Who We Are, Part 1: My Original Sin by Jim Matthews

In early 2007 we started working on an already overdue redesign of our website. Today we are launching the results of that effort.

There were many times along the way when I thought to myself, “When this website is finally done I should blog about this.” Indeed, blogging more regularly about what we are doing at Fetch Softworks is a goal of ours, and the redesigned site has this new company blog for just that purpose.

The resulting post turned out to be quite long, so I’ve broken it into seven parts:

My Original Sin

Old Fetch Navigation Bar

We have known for quite a while that our website was due for a major redesign. I am a programmer, not a designer, and I’d hastily put the original site together on a flight to San Francisco to launch Fetch Softworks at Macworld Expo 2001. It was created in a trial copy of Adobe GoLive, with grey template graphics thrown together in Photoshop Elements. The website had grown and been tweaked over the years, but it still bore the mark of my original sins against good graphic design.

Old Fetch Message Board Header

The problems with the old site did not end with its ugliness. Its message board, an obsolete version of UBB, did not look like the rest of the site (actually that might have been a good thing…). The message board had problems with popular browsers (such as, umm, Safari…), and was vulnerable to spam. The HTML throughout the site was a machine-generated, table-based tag soup, without a hint of modern, standard-based XHTML/CSS.

This was all embarassing, especially since the primary audience for Fetch is web designers, the people who would be most attuned to (if not offended by) the shortcomings of our site. It was like trying to sell woodworking tools to discerning craftsmen over a store counter that had been carved with a chainsaw.

And aside from our embarrassment, the site was not serving its visitors. It had a lot of useful information, but it was hard to know what was there, or to find what you were looking for.

Next up, Part 2: In Search of a Web Designer. Please click on your web browser’s RSS icon to subscribe and I’ll be right back!

In other news:


  • I never held your ’sin’ against you. Fetch is too good. Keep up the excellent work!

    Walter Jeffries June 2, 2009
  • The new design is just brilliant! I have not seen a design beautiful like that for a long time!

    Johannes June 3, 2009
  • Fetch has always been the best, and now it’s even nicer to look at – THANKS!

    Kathleen Puckett June 6, 2009
  • It was worth the wait. Especially love the font on the home page.

  • Nice and Simple, like the new design very much.

    Bobby Prince June 9, 2009
  • People put too much into making sure their site meets XHTML or CSS 2.0 or whatever. It’s more important to have a functional, attractive site that works correctly in the majority of browsers.

    Mike Richardson June 10, 2009
  • Your new web site design is beautiful. Compliments to the designer and you for having the wisdom and humility to hire a professional graphic / web designer!

    Beautiful Web Design June 16, 2009
  • I’m a designer and have been using fetch forever. In the beginning, I was a little skeptical about using the product because the website design was kind of unconvincing. BUT you guys have a great product and that almost always outweighs design deficiencies. The new site looks great and fits the product (and the current state of the internet) well. Good job.

    Amanda Webster June 19, 2009
  • I’m sorry, but Fetch 3 was the best version ever. It was stable, and it just worked. The newer versions since then crash constantly and the UI has had glitches in it. And to add insult to injury, now we get to pay for the privilege? I’m sorry Fetch. You were a good dog in your youth. Now as they say “that dog don’t hunt”.

    Clint July 13, 2009
  • Not sure if the is the best place to send this but will proceed. Firstly, I’m a longtime user of Fetch and love it. Thanks for the care and development. As a future product enhancement, I would love to see the ability to do a Mac “QuickView” from an MP3 file of the Id3 tag info without having to first download the entire file. Not sure what sort of challenges this might cause, but would be a great feature.
    Thanks for your time and your great product.

    Duane Abler August 4, 2009
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