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New version of the website

 
 
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Author elsslots
Admin
#1 | Posted: 6 Oct 2014 06:42 
I plan to release a new version of this website (including a layout makeover) this weekend. If you have any annoying little things that you want to see changed, or major ideas for that matter, let me know in this post so I can take them into account.

Author nfmungard
Partaker
#2 | Posted: 7 Oct 2014 14:38 
Hi Els,

Some ideas (and if you need IT help, let me know):

* Ratings/Grades: I have to say, I am a bit too lazy to write reviews, specifically because you and others do such a good job and I see little I could add. For lazy people like me being able to grade a site would be nice. Either on one dimension or multiple. Ian Cade? does this on his reviews with two dimensions.

* Side Bar: I just noticed that some of the stuff I was missing is actually showing in the side bar. However, I think it groups information that doesn't really go well together. The basic facts (country, year, web sight) should be distinct from opinions or user generated content (e.g. connections).

* Travel comments: For me the most useful information. How do I get there with public transport. What connections could I take to get to another site, ... This is often included in the normal comments, but making is separate would really help.

* Multiple sites: There are quite a few scattered sites. On the official unesco sites it's not always quite clear what goes where. Also, the reviews often do not apply to all sites, but just to a subset. To have some differentiation between the different locations would really help. E.g. Western Ghats has so many sights, it's really hard to figure out what goes where and why.

* Wiki elements: I would introduce a few wiki elements. Have a comments page per entry. Allow for certain sections (e.g. travel instructions) to be edited collaboratively, ... This would also reduce the burden on you to update things like official web sights, interesting web sights, ...

* Better formatting for reviews/profiles: There are editors which allow to make some formatting choices, e.g. bold face or italics. I think a few of the reviews could profit from that.

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#3 | Posted: 8 Oct 2014 05:02 
Just to say those bits from nfmungard are pretty much what I would have said.

I'm not sure how much lead you can take on some of them. The travel details for example may be a fairly big task, I know some reviewers include these details in their reviews, John Booth is normally pretty thorough. But I guess that comes down to what you want to site to act as; thoughts on WHS or a bit of a travel guide to various sites? And I guess as it is open to everyone, their input to some extent dictates what the site is.

Pictures: I would quite like to see members photos a little more. The size of them at the moment can perhaps be a little too small. (I sometimes find myself walking around trying to find pictures that will work well in that small format (normally failing)). I appreciate that the current set up is probably there to minimise the size and cost of the website, but I don't know if there is a scope for perhaps embedding a feed from another site, taking the burden off of your servers, though I don't know if that is feasible.

Maps I love maps and anyway that they can be incorporate would be great, perhaps just an embedded map on the country page showing the locations (the ones on the official UNESCO site have improved a lot recently). I play around with bits and pieces to do with on-line maps, but still am not an expert, if can be of assistance let me know, I don't promise much but am willing to have a go.

Perhaps adding some text about basic HTML formatting on "Add a new WHS review" screen may help to enliven the presentation of the text a little? Also if it is feasible to have a preview option when submitting the reviews, to see how it will look would be very useful. Who knows it may even help me remove the many spelling and grammar errors that litter my back catalogue.

I appreciate that some of this feedback maybe a bit more long term, or beyond what you had time capabilities to undertake, so just also wanted to say thanks for running this site. I'm sure there are costs and benefits involved but it is a very useful and nice resource/ community to be involved with.

Author elsslots
Admin
#4 | Posted: 8 Oct 2014 06:32 | Edited by: elsslots 
meltwaterfalls:
perhaps just an embedded map on the country page showing the locations (the ones on the official UNESCO site have improved a lot recently).

Unfortunately the UNESCO maps themselves are under strict copyright, so we cannot simply reuse them.

