Web Site Changes for Oct and Nov 2013

Greetings from the Rowany Webright!!

A fair bit has happened over the last month or so, much of which you can actually see (for a change).

Content Helpers

  • We now have someone helping out with keeping information on the site up to date. They have been keeping an eye on mailing lists applicable to Rowany and adding things such as event and news information. This has been a fantastic help!

Process Guides

  • As I now have one person regularly helping to update the site, we’ve started discovering which areas require information on how it is best to add content. I’ve taken the opportunity to start creating a process guide for contributors. There is already a wad of information, and eventually this will outline a good foundation of the main procedures, how to add / update things, WordPress eccentricities, naming convention, tag usage and the like. This should help keep things looking semi-professional and coherent which is nice for visitors by providing a good understanding contributors can work from.

Header

  • When I originally changed the design to one that is “responsive” everywhere with a maximum width much larger than what had originally been set, the header went along for the ride. While the rest of the site looked much better and was able to use the real estate of visitors with larger screens, the header itself looked over-sized.
  • I’ve now set the image to fixed dimensions and wrapped some css gradient stuff around it. I’d like to make the time to put a new header image together and have received some feedback regarding this, however, this area is now functional and looks good enough until that happens. There are a few other priorities before a new header image.

Fonts

  • The main font has changed from whatever it was before (Arial from memory) to Helvetica. This one change alone made the site no longer look like it was created in the 90’s. I’m not sure why I didn’t change that immediately when I became webright, oh well.

Navigation

  • Initial changes to the navigation have been done. We were getting some feedback that the main menus had way too much information in them which was detracting from easy use, rather than helping it.
    • I’ve finished changing the navigation for the Arts and Sciences section. Now that main menu is JUST a link. When clicked visitors are taken to the A&S section where a secondary menu appears on the left hand side for navigation WITHIN that area.
    • This has gone down well with those requesting such a change. As such, I’ll do the other major categories over the next month or so, when time permits

Sidebars

  • I rearranged the Event, News, Notices and Recent Posts sidebars. I recently received a few requests regarding this which made perfect sense as the most important information was below the fold when viewed on smaller screens!
  • The number of items in each section has also been adjusted

Tags

  • I’ve cleaned up all of the tags for the site, getting rid of double ups (where two or more tags are that are actually the same thing), giving them all standard formatting and taking a logical and uniform approach to naming convention.
  • I then went through and adjusted ALL the tags on existing posts. Some of this was done with the adjustment of the tags themselves (as it populated the changes throughout the site), but, almost all posts before I arrived didn’t use tags at all and posts added by contributors or even I, often missed out on potentially useful tags (easy to do with no process or format outlined). Of course, more tags were added as needed. There is now quite a nice working base.

Content

Facebook Cross-posting

  • My testing of the Facebook cross-posting has been put on hold over the last few months. I’ve been too busy with my own business tech stuff (ongoing hosting woes) to finish this off.
  • The plugin most likely to be used requires Facebook App integration. This is not difficult at all (paint by numbers) but will probably require either admin access to each Facebook group / page or for admins to add code for us. Either way I’ll have to contact those involved. This was always likely to be the case, just noting more than anything else.
  • I’ve had a chat to a couple of people regarding the projected membership area of the site which will go around most of the security concerns such as information from Facebook being posted publicly here where real names have been used in private groups there. Obviously we cannot let that happen. The recent suggestion has been to find something that plugs into OpenAPI and Google and maybe Yahoo so most people won’t need to remember yet another login and password. Once members are verified and added to the site, they can use OpenAPI etc to do the actual logging in

FUTURE!

  • Further CSS adjustments
    • The theme needs updating before this is practical. As before, this is in the works with Masonry, and they’ve been busy
  • Implement cross communications between the site and Facebook… getting there slowly
  • Finish testing of plugins etc. A lot of new plugins have appeared out of nowhere?
  • Work with Masonry re backlog of issues and any new requests (such as plugin requests). I haven’t approached them regarding this yet.
  • I still have to finish the senate meeting minutes section of the site. Everything I have has already been added in draft form, but there is concern regarding posting of mundane names and the like. This may wait till we have the membership side of things sorted out.
  • I wish to add process guide information for contributors to the Admins & Officers section. This section currently contains, well, nothing (the draft posts of the senate meeting minutes are in there but not publicly available yet). I’ve spoken to one or two people who said they also have information that should go in here. Hopefully I’ll start to get this populated soon.
  • There is always more content to add. Getting some of the automation up will be good as this is far too manual a process when considering it is doubling up, tripling up or worse.
  • Create a new header image

So, a fair bit has been going on lately. We hope you enjoy the changes to the look, feel and navigation. As always, requests, suggestions, advice, feedback or related acronym of your choosing… is very welcome!

In service to the Crown and the Barony,

Jan
Rowany Webright

Site Updates Aug 2013

We’ve been conducting some testing to link the baronial Facebook groups with the site here, to establish cross posting between the two. We have yet to figure out the best way for this to work in practice such that it adheres to policies and member requirements, but, at some stage this will go live and greatly improve information flow.

