new home page - comments requested [closed]

Discussion about the Geocaching Australia web site
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ideology
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new home page - comments requested [closed]

Post by ideology » 12 July 04 10:22 am

the current home page for geocaching australia looks a little tired, takes up lots of space and weighs about 190kb, which makes it quite slow to downoad. so we are thinking of a new home page and want to bounce around some ideas

the design goal is:
- clear, clean design
- lightweight (quick to download, easy on the bandwidth)
- gives lots of information
- feeling welcoming

we've mocked up the following:
Image

1. any comments on the design goals? should we be aiming for something else?
2. any comments on the mockup? if you like the way it is, let us know, but please let us know what you like and what you don't like so we have something to work from. here's our thoughts on the mockup:
- we want to add "now playing in the forum" to the top. we think that makes it more human and real-time
- comments will be added to the bottom - gives a feeling of community
- western australia will be populated - we just didn't happen to have that data on the development machine
- we have no idea about state colours - we'd like them to be the right colours so people can easily see their box
- if feels too information-loaded. we could do a state-based homepages, eg geocaching.com.au/nsw which shows just nsw caches, but more of them with with more detail. it seems from the usage of the RSS feeds that people are largely interested in state stuff, not australia-wide
- maybe two search boxes? one for "show me cache x" and another for "show me all the caches in this area"
- yeah, we've dropped the icons, but they were taking ages to load and didn't match one another. but they did have a certain charm. your thoughts?
- we'll probably reduce the size of the geocaching australia logo
- it feels a little corporate and boxy. maybe some rounded edges? maybe a collage image of various people geocaching would make it more human?
- probably also want a link to the latest forum articles (still need to log in, though)
- event caches are in bold. virgin caches were in pink but it looked a little ugly. maybe use bold for virgins instead of event caches?
- we haven't listed hidden dates for caches - it would be too much on the page. but we could do that on state homepages.
- we took off the state links to geocaching.com. did anyone use them? if so, we'll put them back in the header bar for each state box, or perhaps a "More..." link at the bottom of the box
- we probably need more content, eg "What is Geocaching" etc. if you agree, any volunteers to write some blub or can we snaffle some off someone's site (with appropriate attribution, of course!)?
- we should probably move the newsletter from the geocaching australia box to this new content box, eg "About Geocaching" or something. it will also highlight new issues in red when they come out.

your thoughts?
Last edited by ideology on 07 September 04 5:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

ian-and-penny
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Post by ian-and-penny » 12 July 04 11:48 am

It's too busy.

Can it be made to fit on ONE screen? Or paginated (framed) into common and state areas.

The old icons and background gave it more "Feel"

There are more tools than just GSAK, all should be represented.

How about surveying users to find out the most common usage areas? (after my original surf, now I only use the site as a springboard into the forum coz I haven't got around to creating a new favourite yet.)

my two bob's worth.

Ian

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Pesky!
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Post by Pesky! » 12 July 04 12:11 pm

how about a cookie driven state setting that displays the local info depending on where you are located.

then the user can access other state stuff from a link?
just a thought, it might clear up the front page a little and make it less busy.

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Post by Cached » 12 July 04 3:02 pm

I don't mind it busy and it looks a lot more useful than the other one was/is.

I find a lot of newbies automatically go looking for the .com.au when they really wanted the .com . It would be good to have a note across the top of the box indicating that geocaching.com is the parent site and is that where they meant to be?

Also, maps. Links to maps please.

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Post by Team Piggy » 12 July 04 3:11 pm

Looks good, Maybe drop downs for the state caches, etc. Icons on the team page links etc.

But looks nice overall.

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Post by caughtatwork » 12 July 04 7:57 pm

Please don't center the text. It's evil. :evil:
And I don't mean in a good way. It's very hard to read given we read from left to right and have to realign our eyes every line if it's centered.

