Ahh, May 1st. The annual “right of passage”, where designers across the globe come together for one day of freshness, a day to reinvent themselves and usher in a season of changes for the upcoming summer. Participants are scattered throughout every continent, and find themselves participating in one if not all of the many reboots out there today. Regardless of which one or ones you may be participating in, the message is the same – it’s time to reboot.
Last Minute Checks
On the eve of May 1st, many people frantically find themselves trying to fine-tune final elements of their sites before the big launch date. Many may have already filled their sites with temporary placeholders to increase the suspense between the final hours and the actual launch time. Some meanwhile, missed the invitation and are trying frantically in the last remaining hours to put together a new site just so they can say they were part of the event. No matter what you’re situation, be on the look out for some common checks that somehow get lost in all the madness.
- Make sure your site is validated – Particularly if you are participating in a “standards reboot“. It was sad to see many of the submitted sites in the Fall Standards Reboot didn’t even validate. As a judge this year, one of the things we’re looking for is sites that actually read and meet the criteria for participating, and aren’t just trying to leech off free traffic.
- Check for cross-browser compatibility – The last thing you want after an exciting (re)launch date is people complaining about a site not looking properly in their os / browser of choice. Make sure you go through some extensive checking to prevent discrepancies between different browsers. You can also turn to services such as Browsershots, iCapture, and ieCapture.
- Re-read your content – If your site is being filled with new content (for example, you created some new pages, etc, with writing in them), make sure you have everything spell checked. Obviously, if you have a huge collection of past blog entries and articles, it could be impossible to go back and check everything, but make sure all new sections of your site are properly polished up. Eliminating mistakes will help leave people more impressed in the long run.
Get your launch post ready to go
If you are relaunching a blog of some sort, a great way to kick things off is with an introductory / about the redesign post. Share your own experiences from the reboot, showcase new site features, and finally, explain the process that went into the redesign. It’s always insightful to read someones methods of designing, because everyone does something different. It’s also a great way to focus visitors to specific areas of a redesign, such as new pages, favorite articles, etc. It really helps tie the whole event together, and it takes things a lot further than just saying “well here’s my new design, hope you enjoy it.”
An important thing to remember is that there is no need to rush a site relaunch simply for the sake of participating in the May reboot. Even if you are already registered somewhere as a participant, don’t stress over it. When things are rushed, you end up half-assing the work, which leads to a poor job. Do you think visitors would rather see a fully polished site launched all at once, or a semi-completed design that was put out that way too soon for it’s own good? You don’t need one specific day to refresh a design. There are 364 other days in a year that are fully open for the taking. Just because they don’t have a special label on them doesn’t mean you can’t hold your own reboot. Please, for everyone’s sake (yours, your visitors, and the judges of these events), don’t publish something that you don’t take pride in. It’s not good for business, and it’s not good for yourself.