At present, a lot of information needs to be added to multiple places in order to reach everyone. Facebook is one of the main places people are active. We wish to automate the process of cross posting between Facebook groups and the corresponding areas of this site. This will greatly reduce having to manually put the same information in many places and make the site more of an active hub for those NOT on Facebook.

For this to work properly we must maintaining integrity across things like mundane vs. SCA names so people are protected on both sites and can continue doing what they do now. The proposal to achieve this is through adding a membership section to this site behind which the cross posting happens. There is a fair bit to work out to find an appropriate solution. Stay tuned, or even throw suggestions out way…  we dare you!

YiS,
Jan
Rowany Webright

Some newcomer links and request for galleries

Hiya <Name Removed>!

No, I wasn’t aware of those links, thanks, I’ll be sure to add them to the site.
I also like the gallery suggestion. Yes, we can do something along those lines. In fact it was previously brought to my attention and I added it to the structure plan a short while ago :)

Thanks again for the help!
Jan

On 9/02/2013 7:07 PM, <Name Removed> wrote:
> Hello,
>
> <Name Removed> has sent you an e-mail message from the Barony of
> Rowany website, which is displayed below.
> E-mail address: <Removed>
> IP Address: <Removed>
>
> Message sent to you follows:
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>
> Hi Jan,
>
> I’ve looked at your structure, and wondered if you know about these
> two pages:
> http://lochac.sca.org/newcomers/
> http://www.sca.org/officers/chatelain/newcomers.html
>
> The first has an interactive map of the groups of Lochac. The second
> has some free resources explaining the SCA.
>
> Also, I was talking with a friend about your website proposal and she
> stated that she’d really love to see a gallery, frequently updated
> with pictures of what we’re doing: garb, projects, fighting, etc. Can
> we do that?
>
> Thanks!
> <Name Removed>
>

Suggestions for People Attending Festival

On 15/02/2013 2:340 PM, Jan wrote:

Hi <Name Removed>,

Thanks for the feedback, appreciated.
I’ve added this into the list of things to put in the “How to prepare for events” section when I build it. Some good suggestions in there, excellent stuff!

All the best,
Jan

On 9/02/2013 5:10 PM, <Name Removed> wrote:

> Let people, especially newbies, know that they WILL have to walk everything in and out if they can’t take extra days leave. Pack stuff in waterproof containers that are easy to carry – you WILL be a long way from your car and probably won’t want to visit it and miss out on things.
> You REALLY do need your own trolley, as the hierarchy (or people pretending to be hierarchy) will take the “communal trolley” off you unless you are part of a large group or they recognize you by sight. Spending 3 hours trudging through pouring rain to leave, while the trolley sits unused beside a nobles tent leaves a very sour taste at the end of a good festival.
> Also that you need to pack your car so your things are accessible, as you will NOT be allowed in the gate wearing mundanes, even to change in the loos 20m away. Your own gear is much better than the loaners. Idea – could we have a changing tent outside the gate?????? Please??? Just some canvas and a couple of stakes???? Not everyone wants to stop in public places wearing hosen or even a tunic.
> If you are self sufficient for all food and bedding, or have prearranged all your needs, before the event, you will be much happier than assuming something will be there and finding it is not. Things happen and other peoples plans change at the last minute – maybe after you’ve left home.

I’m glad someone is looking at this because it’s too hard to find things at the moment

On 15/02/2013 11:18 PM, Jan wrote:

Hey <Name Removed>,

Thanks for the feedback :)
I like the front page of ravelry, I’m waiting for the signup confirmation email so I can get inside. I do rather appreciate most people are not computer nerds. Most of my professional life has been support focussed, which tends to help keep me grounded to that reality (besides, computers are mere tools, people make things interesting).
Providing an example is great, thank you. I’ll have a good look around ravelry when I gain access.

As for finding things on the Rowany site, I’ll probably tackle that once the site is more populated with “stuff”. I think the new structure will help greatly (once implemented), but how things like the menu are displayed will be worth consideration. I don’t like the current look and feel of the menu, it’s a bit clunky, old school 90’s and will likely change. I’m also looking into a menu that better displays hierarchy, perhaps in the sidebar or a drop-down as that will definitely improve a viewer’s ability to find things.

Oh YES, I very much like the idea of being able to display people’s heraldry.
We are looking at membership systems in order to provide functionality we think should be there. I’ll add this to the criteria for judgement.

Thanks again,
Jan

On 9/02/2013 5:08 PM, <Name Removed> wrote:

> Hi Jan,
>
> I’m glad someone is looking at this because it’s too hard to find things at the moment.
>
> I’m a member of another web based social site called Ravelry (www.ravelry.com) which is brilliant for sorting information, having an area for people to sell things, etc.  It is also really good for discussions within certain groups – the replies aren’t just reply to all, they can be specific to a person or all.  Perhaps a similar format?  Not everyone who joins the SCA is a computer nerdy type, and those of us that aren’t struggle a little.
>
> An area to show peoples heraldry would be amazing too.  If the Ravelry model is used, it would be easy for people to upload their own pic of their device.
>
> cheers and goodluck
>
> <Name Removed>
>

A lot of great ideas from Dragana Rozsa

Hey Dragana,

Great info and suggestions, thanks!

