A New Look

No no no, don’t go anywhere! It’s still Dinner: A Love Story. Still the same blog that brought you Pork Ragu and Pretzel Chicken, the one that taught you phrases like “Deconstructed Dinners“ and “Page-Turners;” still the same blog some of you have been checking in with for five years. YES! FIVE YEARS! As of this week, we have officially reached the sapphire anniversary of the day DALS went live with a backlog of posts, including “In Praise of Dansk,” “The Recipe Door,” “Rosa’s Mud Cake,” and “Weaning Them Off the Nugget.” And what better way to celebrate than by doing a little digital renovation? (Well, Mud Cake would probably do the job just fine, too.) The truth is, this mini re-design has been ready to go for a few months now, but I’ve been afraid to pull the trigger on it because…well…because I am clinically sentimental about everything, and it’s hard for me to say goodbye to something voluntarily. Which is, of course, ridiculous, because we’re not really saying goodbye to anything at all. Hopefully, you will find everything you’ve always found here — minus the tiny gray type (I heard from so many of you on this) and plus a few little tweaks (“What to Cook Tonight” moves to the home page, a new page called “Good Reads“) all in a lighter, brighter space. Think of it as the same old DALS house but with some furniture updating and a fresh coat of paint — like maybe I pruned the backyard Elm tree to allow for more light to shine through the windows. Please take a minute to explore the nooks and crannies a bit, if for no other reason than to tell me what you love and what you miss.

Two shout-outs here: First, all re-design credit goes to the gifted and talented Beth Mathews, who I cannot recommend highly enough to anyone out there looking for a designer. Next, to programmer Nick Franciosi, whose Olympic-level patience and efficiency was a godsend to this Olympic level hemmer-and-hawer. Both Nick and Beth hail from Nashville, and based on their talent and niceness alone, I’m thinking of relocating my headquarters down there. Anyway, big thanks to Nick & Beth.

And the rest of you: Let me know what you think!

Back to regularly scheduled dinner-programming this week!

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61 Comments

Jennifer

Looks beautiful! It is hard to find where to type name/email/website though for comments…at least from my perspective using Chrome since the box is the same color as the background till you find where to click/type. But otherwise LOVE LOVE LOVE.

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jenny

Dee – The blogroll is now under “good reads” along with other things I’m reading — books, cookbooks, blogs, etc.

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nancy

I do wish you would make the type black instead of gray. Gray on a white background is hard to read.

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Julie

Looks refreshed but I’m finding it hard to navigate to all those great “what to cook tonight” categories like, what to make when there’s nothing in the house or when you’ve walked in late after soccer practice – where’s the full breakdown of those options? Thank you! Love what you do.

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Margit Van Schaick

Where are your birds? Remember, when you wrote about “How to Blog”? They were sweet, lovable, evocative of how one feels when feeding children. BTW, the gold writing on upper right is very hard to read. I do wish you all the best, and look forward to reading posts by both you and Andy.

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Jenny

thanks Margit – the birds are on the bottom of the page! don’t worry, i would never get rid of them! :)

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Marcia

I’m on an iPad and agree with Jennifer, the boxes for name, emai address etc are invisible until you click on them. The boxes for the comment itself and for the security question show u, palthough the white is not high contrast against the linen look(?) background.

Also, I can’t figure out how to navigate to a previous or subsequent post. There used to be links at the top of the post, IIRC.

Great blog!

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Mom24_4evermom

I really like the design. I do agree though that it’s extremely difficult to tell where to type information for commenting, needs to be more of a contrast. I use Firefox. Congrats!

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Gretchen

I was also wondering where the birds went…but then I found them! They are on the home page at the bottom. I think they are sweet and I prefer their new spot because now your blog name is easier to read. (BTW, the birds always make me think of the Portlandia sketch “Put a bird on it.” Which makes me smile.)

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Bea

I love it! It is so beautiful and modern. What an amazing update. Back when you mentioned a few months ago that there was a website design upgrade coming, I was secretly afraid but this looks fabulous! My family had the orecchiette with sausage and crispy broccoli last night from DALS, the book. (I add roasted butternut squash too.) Delicious! It has become my go to easy recipe this winter. Thanks for all you do to keep your readers coming back for more. This is my favorite blog and I can’t wait to explore!

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Andrea

Congratulations! Very pretty redesign and I like the way you’ve incorporated your book design. But my aging eyes find the smaller content area busy and more difficult to browse (i.e. borders are taken up by the butcher block background).

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JO

I like it! A really fun upgrade! I also really like your “cover photo” – the whole fam working and hanging out in the kitchen. Would you consider doing a post about your kitchen and layout? Thanks for all the inspiration!

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Mila

I love it, it is very user-friendly, compact and straightforward. “Good reads” is a fantastic idea. I think a lot of your readers (myself included) share your passion for cooking AND reading. Great work, DALS team!

P.S. second the suggestion to make the “comments” section fields stand out more

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Mary Ann

Looks amazing! But I “third” the suggestion for more contrast in the comments section. Hard to see the boxes where you are supposed to type.

