By April 13, 2012 Read More →

Spring Cleanup for Sources of Insight 2012

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“Spring is a true reconstructionist.” — Henry Timrod

Spring is in the air and it was time for some Spring cleaning at Sources of Insight.  You can check out the changes on the site just by clicking around, but I’ll also give you a quick rundown of some of the key things.

A big driver I had was to make it easier to find existing resources.   While I managed to make some improvements here, I think I have a ways to go.  The main thing I struggle with is how to put the articles at your finger tips in a way that’s easy to find what you need.  A stream of posts is one thing.  A browsable index is another.    There are only so many ways to simplify this.  For now, I’m using a three-pronged strategy:  a list of topics, a list of all posts by date, and a list of articles sorted by topics.  Additionally, you can easily search the site from the sidebar.

The experience that I want to improve the most is listing out the articles by category or topic.  I think this is one of the best ways to discover and explore the available articles.

With that in mind, here is a quick rundown of the key changes at Sources of Insight …

Key Changes

  1. Tag line – I went back and forth between having the main tag line be “Proven Practices for Personal Effectiveness” and “Stand on the Shoulders of Giants” … Insight and Action for Work and Life.  I found that leading with “Stand on the Shoulders of Giants” helps set the stage for the site, given it’s all about helping people make the most of what they’ve got, drawing from books, people, and quotes.
  2. About – I cleaned up the About page to better reflect some of the big ideas and some of the phrases that people like to latch on to.  For example, one of the stickier phrases is, “Skills to pay the bills and lead a better life.”
  3. Menu – I went back and forth on this quite a bit, and got a lot of feedback from several users.  I made simplicity the focus.  I tested splitting the menu and using a little of the whitespace in the upper right, but a friend challenged me to make it one menu bar.  I ended up consolidating it.  My menu is now: Home | About | Articles | Free Stuff | Products | Featured Guests | Resources | Contact.
  4. Sidebar – I struggled with this.  I want a lean sidebar that’s clean and simple to use.   The strategy I used is to show a set of key topics to give you an instant impression of the focus of the blog.  You can also quickly dive into topics like Emotional-Intelligence, or Leadership, or Personal-Development.  I also exposed some of the more popular items from the Resources page.  Perhaps the most noticeable feature on the sidebar is the Greatness section.  The Greatness is short for “Greatness Distilled” and includes:  Great Books, Great People, and Great Quotes.  It’s a firm foundation to help you “stand on the shoulders of giants.”
  5. Articles – The Articles page now shows the most recent posts under key topics.  Key topics include: emotional intelligence, effectiveness, leadership, personal development, and thinking skills.
  6. Categories – I originally added a Topics page to replace my Categories page.  Topics seemed like a better name in this case, since they are the topics of focus.  That said, I ended up going back to my Categories page and just cleaning it up.   I may add Topic pages down the line to focus on key topics.
  7. Resources – I cleaned up the Resources page to put key resources at your finger tips, including How Tos, Lists, and Checklists.
  8. Free Stuff – The Free Stuff page is back.   The Free Stuff page is a quick list of free eBooks including You 2.0.
  9. Top Blogs – I renamed Blog Lists to Top Blogs.  It’s more intuitive and better reflects the purpose.   I created the top blog indexes to make it easy to hop around the Web and find some of the best insights and actions for specific topics.
  10. 101 Lists – I updated my 101 Lists page to include the missing 101 lists, including 101 of the Great Insights and Actions for Work and Life and 101 Ways to Motivate Yourself and Others.

If you have things you’d like to see more of, now is a good time to let me know.

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6 Comments on "Spring Cleanup for Sources of Insight 2012"

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  1. Galen Pearl says:

    Not very many folks talk about the thinking that goes into design changes, so I really appreciated this peek behind the scenes. Thanks!

  2. Galen Pearl says:

    PS–Just took a look at your top blogs list. Of course, I was especially interested in the happiness blogs since that’s what mine is about, too. Great list!

  3. JD says:

    @ Galen — I’ve added you to my happiness list.

    I like to share the thinking behind the blog with the hopes that it helps others think through their designs. Blogging is an art and science, and the art part of organizing and presenting information can be tough.

  4. Great revamp! You made some great changes — and reminded me I should do some of my own spring cleaning on my site. Thanks for including me in the Top Happiness Blogs list too! I appreciate that!

  5. JD says:

    @ Dani — Thank you. It’s a work in progress, but I think that’s the key … It’s part of the journey.

  6. Hilary says:

    Hi JD .. I wanted to have time to read this – now I have. You always put so much thought into your site – it’s a great example for others of us to follow and absorb ..

    The most important thing is I know you’re here, the site is here .. and that useful resources abound .. many thanks for striving to do the best for us all .. cheers Hilary