2008 Web Site Redesign & 10 Years of globalissues.org

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  • by Anup Shah
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On July 20, 2008, this web site turned 10 years old. This was a good reason to embark on a web site redesign that I have wanted to do for some time.

On this page:

  1. Why redesign the site? Wasn’t the old one sufficient?
  2. So what is new?
  3. Why change the look of the site?
  4. Reflections on the last 10 years and what’s next for GlobalIssues.org

Why redesign the site? Wasn’t the old one sufficient?

Something that had been bugging me about the site for a few years was the way I categorized the various articles: they each belonged to a single category. In reality of course, issues are inter-related, and I wanted to get that across.

To do this, however, meant re-architecting the entire site structure, which, while not impossible (you are looking at the end result now!) would require some time.

The 10-year anniversary of the web site gave me that excuse to focus on it.

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So what is new?

Other than the visual design, articles are now categorized under multiple issues. This should help seeing the inter-related aspects of most issues, and help explore the site more.

The risk with introducing this can be a more complex or confusing navigation through the site. Hopefully this doesn’t happen, of course, but I will be tweaking the site in various ways over the coming weeks, based on reader response and feedback.

In terms of the articles, they haven’t really changed. The content is the same. The address, or URL, that they are under however, has all been changed, but if you are linking to my pages from your site (thanks, by the way!), I have done my best to ensure that all old links are correctly forwarded on to the new ones.

That being said, if you want to update your links, that would be great. If you find any broken links due to this redesign, please let me know1.

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Why change the look of the site?

I could have just changed the site structure but left the old look in tact. However, that design was getting close to 4 or 5 years old, so it felt like a good opportunity to change the visual appearance of the site. By chance, the August period is typically a very quiet period for the web site (only the Christmas period is quieter) so this seems a good time to deploy a big change!

For years I have been wanting to get a logo done for this site, but have failed to be more imaginative than thinking of a globe. So, a globe I found, courtesy of Studiomx2.

Most computer users now use bigger screens compared to 4 or 5 years ago, so I have increased the default width of the web site accordingly. This has allowed me to create an extra navigation column, offering more options and ways to browse and discover parts of the site, hopefully without looking too congested and distracting.

Some of the more modern browsers, such as Firefox3 and Apple’s Safari4 have a few extra features which I have tried to make use of, whereas Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 (and their improved Internet Explorer 75 that you should ideally upgrade to if you use Internet Explorer!) will still function fully but just miss these very small minor eye candy things.

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Reflections on the last 10 years and what’s next for GlobalIssues.org

The last 10 years have certainly been educational for me. The last 4 or so years has seen my spare time drastically reduced and I get more and more email backlog and less and less time to make updates or add new content. Yet, the site visitor numbers keep increasing each year. The past year for example, saw 16 million pages being requested, whereas the previous year was just under 14 million.

Going forward I have to think carefully about how this site will proceed. I expect I will have even less spare time than usual. I sometimes feel fed up with this because in reality little seems to change; money, power, greed, all find a way to undo people’s hard work. On the other hand, each time I feel I want to cut back or stop altogether, I get some really encouraging emails from people I have never ever met before, which makes me think again.

So, it is hard to say how the site will change in the future; perhaps guest authors and other contributors will be added. Perhaps more interactivity, multi-media and imagery will be added (its mostly boring text right now!) But to do all that will require some costs and careful consideration.

Behind the scenes, the way I have rewritten the site, it should be possible to build such capabilities into the site a bit more easily (though will still take time to actually do).

In the meanwhile, thank you all for your support and interest. I have really appreciated it. I hope you enjoy the new look and structure.

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  • by Anup Shah
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