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Jenny D

The phrase “clinically sentimental” struck quite the chord with me. Rest assured, the site is looking good and you keep me living in hope my currently eating most things toddler will keep on keeping on. But if he doesn’t I have Resources (with that capital R.)

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Jessie

The new website looks amazing! As a former editor, a couple of quick thoughts as you search through the inevitable kinks of the new site. (I’ve been through many a launch before!):
(1) The links on the “about” page all like back to the website rather than the Press URLS I imagine should be in place.
(2) On the same page, in your bio, the website page is missing quotation marks around it and your books should be italicized, as per the section immediately above it. (I’m guessing the coding was lost when inserted to the website.)
(3) Is it possible to decrease the size of “comment boxes”? There is a lot of scrolling involved for not much text.
(4) Is it possible to put this comment box at the top of the section so people don’t have to do so much scrolling? (Re: #3)
I hope these help! I look forward to continuing to follow you!

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Rosie

Love the new look but the links in the “about” section dont seem to be working…just fyi..

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Barb

Overall, looks great! Really clean. I used to have a problem with readability of the old tinted background, so I was happy to see it changed to white, but agree with someone above that black rather than gray type would be even clearer. I read it on my phone, so legibility is key!

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Amanda

I love the new look, it still has the rustic look, yet it looks chic. Don’t know how those designers do it, but well done. My only complaint is that I have to scroll all the way to the bottom to comment, but seriously that is a small complaint (like a person who has to complain about chain emails or something). I love it. Oh, I see you are still making us do addition to comment… hmmm. :) Happy Birthday to the best blog on the Interwebs!

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Mavi

Loved the old look! Love the new look! And the new version loads MUCH faster on my computer (using Safari). You are my FAVORITE blog…. and I don’t even have kids at home. :)

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Emily

Love, love, love the new design! There are a few items that I’d tweak, but most notable is the line height. I love the text size, but the serif font runs together for me. I’d increase from 1.5 to 1.7 or 1.8. It just offers a little breathing room in the text.

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Rachel

Ack! I just discovered your blog this week (yay!) and had started at the beginning, working my way through the Archive…is that gone now?

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Trish

I’m a huge fan – but not fond of the new font. Size or type. I think it’s harder to read, IMO.
Congrats on your success and thanks for continuing to help me feed my family.

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McCorkle

The blog loads way, way faster.
The typeface would be better bigger….. even more so with the Security Question box.
Great improvement!
Thanks for being consistently interesting.

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Jessica

I have some serious issues reading text that’s in grey. If you could, just make it flat out black, easier to read.

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Carolyn

Love the new look! Fresh and fun… as usual, but with a new twist. (e.g. my comment is coming up in italics. I’m finding that inexplicably delightful.) Also, want to mention I’m making pork ragu to take to friends for annual ski trip. This will undoubtedly lock in an invite for next year!

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Nicole @ thejameskitchen

Congratulations! I actually liked the small grey type, I thought it was quite neat. As is the new homepage, a little Bon Appetit-ish. Terribly missing the ability to turn from post to post, having to return every time to the homepage is understandable but a tiny bit annoying – some might only read one or two instead of several posts.
Nicole

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Kendra

I LOVE the redesign! And it totally still feels like the original DALS. You haven’t lost a thing, just gained a happier pair of eyeballs (mine!).

x

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M

I love it. So fresh and crisp. But I’m confused by the comments about the small print – on my computer it looks like the whole site has been enlarged by about 120%. I’m having to zoom out to see all of the first picture, for example. It may be something on my end rather than your end.

Happy blogging anniversary! Love your writing and your recipes.

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Emily

You really, really should have a button that lets a reader go from one blog post to the previous one. Otherwise it’s very annoying to read back through, say, a last week or two week of posts. There should be a “last post” and “next post” button on every blog entry, if that makes sense.

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Trish

I love the wooden table background with all the recipe cards. I’ve noticed a lot of blogs are switching to a set up where you have to click to read the full post (like you have now). What about this appealed to you?

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sarah monoky

Jenny- I love your blog and use it to make my grocery list each week. As a reader of books and cookbooks, like you, I have to agree with others that the pale gray text is very difficult to see and read. It blends to much into the background. Still navigating but looks great!

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Maryellen MacDonald

I went looking for the birds at the bottom of the page and find them in white on a white background (the lined paper from your handwritten recipes). Glad you didn’t get rid of them, and I hope they’re more visible again soon.

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Paula

So many blogs these days are going to the short beginning blurb with the “read on” link to finish the post in another window. Is there a practical reason for this particular format? I find that I’m not as apt to read the whole post. If the first couple of sentences don’t intrigue me, I’ll move on. Is it a better format for the blogger?

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Cassi

I miss the “Filed Under” being at the top of the post rather than the bottom for one reason only. I would rather see “Posts by Andy” straight away, than read through all the way to the bottom (imagining the whole thing in your voice), only to realize it was written by him. Or vice versa.

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