New Design...Why?

RES Free Thinking is building a small but loyal following throughout Canada, and to a lesser extent on Wall Street and in The Valley. As it turns out, although originally targeted to only a few hundred Bay Street insiders, RES Free Thinking now appears to be viewed regularly by several thousand readers across the country. Surprisingly, there also appears to be a loyal user base from some countries in the EU, South America and Southeast Asia.

Usage is increasing by about 15% per month, over 46% of all users return at least once a month to get information, and over 170 external sites link to RES Free Thinking content of some type. Since its launch in November of 2008, there have been 105 posts to the blog, profiling dozens of North American technology companies; micro-cap to monolith-cap, both public and private. In addition, there have been several theme or sectoral posts - and the odd political rant.

What does this mean?

Well, there is a lot of content, a lot of people are looking for the content, and a lot of people link to the content. I wanted to find a way to make it easier for people to find what they are looking for faster. I also wanted to find an easy way for people to discover the theme of a story over time, and to be able to connect together industry trends (example: progress (or not) of a Company over multiple quarters). My goal is also to highlight more effectively the flow of information and good ideas emanating from sources such as Twitter. 

The old design was limited by a single dimension (no horizontal navigation menu), and by only two columns - one of which was reserved for posts. As a result, all of the ways to find and use blog information was stuffed into a single long column. As the archive of posts became longer, interesting and timely investor information had been falling off the screen - such as TwitterFlow and Tech Voices.

To better help people find and link to information quickly, I have also decided to more effectively utilize  content tagging/labeling so that people can more quickly find pertinent things by clicking on tags that are now located in the "Label" widget below TwitterFlow in the new right-hand sidebar (and the primary driver of the redesign). For example, if you click on BWC.TO, you would see all of the posts that mentioned BWC over the past 8 months, in chronological order.

Bottom line...RES Free Thinking needed more columns and navigation. Considering that I don't have the time or the inclination to build out a custom RES Free Thinking blog template, I decided to source one online from Deluxe Templates. What you see is (in comparison to most other blogger templates), a pretty clean three column design with a muted color scheme and simple font for (hopefully) easier reading.

This is a work in progress, but my objective is to continue to make RES Free Thinking easier to use.

Data suggests that most of you visit to read the latest post and then bolt (76% of you), so I know that you are time constrained. However, I would like to ask: Will this new design work for you? Please respond to the poll on your right. I will poll a couple of more times to find out what content is most useful, and what future features could be appealing.

Thanks for reading RES Free Thinking, it has been a rewarding experience for me (so far).

Cheers, Ron

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