Site redesign… not

Lately I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail from folks who think I should redesign Leoville. They say it’s old fashioned, stodgy, boring. It needs a little pizazz.
That’s no doubt true. I’m no graphics designer. I put Leoville up in 1994, messed with the design for a year or so, and haven’t touched it since except to add content areas. I don’t even use such new-fangled (and useful) tools as CSS and Javascript. There are a couple of reasons for this.

First, I’m lazy. It ain’t broke and I don’t want to fix it. Many people have offered to re-design the place for me, but I think it’s important that people know that everything on Leoville is done by me, not some high-priced designer. And, for better or for worse, that’s pretty obvious when you look at it.

Second, I want to keep Leoville accessible to everyone, especially people with low-bandwidth connections, old browsers, and people with disabilities. Why add design flourishes that don’t add to the content but do make it harder to read the content?

Finally, in my book content is king. Flashy web sites are usually a substitute for actual content. I try to make the content on my site easy to find, easy to get to, and easy to read. If there’s something that doesn’t work for you, let me know. That I’ll redesign.

I know it would be fun to see a flashy new design with lots of pictures and animation. But isn’t there something to be said for a simple old site that never changes (except in content)? Think of this as a friendly old general store, where the pot bellied stove and the cracker barrel haven’t moved in decades, and the only thing that’s changing is the amount of gray hair on the proprietor’s head.

What do you think?

55 Replies to “Site redesign… not”

  1. Hi Léo!
    It ain’t broke, don’t fix it! 😉 It’s just great the way it is! I am here for the content, not the bells and whistles. I may have DSL, but I still prefer the simple, fast loading websites. Glad to see you updated your Spy Cam pix! That would be my only suggestion at this point, update the Spy Cam once a week or more.

  2. leo…
    You are soooo right. If it aint broke, dont fix it. I love the sight, and like stated above, I come for the content. The pages load fast which counts when you are on a dial up like myself.
    And having it accessible for folks with disabilities is IMPORTANT to me, as I have a disability myself, and know lots with visual impairments and folks with limited mobility who need easy access to web pages.
    Thanks for thinking about the disability community.
    Youre awesome Leo

  3. I like the look. Simplicity is a good thing. Only thing I’d change is the message boards. I’ve never liked UBB…too hard to follow a conversation. You never know who’s replying to what. That’s why I like threaded message boards better.
    http://forums.warcry.com
    Pizzazz doesn’t have to limit browser support or accessibility. You can add tons of functionality on the server side and still keep the site loading FAST and looking trim and sleek.

  4. Leo, I have a pair of gloves that I love and I wouldn’t trade for anything. They aren’t fancy, fit well, are comfortable and go with just about all my winter cloths. Leoville makes me feel like these gloves do, each and every time I visit here, warm and happy! The warmth comes from you and the happiness comes from being able to interact with all the great people who populate Leoville. Who needs fancy when you have all this?

  5. Hey Leo, just found your site through fark.com 🙂 I don’t really watch much t.v, but I did do a photoshop of you on fark (in a walken/photoshop post, the other day).
    Only add “flashy” stuff if it has a purpose (usefulness). This is a concept 80% of web designers (or perhaps, companies that hire them) don’t understand.
    Your site is easy to read, easy to navigate, and has content. Looks like you’re smarter than at least 80% of web designers. Don’t know if that’s saying much 😛
    Cheers!

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