|Character Central Anniversary and Updates||
Sunday, January 8, 2017 1:11:24 PM
First of all, Happy New Year to you all! Jon and I both hope that the new year started well for you all and that 2016 ended with a bang!
If you are a regular here to the blog, you will know that it is fairly unusual for me to post updates about the internal workings of Character Central, but I felt that today we reached an important point in our history. With us turning seven years old last week, I needed to share with you all some of the things that are coming to Character Central in 2017. Part of the reason for this is due to the fact that I am more than well aware that the site has become slower with time, and that some of you regularly experience time out problems, and get either the Flik or Figment errors. Trust me when I say, these things annoy us, too, and we want nothing more than to be able to prevent those pages from displaying!
A massive overhaul of Character Central is well passed due, and while we have had some upgrades over the past seven years, we both feel that it is now time to completely change the site. Let me lay out some of our plans, which I hope you will agree, are quite exciting!
We want to move away from external image hosting, with all content being directly embedded into Character Central. This will allow the site to run faster and for pages to load all images without having to rely on an external source. One of the main issues we get now is that when the external sources are down, it brings pages on Character Central to a grinding halt while our servers try to locate the files.
We are are going to redesign all location pages to be less cluttered, with less photos, deleting those that are older/no longer relevant. We may be removing many non-Disney locations (such as Universal, Busch Gardens, etc), the Disney Store locations and other redundant content, too.
Removal of dead links and pages that no longer receive traffic, such as the calendar and trip reports pages.
We are going to redesign all character profile pages to provide clearer, more accurate information, removing many duplicate/redundant images, and making it easier to view a character's wardrobe.
The blog will be completely redesigned, and will allow commenting directly on blog posts instead of having to go to the forum to comment (which is how it is now).
We are considering either reducing the scale and scope of the forum, or removing it altogether. This is probably our biggest change, and while we have made many new friends, and undoubtedly brought many fans together over the years, it is simply unsustainable in its current format. We are just two guys, and we don't have a huge amount of free time, and the forum gets a lot of abuse, spam and irrelevant content posted to it that is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor.
Make the entire site mobile friendly, with a design that works on most smart devices.
While the site undergoes this work, there may be days when the site is down completely, links may not work or pages will disappear and reappear. We will try to reduce the impact of this as much as possible, but sadly it will be unavoidable.
You have to understand that all of this will take time, and a lot of patience from both us and you. We really appreciate all of your support, and we couldn't have lasted for more than seven years without you all. We are positive that once we are done with the site, it will be better than ever, and that you will only see that tolerating the "construction" period was only worth it for a cleaner, smoother, over all more pleasant experience.
Finally, since we have so much work ahead of us, and our schedule seems to get increasingly more busy and erratic, I am going to have to abandon some incomplete reports and projects on the site. I know that a lot of you like my trip reports, and I know I am behind on the last few trips, but sadly they are not going to get written at this point. I want to start 2017 fresh, and need to go into the new year and new site without being bogged down with things from months ago. Going forward I will of course continue to post my reports from new trips, but anything that was as of now unfinished, will sadly remain that way.
Have a great day everyone, and thank you again for your support, patience and understanding.