Some Things to Like About WordPress 3.6

WordPress 3.6, dubbed “Oscar” in honor of the great jazz pianist Oscar Peterson released this week with some substantial, if not mind blowing, feature updates.

You can read the entire announcement from WordPress here

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Better support of post types – Every new major release comes with a new theme and Twenty-thirteen showcases some pretty forward uses of post types.

Better menu customization – Adding menus to the appearance section was a big step forward several releases ago, but I always felt the execution was pretty clunky even if it was better. This release adds more intuitive menu creation along with some added functionality.

Better autosave – For anyone that forgets to save when they edit or even write directly in WordPress admin you’ll be happy to know that autosave kicks in every 15 seconds now.

Better revision handling – If you’ve ever edited and changed and updated a post you know that all those revisions get saved with the idea that you can roll back. Only problem was comparing one version to another was pretty hard. Not any more – revisions cleary show comparisons – this looks very promising. Also, you can lock a post down when editing some no one else can edit.

Better native media support – Built-in HTML5 media player for native audio and video embeds with no reliance on external services.

A few more additions to oEmbed – Several years ago oEmbed was added so that you could simply add a URL from supported services and get the player or show the image without embed code. The list has expanded – here’s the entire list as of today

As always, no matter how much testing WordPress does things break during major upgrades as plugin and theme makers don’t always jump in and test – so backup and proceed with caution.

This is also a great place for me to suggest paid themes like Studio Press and tipping your plugin makers so they have motivation to support!

The Impact of Better Design

I’ve been investing in better design lately and it’s making me money.

But, what is better design?

Better design

photo credit: jm3

For some that term might simply mean better visual appeal, more pleasing to the eye or stylish.

To me it means better communication.

The primary thing I have to offer is information and better design allows me to communicate that information more effectively and more profitably.

I’m not suggesting that aesthetics of better design aren’t important, but of equal importance to me is hierarchy of information, white space and information way finding that is delivered with the right fonts, spacing and appropriate use of size and color.

Good design costs money, but so does poor design, clutter and confusing information.

As you may have noted if you’re reading this on my site, has undergone a total redesign and now runs on a custom theme on the Genesis framework. The design was completed by Rafal Tomal and Josh Byers of Studio Press, part of the Copyblogger Media.

The redesign was badly needed as my site had sort of become like some of the Christmas trees I remember as child where my brothers and sisters would just keep putting more and more stuff on the tree because, well, we could.

The overarching goal of the redesign was to more effectively communicate and more effectively deliver information. Comments from readers suggest we made huge strides in that aim.

Statistics also reveal site traffic is up 22% over the previous six month trend, page views are up 104%, time on site and bounce rate have both made significant improvements and sales of our core product, with any change in promotion, are up 219% over a six month trend.

Invest in better communication through better design – it always pays when you get it right.