- Sexy new website design, sorry old mistakes
- Some lessons learned along the way, and more to come
IN case you hadn’t noticed, Digital News Asia has launched a redesigned website, full of ‘responsive’ and ‘mobile-first’ goodness.
And of course, as soon as we shouted about it, the website crashed. And it was not due to that most wonderful of problems, a traffic surge. Nope, it was plain old negligence on our part.
There are no two ways about it.
Sure, there was some finger-pointing and assignation of blame as the various parties involved with our site – the web design firm, the webhosting company, our poor beleaguered part-time tech guy – all scrambled to get the site up and running again.
More mistakes were made, more glitches reared their ugly heads, more scrambling. But finally, we hope that most of the kinks have been ironed out and our newly-designed website is now ready for the world.
The first order of the day is to apologise to you, our readers, for the inconvenience and frustrating moments we must have caused you.
The second order is of course to perform a diagnosis or post-mortem of what happened, and unearth what went wrong. This is not to assign blame, but to uncover our own weaknesses and – let’s admit it – fill up the gaps in our own knowledge.
There's no sense in suffering such an adversity and making such fundamental mistakes if we can’t learn from them, after all.
Sadly, I suspect we will find out that most of the fault lies with us. There are some things we should have done to better prepare for the switchover, like requesting a check list of what exactly was going to be done, who would be responsible for those tasks, and what potential issues may have cropped up.
We also should have gone in deeper in the User Acceptance Test (UAT) our vendor had initiated, long before this.
I, for one, should have taken more time to have treated the test site as a live site, and done everything I do every day, over a prolonged period – even if it meant having DNA go through a ‘work slow’ day or two. Perhaps if we had had more 'downtime,' we would have had less downtime, if you know what I mean.
As it is, we kept discovering new things every day since launch. Luckily, most of them have been speedily patched by our vendor. [Indeed, even as I was writing this, in between performing my other tasks on the site, I came upon another thing we missed in our UAT!]
In essence, we should have owned the project more.
In our own internal discussions, one of my colleagues pointed out that we are just journalists, not tech guys. That’s true, but we’re also tech journalists who cover these issues, and we really should have known better.
There’s really no excuse.
Our work is not done. We will continue to monitor and improve the site, and we will be introducing interesting features over the coming weeks.
And we promise that we will continue to deliver the best tech content that we can, to you, our readers.
There are no two ways about that, either.
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