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 Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!

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grrliz



Posts : 16
Location : Canada

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PostSubject: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptyMon Nov 22, 2010 9:12 pm

Hi Everyone,

We're in the process of working on a redesign of the website but I wanted to open up discussion on a couple of aspects of the redesign. What I'm curious about is not everyone's aesthetic suggestions (although this is also important) but what our functional concerns of the blog are. Form follows function, after all!

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Functionality

Home Page: ultimately, everything hinges upon how we want the home page to function. Consider for a minute a couple of other home pages:
  • Wide Rights -- This site's home page functions the same way ours currently does. It's essentially just a blog, with each new post being displayed in reverse chronological order and with sidebar widgets listing the blog roll, social media connections, etc.
  • Young Guns -- This site is technically a blog but the main difference you will note is that while the permalink pages display in traditional blog format, the home page also displays those blog posts but in a modified manner that makes the news look like blocks/modules rather than regular blog posts
  • Liverpool FC --As with the Young Guns, this site integrates a blog into the larger website framework, albeit on a much larger scale and in a much more complex way. The blog portion of the home page scrolls through five top stories, and you can click on any one of those stories to get to the blog post permalink. The rest of the home page contains modules of other types of non-blog content (tag cloud, videos, polls, storefront, etc).
  • The Justin Campaign -- No blog on the main page at all, just a link to a Blogger-hosted blog under "Campaign News".

The reason I am pointing out all these different types of home pages is that somewhere we said we wanted an actual home page; we need to figure out what features we want our home page to have.

Here's the rub: we have to weigh the features we want vs. what we can actually accomplish with Wordpress. Our blog is hosted at Wordpress.com and at WP.com, you must use a pre-existing blog theme from the WP.com pool of themes. For all intents and purposes, WP themes are comprised of HTML and CSS; HTML determines what content appears on your website and CSS determines how that content is styled. Keep this in mind for the next bit!

WP.com lets you alter the CSS of pre-existing blog themes but not the HTML. This means that the template we pick must include all the functional features we'd like to have on our website otherwise there will be no way to add them manually. So, if we want to have modules of non-blog content displayed outside of the sidebar, then we have to pick a theme that already has that functionality built in. We can modify the aesthetics to our hearts' content but the basic functionality needs to exist because we can't add or remove that ourselves.

So, what features do we want on the home page?

Keep in mind that not everything we want to accomplish on the home page may be possible as there may not be pre-existing WP.com templates with the built in functionality we're looking for -- but don't let this stop you from dreaming big! Feel free to leave links to other sites whose home pages are really working for you in terms of the kind of content they offer.

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Rest of the Site

For the rest of the site, we've discussed some areas that we might like to have:

  1. Home
  2. About -- Should this include the mission statement? Should the mission statement be on the home page instead?
  3. News
  4. Opinions
  5. Blog -- not sure where the dividing line between Blog and News or Opinions is
  6. Contact
  7. Allies
  8. Merchandise

Two things of note here:
  1. We can use WP's "Page" feature to create stand alone pages for things like About, Contact, Allies, Merchandise, etc. (i.e. pages that are not generated by us updating the regular blog)
  2. We can use WP's category feature to assign blog posts to categories in order to have them sorted into different pages by default. In effect, what we'd be looking at is the archive for categories like News, Opinions, etc. rather than a static page. I'm not sure if we are currently using categories on the blog because the current template doesn't display categories, so if someone could let me know that would be great.

Are we missing any other pages?

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Aesthetics
I know this is the part that is of interest to most people. Wink Feel free to leave links to sites that have aesthetics that you like; they don't necessarily have to be soccer websites as we're not looking at content in this particular instance. If you're able to articulate what you like about the site, that's even better.

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Thanks for your help, and I hope all of this is clear!
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cryptogirl



Posts : 6

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptyThu Nov 25, 2010 12:48 am

ahhhh the forum ate my reply!

okay so I have very little website design skill. As in, almost none at all. So I'm not sure how helpful this will be but...anyway.

