• Ellen Kardell

The Great Ravelry Meltdown of 2020

As you may know, earlier this week Ravelry sprung a total redesign on us. The graphics, fonts, colors and branding are all radically different from what we've known and loved for since 2007.

It was not met with joy. At all.

Many people, myself included complained of eyestrain and headaches from the excessive contrast and white space and "blinding" colors (some of this has been updated now). Many people were deeply saddened by the loss of the iconic branding of the unique color palette, fiber animals, and yarn ball logo.

The tiny Ravelry team was immediately flooded with thousands and thousands of comments, some of which were just mean, accusatory, and/or possibly hyperbolic, though most were just expressing sadness and dismay at the changes. Usability of the new look in its first iteration was a serious problem for many users (myself included). Ravelry has always put values of inclusiveness first, and the many users who reported everything from multi-day migraines up to seizures from trying to view the site, even for just a few minutes, led to a few tweaks and more importantly, a swift compromise solution. I personally think this was incredibly gracious of them, considering the anger and accusations coming their way (can you imagine any other social media site being so responsive to a community?).

Try it out. I'd love to hear your thoughts. If you have visual problems with the new look, you now have the option of switching back to Classic Ravelry.

I think a lot of the angst came from this massive change just appearing one day—no notice, no lead-up. It really came across as a tremendous shock and visceral loss, and made many feel like they didn't matter. If there is one mis-step that's obvious, it's that springing a huge change on a passionate online community without warning isn't the best idea. And the timing...when everything else in life right now is deeply upsetting and upside-down...just wasn't great. Not their fault, this has been in the works for a long time, but we are all so sad and worn out right now, and the loss of our "comfort" space was hard.

Many of us are heavily invested (with our time, our fiber-works passions, our politics, our creative energy) in Ravelry. As a designer and shop owner, I have spent a fair amount on advertising and commissions for sales over the past 10 years, and I don't want to lose a single member of the site, so I'm really happy to see this solution.

Again, I would love to hear your thoughts.

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