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New look, same field-proven content

The website that most readers are familiar with launched in late-2011, shortly before the release of the first edition of The Ultimate Hiker’s Gear Guide. It was designed by Bracia, which like my company is mostly a one-man operation, and was a technological leap in my web presence. Its aesthetic was vastly superior to the preceding website, and the WordPress framework allowed me to more easily publish content, respond to reader comments, and take book orders.

Pre-2011 website

When we launched, it was hard to imagine that in the next seven years I would write over 700 blog posts, create guides for six routes and trails, and guide more than 80 trips with 500 clients.

But the website was well designed and flexible, and it was able to grow with me. A few tweaks were necessary — like making it “responsive” to mobile traffic, and hosting it with KornDev as traffic increased — but it was essentially the same site until yesterday.

Homepage, 2012 to 2019

This latest redesign was again done by Bracia, and I’m again thrilled with the end product. It has a cleaner and more modern look, but should still feel familiar. Its mega-menu is awesomely functional, especially on mobile. And its back-end is more up to date and supported. We also fixed a few things that were bothering me about the old site (e.g. multi-post series like campsite selection are now listed in descending order, and images and charts are no longer limited to 640 pixels in width).

Just launched!

As I toured it last night, I found a few items that need fixing. If you see anything that’s amiss, leave a comment and I’ll get it addressed.

Posted in on June 1, 2019
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23 Comments

  1. Michael on June 1, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    Can I get a random article button? It sounds weird, but I like to browse the rarely read stuff.

    • Leon on June 2, 2019 at 5:24 pm

      I want this too!

  2. Chris H on June 1, 2019 at 3:19 pm

    Been a reader for several years, first comment. Love the redesign. Much easier on the eyes. Thank you.

    • Andrew Skurka on June 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm

      Even at 38, I really like the generously sized font sizes, too.

  3. corwin on June 1, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    I like the new look, but it seems to have some scaling issues with ultrawide monitors. 21:9, etc. Photos look out of focus.

    • Andrew Skurka on June 1, 2019 at 5:16 pm

      All of them, or only certain ones (e.g. specific ratio sizes, specific pages)?

      • Gordon on June 2, 2019 at 11:37 am

        The picture with the ice axe and crampon article is in focus. The others look blurred in some way. I am viewing with a Lenovo Thinkpad.

  4. Laurence McGraw on June 1, 2019 at 7:32 pm

    When we was launched? under the pre-2011 picture

  5. Bob S. on June 2, 2019 at 1:15 pm

    The new design looks awesome on my phone and tablet but not so hot on my laptop with a 15-inch, 4K monitor. The display scaling on my laptop is set to 225% and the browser scaling is set to 100% (the default settings).

    The homepage is fine but the blog posts don’t seem to scale properly and everything looks jammed into the middle 3rd of the screen leaving a lot of white space on either side of the main text. What I am seeing is about 65% of my screen empty with a column down the middle of the page. I get the same results using both Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome. I’m also seeing blurry photos as someone else had mentioned. I’ll be happy to email a screen shot if you want.

    The menu works great on all my mobile devices and is much improved over the old design.

    • Jonathan on June 3, 2019 at 8:04 pm

      Cant sign up for emails. Mailchimp account not active?

      • Andrew Skurka on June 3, 2019 at 10:04 pm

        Thanks, clearly need to get that fixed.

    • Andrew Skurka on June 3, 2019 at 10:04 pm

      Please send a screenshot. I can’t seem to replicate that.

  6. socal heading up to the snow on June 2, 2019 at 4:02 pm

    Ditto with the low resolution images. For example, the blog index page is upscaling 150×150 pixel images to triple size making them look blurry.

    https://26ebru3fogag2ce2bw4a6246-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/new-homgepage-screenshot-150×150.png

  7. Travis Briles on June 3, 2019 at 12:28 pm

    Fyi. On my cell phone the first two of pictures doesnt fit on the screen.

    • Andrew Skurka on June 3, 2019 at 1:18 pm

      The first two images on this page?

      • Travis Briles on June 4, 2019 at 1:14 am

        Good catch. I meant first and third images. The leftmost (“Guided Trips”) and and rightmost (“Andrew Skurka”) in the trio of pictures under the banner are clipped.

        • Andrew Skurka on June 4, 2019 at 8:03 am

          Can you post or send me a screenshot? I think the designer plans to work or things today or tomorrow.

  8. Bruce Lemieux on June 3, 2019 at 12:43 pm

    Redesign looks great. There are some photo resolution/scaling issues. Here’s what I’m seeing for the blog section on the home page:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/k5pd69n9b6m51fq/temp%20blog%20home.png?dl=0
    Article images with the blog section are blurry:
    https://www.dropbox.com/s/pxmw823fi85qe7m/temp%20blog.png?dl=0

    • Andrew Skurka on June 3, 2019 at 1:17 pm

      I’m seeing these as well, so thanks for confirming it’s widespread.

  9. Scott on June 3, 2019 at 8:15 pm

    Currently planning a WRHR section hike and I noticed that the “Section Hike Overview” link at the beginning of the “Part 1 – Before You Go” guidebook redirects to the Kings Canyon High Basin Route “Primary Route + Section Hikes” page.

    • Andrew Skurka on June 3, 2019 at 9:51 pm

      Hmm, interesting. I don’t know why that link is redirecting to KCHBR, but it should be fixed now. Can you confirm?

      • Scott on June 4, 2019 at 10:41 am

        Yup, looks like it’s fixed now!

  10. Brandon on June 4, 2019 at 8:04 am

    I like the redesign! One thing I notice is that the thumbnail photos for posts are out of focus/blurry for me. They’re fine once I navigate to the actual post, though.

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