A Birthday Present for Passions

Passions in Poetry celebrated its 15th birthday last week and, starting today, she’ll be strutting around in the brand new clothes she received as her principal birthday gift.

Passions in PoetryYep. The site gets a whole new look as she heads into her sixteenth year. I think you’re going to like it.

Of course netpoets.com has seen more than a few redesigns over the years. One of our biggest changes, for example, was when we went from a design optimized for a 640 pixel screen (anyone old enough to remember those?) up to a whopping big 800 pixel screen.

Ah, yes, the ever relentless march of progress. 🙂

The changes we’ve seen in the past, however, have always been relatively minor. If you look back at the main site early in 1999 and compare it to what you would have seen yesterday I think you’ll agree that the similarities far outweigh the differences. We’ve upgraded many, many times, but I’ve always been very careful to maintain our early identity. It worked incredibly well for a very long time and, frankly, I liked it.

Times, however, change. Even the most persistent of us (some would say most stubborn?) eventually find they, too, must change and adapt.

The new design for netpoets.com was driven by changing technologies, especially in terms of mobile devices. One out of every three people on the Internet today will be accessing a web page with either their mobile phone or a tablet, not the desktop or even the laptop of yesteryear. That’s across the board, across the entire Internet. Within the poetry world the percentage of people seeing us on a smartphone is even higher, usually pretty close to fifty percent.

The new design for Passions in Poetry offers us desktop people a little more screen real estate as we move from that old 800 pixel wide screen up to a bit more comfortable 1040 pixels. We could easily go bigger, of course. Early last year, the most popular screen resolution moved up to 1366 by 768 pixels and about twelve percent of you will have resolutions of 1920 by 1080 or higher. We need to be careful, however, not to let our line lengths become too long. Newspapers and many magazines use columns for a reason; it becomes increasingly tiring to read overly long lines of text. Research has indicated that about 60 characters per line is most comfortable for reading. Ergo, we don’t want to let our screens become TOO wide.

However, while the maximum size of a screen at netpoets.com is 1040 pixels wide, that number is no longer set in concrete. It is no longer fixed.

The new design will adjust itself to fit the size of your screen.

If you don’t have a screen that is at least 1040 pixels wide our web pages will now rearrange themselves as best they can to fit whatever screen real estate you have available. You can, if you’re on a desktop, change the size of your web browser right now to see it in action. (It won’t work with older versions of some browsers, especially Internet Explorer; those will be stuck at the max 1040 pixels. That’s okay, though, because none of those older browsers will be driving a smartphone or tablet.)

The new design is being pushed out today on “most” of our web site. You’ll see it on many of the main pages and all of the poetry pages. This News section will take a little longer, and a lot of the dynamic pages (for Voting or Sending a Poem to a Friend, for example) will also be phased in over the next week or two. The biggest gap is the Famous Poems section of our site, where over a thousand of the best classical poems throughout history will remain on the older design for probably another month. I sure hope Edgar Allan and Mr. Frost, two of my favorites, will forgive the delay.

Please note, my friends, that there’s a “Leave a comment” link immediately after this post. If you find something that doesn’t work right, or you just plain don’t like the new design, please take just a moment to let me know? Of course, if you DO like something . . . you can tell me about that, too. 🙂

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