What I would aim for (in general) is not to copy what the UNESCO site already provides, but to bring added value. In terms of:
- personal views on the sites, their visiting experience or state of conservation
- travel info
- discussions on WHS-related isssues in general, allocating for different points of view
- pointing out relations between sites, and what they represent

meltwaterfalls:
Pictures: I would quite like to see members photos a little more. The size of them at the moment can perhaps be a little too small

I will try and incorporate this

nfmungard:
* Side Bar: I just noticed that some of the stuff I was missing is actually showing in the side bar. However, I think it groups information that doesn't really go well together. The basic facts (country, year, web sight) should be distinct from opinions or user generated content (e.g. connections).


The new sidebar will have more space and look less cluttered. This was one of the main reasons I started to create a new layout.

nfmungard:
Travel comments: For me the most useful information. How do I get there with public transport. What connections could I take to get to another site, ... This is often included in the normal comments, but making is separate would really help.


I don't want to turn it into Wikitravel, but I think I've found a way to accommodate this.

nfmungard:
Ratings/Grades

This still is on a wish list for the future, but not so easy to do.

meltwaterfalls:
Perhaps adding some text about basic HTML formatting on "Add a new WHS review" screen may help to enliven the presentation of the text a little? Also if it is feasible to have a preview option when submitting the reviews, to see how it will look would be very useful.


Will look into that

Author meltwaterfalls
Partaker
#5 | Posted: 8 Oct 2014 07:40 
elsslots:
Unfortunately the UNESCO maps themselves are under strict copyright, so we cannot simply reuse them.

We could create our own, the locations are in the public domain, the serial sites may cause a bit of a hitch (maybe paul's offer on the other thread can help) . If you are interested let me know and with a bit of work I can show you what it would look could like.

Author elsslots
Admin
#6 | Posted: 11 Oct 2014 23:42 
As you will have noticed, I've put up the new design.
You can now upload bigger photos too, with a max. size of 350px in height or width.
Unfortunately I cannot show older photos in that size, as they are stored on my server in the smaller size only.
And you can add a link to your own photo website or travel blog or whatever.

If you notice anything strange, let me know.
I'm still converting my own photos, so that's in progress.

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#7 | Posted: 12 Oct 2014 01:52 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Pros +
- I like the panel on the right that highlights: WHS in the News/Last Forum Posts
- Enlarged pictures are a huge positive
- Streamlined and more engaging inscribed/tentative site panel - Site Info (site links, connections, etc.)
- I liked how you included specific country forum pages to the "Country Info" panel.

Cons -
- Front page looks less "streamlined" than the previous webpage, more like a travel blog. Travel Blogs are a dime a dozen, but this site is much more than that. Too much text.

What do others think? However, I should emphasis, my thoughts are only shared as a major fan of the site and contributor.

On a random side not, I noticed the Zimbabwe country page cuts off the link for "other countries".

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#8 | Posted: 12 Oct 2014 02:14 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Was there any inclination about the Top 50 missing being "cleaned up" a bit to reflect the newly inscribed sites, and potentially removing the ORIG/NEW indications?

Author elsslots
Admin
#9 | Posted: 12 Oct 2014 02:44 
winterkjm:
Too much text.

There will be less text in the coming weeks. I will try to update it once a week, with new travelled sites etc

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#10 | Posted: 12 Oct 2014 04:31 | Edited by: Solivagant 
winterkjm:
Cons -
- Front page looks less "streamlined" than the previous webpage, more like a travel blog


Yes - my prime concern related to the front ("Home") page. There are obviously issues about getting used to change in layout - some are cosmetic and we may have differing views on these, some are ergonomic and space-usage related and we need to use them for a while to really tell (though putting tabs etc at the top rather than wasting side space seems a good idea!)

The Home page however is a much bigger issue. The content of the current "front page" is interesting (and thanks Els for giving me a by line and resurrecting my Mexico newsletter!!) but it also sets the stage for what the site "is" and this says "I am Els and this is my travel blog". Now, you put a very large amount of effort into this site and you are perfectly entitled to badge it as you wish but that is what it says. Is this "17 year journey" intended to be changing relatively frequently -a sort of "Editorial" which is not always about the site/Els's own travels - if so then fair enough (though whether you will be able to find enough material for regular editorials we will see! But, in my opinion, it should be less prominent on the front page which should be more like a genuine "Home Page" - the main things for the home page have been "relegated" to the RHS whereas the opposite would seem more appropriate.

