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Next week I'll be rolling out an update to rotarynews.com ... I need a little help beta testing the new code... I only have a windows and linux box with Mozilla1.1+, Konqueror, and IE6 to test with... on a very fast cable modem at home, and a OC3 at work... So I'm the upper end of the spectrum.
Some things I need to test:
1. Make sure it is as fast loading as the current code over a modem
2. Every thing is readable, easy to find
3. Make sure the code works, comments, reading the full articles
4. Make sure the "threads" work as well as the old code
Most of the links on the sides aren't working yet... and the poll needs a little work yet...
I didn't spend too much time, but here are some comments:
Looks good on Opera 6.01
Takes much longer to load than the old site. It's bearable (56k), but slower than most sites. The old site shows up when it's partially loaded, but the beta site waited to display until the whole thing was loaded. I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to web design, so I don't know why that is. I will say that I had deleted all of the data that Opera had saved very recently, and hadn't been to the old site since then. So it's not a case of Opera getting something out of cache and popping it up quickly as a result.
I didn't check too many links, the few I did worked fine.
It isn't high on my list of things to do, but I know there are those out there that just want the news... and others that check the site on handhelds, WAP phones, and text-based browsers... this is the page for them...
Hi, first I would like to say that I love rotarynews.com and have been visiting there for the last 5 years. Second, I am a web designer and developer with a degree in art. I think I like the layout of the old site better for one reason. The navigation is a little more intuitive. What makes the new layout harder to follow are the nav boxes that run down both sides of the page. I think the new colors work well. They are easy on the eyes and the text is easy to read.
The new layout for the thread board is 100% better. I think that the thread on the current site is not as easy to use and navigate as some of the newer site like this one. The thread pages are probably the most important feature on this type of enthusiast site because that is what keeps people coming back often. (I think I hit the RX7club site 5 times a day.) What your site has going for it now is that is the best source of reliable news and information about rotary related subjects. Tie that with and awesome thread page and your site would be perfect.
Here are my suggestions:
1. Make the navigation very easy and intuitive.
2. The layout of the page should center around the info (Stories)
3. Keep it simple, clean looking and fast.
If it ain't a rotor, it ain't a motor!
I'll echo the comment about improving the side menus for easier "at a glance" selections. The threads section is much better.
On my 1 MB/s DSL, it loaded quicker than the old site, actually.
The side on a whole looks better "finished" than the old site.
A critique: make the links under the news articles ("Read Full Article | Comments on Article | Add a Comment") stand out against the background better.
Nothing didn't work for me. I.E. 6.0, Windows XP, DSL.
Good work over there on rotarynews.com. You guys are awesome for RX-8 news. Been going there for about 3 years now.
"There are only three true sports: bull-fighting, mountain climbing, and motor racing; the rest are merely games."
- E. Hemingway
I had the same headache when I started to design my site... form over function, ya know?
In the end I decided to use about 4 images for the entire site (more in the forums). This keeps my bandwith at a minimum, displaying 99% text and four images for information.
At some point I'm going to have a news section dedicated to all things Mazda, which would include road tests and such (if I am so lucky :D). But yes I agree with the above comment.. keep it clean and fast loading. You only do yourself a favor in bandwith costs
If you need help in cross browser compliancy, I'm the king. My site works in ANY browser, at EVERY resolution (try 640x480 hehehe), and on any system (So far that I've tested..). I took a good 3 weeks making it work on everything. My next goal WOULD be to make it XHTML 1.0 compliant, but that's a helluva lot of work