For a long time Geocaching Australia has been (justifiably) criticised for it menu and navigation system, its hotpotch of information on the front page and the random stuff thrown around the geocache page. We have other criticisms as well, but they are for a different discussion.
Over the last 6 to 8 weeks caughtatwork (one of the Geocaching Australia) developers has been developing a new menu structure, front page and geocache page.
You can cut to the chase and see the final result live.
For some more light reading.
The goal was to focus the site in a few ways.
1. Mobile device usability (you can't hover over a menu on a mobile device).
2. FIND and HIDE a geocache were never easy to navigate to if you didn't know your way around. As this is the principal of geocaching, this needed to be easier to get to.
3. Make the landing page more useful in finding a geocache.
4. Arrange the data on the geocache page to make the most relevant data load fast and the other data load only on demand.
This went to the Geocaching Australia Senate at the start of July for some discussion and with no dissension it went forward in design and development.
Rather than impose the will of the few upon the needs of the many, we decided to offer input and accept feedback from the community who use the site and who may not use the site now, but if changes were made, mighjt use the site in the future.
We did not want to be dictatorial. That's not the Geocaching Australia way.
In the 3rd week of July it was far enough along in development to demonstrate what was being proposed and went to the Geocaching Australia community both in the forums and via this Facebook page.
This was the forum post. http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopi ... =1&t=18874
There was a nice amount of feedback with some robust discussion about how to tackle the experienced geocacher and site user vs. the new geocacher and someone who has not experienced the site before.
There was discussion about the front page and how / what to include and some great suggestions from the community.
There was also discussion about how to "find" something in the menu structure, so a Site Map was added to the bottom of each page which should show you all the options at one. You can see from that site map just how much data and how many options there are at Geocaching Australia. We doubt there will ever be a perfect navigation solution to the Geocaching Australia site. Navigation is always the hardest part of any site. Getting the balance between minimal options to choose from, then "drilling down" is opposed by a lack of visibility as to "where you are going". Wide and deep navigation structures are too cumbersome and simple narrow navigation structures mean more "journey" to get where you are going by adding clicks.
We also improved the Geocache page so you can see the most important data immediately (or as soon as the database can serve it up) and then click to see other data. This takes the strain off the database as a smaller volume of data is prepared each time. Do a search, then click on the geocache to see its page.
We've enhanced the search pages to focus your search on the area you want. Locality. Postcode. Name. Co-ordinates. Waypoint (code). Events. Recommended. All sorts of search options. Again, this was a desire to avoid overloading the database with irrelevant queries. Regrettably this means you will need to choose what you're looking for, but your answer should be back in about 1/3rd of the time it used to be. Of course you can still use the hjighly customisable My Query generator to deliver specific search criteria.
The site has been tested extensively by caughatwork on as many devices and screen sizes as was reasonable for someone who has no development fund, only what he can buy himself. Everything seems to be working so far.
Please come and visit the Geocaching Australia site.
Look at the home page (your can check your experienced view of the front page against a new geocachers view by logging out and seeing what options are presented).
Check out a geocache page and see the new look and how to interact with the information.
Look at the menu (I hope you've been able to find it) and see how it works for you on a desktop, laptop, tablet and mobile.
Please give us your feedback. We can't say that we will cater for everything as sometimes design and useability need to trade off against each other, but we will certainly look at what you're asking for.
If you happen to notice something not working (as opposed to just looking wonky), then please let us know here or in the dedicated bug thread. http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopi ... =1&t=13578
The senators (current and present), the developers and the community who help to build Geocaching Australia all hope that this approach works out for the better.