Website Redesign

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KateR
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Website Redesign

Post by KateR » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:46 pm

I developed this website 21 years ago. (yikes!) Back then, there was HTML2 (I think), and no such thing as CSS or javascript, and video beyond an animated GIF was unheard of. I was completely self-taught, and basically built the whole thing using nothing fancier than tables and frames. It's actually pretty amazing that it works as well as it does.

But nowadays we are up to HTML5, CSS3, javascript and video are everywhere, people need responsive designs to fit mobile devices, and frames are becoming so obsolete that soon they won't work at all. So, I've decided to improve my education and teach myself how to create a new design.

There's a lot to master. Right now I'm still playing around with color schemes and layout options. The big challenge will be replicating what frames can do. Because of frames, I can have a few thousand pictures or Lexicon entries showing up on the left side of the site and the links will make things happen in the main part of the page without reloading the whole thing. To me, that is the most efficient means of navigation because the page only opens once and everything is just one click away. Without frames, navigation becomes much more tricky, and I'm not sure of the best alternative. I think I've figured out how to keep parts of the page (like the header or navigation bar) from scrolling, but I also know they take up real estate on the screen and perhaps people would prefer if they scrolled out of the way? I may need to use breadcrumbs or javascript or popups to recreate something like the Photo Gallery, but not all devices can use that, and many people use popup blockers.

So... if anyone feels particularly skilled in any of these areas, I may be turning to you for suggestions. And I may be posting sample pages to get some feedback and to see what works best on different devices and in different situations. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions (I wish it were easier to reach... Or I have trouble finding... Or this never works right for me... Or I hate blue... Or whatever...) I'm open to suggestions!

(Even RDA asked once, "Can you change the picture on the front page?" But he never told me what he wanted it changed TO! I may need to get some feedback from him, too, though giving feedback is not his strongest trait. ;) )

Kate

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bftlovesRDA
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Re: Website Redesign

Post by bftlovesRDA » Sat Aug 11, 2018 7:08 am

Hi, Kate,

I am not skilled in any of this website stuff. Not at all.

I just am in awe of your talents with the website and whatever you have to do, I guess it must be done. I hate that you have to go through all of this to redo everything.

Hopefully some will come along to help.

Maybe you need to post this message also in the News/Announcements section in case some don't read "off topics".

Thanks again for all you do.
B

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frenchwriter
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Re: Website Redesign

Post by frenchwriter » Sat Aug 11, 2018 9:54 am

I think it would be a good idea to change something to the design, but without all to change, of course.

You're very kind to ask our feeling, Kate.
We're going to thinking there. Currently, it isn't easy to talk about, it is ? 😉
Personnely, the first think comes to my mind is the color. Maybe, the website could be more colored, not just blue.
And, about the picture on the first page, maybe could you post one more recent. Could we start a sondage, on the forum, with the choice between 3 or 4 pictures ? 😉. After, when Richard will watch the New photo, he gives his opinion...

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KateR
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Re: Website Redesign

Post by KateR » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:37 pm

It is taking me forever to learn all the programming stuff that has happened in the last 20 years. Probably the main reason that the site has continued to work this long is that it was SIMPLE. But I'm trying to figure out how to make it "responsive" so that it resizes automatically on mobile devices, and it's an enormous pain.

I finally downloaded and started learning new software that is supposed to help with that, but it's not easy to learn. And the software allows you to build 125 pages and upload to a site with 20GB of space.

I checked the properties. My site is 50GB, and has 40,000 files. I'm not kidding. 40,000.

I enjoy learning new stuff, but this is going to take time. I may post some sample pages online for people to check out to see if they appear as they should on different devices. Right now I'm trying to figure out how to get the menu buttons to disappear into a little "Menu" symbol (three horizonal lines) with a drop-down when it reaches mobile size. Anyone know how to do that? I've been googling youtube and every one is different.

Once I get the basics, it should be fairly easy to change color schemes. As for pictures, it's not easy to find good hi-res current pictures that I own/can get the rights to for a homepage picture. I'll take suggestions, but I skimmed through my library of 10,000 pictures, and there aren't many.

Back to work.

Kate

UPDATE (two and a half hours later): I'm closing in on a solution for the disappearing menu, but it's easier to write it in raw code than to try to figure it out on the software! :roll:

Jerseycoconut
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Re: Website Redesign

Post by Jerseycoconut » Tue Aug 14, 2018 3:01 pm

Kate,
You go girl! Sounds like so much work, and for us!. Thank You!

Your site runs so smooth, I don't even know it is that complicated behind the scenes. The tech goes right over my head. Change is scary, but, quite a wonderful thing when complete.

