MotoringFile 1.1

Over the course of the next several weeks we'll be doing some refining of the site in terms of design and organization. As you may have guessed we're obsessed with design, simplicity, and usability at MotoringFile so we've be working in that vein to improve the site. In fact we've already been working on both the front and back-end of the site over the last couple weeks and you may have noticed a several changes already.

  • We've finally removed the incredible long list of clubs links from the front page. It'll live exclusively on the links page from now on. As much as we like to support local MINI clubs from around the world keeping the list on the front page has just become too big of a burden in terms of usability.
  • All quoted content will now show up in light grey with a left vertical rule to distinguish it MotoringFile content.
  • We've altered the border around the site in order to set off the content and photos a bit more. We'll probably continue tinkering with this for a few weeks.

And we've got more improvements on the way! As always if you have any suggestions for the site feel free to post them here or contact us directly.

Finally we'd like to thanks everyone who has visited over the last week. You've not only given us countless daily statistical records but also allowed us to test our new back-end coding. Despite the huge number of daily visits we've seen we're actually using less server resources than before.

  • Adam

    I'm glad to see you're concerned with usability. When I view the site on safari, I get about an inch of grey to either side of the useful information. Since I usually read on my small 12″ laptop screen, this works out to nearly 20% wasted space for me, with the attendant extra scrolling.

    Normally, I'd just swallow that–you do a great job, and I don't want to complain. But since you're tinkering, I figured I'd speak up.

  • Adam –

    The primary focus of MotoringFile and any good weblog/news site should be readability of the content and information. A shifting content area (the solution to your issue) would allow the text to become much too wide for quick consumption. That's the key reason you see most usability experts design their own blogs around a 750-800 width.

    In other contexts that a very valid way to design a site. I've done several like that actually. But in this context it just doesn't serve the needs of the reader.

    Add the fact that the site is created to be browsed and read vertically and the fact we're still try to support those running lower resolutions like 800×600 is the reason we have the page width where it is.

    BTW this site was actually designed on both a 12″ and 15″ Powerbook so I know first hand what your seeing 🙂

  • Shane

    I'm not surprised, Gabe, that you are a mac-user. It is evident from your design (which is excellent, might i add)

  • I understand what you're saying,Gabe. When I had my site created,I'd instructed the designers to keep it simple so that anybody could surf it with little to no problem. Of course,you're going to have a few,that no matter what happens,won't be pleased.

  • Chris

    can you add support for some simple HTML codes? Such as [url], etc.


  • Jim

    Improvements always welcome, but you already have an A-1 site both in terms of content and design. Thanks!

  • Josh

    Is it just me or do macs and minis seem to go hand and hand?

  • Vanwall

    Don't tinker to much, Gabe, this site is already one of the cleanest and easiest to read out there. As one of the primary sources of information for the MINI ether-world, it's always a pleasure to read an article on your website due to the restrained visuals, even if the same info is available elsewhere. Is it possible to offer optional font colors, tho? I'm not a real fan of orange. 😉 HeHe. BTW, is there an online equivalent of the Pulitzers? – the print media automotive world won one this year, so how do we reward your efforts online? Guess you get the big “Attaboy” from me at least. Stay excellent!

     Rob in Dago

  • Steve

    You caught me out the other day when I went for the link to my favorite club site for me 2nd read of the evening..

    I am always impressed how you can keep making the layout nicer each time..

  • Thanks everyone for the kind comments – much appreciated!

  • Chris, the comments field accepts the HTML tags listed below the form. If there are other tags you'd like to have available, let me know.

    When I get the time, I'm probably going to make the site understand Markdown, as well.

  • Thrown by the “GB” in each post today, presumably intended to be a link to the author? Suggests you are expecting more “outside author” articles in future?

  • 🙂

  • Deborah

    Gabe & Matt,

    The site looks wonderful. You guys do a wonderful job. I was checking out the new links page… quite a list!!

    Thanks for contributing to the spirit of MINI!

  • Alastair

    Fantastic site, great design, interesting info.


  • You caught me, Alastair. It's something that I hope to address in the coming weeks.

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    Congrats on the site. just as a reminder, when one clicks on a link a new window should open so I do not leave the site or the section I am reading. Regards, JAG

  • Juan – this is something I've thought about in the past but it's more of a question of do we want to go down that road stylistically. We'd be taking away some control from the reader considering that's something they could also do now with a right click. So instead of giving the reader to the freedom to choose how they want to surf we'd be foisting onto them our preferred method. I'm not sure I want to do that.

  • Juan-Antonio, I don't agree that the site should do that. What about people who don't want that to happen? If that's the behavior you want, you can click on the link with the right button and choose to open it in a new window.