Hi everyone,

As recently discussed, we have already begun launching a series of new updates to the OAC homepage layout and features. These will continue to trickle in, so you'll notice a few changes here and there over the next few weeks.

The OAC is always a work in progress, so I think it would be a good idea to consider layout and design of the site as an ongoing project. If you have any fresh ideas or technical skills which you think might be useful in the development of the OAC now or in the future, let us know what your strengths are by replying to this thread.

I often have to troubleshoot various aspects of the site, including RSS feeds, content management, site growth, home page navigation and appearance. Experienced web designers and especially those familiar with Ning are welcome to join in.

There are no immediate tasks at hand, but I'm happy to keep anyone who replies on a short list when help is needed.

Thanks,

Fran

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Thanks, Fran, for all your hard work. I wonder if the box Groups with pictures could go above Group Activity, mainly for aesthetic reasons (to break up text), but also because it has Add a Group.

From time to time we get complaints about the Latest Activity column on the left, that we should not include every comment made between members and especially every time someone joins a group. Is it possible to be choosy? If so, would we want to do it? I don't mind either way, but I think we should make a final ruling on that. I would be happy for it to be yours. I don't want an extended discussion. It is a design issue, but it has been affected by your making latest group posts more visible in the centre.

Thanks, Heesun and Keith.

 

I'm working my way to the recent activity feed. We have already modified it to remove some of the more annoying updates like "so-and-so changed their profile", so hopefully it will be easy to ditch the group "join" notices without losing other group updates. Although now there is a separate box for group updates, so perhaps the LA feed doesn't need them at all?

Although now there is a separate box for group updates, so perhaps the LA feed doesn't need them at all?

I was thinking that might be so.

I'll second that.  Also note that the group updates box is very helpful.
P.S. Now that I have taken a moment to think about it, I would suggest replacing the Latest Activity column on the left with the Group Updates. I.e., keep the column format but change the content from Latest Activity (most of which is trivial) to Group Updates (which is handy and informative). As previously mentioned, I find the group updates box helpful. But I have to scroll down before it becomes visible. It should be what newspapers editors call "above the fold," i.e., one of the first things you see, along with the forums and featured blogs. This might, among other things, stimulate more interest in the Groups.
Hmm, interesting suggestion, John. There are also a couple of additional boxes that might be added to the home page shortly, so I will experiment with this.
The critical design issue is what you want people to see as soon as they open the page versus what they have to look for. If it's something that isn't visible without scrolling down, it is unlikely to be seen at all.

Hi Fran,

I have quite often discouraged members from posting ads for offers or events in the main Forum on our home page. Now I find to my dismay that I am also a culprit.

I want to post an ad for a book prize under Offers. I used the link Offers under View All Discussions. But the post came up in the main Forum as well. So I deleted it there and it was deleted from Offers. This time I went in through Offer something in the Collaborate tab. The same thing happened again. I have left it up, not because I want cheap publicity for EASA, but because I can't be the only one to experience this confusion.

Any suggestions?

Hi Keith,

 

I can change it back to show only the main forum entries.

I got rid of the useless Offers box in the bottom left hand corner of the page. We have 3 forums (Main, Offers, Projects), so I put links to those in a list below the latest discussions box. Then I modified the forum box to show all discussions in any forum. New posts are labelled to distinguish where they were posted. It was experimental to see if it made more sense than three separate boxes spread across the homepage.

 

I also think your post was of general interest to a large proportion of our membership, not merely a cheap plug for the EASA ...

 

Fran


Keith Hart said:

Hi Fran,

I have quite often discouraged members from posting ads for offers or events in the main Forum on our home page. Now I find to my dismay that I am also a culprit.

I wants to post an ad for a book prize under Offers. I used the link Offers under View All Discussions. But the post came up in the main Forum as well. So I deleted it there and it was deleted from Offers. This time I went in through Offer something in the Collaborate tab. The same thing happened again. I have left it up, not because I want cheap publicity for EASA, but because I can't be the only one to experience this confusion.

Any suggestions?

I hadn't realised you had done that, Fran. We could try the experiment of running all discussions in the home page Forum box. I did think that Offers was languishing out of sight. My main concern is that offers of teaching English as a foreign language could push a thread we want to be prominent, like an Online Seminar, off the home page. So please go back to what you had or I will post the EASA offer on the main Forum as well. We will also have to modify the guidelines in About, if we stick with the new regime.

The Offers forum wasn't the main issue, but the new Projects Announcement forum plus two new features about to be launched add up to a lot of additional stuff to juggle on the homepage.

The list of discussions would still be sorted by the most popular, and an online seminar will get more activity than an EFL offer and stay up on top, but there would be a fresher variety of posts on a regular basis. Or at least that was the experiment! Maybe we can try it out for a bit and see what we think?

 


Keith Hart said:

I hadn't realised you had done that, Fran. We could try the experiment of running all discussions in the home page Forum box. I did think that Offers was languishing out of sight. My main concern is that offers of teaching English as a foreign language could push a thread we want to be prominent, like an Online Seminar, off the home page. So please go back to what you had or I will post the EASA offer on the main Forum as well. We will also have to modify the guidelines in About, if we stick with the new regime.

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