Welcome to the new(ish) RVANews

Did you notice? On April 6th we rolled out some changes to RVANews. Here’s a quick rundown of what we’ve changed.

Did you notice? On April 6th we rolled out some changes to RVANews. Most of the changes, which we’d been working on for months, are hidden away deep in the bowels of the backend, never to be seen by users like you.1

But these changes were desparately needed. For the last three, years every time we developed new functionality, or created a new bit of visual design, we’d tack it on without giving much thought to the overall structure of the site. We did this a lot. And what we ended up with a shambling pile of code that we couldn’t update or maintain. The way the data was organized looked like the inside of a pumpkin. Making a small change was either annoying, arduous, or impossible.

Hopefully we’ve now fixed most of those problems.

The biggest change that you may notice is the typography and layout of the articles. We’ve increased the readability of the site by approximately two trillion: the text is larger, the sidebars less garish, and the headlines set in a nice new typeface. The width of the site is a bit wider so pictures are a bit bigger and everything has more room to breath.

We’ve also added more information about our authors, which lives directly below each article. There you’ll find a picture, a short bio, and a link to their website and Twitter.2 We hope it’ll give you a better feel for who is behind each story.

Finally, we’ve added a new section to our homepage (down by the community news). While covering Richmond’s news we come across a lot of content (photos, links, quotes, etc) that never makes it up on to the site. Most of this information is interesting and worthwhile, so we’ve created a place for it. Think of this section like a reporter’s notebook where interesting tidbits get filed away.

It took a while to get done3, but we’re happy with how it turned out. If you have any problems or questions about the changes, don’t hesitate to ask!

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  1. For those interested in bowels and backends: the new theme, while it looks very similar to the previous theme, has been rebuilt from the ground up by our resident genius. He’d know way more about what was involved than I, and I’m sure he’d love to tell you about it. 
  2. We’re still working to fill all this information in for our regular contributors. 
  3. The name of the project in Basecamp was “The Great 2010 Redesign.” 
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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

Notice: Comments that are not conducive to an interesting and thoughtful conversation may be removed at the editor’s discretion.

  1. Looks great. Congrats on finally rolling out all your hard work!

    Any chance of a return of the neighborhood blog names on each post in the Community News section? I usually read the site while eating lunch at work, and knowing which neighborhood a headline applies to was part of how I decided whether to click through, since I can’t read them all.

    Thanks for being such a fantastic local resource!

  2. I like the changes, though I’m still not a fan of how almost every picture of the day comes from Instagram; this seems to shut out most photographers who might submit photos. I appreciate that Instagram lets more people get exposure this way, but we’ve sort of rushed to the other end of the spectrum where those users are the ONLY people whose pictures can get recognition that way. It’s better now than it was earlier now that Instagram is available for Android, but it isn’t exactly a complete sampling of all Richmond has to offer (maybe use both Instagrams and photos submitted to the seemingly disused Flickr group?).

  3. Well done. Please bring back the blog names, however and I agree with Will on instagram. You should have enough photos to really post one every day!

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