New look site

Thought it would be nice to let you lot know what is going on and any future plans etc.
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Andy Hamilton
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New look site

Post: # 657Post Andy Hamilton
Wed Jan 26, 2005 10:45 pm

I am planning a new look for the front page. It will not happen overnight and will probally involve integrating the forum into the front page so you can see what is going on here without having to visit.

Do you think that this is bad idea? Do you like the site as it is? Would be nice to hear any feedback that you have, even harsh critism I am a big boy now I can take it, I think :?
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Post: # 658Post judyofthewoods
Thu Jan 27, 2005 12:44 am

How would that be done? Do you plan on adding the whole forum index to the selfsufficientish home page, or just an abridged version where people can see that there are some new posts? I don't know anything about the technicalities, as so far I have just imported copy/paste scripts on my site to link to external interactive applets. I can see that you are using the php forum, and have heavily customised it, so you can probably tweak it to your requirements. I think adding the whole forum index is probably going to be a bit too heavy on the homepage on content, and that includes downloading time. Anyone using the forum regularly probably has it bookmarked and goes there directly. Visitors to the homepage can still click on a link. Perhaps make the forum link a bit more obvious, the plain text is easily overlooked as a link, despite the size. In fact, often big stuff is more easily overlooked - ever tried to find a name on a map, and it was actually the name of a region, printed in large letters across the map, and you could not see it for looking at it?
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Post: # 662Post Wombat
Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:25 am

Personally, I don't have any problem with the site as it is :mrgreen: especially how the forum is accessed, but as previously stated I am non-techo in this area.

I can see that as the site and the number of articles grows that you might need to change the navigation perhaps with some of the separate subjects/areas on separate pages.

:flower: Nev
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Post: # 668Post jema
Fri Jan 28, 2005 9:38 am

I am all for putting forums more into main sites.

I have spoken to no end of people on the River Cottage site, who post in the forum, but rarely if ever visit the actual river cottage site. This is an awful waste :(

A solution with more integration can only be a good thing.

jema

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Post: # 671Post judyofthewoods
Fri Jan 28, 2005 2:57 pm

To integrate an external site or different page into the home page, you could try something like this:

http://www.dynamicdrive.com/dynamicinde ... wnview.htm

(you can resize it to your needs)

here one which you preload with content:

http://www.dynamicdrive.com/dynamicinde ... window.htm

this one has just one very short line of code, and you can adjust size etc once you get the code! Very easy, even if you only know very basic html.

I am looking into using those viewing windows myself, as they can keep a page small (in screen size, not necessarily KB) even with a lot of content, and some people like to interact a little. Not sure though if it is regarded as a frame, as this would have implications for your stat counter (you would have to paste a different code for frame pages if you have statcount), and search engins don't always recognise frame content. If you were to have the forum in the window, I still think the download time would be for the whole lot, but if you use a brief intro page in the window, to make the forum more visable and draw attention to it, and then have the link in the drop down menu above (from the first link mentioned above), people could download it at will, and those who don't want to go there don't have to wait forever for the whole page to load.
I guess whichever way you look at it, there is going to be a compromise.
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Post: # 673Post jema
Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:16 pm

I have heard that iframes can cause problems with search engines.

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Post: # 675Post judyofthewoods
Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:37 pm

Just found this iframe tutorial (if you are not allready familiar with it)

http://www.rickmusic.fsnet.co.uk/Tutori ... atives.htm

Oh dear, another late night for me. Will one lifetime be enough??
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Post: # 676Post Andy Hamilton
Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:41 pm

jema wrote:I have heard that iframes can cause problems with search engines.

jema
Ah was just playing about with one as it happens. Not sure if it was totally what I was looking for anyway, but thank you for the suggestion judy. What I was planning to use is the mambo server http://www.mamboserver.com/
you might find this pretty useful for your site too. It is free to download. The downsizer team use it http://www.downsizer.net/ have a look at there front page the colum on the right was what I was thinking of having on our front page. Is that easy to do Jema?
judyof thewoods wrote:In fact, often big stuff is more easily overlooked - ever tried to find a name on a map, and it was actually the name of a region, printed in large letters across the map, and you could not see it for looking at it?
I found this pretty interesting. I think you have a point there. Hopefully by putting a few subject topics on the front page tis should make it a bit more prominant. As for download times, well the front page at the moment is not that fast to download at the moment and that is another reason for change, I will try and keep it the same speed but will try for faster. Anything that takes longer would just put too many people off.


Wombat- there are over 100 articles on the main site now so it is a long time comming. I won't be making too many drastic changes as people seem to like the fact that it is really easy to navigate. Some sites you have to go all over the place to find what you are looking for and that to me is a bit irratating. I think to start off with it wil be sub menus or something. one for herbs, home brew that will branch off with the different herbs. Eventually I will have to look into ways of making the site a more searchable database I suppose.

Anyway I plan to run two versions of the front page for a while the new one asseable from the old. If anyone finds if harder to use or really has reservations about it I will look into and see what can be changed. There is a good solid base of people returning to the site and I would not want to jeapodise that, it would seem that I am doing something right. :lol:
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Post: # 677Post jema
Fri Jan 28, 2005 3:47 pm

There are buckets of template for Mambo, you can have your columns where you want them quite easily.

The forum integration is where the "issues" are.

jema

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Post: # 682Post judyofthewoods
Fri Jan 28, 2005 8:35 pm

Had a look at the downsizer site. Brilliant idea! The small panel would probably add next to nothing in KB to loading the home page, and give the latest at a glance. Two for the price of one. I love it.
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Post: # 717Post Jed
Sun Jan 30, 2005 8:16 pm

I think you should do sub menus. something like on this site http://www.opencube.com/samples.html - they use IFRAMES though but you get the idea.

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Post: # 721Post jema
Sun Jan 30, 2005 8:56 pm

I'd be wary personally.

As I see it sites like this attract a very non techy audience, and hence keeping the interface as simpe as possible is better.

jema

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Post: # 723Post Wombat
Mon Jan 31, 2005 1:26 am

I dunno, I am about as non-techy as they come, but I think the sub-menus (without the frames) is not a bad idea. :mrgreen:
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Post: # 743Post Andy Hamilton
Tue Feb 01, 2005 8:37 am

I think Sub menus can be arranged and that seems to be ok with people. Might just be that you click on a picture of bread with bread written underneath and you are taken to loads of bread recipes. I think that is easy enough for people to understand.
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Post: # 744Post jema
Tue Feb 01, 2005 10:14 am

Andy Hamilton wrote:I think Sub menus can be arranged and that seems to be ok with people. Might just be that you click on a picture of bread with bread written underneath and you are taken to loads of bread recipes. I think that is easy enough for people to understand.
That would be fine, I was thining that the "pulldown" style menus can be a problem, as theyare intrinsically two level and whilst they can be okay, can also hide away detail.

For example "recipes" would probably be fine. But if you look at a VBulletin board which uses pulldowns, one of them is "Quick links" which is the sort of thing that may fly totally over peoples heads.

The less techy a site, the more things need to be in plain view.

jema

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