July 25, 2013

The Next Bag: Our Latest Redesign

With the maturing of the web, a website re-design is less a moment of drama then a recognition that times change, needs change and functions change. Sometime between Friday night and Sunday, you might find BagNews down for a little while. Rest assured, this is not one of those service interruptions that have plagued us over the past year when our traffic spiked. Instead, we are changing over to a new format and site design — and along with it, a new hosting and support strategy.

Certainly, the layout of the site over the past four years has been elegant. At the same time, however, our needs and desires for the site have grown as the breadth, depth and needs of our different users have grown. Over the past year, we have been working with Drexler Design in Baltimore to achieve a number of different ends. Our goal has been to: make Bag easier to navigate; give more room to the pictures; give more identity and distinction to the different sections and make them more navigable; give more emphasis to the archive (see the wildcard feature on the homepage!); give more recognition to contributing writers and, especially, photographers; help underwrite our not-for-profit mission by running more ads from Photosynthesis, an exclusive photo industry ad network; increase the speed and reliability of the site.

What will not change is the integral importance and visibility of your comments, the role of BagNews as a conversation between citizens, visual practitioners and visual scholars, and our commitment to visual and media literacy, and to “reading the pictures.”

What we are rolling out today, I should add, is still a work-in-progress. We have more changes and refinements in the works. Especially, look for further development to the Salon section so we can get our online discussion panels going again as soon as possible. In the meantime, we hope you are enjoying the new Originals section. With our soft launch in May, we are not only bringing you unique social and documentary images from a deeply talented group of photojournalists but insights from those photographer’s into their own working processes, as well.

Finally, a heartfelt thanks to Karen Donley, Meg Handler, Jonathan Gibby and Teresa Mahoney who have worked tirelessly on the project; Chris, Dustin, and the entire staff at Drexler for their patience and ingenuity; Chris Karr, who pulled so many pulleys and levers behind the scenes for us; Davina Grunstein of Matter Design for her design skills; Steffen Tengesdal of Cyberhost and John Watson, both extraordinary web gurus; and Al Shaw, who was a tremendous resource and — with a pen and the back of an envelope or random napkin — can hold his own with anyone.

Moreover, our endurance, growth and success would not be possible without your support and engagement, and for that we are continually grateful.

Post By

Michael Shaw
See other posts by Michael here.

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