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Aardvark Daily

New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 25th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

Content copyright © 1995 - 2019 to Bruce Simpson (aka Aardvark), the logo was kindly created for Aardvark Daily by the folks at aardvark.co.uk



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Makeover time

31 January 2018

Aardvark has been published in (more or less) its current format for over 20 years and I think it's time for a bit of a makeover.

Unlike Google and most other online services, I'm not about to foist a raft of annoying "change for the sake of change" updates on you without consultation.

Today's column is to solicit some suggestions, feedback and ideas from readers, with a view to making the content more accessible and convenient to access.

First of all, let me criticise the current site -- because it has lots of issues.

The number-one problem is that it is not adaptive and therefore not really a joy to use on a mobile device.

My number-one priority therefore is to switch to a layout that will be far more accessible to those who prefer to get their daily dose on a mobile or tablet device.

Secondly, the current layout delivers an "intro" on the main page and you need to load the full column on a second page (unless you've arrived via the RSS feed). This is obviously a waste of time and bandwidth.

Now I'm sure there are many other gripes that folk may have with the present incarnation of the site but those are the two that would annoy me the most -- hence it is my intention to "fix" them.

Now on to the things that I'll float as options which you can dismiss or support, according to your own tastes...

Podcasts seem to be very popular these days, I know my wife is forever walking around the house with a podcast blaring from her phone and lots of other folks I talk to seem to find it more convenient to listen to a podcast on the way to work than to find the time to sit down and read something on a screen.

I have threatened to do a podcast version of Aardvark in the past but never really had the time to fit it into my daily routine. Well I've played around with my schedule somewhat and, if there's a demand, I think I can get an audio file done by 7am each morning.

The next question is... do I host it as an MP3 (or whatever) on this site or do I use a service such as iTunes to distribute it?

One aspect of Aardvark that many people used to find useful was the news index I updated each day with hand-picked stories that I felt may interest readers. I thought that Google News had effectively made that redundant but from time to time I still get asked if I am planning to bring it back. What do you think?

Another retro-feature that has been asked for from time to time is an emailed version of the column or at least a weekly omnibus edition that summarises what's been discussed during the week. Thoughts?

One suggestion I doubt I'll be taking up is that of creating a Facebook page for Aardvark. Sorry but life's too short to be lining Mr Zuckerberg's pockets and I suspect that the majority of Aardvarkians aren't great FB fans anyway :-)

So there you go... those are just some of the thoughts swimming around in my head, what others would you like to contribute and what are your opinions of the ideas raised here?

Fear-not, this will not be one of those typical "look how clever I am" makeovers that try to dazzle you with infinite amounts of fluff and eye-candy. I'm looking for pragmatic minimalism.

Oh... and don't forget, I think there's an eclipse or something tonight.

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