reality blurred is 14 today; watch for big changes soon

Photo by Shutterstock

Photo by Shutterstock

Today is reality blurred‘s 14th birthday. I feel like a parent whose kid is suddenly in high school–where did the time go, back from when we were so innocent and still watched The Real World?

But I’m mostly appreciative for all of you who read so regularly, including from the early years. We’ve been through a lot together, and I’m grateful for your time, never mind every tweet, e-mail message, comment, and annoying survey you’ve answered.

Again, the site officially turns 14 today, and as you’d expect from a hormonal teenager, there major changes are ahead: a redesign that’s a couple years in the making. Besides the fact that it’s been five years since the last design refresh, reality blurred is running on technology that’s insanely outdated, and that’s made my life more difficult in ways that are too boring to mention. Moving 14 years of stories (almost 13,300!) to a new platform and not have everything break like a Big Brother challenge has been exciting, but I’ve also used that time to make major improvements that I hope you will love.

Since the site is 14, and it’s 2014, the new design will launch within 14 days–or, let’s say 14 weeks, just to give myself some leeway if something goes catastrophically wrong. In the meantime, I’ll reveal a change every day until then, so you can see what’s to come.

As always, I welcome your feedback and comments. Thanks for reading!

Changes to reality blurred 2014

  1. Mobile responsive: reality blurred will work and look the same whether you’re at work, are on an iPad or other tablet, or are reading it on your iPhone or Android device. No more zooming in on tiny text.
  2. Pictures: Yes, I’ll actually have the ability to easily include images with many stories. This is some kind of brand-new technology, apparently, showing images on the web, but I’m excited to take advantage of it.
  3. Speed, part one: I’m moving the site to a new, more-higher powered server at my awesome host WiredTree; I’ve been using it and it feels super-fast in comparison.
  4. Speed, part two: I’ve stripped the site down like a reality star in a hot tub. It’ll have fewer elements and make pages load lighting fast. That will mean some changes that take getting used to—it’ll require an extra click to view comments, for example, and full stories won’t be displayed on the front page, just a paragraph or so—but the end result should be a much faster and more fun experience all around.
  5. Search! Yes, you’ll once again be able to search reality blurred’s 14 years of stories. There’s a search box on every page, and it uses Google, so search is fast and accurate.
  6. A new logo. Yep, after five years with the same logo, and 13 years with similar logos, a major change is coming. The new logo (here’s a teaser) reflects my mission to highlight the real in reality TV.
  7. A simplified design, part one. Gone is all the clutter that was mostly ignored anyway. (Embarrassingly, I haven’t updated the footer in like four years.) Those things that survived are the most useful.
  8. A simplified design, part two: There’s more room in this design for content, so that words and, yes, sometimes even pictures (see #2 above) will get the most attention.
  9. Slightly less advertising. The surveys remain—thanks for supporting my work and the costs associated with running this site and reporting these stories—but there’s now one less ad on each page.
  10. Menus with quick access to things you want to see. Explore the new “must-read” menu for a quick link to the most recent debut date calendar, archives (by date and by show), and other features.
  11. Quicker sharing. The ever-popular floating share icons make their first appearance, but having been frequently annoyed by certain versions of those on other sites, I’ve selected a version here that is unobtrusive and lightweight, but that allows you to tweet, share, or e-mail a story rapidly; you can also save a story to Evernote, Pocket, Pinterest, or whatever in the + menu. The sharing icons also move themselves out of the way on smaller screens, but are still visible and useful.
  12. Functional archives. The archives on the old site have been out of date for years, since I had to create them by hand. But on the new site, they’ll be updated live, and you can browse by date or by show title (in alphabetical order, even!).
  13. A cleaner front page. I know some people liked having full posts on the front page, but I promise that for every person who liked that, there was someone who complained about it. The front page now shows brief excerpts from posts—hopefully enough to give you a sense of what the story is about–and thus will load faster. It’s also now easier to browse the most recent stories, and keep browsing and browsing, as there’s no
  14. Highlighting the best of reality blurred and reality TV. This new design allows me to highlight content on the front page and elsewhere. You’ll see a clickable, frequently-changing quote from a recent or past story, plus a box with best-of stories you may have missed. Have a suggestion for a best-of story or anything else? Let me know!

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.