And Then Things Stay the Same

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: 

  1. I use Disqus for commenting. This is far better than any blogging system’s native system, and it was built into Squarespace 6. However, in the blog post meta, there was no way to display the comment count. This is discouraging to a lot of people, and it made Sandra sad, because she thought no one liked her posts! My complaint was sent to the development team, but they don’t disclose when/if changes will occur. Update: I was able to tweak some javascript to hack this functionality.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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). 
  5. 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.
  6. No custom ordering of categories. I believe this is a bug and I’ve reported it. 
  7. 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.
  8. 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. 

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List-O-Rama: Eleven Memorable Settings

List-O-Rama: Eleven Memorable Settings

Review: Collateral by Ellen Hopkins

Review: Collateral by Ellen Hopkins