Inviting us to participate is great. Are the changes in both the 'Forum' and 'Home Page' or just one or the other?
Suggestions/Questions?
* Can their be a change so that we do not need a third party to post 'our' photos?
* "Pop Ups?" Please no. With malware, spyware, 'Ad' noxious-ware, my blocker will stay on.
* For 'Home Page' image, how about a different one each month? Is it that complicated? How about a poll from viewers over which 12 for the year?
* By the way, blue is my favorite, love the rainbow, but, please make the contrast easy on the eyes ( or is it the glasses? :oops: ) Maybe, RDA's favorite color for 'Home Page'?
* Do you need any 'sharing' of funds from us? This must be an expense? Even a 'one time' share of your classes cost? Let us know, we who can not share tech advice, can share in another way.

You built it, they will come! (I may need directions :P )

Thank you again!
Jerseycoconut

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JackGywer
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Re: Website Redesign

Post by JackGywer » Wed Aug 15, 2018 6:50 am

You have a big job ahead of you and I do not want to imagine how much work that means. But times have changed and eventually you have to adapt, although I love the simplicity of this website very much.
By the way, I love the blue, my favorite color.
Just like Jerseycoconut I would be interested in how you finance the Website ? Most websites finance through advertising, which is quite annoying, but not to change, if you want to use these sites.

Is there a way to donate for the site?
I would do that immediately and many others would certainly do that also.
If at least I can contribute something to the website, I would like to do it that way.
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https://jannick0104.wixsite.com/jackgywer


I continue to follow my heart,
that does not have to know the mind.


J.K.

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KateR
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Re: Website Redesign

Post by KateR » Thu Aug 16, 2018 4:22 pm

Jerseycoconut wrote: Your site runs so smooth, I don't even know it is that complicated behind the scenes. The tech goes right over my head. Change is scary, but, quite a wonderful thing when complete.
I enjoy the learning process (as long as the instructions are clear. And they aren't always! There is a lot of trial and error going on here.) But things have changed so drastically in 20 years that I can't just "tweak" the site to adjust it anymore. I literally have to rewrite every single page. Who knows where things will be in another 20 years, but I don't think I'll have the energy to do it all again! I'm trying to come up with a simplified, clean structure that will last.
Inviting us to participate is great. Are the changes in both the 'Forum' and 'Home Page' or just one or the other?
I didn't build the Forum - that's a third party app. There are adjustments I can make to it, but that's not my focus right now. Eventually I can decide if I want to alter the appearance or functions, or use a different app altogether.
* Can their be a change so that we do not need a third party to post 'our' photos?
Unfortunately, I don't have the ability to do that. If you are posting something that is already on my site, you can link directly, but anything that comes from somewhere else has to be hosted somewhere else.
* "Pop Ups?" Please no. With malware, spyware, 'Ad' noxious-ware, my blocker will stay on.
Yeah, I was afraid of that. But the Photo Gallery is going to be a big concern. In order to be practical, all those thousands of little thumbnails should only have to load up once, and then the enlargement should open somewhere else without having to go back and forth. Right now, the enlargement opens in another frame, but frames are no longer being supported. I can't find ANY resource that gives a CSS alternative to frames, except opening in a new window. I'm hoping that CSS Grid or Javascript will have a solution, but I'm not fluent enough in those yet.
* For 'Home Page' image, how about a different one each month? Is it that complicated? How about a poll from viewers over which 12 for the year?
That's certainly possible. It's not all that complicated to change out the homepage photo(s). Right now I'm experimenting with automatically rotating pictures.
* By the way, blue is my favorite, love the rainbow, but, please make the contrast easy on the eyes ( or is it the glasses? :oops: ) Maybe, RDA's favorite color for 'Home Page'?
Yikes. As much as I like RDA, his favorite color is orange, and I just can't bring myself to build an orange page. :shock: I know shades of blues and greens look pretty much the same to him, but I find those the most soothing and "classic" shades. The good news is, once I get the template built, changing out the colors is relatively easy. I haven't asked RDA for his input yet. Right now I'm just trying to figure out if it can be done!
* Do you need any 'sharing' of funds from us? This must be an expense? Even a 'one time' share of your classes cost? Let us know, we who can not share tech advice, can share in another way.
That's very kind. Yes, it is expensive to keep the site going, mostly because of its size and bandwidth. As I mentioned, the software I am working with (that professionals use) considers 125 pages and 20GB to be a very large site. My site has 40,000 files and 50GB, and it will explode when I finally start adding more videos to the gallery. That costs money, but I've always been rather proud that I haven't taken money for it, and I haven't used RDA to make money for myself. I have considered adding an advertising banner, but I find those annoying. The Amazon links on the Store page do generate a tiny amount of money, so that's one way to help. As long as you click through to Amazon on any one of those links, ANYTHING you buy on that visit, whether it is RDA-related or not, helps! :)
You built it, they will come! (I may need directions :P )
I do hope so. My goal right now is to make the site "responsive," meaning that it will flow smoothly on smartphones, tablets, and any size computer screen without having to zoom in and scroll around in order to read the tiny print. I'm making progress there and will soon have a prototype ready for people to try out to see if it works on your own devices.
JackGywer wrote:You have a big job ahead of you and I do not want to imagine how much work that means. But times have changed and eventually you have to adapt, although I love the simplicity of this website very much.
I'm trying to maintain the simplicity, especially the ease of navigation, but frames made that so much easier, and sites nowadays that don't use frames just aren't meant to be this big. :shock:
By the way, I love the blue, my favorite color.
Most of the feedback I'm getting from here and in email seems to favor the blue. It's gone through may shades of blue over the years. The current color scheme was meant to make it stand out a bit, but I may try something more soft or neutral. Like I said, the color combinations are really the easiest part to change (especially now that CSS lets me design buttons and backgrounds directly and I don't have to create each little button by hand!)
Is there a way to donate for the site?
I would do that immediately and many others would certainly do that also.
If at least I can contribute something to the website, I would like to do it that way.
Thank you. I do appreciate those offers. :) As I said, though, right now the best way to do that is to do your Amazon shopping by using the link on the Store page. :)

