Mrs. Sell's Blog of Household Management


The Pioneer Woman has her new website up.

As with so many things recently, it seems to be optimized for mobile viewing. Which means that viewing it on a regular computer is alternately blinding, frustrating, and motion-sickness-inducing.

I guess they’re trying to emphasize the photos, but when I have to back away from the screen in order to focus my eyes, it very quickly does not become worth it to me.

Plus, for sites that I check at least once a day, I want to be able to quickly see new content at the top, not generally mixed in with other vaguely recent things.

Here’s what you have to do to see the most recent things on the “Cooking” page:

pw new website

And every other page is the same way.

It helps if you Crtrl+- a few times, but to have to do that every time I visit a website that I used to visit frequently? I dunno.

I admit that I have problems with change. But a lot of these things genuinely seem to make it harder to use the site.

I’m afraid that the same thing will happen to PW as happened to Serious Eats: I used to visit Serious Eats several times a day; I learned to cook from them!

I used to go to the Serious Eats home page and do a quick skim for new content, check the sidebar for new Talk posts, and get a quick feel for whether there was anything I needed. Since they changed their site? I only visit it if I see a good post from Kenji on Facebook.

When I go to the Serious Eats homepage now, all I see is one picture for one recipe, and if I scroll down, there’s maybe six more: just big images, very little text. Without backing away from my computer, I just can’t see what content there is, so I don’t even bother.

Here’s the sad thing: it is actually better business for them to reduce the text, enlarge the pictures, and dumb-down the content. Kenji explained it when Serious Eats updated their site: they had statistical analysis done, and they actually made more money from the random clickers on the big pictures from social media sites than from the site members who checked it several times a day, read the articles, and engaged on the Talk forums. So they do better business with a lower-quality product.

It makes me sad.

I miss Serious Eats, and I hope I don’t lose Pioneer Woman too!


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