If you've been to MainlyPiano.com before, or if you've been keeping up with the latest Pianotes
issues, you know that the entire website has been redesigned! The goals of the redesign were:
- Eliminate Kathy's dependence on outdated website-building software.
- Build a website that uses modern website technologies and methods, including responsive design, which
allows this website to function on phone screens to desktop screens and anything in between.
- Build a website that focuses on content before anything else. This website is all about
information: reviews, interviews, etc. The goal was to make that content as prominent as possible, thus minimizing menus
and graphics or other web elements that can make pages slow.
- Create a system that is easier to maintain than the old software; for example, previously a "new review" would
require modifications of several different pages and files. Now, it is much easier to add a new review: the review is
automatically added to the artist's page, latest reviews page, and other relevant pages.
- Create more ways to navigate the website, including the global search at the top of
the page, and the concept of tags that allow different ways to
group and display album reviews. The list of tags can be found at the Explore
link on the top menu. Also, you can see how albums are "tagged" on artist pages and search pages. For example, see the
various tags on Philip Wesley's artist page.
- Make sure that links to all the old pages redirect properly to the new URLs.
Have a look around (and help out)!
When considering every review, artist page, interview page, and all other pages, there are more than 2,800
pages on this website. The bulk of the work for redesigning the site was to move the reviews from the old site to the new
one. With that many pages, there are bound to be some errors here or there. If you are an artist, it
could be very helpful if you could take a look at your pages for accuracy.
There are five things to look for:
- Amazon/iTunes/CD Baby links: When moving the old reviews into the new site, I noticed a
few links that weren't accurate, or to be more clear, that weren't accurate enough. For example, many CD Baby links
were to CDBaby.com directly, and not specifically to the album's page on CD Baby. While I changed any of these errors
I saw, it is quite likely that I didn't see every one. If you see an invalid link, please let us know. In addition, make
sure your album reviews link to songbook reviews of the same album, and vice versa.
- Italicized album titles: The album reviews were copied over into the new system as raw text,
which means that any formatting in those reviews was eliminated. The new system automatically italicizes titles by default,
but if other albums were mentioned in the review, they might not have been italicized. Further, really old reviews
used quotes around album titles instead of italics, which could lead to an italiczed title within quotes in the new
system. Again, this type of error was looked for during the transfer, but even if we missed these fixes on 3% of the
reviews, that's close to 100 reviews with these small errors. Let us know if you see something that looks odd!
- Interviews: It was difficult to make direct copies of interviews from the old system,
because of way interviews were formatted using the old software. While we think the interviews are 99% accurate, it might
be worth checking that no questions are missing, or that questions and answers are in the right order.
- Tags: The new system introduces tags to
mark reviews with specific attributes ("Holiday albums", "Jazz", "Blues", "Guitar music", award winners, "Hymn
arrangements", etc.). Check out the list of tags and see which tags apply to your albums; if you see an album that is
missing a tag, please let us know.
- Old links: If you have links on your website to the old page URLs, you might want to check
that those links redirect to the new page properly. We are close to 100% confident on this part of the redesign, but you
definitely want to make sure your links redirect to the right places.
If you do find something that needs to be corrected, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
to investigate the issue and fix it!
Kathy has been busy!
Many people know how much work Kathy has put into what she does, but by actually working with every review page and every
artist page, the numbers were mind-boggling. The site is nearly 3,000 pages, but that number tells only part of the
story: in just the past three years, MainlyPiano.com has added an average of 170 album reviews
per year. That number doesn't include songbook reviews, interviews, or Kathy's work to proofread sheet music. Frankly, I was
astonished to see exactly how much work Kathy is doing (and has done for so long). I am glad
she chose me to help with the new site.
Overall, I am very pleased with how the site turned out, and my hope is that the new design will make it easier for Kathy to
maintain her site and for visitors to use the site.
My full-time "job" is to be a pianist/composer, but I do enjoy taking on side projects
like this website from time to time. If you need something similar for your website, contact me here for more information.
- Tim Neumark