Ravelry Resdesign, my thoughts and an alternative style sheet
A short term fix: (June 21st, URLs removed for safety)
"First off I want to say I mean no disrespect to Cassidy and the rest of the team with the creation of this Stylish userstyle. They did an incredible job with spicing up the User Interface. My only issue is how jarring the visuals are and I desired to be able to bring back some of the soothing calm elements of the prior version so I can enjoy this community to the fullest." - Evanita (link to Ravelry profile)
Evanita hit me up with a message this week after learning how I had experienced a significant problem accessing Ravelry following the website redesign this week. They have coded a workaround that uses a Style plugin and a Userstyle so that the website feels softer and a little more what we're used to.
You can find full details of this incredible work on Evanita's project page so you can install it yourself if you'd like to.
I made sure to send a few Ko-Fi coffees their way as thanks.
EDIT - Ravelry has finally added a "Switch to the classic Ravelry look"
I joined Ravelry in 2009, shortly after I was widowed and out of a long-term hospital stay. It was an absolute lifeline for me as I dealt with the chaos in my own life. It gave me a hobby which in turn led to a career, which I am forever grateful to Ravelry for.
This week, in the backdrop of a pandemic, Ravelry released a rebrand and a redesign and I'm struggling to find anything positive to say because I managed such a short time looking at it that it caused a small seizure. I've been seizure-free for a couple of years.
A lot of other people are also reporting migraines and neurological disturbances. It's an autistic nightmare to look at so I'm now using the plug-in (see above).
I understand how difficult it is to have inclusive values that struggle to include everyone. I found that out the hard way last year when I burnt out making sure I could accommodate so many individual and group needs but failed to accommodate my own autistic needs that I ended our Saturnalia party early because I just couldn't go upstairs and be included anymore, that years worth of accommodating everyone else's needs meant people had forgotten mine.
So I have a lot of empathy and understanding at the challenges that the Ravelry team face because what works for one disability or impairment won't work for another.
Over the past year, I've felt further and further isolated from the knitting community as a whole (hello, depression!) and logging into Ravelry this week, where as a business we have bought thousands of pounds of patterns and advertising, to be further personally excluded has really hit home to me those autistic feelings of not belonging. Those feelings don't make me feel a part of the community.
Ravelry is the glue that binds so much of the knitting community. Last year's announcement about Trump politics which I agreed with, I felt there should have been a consultation with the industry or even an inclusivity advisory board, such as the one that Vogue Knitting brought in. There needed to be a heads up so we could prepare. Instead, the pressure on small businesses was immense. Our studio was targetted physically and as an employer of fellow autistics, we felt very unsafe. It was a stance we agreed with but not how it was abruptly implemented.
I'm concerned that right now, there are many other people struggling to access the website. I'm concerned that this redesign has been implemented without consideration for accessibility which feels incredibly ableist.
I'm concerned that during a pandemic, users have been cut off from accessing a website that is important to their sense of wellbeing, that people using visual aids may not have access to the help they need from carers or relatives to make adjustments so they can continue to participate.
I'm concerned that as a website, as a community, as a tiny team, Ravelry is making industry-changing decisions that some of us in the industry need more time to process, such as those of us who are neurodiverse.
Cassidy, Livia and the team have been asking for feedback and implemented some visual changes so they are listening. Until then, try the plugin from above if you're struggling.
I'm off to stand on my own-person island community knitting alone.