Introducing the new Solution Watch!

Please, do not take the following quote too seriously. It is a unique shorthand my brother, Tim Benzinger, enjoys using when sending an email to me that I have ironically learned to understand.

“Brian website have. Designed Tim by have good. Look good. Feel good. Good. I have site now. You have site now. Together, we have site now. Viva site.”
- Tim Benzinger

It is hard to believe that the person that wrote the above words, my brother, has actually created this new design of Solution Watch. The words are from the contents of an email he had sent me upon completing the final concept of the new design. Over the years, Tim has developed this shorthand that very few can understand. I am unfortunately one of them. To help you understand, let me translate it for you:

“Brian website have” actually means that this is the new design for the Solution Watch website. “Designed Tim by have good” is how Tim says, I have designed a site I am sure your readers will love. “Look good. Feel good. Good” means, the site was designed to look good, but also function well. Lastly, he writes, “I have site now. You have site now. Together, we have site now. Viva site.” What he is really trying to say is, long live Solution Watch! You now have a site that I hope everyone will enjoy.

As Tim has said, I do hope everyone likes the new design. Once the design was completed, I used my weekend coding it in Web Standards and them created it into a custom WordPress theme. With this release, it really is a breathe of fresh air for me as the old design was really starting to get on my nerve. The old design wasn’t user friendly, rough on the eyes at times, and didn’t provide the flexibility I was wanting. That’s what I get for whipping it up so quick 10 months ago. I feel this new design solves all of the problems that I had with the old design and more. You will notice the layout is wider, high in contrast, involves more white space, and the wide right column allowed me to fit more content and respects in the sidebar.

Side Notes

Side Notes is a new feature that I am excited to release as well with this new version of Solution Watch. Side Notes will act as a small link blog and just an area that I can make small mentions about something. I can’t wait to get started on it because one of the problems I have is that I feel I have set my own “guidelines” when writing and sometimes things I want to mention don’t meet these “guidelines.” So, I present you, Side Notes, a place I can mention other services, things on my mind, and just overall news that I probably wouldn’t normally write here at Solution Watch. You may grab the Side Notes RSS feed if you’d like to keep track of them, but I am not including it directly in the normal feed because I understand some may not like the mix of posts and side notes.

Full-Text Feeds

While on the topic of RSS feeds, if you are a subscriber, you have probably noticed that Solution Watch now runs full-text feeds. It took a while of convincing to do, but I have finally went through with it after receiving numerous requests. I have always had these two feelings with full-text feeds: Why make my feeds full-text when I know the content can be easily stolen and when I would prefer subscribers to visit my site instead of viewing the content through a feed reader? Well, my feelings have changed and I can say that it really has only been of benefit so far. So, I thank my readers for requesting this and also Scoble for mentioning some benefits of full-text.

Miscellaneous Updates

There have also been various improvements around the site in comparison to the last. First, you will find that the commenting area is now clean and organized, seperating the comments from the trackbacks. At times, things got a bit cluttered and reading actual user commentary just became a task when mixed up with the trackbacks. Also, I have added coComment integration to the site so if you are a member of coComment, it will automatically run and fill in the proper information for the post. Another new feature is the “Extra” tab on the headings of posts. You will find that when you click it, a new box will appear displaying related posts and method of bookmarking to various social bookmarking services (may add more sometime soon).

Designed by PARALLEL?

Glad you asked! You will find that it states “Designed by PARALLEL” in the footer and find logo in the right column. You probably wondering why it says this when I clearly stated above that Tim Benzinger is responsible for the design, so let me explain. Parallel is actually a new creative company that my brother and I, along with a friend, are starting. We specializing in design, usability, and development for websites, print, identity design, and content management. We have been planning on starting this company for years now and the time has finally come. We’ve got big plans for our company, so expect to hear from us again! By the way, if you are in need of some work, head on over to the temporary site and pass us an email.

Thank You and Enjoy!

The past 10 months of Solution Watch’s existence has been excellent and I thank all of you (and the startup companies for giving me something to write about!). I’ve got a lot planned for the future of Solution Watch, so stick around! Also, just a quick thanks to Media Temple for being the best hosting provider I could ever hope for. I switched over from my old host to a dedicated server at Media Temple a few months back and I couldn’t be happier. That about concludes it! Thanks everyone and I hope you like this refresh of Solution Watch!

40 Comments on “Solution Watch Redesign and Updates”

  1. says:

    Looking good. :)

  2. Dennis Bullock says:

    The new design looks great. I was thinking and maybe your brother is Yoda?

  3. Brian Benzinger says:

    Thanks Guys! I’m glad you like the design! I’m really excited to have finally released it.

    Haha, and Dennis, that would great if he were a Yoda, but it appears he is only human. But then again, you never really do know, do you? :-)

    Thanks for the comments!

  4. Razvan says:

    Sweet, clean design and glad that you finally switched to full feeds. Keep it up you are really doing a fine job

  5. Rohit says:

    Amazing new site design!

  6. suresh says:

    Excellent job.
    Looks very nice.