Of the home-pages you linked to, I personally prefer something like Young Guns or the Liverpool FC one. Nothing wrong with a more "blog style" layout though if people are okay with that. but anyway, the others were good, and I liked how they organised the various aspects such as articles, videos, blog, etc. I don't know how possible the scrolling articles piece is with Wordpress, but that was also quite good. The other thing I would think of is that we may want to expand certain aspects in the future. For example, there are various ideas about videos, so having at least the option of including a "videos" section on the homepage with a featured video might be good. Also maybe having something for if someone wants to write an article for us, making it a more appealing button/link that then links to our email or something.

I'll try to think of more, but like I said, I'm not particularly great at this, so hopefully other people will comment with their input as well.
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Lulu

Lulu

Posts : 32
Location : Canada

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptyFri Nov 26, 2010 6:20 pm

Sorry, I don't know a thing about coding, but here's some suggestions for the aesthetic and other aspects of the website.

I like the Young Guns and Liverpool FC sites. It doesn't look that obvious as a blog, and seems clean and organised. I'll look up more sites now.

As for the content, I was thinking that we should have our vision statement (the shorter one I believe) on the homepage and for the About page, include both the vision and mission statement, history, long- short- term goals.

Also, perhaps we can have a 'How YOU can help' or 'Get Involved' page, with the donation and merchandise pas, along with ideas on how they can get involved i.e. they tell us they want to hold a fundraiser, we send them a fundraising/ information package.

EDIT: here's some good ones. I'm not sure whether similar ones can be found on wordpress though.
http://www.sexualassaultniagara.org
http://www.redcross.ca
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paloozais



Posts : 1

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptySat Nov 27, 2010 9:06 am

Out of the links, I love the Young Guns website. It was very clean looking and the advantage to being able to have several blog pieces instantly viewable is that when people come to the site, they can sort of see the variety of things we talk about.

I have next to no knowledge of website design, so hopefully I don't say anything too ridiculous. On the home page, aside from the links to the rest of the site (news, about, etc) I think it would be cool if we could have a place on the side or something with a couple of featured merchandise pieces/new merch? At first there won't be much but it'll give people an idea of what sort of stuff we have and then they could go to the merchandise section specifically.

I think the main block part should have a mix of news pieces, opinions pieces, and possibly some pieces about the status of our campaign if something new has come up. Also I feel like it would be a good idea to include the links to twitter/fb/tumblr on the homepage so theyre readily available.

As for the different sections-- when I read the list, I assumed that news and opinions would be articles we wrote, and the blog part would be like our organizations blog. We could have someone(s) updating the blog part with our progress, so they could do posts on different places we've been mentioned or different opportunities we're doing. Those posts could then also be featured on the homepage, especially if they are really huge.

As far as aesthetics go, I'm not too picky but what I really like about the Young Guns website is how crisp and clean it is. The background is dark which I personally like more, but the font is simple, the boxes are organized neatly, the colors aren't too bright and busy. that's pretty much the only thing that aesthetically I think is important.
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tonstant_weader
Admin
tonstant_weader

Posts : 43
Age : 39
Location : Boston, MA

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptySun Nov 28, 2010 8:23 pm

I think the homepage should be main a landing page for navigation to the other areas of the site. Frankly, I think ones with a lot of links like The Offside or Outsports are confusing. Some elements for the homepage - can it handle any flash elements? If not, no worries, but those can be very nice and won't take up a ton of bandwidth if it's only elements.

I think that our most recent (like last or last couple) news stories should be teased on the homepage as well as our most recent op ed. I think that we should potentially (once we have them) have a site for events (it could be us or affiliates if we don't have a ton). I was against the affiliates page but wanted some logos on the homepage sidebars if possible (which will take up homepage real-estate).

Ideally, in the future, I'd like our forum to be embedded into another area of the site, but that is a bit more complex. I would like it linked in the rest of the site or in the homepage. Maybe something under the header "GET INVOLVED!" Because I notice volunteering and donating are not represented in the other areas and I think that is a mistake! It can be combined in the merch subheading if we go that route but I think we should at least keep the stuff we currently have on the webpage and it might be nice to not have to advertise for writers just on like LJ or Facebook.

