A PaperCut blog redesign (and the lessons learned)
This may well be the first blog redesign that’s been partially driven by the threat of an author revolution.
Let me explain …
Back in the day, the PaperCut blog was a fine design of its time, featuring all the tools you’d expect (complete with stylish gradient and a bit of indecision about its title):
A website redesign a couple of years ago, however, spelt trouble. The existing blog template disappeared, to be replaced by the layout that you may have interacted with in recent times.
Gone were the categories to help the reader navigate, albeit the indecision about the title remained there:
This made the blog difficult to navigate, hard to search, and frustrating to read.
Why we changed our blog
I started with PaperCut in September 2017 in a new role as Global Digital & Online Manager. That title essentially means I’m in charge of everything websitey (a technical term you may not have heard of).
I’ll be honest with you, I looked at the blog redesign as important, but not as important as a few other projects. So, I made it a less-than-critical priority task. I only had so many people to go around.
Enter the PaperCut developers
It turns out we have an active gaggle (is that the right term?) of authors at PaperCut, many of them developers. They were unhappy with the lack of navigation of the blog. They disliked the look of it. They wanted to publish quality content but wanted it to appear in a blog they were proud of.
Harsh, but fair.
As developers, they were keen to build their own blog. But as the digital manager, I wanted to control every digital touchpoint. I know, I know – power hungry. But seriously, it’s critical to keep everything aligned to ensure a consistent customer experience.
I met with the developers late last year. We all agreed that the old blog design needed some love. With a little shifting and deprioritizing, I agreed to assign some time to the project over January.
What you’re looking at today is the result.
It’s only day 1
Remember when you’d visit a website and it’d say ‘under construction’ or some such thing? That’s kind of where we’re at with the blog. We’re at stage 1. There’s plenty more we’re looking to do with it, to make it easier to read, use, share, and enjoy.
So what exactly is on PaperCut’s blog-de-roadmap? I’d like to focus on personalized and relevant content. Creating easy to use dashboards, hand-picked for your viewing pleasure. Suggested relatable articles that allow for quick navigation. And all that other cool customer preference stuff. “Show me what I want to read, and show me it now!”
And after all of the author back history, I also want to put some faces behind the names. Not to name and shame, but to put the people back into the stories! Custom fit with a photo and a profile telling YOU, the reader, a little about our incredible PaperCut authors’ who put so much effort into sharing great content.
Things I learned
Thriving passion from the development team! We have an incredible engineer culture at PaperCut, constantly reiterating that iterating itself is important. Ahhh, agile. I could write a whole other blog on that (but I won’t in fear of my life).
I am a bit of a perfectionist, and the mantra of “something is better than nothing” is a fantastic one, but sometimes hard for those like me! So getting out the new and improved blog in a condensed timeframe without boiling the ocean, was a success for all. I stripped the scope right back and looked at what was important from a customer experience. Plus added a few surprise and delights!
I hope you enjoy the new design. It’s the first noticeable change to the website we’ve undertaken. Keep an eye out for more changes coming soon.