Minutes, added into the structure.

Newcomers – Absolutely to everything you said. I’ll make a note to contact Shaun and Berenger too.

Usability and navigation – Check. I think the currently planned structure should help as there is hopefully a proper place to put most things. The menu across the top is all well and good, but maybe it doesn’t give an idea of what is available well enough. When I’ve filled it out with all of the currently proposed structure changes I’ll have a look again and ask people to give feedback. Another thing I’m considering is potentially having a copy (or replacement) the menu on the right or left where the hierarchy is viewable. Further, a sitemap always helps :)

Guide / How to use the site and better about us information – Agree. I’ll have to address this when there is a bit more to see. I’ve added some information to the front page and a Where Is Everything Else? page which are an improvement for now.

Galleries – Of course. Completely agree with the wow factor and it improves what I’ll call stickiness. It certainly adds a whole different dimension. In the structure plan I’ve now added galleries to each area I think could need them. You are certainly not the first to mention this.

Notices – Great point. I had news / notices together before you mentioned it. I now see the important distinction, thanks. I’ve split them out as separate parts of each area I see could need them.

Calendar – You could say I’m working on it. I hope to have it back up soon. As for the added functionality, I’ll think that can be achieved, but will have to look into it. Ability to show / hide specific parts is a good idea. I’ll also see if I can do something about the overall look which is too confined and rather dated looking.

I would appreciate that chat re your time as Chronicler at some stage. Other people’s opinions and insight are hugely valuable to help me do things in such a way that accommodates as best as possible, rather than for me ;)

Jan

On 8/02/2013 9:23 AM, Dragana Rozsa wrote:
>
> Hi Geoff,
>
> I cant really take on a role atm but I would like to assist you.
>
> I was chronicler last year and have a few thoughts for the website. I’m sure many of these thing are already on your to do lists but I thought I’ll mention them in case they help.
>
> Sorry to start with a boring point, but one of the most important things that hasn’t been addressed yet, is the minutes of the baronial meetings. They haven’t been put up in years. When I was still chronicler there was discussion of having something on the webpage so people could access the meetings minutes. I have some from 2012 that I’d like to get rid of :)
> Also I noticed you mentioned you are going make the site more newcomer friendly. I think this is great. I’ve had a few people show interest in joining the SCA and we need a decent place for them to go. The site is a bit clumsy at the moment and not easy to navigate. At some point, Shaun the Bastard was set up as a person for newcomers to contact and he and Berenger were designing recruiting posters to use. They made one fighting orientated design some time ago, maybe you can find that and see if they got any further?
> So, it would be great to have a good place on the site so anyone interested, can get more info about us and what we do than is there at present (even if much of it links to other sites). Oh oh, or even on the front page of our site, after the intro “who we are” part, have a bit of a guide on how to use the site (e.g. if you want this go to this tab “EVENTS” etc.)
> ……AND PHOTOS!!! I’m not just saying this as a photoholic, photos are a great drawcard. Someone can see a good picture of something and think “oh wow, that looks interesting, I’d love to try / see that!” Other than the odd photo on pages of the site, the topic of creating a gallery has come up and I’m sure it was agreed to be a valuable idea, but nothing has happened as yet. LOL, I can supply one or two photos for you if you want or you can scroll through my Julie or Dragana facebook photo albums if you want? Some of the ones I regularly use came from the festival albums. I focused on activites (A&S, Court, fighting etc) when taking photos last year. Other years are less categorised but still have some great shot.
> Coming back to my time as Chronicler, I recall wanting a place on the website for notices. Notices may take a lot of room but they are important. People did mention that it would be a good place to store info. YES, as you pointed out, messages just get pushed down on emailing list and facebook and it becomes difficult to scroll and find.
> Regarding the events calender, I don’t know how other people feel but I think it would be great if there was an easier way to view it than currently shown on the site. Different colours for regular events and Rowany vs Lochac events is good, but (if possible) is there was a way to view just the regular events (like fighter prac) and maybe other buttons to see other specific event types (e.g. feasts, tourneys, festival etc.) as well as all at once like it is now. I know Facebook can do this with birthdays.
> Actually I’ve just gone to check a few things and the calender is not working. Are you working on it atm?
>
> Oh I’ve forgotten what else I thought of. I’ll probably email you again soon. Hope this helps in anyway. Willing to discuss ideas from when I was Chronicler any time.
>
>
> Julie (Dragana)
>

Starting the conversation

This area has now been created to show the ongoing conversation about this site and how it can best serve the Barony of Rowany while integrating with neighbouring groups and indeed the Kingdom of Lochac as a whole.

As information trickles in it will be added here so you can stay informed.

The conversation can be found here http://rowany.lochac.sca.org/siteupdatediscussion
It can also be found in the Contributing menu of the site.

Your In Service,

Rowany Website