Link Drop Today Release Notes

Link Drop Today


For the past year and half I’ve been posting a curated set of links that I found interesting. Others eventually found that list helpful and started coming back each Friday to see what I was looking around at. I called it Link Drops. I experimented with just about every way of displaying the content in an old (actually really old) version of Word Press. There were weeks with just headlines, other periods of time with images + headlines above and below each other, excerpted text and ultimately my own reaction to the sites. At first it was a quick exercise only taking a couple hours a week but as the design’s became more complicated the time line was taking two or three times I had originally started out with. Eventually it was taking two weeks to post one week’s worth of Link Drops.

Working at start up will teach a designer a thing or two. One of those things is knowing when something has been incubating long enough that it needs to be it’s own thing. While I liked the attention that my Link Drops were getting for Design Notes, if I was going to make something really pop with it, Link Drop had to be it’s own site. Not knowing exactly how it was going to go the first thing I did was start a twitter account to test things a bit further, plus expand on the name recognition of Link Drop. For about six weeks all I did was tweet stuff that if I had Link Drop Today already up and running would be the content. By giving it some time I could get an understanding of the type of content I was likely to publish and in turn understand how the design of the site would work. As that was happening Roy Yang who’s a very talented colleague of mine helped me develop V1 of the site, working on the css and other backend fun that I wanted to execute on. That brings us to today…

Features Today
For Link Drop Today’s V1 coming out party has all the basics that I need to test. Each post contains the basic amount of information I want to display. Comments have been turned off but will be implemented once some of the other issues are sorted out. On the left rail I’ve started a source list, most of those sites have been used in the past for my Link Drops, as I publish more sites will be added to the sources. The right rail has a couple things that I haven’t implemented on Design Notes before but are pretty common on Daylife sites. When I see a cool video out there, it’s going to be viewable on the right rail. Tweets will also be viewable, it’s an easy way to create an extended conversation.

In the Not so Distant Future
Because this is V1 of the product there’s a still a lot of work to be done. The first priority aside from CSS issues is the post page. There’s a lot of functionality that I’ve specked in, it’s just a matter of taking the time to implement it. At the moment the screen capture, beige box and excerpted text are all one image. That will be converted to text. A mobile version will be coming and contributors are likely in phase two.

I’m curious to know once you’ve visited it once if you’d go back to view it again. Are you more likely to read it from an RSS feed reader or bookmark it? If you saw a link that you wanted to share with someone else—is it easy to do? Anything I’m missing. All that information is incredibly valuable to me as I grow this site.

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  • Matt Daniels

    Link Drop looks great–already subscribed via RSS. I big change for me is the move to single posts rather than an aggregated set of 15+ links. This was what was unique about link drop compared to any other link-posting tumbler blog. It was great to be able to scan a week's worth on content in one post.

    Nonetheless–love the site and design!

  • michaelsurtees

    Thanks Matt, I really appreciate it. The week long collection that you describe is a feature that I could consider evolving down the road.

  • James

    Congrats! It's great to see the Link Drop empire expand. We're all flooded with too many things to click on these days, and thoughtful curation is increasingly vital.

    One thing that I really dug about the old Link Drop was the way you provided context: e.g. “here are a bunch of links about __________ for the week” — followed by a personal foothold or commentary that encouraged me to explore a disparate collection of sources that challenged my thinking about that particular subject. The collection of links became a compelling piece of new content. Please keep doing that.

  • michaelsurtees

    Between Matt's and your comment's James I have an idea that might be an interesting response. Come back Friday to see the results…

  • Clark

    I love the site and the design. One quibble is that at times the headlines in your screenshots are of greater contrast/size than the post title itself. I find that this makes scanning your posts a bit more difficult.

  • michaelsurtees

    Fair comment, I feel the same way actually. I'm going to try six different display styles for the headlines in the upcoming week. Hopefully one will make more sense than the rest.

  • lucaconti

    Thanks for Your sharing MIchael, I'll follow Your new blog via rss 🙂