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Post by TEAM LANDCRUISER » 12 July 04 10:31 pm

<font color="blue"><font face="verdana"><b>I like the new look but it does look a little corporate but I can live with that I'm not one that is concerned with change as some are, so long as it is an improvement and from what I can see it is with the bonus quicker loading time. <p>The loss of the icons is no biggie as it looks a lot more professional without them IMHO. <p>Links to each states homepage would probably look better design wise and loading times as well. All in all looks great to me 8)

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Post by Dingbats » 12 July 04 10:55 pm

The current page is good, so any change has to be careful to be an improvement rather than a backward step.<p>

The icons do add charm, I think the mockup feels a little cold because of this.<p>

I think the states based pages seperating cache listings is a good idea.
<p>
I think the local services and content need to be emphasised. Eg. forum, search, map, newsletter, email notifications etc.
<p>
Less is more, I think the links to cachers pages could be put on a seperate page. Perhaps a new addition / change notification feature could be incorporated into this page. With the idea that cachers can make a note of new content added to their respective sites.
<p>
All in all though, the mockup also looks good. My major criticism would be that the cache listings have too much prominence.

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The Ginger Loon
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Post by The Ginger Loon » 13 July 04 1:27 am

I think I would have to agree that it feels / looks too corporate, but if that is the look you are going for that's ok.
<P>
For my 2 cents worth here are my suggestions. Please take these with a grain of salt if they offend.
<ul>
<li>Change the stencil font in the logo ( I never liked it ) </li>
<li>Please retain the team logos if possible. To me they give more of a community feel than just having a link.</li>
<li>"Now playing in the forum" is a good idea and should be retained as well.</li>
<li>How about getting Steel Rat to produce a "roamer" for each of the main playing areas in Australia and hosting them on this site with instuctions for printing & use.</li>
<li>If you are going to use different colours or font weights to differentiate between event caches and other caches, there should be a legend somewhere on the page.</li><li> Maybe the font weight / colour concept could be expanded to identify found / unfound active / disabled / archived caches. Maybe blue for active, orange for disabled and red for archived. Or grey/grey/grey for the colourblind amongst us. CITO caches could be green and event caches brown or something.</li>
<li>A link to not only the GeoShop, but also to other shops like Pesky's Gadget shop and the CafePress Site for cgc.com.au stuff (linked with the owners permission of course)</li>
<li>A basic Geocaching FAQ and links to the secondary site.</li>
<li>If you are going to have individual pages for each State / Territory how about a script/link to display all caches witin that state (similar to my old Team Chaos Full List, but on a state basis) or possibly the option to generate that list as an on-the-fly .pdf</li>
</ul>
I'll shut up now... :wink:

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The Ginger Loon
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Post by The Ginger Loon » 13 July 04 1:29 am

Oh, and there should be a link for OziExplorer as well...

Now I'll shut up.

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Post by TEAM LANDCRUISER » 13 July 04 2:54 am

The Ginger Loon wrote:Change the stencil font in the logo ( I never liked it )
<p>Image

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embi
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Post by embi » 13 July 04 9:13 am

Love the new logo.

Got a suggestion for the embi geocaching one??? :D

http://members.ozemail.com.au/~mengland/

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ideology
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Post by ideology » 13 July 04 9:35 am

tlc,
that is the funniest thing we've seen in ages! the juxtaposition of the high-tech font and the aussie fly reflects aussie geocachers' high-tech hunt into the great aussie bush! may we snaffle it? oops, too late!

everyone,
thanks for the great feedback and suggestions! we we will incorporate as many as we can into the next mockup in a few days' time.

ian-and-penny made a great suggestion to ask what you do with the home page. we know what we do with it, but not what what you do.

here's our usage:
50% of the time: jump to the forum
30% of the time: keep up to date - watch that new caches are appearing
10% of the time: search and jump to a specific cache
10% of the time: jump to a cachers' sites to see what they are up to

what type of things do you do? what would you like to do? eg if we have state home pages, then we could turn on mega-loon mode and display the latest logs from each state so you don't need to watch every cache.

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Post by embi » 13 July 04 9:48 am

:idea: Can you make it do auto approvals???? :idea:

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Post by Mind Socket » 13 July 04 2:29 pm

I currently use it to get something that I know is there, such as a link to a tool or someone's home page. If it were redesigned as a minimal front page with 80-90% of the info people want it would be less cluttered. Seeing the names of the last 80-100 caches around Australia isn't useful to me, personally.

Looking at the existing page, I think the forum, newsletter and gc.com links are the most useful "talk" links and all the "plan" links are good too. The "act" links are good to have, but maybe not on the front page.

- Rog

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