yourfirstvisit.net Has its Fifth Birthday!
By Dave Shute
NOW AT AN AWKWARD AGE…
(This birthday post would have gone up yesterday, but I had more important news to relay.)pin it on pinterest, to recommend it in your books, to link to it from your own websites, and to help out with the comments.
Thanks to all of you, the site is continuing to grow and as a result helping even more people.
The site will have its 3.5 millionth visitor all-time visitor since opening in a couple of weeks, 2 million of you have stopped by for a spell over the last 12 months, and the forecast for the next 12 months is almost 4 million of you coming by!
I’m grateful for and humbled by your readership, your help, and your kind words…thanks!!
WHAT’S COMING IN THE NEXT TWELVE MONTHS
- Revising the itineraries in response to MyMagic+ and Fastpass+–which, for reasons explained here, I’m not seeing as going into large scale operation much before October 1
- Revising the look and feel of the site, for both technical and reader experience reasons.
This site is built on WordPress, and the “theme” the site runs on—NeoClassical by Chris Pearson—is what shapes its look and feel.
I love the typographical clarity of NeoClassical, but it has not been supported for years. As a result, every time there’s a WordPress upgrade, there’s a risk the site might break, and I can’t take advantage of the newer features released WordPress since NeoClassical was last updated more than 6 years ago. So a new theme is on the to-do list!
Developing a new theme will also give me a chance to fix some major reader issues:
- Stuff is hard to find, and
- The overall look and feel of the site is too cluttered
You won’t find everything here—based on the comments I get (about 4,000 questions asked, and 4,000 answers given, in the last 12 months) the site is thin on stuff for kids younger than 8, on itineraries focused on just a park (all my itineraries are fully integrated for multi-park long stays) and on best and worst days.
But even so, there’s still a lot here—almost 1500 individual entries, with more coming out at a rate of 3-5 new posts a week!
I have lotsa stuff on how to find things around here—the best option is the search box at the top right of every page. (Try the search box. It’s delicious! Don’t believe me? Search for “Wishes”!)
But I think an “accordion menu” on the left side would be a big help—like the one on the left side of MouseSavers.com. This would allow the navigation section you now see on the left side of this site to expand to be much more detailed and specific than it is right now if needed, while defaulting to something much shorter and less scary.
If I went that way, it’d also make it easier to kill the entire right sidebar, moving the important parts to the left side, in space freed both by the accordion menu, and also by killing the “More Puffery” section.
I’ll also likely re-do the home page so it has its own, new layout.
The current home page intentionally is like the table of contents to an instruction manual which has had its cover pulled off. For the intended users of this site—first time visitors who may never return—that’s OK. But over time the site has developed three different types of readers:
- The intended audience: first timers
- Returning visitors who are using the more detailed material on the site to shape certain key decisions like when to go and where to stay…
- Disney fans who like to see what’s new here, and to just generally browse the site
So I’m thinking I may just make the home page three columns, with one column exactly addressing each of these three types of readers….
In addition I’ll continue all the routines that for better or worse the site has fallen into—I’ll revise the 2014 material (the 2014 crowd calendar, price seasons, and week rankings) in the summer, once final prices and final public school breaks are released; the 2014 version of the week picker will come out shortly after that, and in the fall, I’ll publish the first drafts of the core 2015 material.
Having completed the Great Moderate Re-Visit over the last 12 months, and stayed in and reviewed the brand-new Art of Animation Family Suites and Little Mermaid standard rooms, I’ll finish re-visiting and re-reviewing the other Values in the next 12 months; stay in the newly refurbed rooms that are emerging at the Polynesian; and check out the new DVC offering at the Grand Floridian when it opens.
Then there’s the rest of the Fantasyland Expansion that will emerge over the next 12 months…and likely other fun new stuff to check out that we don’t know about yet!
Moreover, I’ll likely need to revise the Harry Potter material for the opening of part two of Harry Potter at Universal Studios—currently rumored for June 2014.
So there’s plenty to look forward to in yourfirstvisit.net’s sixth year!
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