Archive for the ‘website development’ category

Navigation tweaking, tutor feedback

April 30, 2007

So I showed Andy Dickinson my site today, and as per usual I ended up with a big long to-do list:

Made the main logo smaller, this was to allow for more of the page to be ‘above the fold’ and make navigation easier. Also a lot of people who I tested the site on thought that the logo was clickable, an advert, or something else, it was confusing my users.

I decreased the white space on the page by tweaking the cell padding and also moving the search function to the secondary promotional bit on the right hand side of the menu templates. This helped to push all my content up the page and within scrollable distance of the user.

The navigation bar was cut, the Archive button has been moved into the right-hand side navigation. This bar has been centred to make the buttons stay together even when the page is maximised.

The disaster volunteering flash feature now has it’s own flash advert, taking some of the top images out of the presentation and making a short advert. Bit annoying how you can’t add a behaviour to a flash image, as this would have allowed me to make it open in a stand alone window. Instead it just opens in a blank window, which isn’t too bad.

The size of the abstract text on the lead article has been increased to keep it in line with the headline and not let it be swamped by the headline.

I’m going to have to do a lot of work on the travel report part of my site, it’s really lacking content at the moment and I need some more pieces to go in there. I’m tempted to dump it completely and focus on filling out the volunteer reports, advice and features sections of my site as these are where the best content is and are also the articles on the blog that get the most traffic.

Front page full of content

April 22, 2007

The site is really coming along well now, the front page has all its links with content attached to them. The section menus are starting to fill up and the content is looking good in its templates. Modified all the templates slightly today to include the top five and also promos for other content.

This week, need to get all the rest of the content I have online, work on the flash header and also put together the big flash piece about disaster volunteering.

Templates configured, Rolf Potts and how to be a travel journalist

April 18, 2007

I’ve sorted out my templates, it’s a hell of a lot easier to run the site when using them because it means I don’t have to change about 50/60 pages myself when I want to make a tweak to the navigation. Glad I figured out how to use them, and it means I can create content and put it straight onto a pre-figured template that I know I won’t have to change once it’s done.

Got two pieces of content up today, Rolf Potts got himself up on the site. Did a nice little picture gallery of his top five places to travel to. Thought that worked well, and I remembered how to do the behaviours so only a little window opens up with the main image. The How to be a travel writer article has been huge for traffic on the blog so I put a lot of effort into it to try and make it look good. Went with the simple Q&A layout for it, as I didn’t think the interview descriptive style worked as well. People have questions and David Browne did a fantastic job of answering them.

I’ve asked David Browne if he’ll write me some stuff for the advice section, be great if he can because he’s an experienced traveller and a really good writer. I like his style.

Got in touch with the two people I need for my ‘disaster volunteering’ flash presentation, hopefully I will get some good images etc and it will come together into a 10-15 slide presentation on flash. Need to get a few more travel reports, but they are taking a while. Might see if I can find some people to write them for me, I’d rather have user-drive content.

Tested the general layout of the website on my mate Ruth yesterday, she wants to be a travel writer when she graduates so she is a good test market. Her comments were:

– professional

– why can’t I click that? (maybe make the headlines into links)

– liked the use of images

– liked the colour scheme

Overall it was very positive feedback. In a week or two I’ll get her to test it again and maybe a couple of other mates, and I’ll get Chris to run a userability test over it as he does a module in that.

British backpacker dies in New Zealand crash

April 10, 2007

A British backpacker has died in a road accident in New Zealand while on a round the world trip.

23-year-old Adam Birdsey was taking a gap year after completing a degree in business at the University of Derby.

He was killed after the camper van they were driving collided with a pick-up truck that was towing a speedboat at a junction in Blenheim on New Zealand’s South Island.

Adam’s mother, Sheelagh Birdsey, of Cam, Gloucestershire, 55, said: “The whole family is still coming to terms with his loss.

“His dad is in New Zealand and we are both finding it very hard to come to terms with it.

“I can’t even find the words to explain how devastated we both are by losing Adam – he was such a lovely boy.”

Adam’s father, David, 60, has flown to New Zealand and is expected to return in around a week with his son’s body.

On Adam’s MySpace page he had posted a survey on his personal details that revealed he would like to die in “a blazing ball of fire”.

Adam was a keen football player and played for AC Royals, in Hillesley, near his hometown.

Martyn Dean, club manager, had fond memories of Adam.

He said: “Adam was a great lad. He would help anybody out. He enjoyed life and he enjoyed his football. It’s just a sad, tragic end to a life.

“Our thoughts go out to his family.”

Four other backpackers were hurt in the crash, David McCallum, 23, Ian Mills, 22, Dean Clark, 22 and Samuel Barber, 20. (more…)

Sexy graphics, contact and sitemap

April 8, 2007

Contact and sitemap pages are done, might need to change the sitemap page later in the project depending on how the site changes depending on the content.

Made some sexy graphics for my website headers, the plan is to have them change depending on which page you’re on. Will try to do about 12 of them all, it’s a good way to use all the images I’m being sent through as well. There’s some stunning stuff. Here’s an example of the one I made using Gunilla’s photo of the eiffel tower;

ivolunter header image

Uploaded a prototype

April 7, 2007

Had a play with the design today and it’s starting to look good, managed to nail down the colour scheme, got the about and links pages done. I’ve created a main page template and also a content template, so I’m hoping that I can work off those and start getting the content up there.

It’s uploaded here.

Main menu is still bare but at least it’s up there, and it’ll help having it online ready for when I have to do the testing.