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