  7. Kenny says:

    This design is excellent. Nice job

  8. Bryan Veloso says:

    Brian, you rock. And Tim does too. Like I kept saying on IM, this shit is HOT. Be glad that you ARE the best designed Web 2.0 news site out there.

  9. Mike Papageorge says:

    New design like do I, simple, elegant, fresh feeling it has. To you I say congratulations, done well, have you.

  10. Scrivs says:

    Damn, next time your brother wishes to do a redesign make sure it launches a day after mine. Otherwise, kickass job.

  11. Fred Stutzman says:

    Love the usability-centric design. Great work…very elegant!

  12. Fred says:

    I like it, keep it up, brian (and tim)!

  13. Killeroid says:

    Nice redesign.I love it

  14. Paul Stamatiou says:

    HOTT, HOTT, HOTT. That’s what was going through my mind when I first glanced at this. This is what redesign should mean. Now I have to get my act together and make something like this.

  15. khaled says:

    One of my fav sites just got made prettier. What I really like about it all is the whole attention to the details. It’s simple but well put together.

    My only qualm is in the comment section. I would have liked gravatars as I think they do make the comment sections more fun to look at generally. also grouping the name and what they wrote in a clearer way would be very helpful as well, but apart from that 10/10 :)

  16. Billy Warhol says:

    Congrats on the new site!

    Nice n Clean!! – could use a splash o Colour!

    Cheers!! Billy ;))

  17. Scott Hurff says:

    I thought I was at the wrong site for a second…I’ve been visiting SW for a few months now and then ~BOOM~ you come up with a sweet design like this. Love it.

  18. Hiten Shah says:

    Looks awesome, very clean, I’ve been unknowingly waiting for this!

  19. Brian Benzinger says:

    Thanks everyone! You have all been very supportive and I am especially glad that everyone seems to like it.

    Khaled, thanks for the suggestions. I’ll look into getting gravatars going or atleast grouping the comments better as you have said.

    Thanks again!

  20. deletedsoul says:

    LOVE the new design. Good job Tim and Brian!!

  21. Brian says:

    Uh it’s nice, but comments at the top of a post, that doesn’t make any sense. At least duplicate the link for us at the bottom, especially if you are preaching usability.

  22. Kaushal Sheth says:

    The new design is great. I love it. Keep up the good work and good luck for your future ventures

  23. cero says:

    very cool!!! I like it

  24. Brian Benzinger says:

    Brian, thanks for the constructive comment. I have added tabs to the bottom of each post with a link to comments and an anchor to the top.

  25. Heiko says:

    It looks pretty nice. I prefer this kind of color you choosed. But the pagelayout in IE/Win 5.0 & 5.5 is “destroyed”. The sidebar ( “Recent Articles”, “Categories” etc.) is below the content, because the title is to big. But once again, cool design!

  26. Brian Benzinger says:

    Hey Heiko. Thanks for informing me of this. I haven’t tested in IE 5/5.5 yet.. I’ll need to use a browser-shots service to help me get through that because none of my computers use those versions. My stats says less then 1% of my visitors use IE 5.5 or less, so I’m not in a mad dash right now to fix it. Although it is still important and I will try to get it working properly as soon as possible.

  27. Heiko says:

    Hi Brian, I made some screenshots for IE 5/5.5 to you. I hope you are able to fix them. Greetings from Berlin, Germany.

  28. Brian Benzinger says:

    If anyone was interested, thanks to Heiko for passing along some screenshots and pointing me to standalone versions of IE, I have fixed the layout in IE 5.5 and 5.0 is for the most part good, but still needs work in a few area. Thanks again!

  29. Charles Jolley says:

    Great redesign, Brian. It looks great. I’m happy to learn more about your new venture also.

  30. George Papadakis says:

    Nice and clean.

    Well done.

  31. mark drasutis says:

    Clean, crisp and very legible … big fan of your work

    Also, very quick on dial-up in sunny London, also very important

    Very well done, keep up the good work : )

  32. John Musser says:

    Great design — and really like the new features like Side Notes. Excellent work!

  33. AhmedF says:

    Very nice – good to see you did find the time to put up the new design :)

  34. kartooner says:

    It’s purty!

    Awesome redesign Brian and Tim. Go out and celebrate and share the afterparty stories with us all.

  35. Russell Limprecht says:

    Great work guys.

    I like the side notes too.

  36. Alvin says:

    It’s so pretty I’m drooling :)

    Congrats! I’m sure this will be a great showcase site for your design company. All the best in making the net a prettier place for us all :D

  37. Alvin says:

    One thing though: ever thought of having a one-liner ‘this blog is about *’ on your front page? Solution Watch is a great name but doesn’t really give any clue as to what your blog’s all about.

  38. Richard says:

    It looks great! I like the “Extra” bit, though I think it may be better placed at the bottom of the post, rather than the top – it’s the kind of thing that’s relevant after reading the entry, not before.

  39. Matt Burris says:

    Great redesign, I love it. The previous design was a bit of a turn-off, but your content compelled me to stick around. This just reinforces my addiction of reading your posts.

  40. Ben Dyer says:

    Hey Brian,

    So look at this new site! I am away for a little while and you guys go crazy with a funky new design! Excellent work!

    Hope your all well!