Thanks for the input! I'll let you know when the first prototype homepage is ready for testing (soon)! :)

Kate

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JackGywer
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Re: Website Redesign

Post by JackGywer » Thu Aug 16, 2018 7:22 pm

Oh, I understand, as soon as I use the link in the store and buy something, it helps the website, no matter what I buy ?
But this applies just to Amazon U.K. and Amazon.com.
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https://jannick0104.wixsite.com/jackgywer


I continue to follow my heart,
that does not have to know the mind.


J.K.

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KateR
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Re: Website Redesign

Post by KateR » Sat Aug 18, 2018 4:19 pm

JackGywer wrote: Oh, I understand, as soon as I use the link in the store and buy something, it helps the website, no matter what I buy ?
But this applies just to Amazon U.K. and Amazon.com.
Yes. And yes. :)

If you use any of the links on the Store page to go to Amazon (com or uk), then anything you buy during that visit will count toward the site, whether it is one of the direct links or something unrelated that you surfed to.

But yes, I have only set it up for "com" and "uk." I'm not sure if other versions (countries) of Amazon also offer this. One of the issues is that other countries pay in their own currency, so I may, after several months, get a small check for a few pounds, and it may cost me half that just to cash the foreign currency check! :roll: But I suppose I could look into other options for those who don't shop in those two countries.

In the meantime, (after many days of struggling with a steep learning curve), I have finally managed to complete a first rough draft of the homepage.

For now it still uses the same basic colors and graphics as before. What I was really concentrating on was learning how to make it "responsive." In other words, it will appear slightly different on different screen sizes.

On a smartphone or small tablet, the two main photos and two main text boxes should appear in a single column on top of each other with the text big enough to read without too much expanding. Also, the little "Menu" symbol (three little white horizontal lines) should appear in the upper left under the title, and clicking on it should make the navigation panel slide into view.

On slightly bigger screens, that little menu symbol should disappear and a full navigation menu should appear on the left. At first the photos and text boxes will still line up in a single column, but on wider screens they should rearrange themselves into two rows with the pictures/text side-by-side. Finally, on screens wider than 1400px, the screen will stop "growing" and that dark blue background will appear behind the page.

I hope!

I've tried it out on my computer and my phone, and it seems to be working, but I'm curious what it does on other screen sizes and tablets.

Here is the link:
http://rdanderson.bravehost.com/new

For now I haven't activated the links on the page. If you click on the banner at the top of the page, it should take you to the current website. And if you click on the "Forum" link, it should take you to the Forum. But the others go nowhere right now. Oh, and I'm curious what the little social icons at the bottom do. I don't post to Facebook and Twitter, so I can't really test them out, but they should allow you to "share" on social media.

Anyway, that's what I've been doing for the past week! If this works, then I can play around with images and colors. Hopefully the hardest part should be done and now it's just a matter of using the template to reformat the other 40,000 files. :shock:

I'd be interested to know if it is working for other people, and if there are any suggestions as to size or flow or navigation. You can post here or send me an email. Either way, I'll probably still be sitting here in front of the computer figuring out the next step!

Kate

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JackGywer
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Re: Website Redesign

Post by JackGywer » Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:13 pm

Okay, thanks for your answer. A different way than through Amazon .com or Amazon U.K., would be fantastic.
Both variants for me uninteresting, because of shipping costs and waiting time :roll: :roll:




Okay, that looks pretty good!
Everything looks fine on the tablet, the control menu is on the left and the contributions are among each other.


Tablet:
Image

Smartphone:
Image
Image

I can not read the text completely on my smartphone, the first letter are missing on the left. :?:
I've never had that before on a website!
Does anyone else have the problem?
Image

https://jannick0104.wixsite.com/jackgywer


I continue to follow my heart,
that does not have to know the mind.


J.K.

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