That's my extra feedback, I gave feedback on the site map already, I believe! Thanks for doing this, I'm actually really excited about this and think it will really really help us!
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grrliz



Posts : 16
Location : Canada

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptySun Nov 28, 2010 8:35 pm

Well there can always be a link to the forum; that's not an issue. The challenge is actually having it be part of the site, since we're hosted at Wordpress.com and not on our own webspace. Most of the web-related challenges we'll have will largely be because we're limited to what you can do with WP.com (e.g. no Flash elements).
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tonstant_weader
Admin
tonstant_weader

Posts : 43
Age : 39
Location : Boston, MA

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptySun Nov 28, 2010 8:38 pm

Oh... I know. You said dream big. LOL. I was dreaming outside of the confines of Wordpress, apparently.

And not just the forum, but maybe a section for involvement in general. Where we could put our donation links, our flyers for download/instructions etc., etc.

But I know we're doing out best for the moment to flesh out the site with the hosting we have and frankly any thoughtful structure I'm sure will improve it. And now there's a record of my website wishes. Very Happy
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grrliz



Posts : 16
Location : Canada

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptySun Nov 28, 2010 8:50 pm

No no, it's good to dream big! I'll have to eventually do a post called "Reality" and then "The Future!" Very Happy
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steelwater

steelwater

Posts : 13
Age : 33
Location : Israel

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptyWed Dec 01, 2010 6:37 am

You can actually make a site that would like LFTCTV? That's awesome.

I think The Young Guns design is good. Someone similiar to that.

I already wrote my thoughs on the mod comms, so it's OK or should I copy it here? Maybe so other people can see it and comment. I'll do it later.
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teetrinker
Admin
teetrinker

Posts : 120
Age : 42
Location : Nürnberg, Germany

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptyFri Dec 03, 2010 2:15 am

steelwater wrote:
I already wrote my thoughs on the mod comms, so it's OK or should I copy it here? Maybe so other people can see it and comment. I'll do it later.
I would like to see it here too Smile
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steelwater

steelwater

Posts : 13
Age : 33
Location : Israel

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptyMon Dec 13, 2010 4:49 am

Sorry I'm only coping this here now.

- Home page with a line of links to all the other pages on the site.

-Above there should be our name and logo, like now but with the red card logo as kem_viva had said.

- There should be on the home page our latest news maybe?

- Idk if the "About us" and our mission statement and all should be on a different page or on the home page.

- Though I don't know what more should be there so it wouldn't look too empty

- A page for the blog. I guess something that would look pretty much the same as it does now. Maybe to add somethings, but Idk what, lol.

- A page for merchandise.

- A page for the allies because people said they wanted a page for that.
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Lulu

Lulu

Posts : 32
Location : Canada

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptyMon Dec 13, 2010 7:07 pm

I'd say a brief 'about us' section on the homepage, on the right-hand side bar perhaps, with a clickable title linking to a separate 'About Us' page going into more detail such as our Mission Statement, Long/Short-Term Goals, Vision, etc.
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grrliz



Posts : 16
Location : Canada

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptyTue Dec 28, 2010 10:13 am

I thought we had a lot more CSS editing power than we currently do, but I misread something on the Wordpress.com CSS editing screen:

Quote :
The CSS editor lets you modify the visual style of your blog. You can edit your CSS and preview the changes for free. If you would like the ability to save your changes and make your design visible to the public, please purchase the Custom CSS Upgrade. ($14.95/year)

So basically we can't change anything that isn't already enabled for change by the template we're using. This usually means changing the header graphic (which we've already done) and other miscellaneous changes specific to each theme (sometimes they let you change the font colour, sometimes you just get to decide which side you want the sidebar column on).

So... basically the most we can do at this point to add any kind of "punch" to the site is change up the header graphic. Sad
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Kem_viva

Kem_viva

Posts : 6
Location : Connecticut, USA

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PostSubject: Re: Website Redesign: Your Thoughts!   Website Redesign: Your Thoughts! EmptyFri Feb 25, 2011 4:32 pm

I am not sure how much money we have in the RCH account, but we might be able to pay for that, if you are still able to work on the site.
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