Site migration

If you’re a regular reader, you’ve probably noticed our new look: We’re now on a new and considerably updated content management system with what we’re hoping will be better functionality and better security.

This process has been not unlike swapping an engine into a car in which it was never designed to go and there are probably going to be some glitches. (There was a problem with the redirections from old URLs that we’re hoping is now fixed.) If you find technical problems, please let us know.


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  1. Oh, how to say this!

    I am a frequent visitor to your site and find it one of the most informative, most thoughtfully written automotive site out there. The stories are extraordinarily interesting, detailed and well written.

    The “new look”, however, removes the ‘special’ feel that the web site has always enjoyed. The previous design was uncommon; it was it own design and a visitor, therefore, expected something special. And the site delivered.

    The new site, however, is patterned on the typical ‘blog’ layout. It is nothing special, nothing differentiates it from the thousands of other pages on the web. Therefore, IMHO, it does not attract the eye nearly as much as your previous, unique design – nothing identifies it to the first-time visitor as “special”. The “bounce” rate of this new design, I feel, will be high due to an all too-common appearance.

    That would be a horrible shame!

    Please consider a different design, one that expresses your individual talents and the special content within, over this quite typical design.

    With kindest regards

    1. Well, unfortunately a lot of the uniquenesss of the previous iteration was that it was quite elderly, which made it increasingly difficult to support (particularly from the standpoint of security). I may continue to tinker with the visual design of the site, but at the moment, my big concern is getting everything functional.

  2. Mr. Severson,

    If I may offer an alternative opinion, the new site looks great. The fact that the navigation feels similar to other blogs is just a sign that it has been brought into the 2010s and made more user friendly. At any rate, platforms and format are a minor concern, what keeps me and many others coming back again and again is the entertainingly well written and exhaustively researched content – you could have a Flash site with hit counter on the bottom and a looping MIDI tune playing and I would still keep coming back for more.

  3. What the previous poster said. You could have flashing banners and yelling music, I would still come back for the superbly researched articles!

  4. I don’t care for the new site; it looks like something from the late 90’s or early millennium.
    The ‘old’ site looked like a scrollable magazine. Easy to read and use.

    Hope it works out; as it is uh; discourages me from ?easy reading?

    1. Ima,

      May I ask which browser you’re using? I’ve noticed that for some reason Chrome doesn’t seem to like the default font for the headings and menu, so it’s selecting an sort of generic sans serif font instead.

      I’m probably going to have to do some adjustments to the stylesheet on font display, but for the most part the layout is really not particularly different. The main thing that’s changed in that regard is the font set.

  5. I personally really like the new design, it’s very clean and responsive. I visit this site a far bit from my phone which used to be a fairly cumbersome exercise. Not anymore, fonts and pictures are perfectly sized, there are none of the awkward zooming and swiping features common to dedicated mobile sites. Really an excellent improvement overall. Of course, we all still come here for the content. You could post your articles on Usenet and I would find a way to read them.

  6. I see that there’s no longer a dedicated “print” button. The Ford Fiesta history is the first AUWM article I’ve printed out since the migration. At least in my browser, the hard copy came out with a 3″ right margin, which wastes paper. Fixable, or a fact of life with the new platform? :)

    1. The print button was actually a frustrating can of worms. I’d have to set up a separate stylesheet to make it work properly in WordPress, which is not high on my list of things to do. Worse, there isn’t an easy way to nofollow the button link (or set the print layout to follow,noindex) without hacking core files in a way I would really rather not do. Without doing that, search engines treat the print layout as duplicate content, which doesn’t do my search rankings any favors. (The new layout does let me set canonical links, which helps some.)

      It’s sort of like if you go to the mechanic to complain about an annoying rattle and the mechanic tells you, “Well, we could fix that, but it would mean pulling the engine to get at it. Just turn up the radio…”

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