Welcome to the new and improved redesign of alanwsmith.com!

Don't be surprised if you can't tell the difference.

This redesign is almost entirely behind-the-scenes. Instead of my hand-build code, the page templates now use a framework called Bootstrap1. The biggest change is that the site is now "responsive" (i.e. it'll resize itself nicely for laptops, tablets and phones).

Making the site phone friendly has been on the back-burner for some time. It moved up the priority list dramatically when Google sent me an email titled "Fix mobile usability issues". It said, in part:

Google systems have tested 66 pages from your site and found that 97% of them have critical mobile usability errors. The errors on these 64 pages severely affect how mobile users are able to experience your website. These pages will not be seen as mobile-friendly by Google Search, and will therefore be displayed and ranked appropriately for smartphone users.

Or, put another way, "Your site is about to disappear from the internet."

There's still plenty of rough edges, but the foundation is in place. According to the testing tool2, I still have work to do to appease the robots. In the mean time, it does look way better on phones.


Footnotes:

  1. Bootstrap was started by Twitter. In the old days, making your own site framework was a right of passage. With all the little gotchas of making sites look good across different sites of displays, it doesn't make sense. Bootstrap or another framework like Foundation are the way to go.

  2. The Mobile-Friendly Test lets you see what Google things about your page. It's one of many they provide to help build better sites. Something they excel at.