My hope that my last little post would get me back on track with regular updates on here has been dashed. It’s been about 3 weeks since I last posted. I have made a ton of development progress during the last couple months while I haven’t been posting on here. I’ll try to recap.
Looking back, my last relevant post concerning progress with the site was where I announced the domain name www.feistie.comand showed the logo. Since then I developed a pretty snazzy landing page for people to sign up for my email list while I continue to develop the main site. I’ll attach a screenshot since the page won’t exist once I launch feistie.
I actually made the logo pretty painlessly. this was essentially my first pass at the logo. I thought it pretty good, so I’m sticking with it. I had spent a good bit of time thinking about logos and spent a lot of time looking at logos for existing companies leading up to creating this logo. I’m not trying to say it’s the greatest logo of all time, but it is simple, people remember it and I think it communicates a nice energy about the site and what I hope will be the spirit of the site. A designer that works at Novotorium near Philadelphia provided some assistance with this landing page. This is actually version 2 of the landing page. She suggested that I add a photo and clean the landing page up a bit. Though I created everything on this landing page, she made the original mockup with a different logo and “tag line.” Novotorium is a new incubator in the Philly area and they had a week long sort of open house/mini incubator. I discovered this late so I only showed up the last day, but it was great. I got to sit down with a lawyer for about 30 minutes and then spent the better part of 3 hours working with their in house designer and technical/programmer guy. They gave me a bunch of great suggestions and we even re-worked a lot of the flow for the feistie. I could spend a lot of time going over the details of that day but in the interest of keeping the post under 10 pages, I’ll keep moving forward.
Most recently I’ve been spending a ton of time working on the design of the site. Mainly the actual look of the site. The flow of the site was largely developed before I ever wrote one line of code and then it was revisited with the Novotorium folks. I’ve gone through a ton of color changes and a few layout changes, but mainly I have been killing the CSS.
Where to begin, where to begin?? Well, I spoke previously about warm colors being a choice for psychological reasons. Also, they are in the logo and having green fire or something might not work too well. My initial site was orange and then grays/black/white. I was told that the site looked a bit too “masculine” and I agreed. I switched to red which studies show women have preference too over orange. I still think the site is too masculine, probably because of the dark background and maybe just too clean and angular. I’m working on “softening” it up but how one “softens” the look of something has proven elusive to me thus far. My main goals for the homepage is to have the event interface very easy to navigate (I think a calendar is most intuitive but I will add other search/filter options too) and very prominent. I want to have separate sections which focus on Artists and Venues and I want to have tabbed interfaces so users can really access a lot of info quickly and easily without having to go anywhere. I really like the layout as far as (1) the the three sections for Events, Artists and Venues (2) the tabbed interface on those sections (3) the “tiles” which contain the details for the specific piece of content. I also have a really nice, responsive and clean set of hovering animations which make the site feel “alive” or dynamic in someway but it still looks pretty classy IMO. What I’m not certain about is what exactly each tab is going to filter. I have some “filler” tabs right now like “popular” or “recent” but I haven’t decided what they will be ultimately. I am also unsure about the Featured section. I think it serves mostly as eye candy as it rotates between whatever content I put in there. I feel like most people are trained to skip over that sort of stuff at this point in internet history but I could be wrong? And even if they skip it, it still may add to their feeling about the overall beauty and quality of the site? Work in progress. Above the featured section is the “call to action.” This area is to direct my users to do whatever I deem the most important things to the further development and health of the website. Adding events and reviewing events are the two top things I need done, but I have yet to decide the best way to present that. So consider the content which that section is directing the user to to be finalized, but the way it’s done is not.
In addition to all this design work there have been hefty additions to the backend of feistie. I have added the ability to upload pictures to the site for Users as well as Artists and Venues. An event just uses the media of it’s Artists and Venues. I also created an account with Amazon and have set the pictures to upload to Amazon’s S3 storage. I am using a Ruby gem called paperclip to achieve all this. Another big addition to the backend of feistie is now the same logic that applies to adding a headliner (meaning that the Artist must exist in the database or the user will be prompted to add them before they can submit the event) now also applies to the supporting artists. This is great because I will set it up so users can specify which artist at the show they are reviewing. If there are 3 artists at a concert a single user could then submit 3 reviews for that one show. I’ve finally addressed the security issue with feistie, well part of it at least, now the passwords are encrypted using a method called “salting.” I used the Ruby gem bcrypt to pull that off. The last new feature that I’ve added is the ability for users to comment on one another’s reviews. The designer at Novotorium actually suggested this (as did my Mom back during the early wire framing stage). The designer’s reason was that this will allow for discussion and this can also be good content for the site that would otherwise be hidden in private messages between the users.
That’s a really rough catch up but what’s next you ask? My goal now is to get this site up ASAP. But I guess that was always the goal. I have a lot of loose ends to tie up, regarding many of the features I’ve discussed throughout this blog. I am currently having a debate in my mind whether or not to add the video embedding into the launch or have it as part of an early update. The reason being; someone I recently met pointed out that I am going to have a “chicken or egg” problem on my hands when I launch. He said that Yelp had this issue and they solved it by paying people to write reviews in the early days. I don’t have any money to pay people with right now and if I did, that method still might not work well. Yelp was only in San Francisco at launch, so they had a much smaller area to reach a critical mass inside. Artists on feistie are the corollary to the businesses on Yelp. Artists are generally non-local and therefore I couldn’t focus on a single city to create a critical mass. Introducing video embedding at launch would differentiate feistie from other event sites and bring value to my users at an earlier stage during which the reviews can begin to amass to a critical/useful value on a national scale. That being said, I can launch sooner without the video embedding feature and maybe the site would catch on anyway? My incentives are structured so that the early adopters will achieve a very high reputation on feistie which could push the site to that critical mass. Other than that, the main issue is to finalize the design; most of that work has to be done on the pages other than the homepage. One side note, I think I am going to change the logo to have a capital ‘F’. The lowercase ‘f’ in feistie is far too close to the ‘f’ in the facebook logo.
PHEW. I thank you if you’ve read up to here. I probably left some important stuff out. I have been to several programming/startup related events and met a bunch of new people that are definitely worth talking about. I’ll try to get to that in another post. I hope my long hiatus didn’t ruin the story of the development of feistie from initial inception only as an idea until now. I’ll try to keep up the pace better for future posts to avoid monsters like this one.
See you ANON.