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#11 | Posted: 12 Oct 2014 09:28 | Edited by: Solivagant 
Solivagant:
t should be less prominent on the front page which should be more like a genuine "Home Page"


Yes - bringing the latest reviews to the top LHS as a 3rd section on the home page makes it seem more like a site about WHS which is collaborative - as it is!

PS Call it "Your recent WHS reviews" to make it clear to any "passer by" that they can find others?

Author winterkjm
Partaker
#12 | Posted: 13 Oct 2014 00:15 | Edited by: winterkjm 
Just updated most of my pictures into larger sizes, including all the Korea WHS and TWHS. They look so much better!

On a side note, I noticed on the "Latest Connected WHS" side panel, the readability of new connections is very poor because the words are scrunched together. Perhaps its possible to widen the section slightly to increase the visibility/readability?

For the list of missing, can something be done to add to the dynamic of this page? Example - labeling the new WHS with an "I", to highlight which sites from our list have become WHS? Second, deleting the largely arbitrary (NEW/ORIG) identification. I mean the first voting was not a vote at all, but just a selected group of monuments by a small handful of WHS enthusiasts. The 2nd voting really highlighted an international selection process that ended up emphasizing both "gap fillers" and iconic structures alike. Do we still need the links to go to forum posts, I noticed on the right there is a link to the "Top 50 Missing" topic. What about Wikipedia links for the "Missing" WHS?

Lastly, the new webpage is already growing on me. The pictures were fun to repost, with such a jump in quality and size. Furthermore, I prefer much of the new layout. I do believe the "Your recent WHS reviews" update is the correct one as well, I like seeing the new reviews being highlighted.

Author clyde
Partaker
#13 | Posted: 13 Oct 2014 05:00 
Hi winterkjm,

How did you go about resizing pictures? Do you have a "quick trick"? I tried to use a jpg resizer and set the photos to 350x350 pixels but the result was crappy with distorted pictures.

I use Flickr to store my photos and used to download the "small" version of my photos which were equal to the size in the previous website layout. The problem is that now the "medium" version seems to be too big as it's 640x480.

PS: Els, well done for the updates, although I'm still getting used to the new layout.

Author elsslots
Admin
#14 | Posted: 13 Oct 2014 05:20 
clyde:
I use Flickr to store my photos and used to download the "small" version of my photos which were equal to the size in the previous website layout. The problem is that now the "medium" version seems to be too big as it's 640x480.

Have you tried uploading this version to the WHS website? The software does resize it automatically as long as the original is not too big.

Otherwise, you have to set either height or width to 350px (not both, that would create squares). Or did you mean something else?

Author Solivagant
Partaker
#15 | Posted: 13 Oct 2014 05:31 | Edited by: Solivagant 
clyde:
How did you go about resizing pictures? Do you have a "quick trick"?


I am sure there are lots of approaches but I use FastStone freeware to carry out multiple, as well as single, resizes.
I store around 80k photos on a NAS for viewing across my home LAN/wifi on iPad/iPod using 8Player ( http://08software.com/products/8player/ ). However, I find that the photos need to be resized in order to provide a very fast (instantaneous) response when browsing (and the originally taken large size isn't even needed of course just to show on an iPad) but I don't want the hassle of resizing them individually for this purpose. FastStone will convert and re-name (if you wish - I do to avoid confusion !) complete folders in just a few minutes as well as individual photos to any size you wish. I have never had any problems with the result being "distorted" - keep aspect ratio.
You dont ner to do a complete resize for this site - just a reduction from full size. And let Els's resizer do the rest

http://www.faststone.org/FSResizerDetail.htm

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