , well done!
    Your pals @ teamspeed.com

  • russian

    супер!!! ещё бы русский язык добавили!!! ))))))

  • tk

    noticed this last night. the site looks great and usability has improved.

    i also like how you’ve adopted a slightly wider aspect ratio. the old design was a bit narrow and was wasting a lot of my screen real estate. in this day and age, widescreen monitors are ubiquitous. i’m not sure why every website still uses designs meant for 9:16 (sic) monitors.

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      tk, you’re absolutely correct. We wanted to look more modern also and yes, widescreens are more and more popular.

  • seven40i

    great job!
    Looks very nice and clean.

  • samK

    Get rid of your ads on your top banner please. Its really irritating. Too much ads and it clutters the whole site. I am disappointed. This looks like a ‘hey i am an ad, please click me!!!!!!!!!’ site rather than a BMW site. :(

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      I really don’t want to comment on this….all I have to say is that there are more than 45 hrs a week spent working on the blog…

      But your concern was noted, we’ll see what the future brings

    • tk

      you have to realize owning and operating an established blog, such as bmwblog.com, can be a full-time job. i suspect Horatiu’s 45 hrs/wk estimate is conservative. furthermore, this site receives about 45,000 daily visitors (according to alexa estimates, via wolfram alpha search), which amounts to considerable server costs. are you going to pay his bills? what about compensation for the 100′s of hrs per week he spends on this site?

      i, for one, am glad such a blog exists. for the convenience of all BMW-related news organized on one easy-to-read website, i’m happy to look at a few ads.

      • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

        Thanks for the kind words! Honestly, beside the the front work, there is so much behind the scenes, technical, admin, etc…plus we get about 100 emails a day that we try to respond to all of them…

        Anyway, moving on…l’m glad so far the response has been fairly positive.

  • monte_cristo

    Great redesign Horatiu.
    I may not comment much but I’m here every day and greatly enjoy your work.

  • BMfan

    I was off-web for like two days came back and thought I opened another site. Will miss the former design format but will soon get used to this right on. May get to appreciate it more as the days go.

    • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

      The old design was great, we had it for almost 2 years and only changed minor things. Some people thought it was too simple, but that was the whole point.

      Now with us having more and more content, we decided to make it easily available and “upfront”. The blog also managed to create a nice community around it, so it was time to offer more.

      And yes, we didn’t communicate in advance the change since we wanted to surprise everyone.

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