Drabblecast Website Suggestions

What works for Drabblecast? What doesn't? New ideas? Speak up!
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normsherman
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Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby normsherman » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:59 pm

So, we're trying to take steps to redo our layout to make our website more readible, user-friendly and idiot-proof.

Get your grandma or random strangers to navigate our page and see what they think or what they have problems with. What do they read first? Can they subscribe easily? Are they overwhelmed? Underwhelmed?

Any feedback is appreciated! Thanks!
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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby tbaker2500 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 2:32 am

I think the website is good for it's time. But modern websites focus on more space, fluid layouts for being friendly to mobile devices. There is enough there, it makes sense to have less up front, and more deeper in a menu. For example, as you focus more on having print stories, the episode should be much more of the screen. Right now it's about 60% of the screen.

I also this we should* move to a purple and pink polkadot theme.




*should not
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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby tbaker2500 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 4:22 am

Algernon Sydney is Dead (in a split/moved post) wrote:We should fix the forum first. It's the second point of contact and many people get the episodes from whatever feed; they never see the main site.

The Nielsen Norman Group site has a bunch of spot-on recommendations and the science to back them up.

Ooh, that looks like a cool site!

ASID, split this into a new topic, and let's talk about what steps you think would be most helpful for the forums. You are right, we haven't touched this look in 5 years.
Last edited by Algernon Sydney is Dead on Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Quoted split/moved post for context.
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Algernon Sydney is Dead
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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby Algernon Sydney is Dead » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:48 am

This topic has been clove in twain. See "Drabblecast Forum Improvement Suggestions".

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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby Varda » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:56 am

As far as the main website, my biggest complaint is the search feature. It's rather clunky and unintuitive. For example, it completely spazzes out if you try to search for anything with punctuation, such as "Annabelle's Alphabet". The apostrophe somehow causes it to bring up nothing at all.

Other times, you'll search for something specific and it'll bring up a huge list of episodes that don't really seem to make sense given the search terms. Let's pretend I want to find the episode "Clown Eggs", but can't exactly remember the full title, so I search the word "clown". I get 2 pages of results, and episodes with the word "clown" in the title come on the second page because the search seems to be ordered in terms of how recently the episode was posted instead of relevance.

In addition to an improved search feature, it would also be nice to have an index of stories by title, author, and episode# somewhere on the main page. I know we've got a great list maintained by ASID on the forums, but not everyone visits the forums. I used the main site for a couple of months before I ever stopped by the forums. I've found myself referencing ASID's list all the time, so I think this feature would be nice to have from the main site as well. As to how it would look, I really have no idea, but just a suggestion.

Finally, I know I've suggested this before, but I would love to see the text of Drabbles included with the story and Twabble text now that DC includes this for each episode (even if this were only done going forward). The same reasons why this is a nice feature for the main story also apply to the Drabble, and perhaps even more so (as Drabbles are extremely concise, and sometimes you can miss the punchline if you don't pay careful attention).
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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby Algernon Sydney is Dead » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:11 pm

Adding Google search to the main site is easy (I'm not doing the work ;) ).

In the mean time you can use this workaround:

  1. Bookmark: http://www.google.com/search?q=searchTerm+site%3Ahttp%3A%2F%2Fwww.drabblecast.org%2Fcategory%2F
  2. After you open that page, replace "searchTerm", in the search box, with whatever, but leave the site:... stuff alone.
Voilà, a poor man's Google search of Drabblecast and B-sides episode pages.

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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby Varda » Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:20 pm

Well, hey, adding Google search would be the ideal fix! :D If it handles apostrophes, I'm happy. That drove me nuts when I was doing the iTunes data cleanup this summer and needed to fill in missing episode data.

For some reason, it never occurred to me to just use Google to search for this stuff to begin with. Huh. :oops:
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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby tbaker2500 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 3:42 pm

Noted. The native search function sucks ass. There are plenty 'o google search plugins, I'll try them out.

I'll look into post indexes. It may require some custom coding, but it sounds like a good idea.
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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby Algernon Sydney is Dead » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:17 pm

If you need help, I can chip in. It requires a copy of the site and db or access to your dev version at the code and DB level.

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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby tbaker2500 » Sat Oct 19, 2013 10:49 pm

Thanks ASID. I might pull you in on some stuff. Do you know much php?
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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby Varda » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:25 pm

I'm just gonna keep posting as stuff occurs to me... :D

Re: Indexes. My own personal dream organization would be if I could hover the mouse over the "Episodes" tab, get a drop down menu which offers episodes "By Author", "By Genre", "By Episode#". Maybe by reader too, although that's not something I'd look for as often. If you just click the Episodes tab, it would take you to what we've already got, but the sub-menus would take you to an uncluttered list sorted as stated so you can browse more easily without having to click through a million screens.

Also, after all this time, I'm just now noticing the link for the "New Listeners" episode guide up in the top right corner. I'm just a sample size of one, but I missed it because that corner just has a bunch of text clutter with the Parsec Awards banner and doesn't draw my eye. It's probably fine to leave the link there, but if it were me, I'd expect to see a link for this same information under "About Us", "Downloads", and perhaps "Episodes". Just more intuitive if I were checking out the site for the first time and looking for a sampler pack.

On a more positive note, I'd like to say I've always liked the convenient Genre sorter on the right side of the main page. I used it to browse the first time I stopped by and remember being impressed by the span of genres represented. So if there's some major revamping in the future, I'd suggest keeping that one around, once again as a sample size of one.
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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby Algernon Sydney is Dead » Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:40 pm

tbaker2500 wrote:Thanks ASID. I might pull you in on some stuff. Do you know much php?

It's been a while but I used to be pretty adept.

And, I've done crude Wordpress mods before, but probably not very elegantly as I had to manually remerge the changes after every upgrade.

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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby Praxis » Sun Oct 20, 2013 12:22 am

A button or widget or whathaveyou that takes the user to a random story.
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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby tbaker2500 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 2:47 am

Okay, the google search API is very poorly suited for the results in Wordpress. And it was limited to 100 searches a day, and $5 for each 1k searches after that!
I found another search utility, I think it works well. Try it out and let me know.
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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby Algernon Sydney is Dead » Sun Oct 20, 2013 3:00 am

Jeez, I don't remember them being that expensive. Are you getting the commercial or the non-profit rates?

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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby tbaker2500 » Sun Oct 20, 2013 6:11 pm

Okay, the search seems fixed to me. I'm investigating indexes. I'll pester Norm about the Drabble text. I'll work on another link to New to Drabblecast? I'll look into Random Episode.

What else?
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Re: Drabblecast Website Suggestions

Postby Praxis » Mon Oct 21, 2013 12:05 am

There's a bit of repetition in the elements and info on the page -
'Donate to the Drabblecast' box, with the one-off and monthly amounts,
'Support the Drabblecast' with info about BSides, and the $10 monthly amount,
'B-Sides' box, with a bit about the Bsides feed and the $10 monthly amount,
'B-sides Login' box (which is quite a large box and big font, compared to the size of the 'info' lettering on other parts of the page.

These could maybe be be in the same part of the page and maybe 1 overall box.

(Also) I'd put the About Us higher up on the page, at the moment the page looks like people need to log in to the b-sides first, then move on to read up on what the Drablecast is.

Also also, the 'New to the Drabblecast' link on the homepage goes to.....the homepage. Is that where it's meant to go?
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