Suggestions

10 years 7 months ago - 10 years 7 months ago #76460 by Frank Ryan
Suggestions was created by Frank Ryan
michaeloconnell wrote:

5. If anyone has a suggestion, let us know. If we think it's a good idea, we will try to implement it.


(don't take this personally Mike! ;-) )

OK, I have a few suggestions but let me first say this.
When the site changed over to the new format I just got stuck in
and said to myself,
'ok, it's different, the sections are sparse, a little confusing to use but, let's give it time, I'm sure it will grow and become great'

At first there were a lot of people posting about 'change it back'
or 'I don't like this or that'.
I remember having a chat with Mike and it was said that once the changeover was
made there was no going back to anything so we had to make it the best we can.
The IFAS council had made their decision and we have to respect that.

Ok. Grand.

So I sat back for a while and looked at the site objectively.
Then I put up a few posts suggesting certain things,
specifically about 'layout' and 'site sections'
NOT because I PERSONALLY didn't LIKE them -
it was because I felt my suggestions might make the site better,
more user friendly for everyone.
Simple things like;
- Having a welcome note at the top of the main page that stays at the top
ensuring first time visitors were welcomed and knew what the site was about.
- Making sure the page expands to suit all browsers
(there is a lot of talk about suiting things for dial up users,
well, you have to cater for monitor sizes as well!)
Other suggestions such as background colours, main menu sections etc. etc.

TBH - I did feel that my suggestions were being taken as COMPLAINTS.
e.g
michaeloconnell wrote:

I think there is a bit of confusion on a number of fronts here:

1. The front page was re-organised as some people complained that it was dis-organised


I was not (and am not) complaining.
I was simply point out things whith the site that I thought
could be improved or changed for the betterment of
the site and the ultimate success of it.
We were after all ASKED for our feedback.
But as I say, I genuinely felt that it was being perceived
as complaining.

I found myself in the end prefacing posts with
'now I don't want to offend the web team'
or
'please don't take this the wrong way I know ye do this
on your own time' etc.
So, I basically just gave up and just shut my mouth.

Fast forward to now and well,
the site has been up (in terms of the internet)
for a long time now and there are still issues that seem to
be bieng ignored.
The biggest one is the fall off of users.
There is a thread going at the moment debating the
'success or failure' of the site and I have stayed out of it.
Not because I dont think John had a point in starting it or
discussing it but I just think that if you post something in
it other than saying 'the IFAS site is brilliant!' then
you are going to be seen as being negative and a complainer.

So,
I've decided to just list out a few things here that
I personally think might need to be looked at or worked on.
I'm hoping it's seen as a productive thing.


LAYOUT.
I cannot stress just how important layout is when it comes to
a main page on a website.
Hopefully these suggestions might help.

At the top of the page there is this;
''IFAS - Home of Irish Astronomy.''
It does not need to be there.
Thats where the Welcome note should be but sometimes slips down the line on the main page.
I think it should always be at the top. Always.
It's there for first time visitors to understand what the site is about.
If you wanted you could put ''IFAS - Home of Irish Astronomy.''
into the banner logo at the very top.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I would suggest ONE news bit possibly two on the main page under the welcome note.
Obviously the most current one.
Then put all the other news bits eg:

IYA 2009
100 Hours of Astronomy
IFAS Astronomer Of The Year 2008
Into the NEWS section

and as the last line of the current news bite on the main page
say - For more on this and other IFAS news click the IFAS NEWS section to the left.
This way the news month on month is recorded in it's own section
and it looks active!
At the moment it is just showing links to outside sites.
I would also suggest you change it to 'IFAS NEWS'.

This would accomplish TWO things.
It would bring make the main page more compact and
make the 'Latest Posts from Forum' , 'Latest Images' & 'Weather'
rise up on the page and be seen.
It would also make the NEWS section active and maybe more people
would begin clicking into the other sections also then.

I would also be great to have reports & photos put into the IFAS NEWS
section about the IYA & 100 hours events as they come in!
Again - much of that can be lifted from the posts on the main boards.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


The main menu section should be listed in order of
importance & usage.
EG:

HOME
FORUM
IFAS NEWS
IFAS CLUBS & MAPS
ARTICLES
SEARCH
LINKS
IFAS COUNCIL
IFAS CONSTITUTION

As for the sections that are clickable but dead
eg:
Articles
then it really is up to the web team to upload as much as they
can from the main boards to this section to get the ball rolling.
eg - there are several walkthrus on the main messageboards about
astrophotography but none in the Articles section.
Put some of them in there.
If after an allotted time nobody uses them - GET RID of the section!
You cant use the mantra 'it's up to the users to fill them'
If they DON'T fill or use them then GET RID OF THEM!
Empty, scarce or dead sections in main links from the main page
only serve to make the site look unused and out of date.
Those sections have been up there for ages and nobody really uses them.
If the webteam want to keep them then they will have to make sure
they are filled and updated.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As a suggestion for a main section
in the
HOME
FORUM
IFAS NEWS
IFAS CLUBS & MAPS
Etc
Would be
WEATHER SECTION

the weather is of major importance to us astronomers here in Ireland.
I constantly check several weather sites daily.
If you had a page that had different weather outputs
such as jet stream isobars wind etc on it
all in one place and all tailored for the astronomer
it would be a great resource.
Something like
www.ihpa.ie

Now,
I have not got a clue if a page like that is possible
but I think it would be great.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Another section for the main links could be
COMPETITIONS

and in there have the IFAS astrophotography cmp each month.
OR
even if the link just too k you to the comp section on the boards
it would be a start.
Lots of people want it back - why not give them what they want!?
It would also showcase the unreal talent that is out there at the moment
and be a real feather in the IFAS cap!
Lets use the resources available to us!

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

I don't post images any more into the threads as firstly
when I try to I get errors and secondly
I feel the web team would prefer us not to.
I'm not a fan of outside links unless they are absolutely necessary.
I personally think images embedded in a thread make it more
alive and it flows better and again user friendly.
Yes I am biased BUT the astrophotography section is and has been
the most active section on the messageboards so we really should
cater to this as best we can

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


I think that's enough feedback for now
:woohoo:

Remember they are just suggestions!

My Astrophotography
Shannonside Astronomy Club __________________________________________
Meade ETX-125PE, Bresser 10 x 50 Binos & Me Peepers

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10 years 7 months ago #76476 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Suggestions
OK, this will take a bit of time to go through Frank. I'm getting a cuppa tea now and sitting down to read this.
I'll come back and answer each of your points one by one.
Thanks,
Michael.

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10 years 7 months ago - 10 years 7 months ago #76478 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Suggestions
Mike,
might I suggest
(I know this may sound a little silly but
it might help to see each point a little clearer)

Print off a screen grab of the main page,
the whole lot of it from top to bottom.
Mark the bit you can see in your monitor with
a black line (to represent the screen area)
then look at each of the points I'm making,
maybe even use a pencil / highlighter to scribble in or
mark the areas I'm talking about.

Sometimes it helps to 'storyboard' the screen physical.
Rather than just clicking back and forth through the site.

Just a thought.
I often do this when I'm designing sites
or updating old ones.
Literally cutting and pasting.

My Astrophotography
Shannonside Astronomy Club __________________________________________
Meade ETX-125PE, Bresser 10 x 50 Binos & Me Peepers

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10 years 6 months ago #76482 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Suggestions
Just going through the menu now Frank.
Where would you put the Calendar?
Would you still leave a link in the Main Menu?
If so, what priority?
Thanks,
Michael.

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10 years 6 months ago #76483 by DaveGrennan
Replied by DaveGrennan on topic Suggestions
You know something that struck me. One thing that is lacking (and always has been) is detailed tutorial articles about the various aspects of our hobby. Crossed my mind that although there are a couple, there are not nearly enough. So perhaps it's time for all of us to get up off our BS and do something about it.


This is something which draws people to the site and might just keep a few more.

Of course I'll volunteer to write an article or two if a couple more of ye take up the gauntlet too.

Regards and Clear Skies,

Dave.
J41 - Raheny Observatory.
www.webtreatz.com
Equipment List here

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10 years 6 months ago #76484 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Suggestions

At the top of the page there is this;
''IFAS - Home of Irish Astronomy.''
It does not need to be there.


Yes, I can see your point.
I have trawled through a load of settings, but for some reason, that text seems difficult to find. My knowledge of all this is a bit limited though so I will keep looking.
Moving on to next item now but will come back to this.
Michael.

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10 years 6 months ago #76486 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Suggestions
DaveGrennan wrote:

You know something that struck me. One thing that is lacking (and always has been) is detailed tutorial articles about the various aspects of our hobby. Crossed my mind that although there are a couple, there are not nearly enough. So perhaps it's time for all of us to get up off our BS and do something about it.


This is something which draws people to the site and might just keep a few more.

Of course I'll volunteer to write an article or two if a couple more of ye take up the gauntlet too.


Good suggestion Dave. Count me in.

Michael.

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10 years 6 months ago #76488 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Suggestions
OK, lets work on the Main menu first before I "break" anything :-) :

HOME
FORUM
IFAS NEWS
IFAS CLUBS & MAPS
CALENDAR
LATEST WEATHER
COMPETITIONS
ARTICLES
SEARCH
LINKS
IFAS COUNCIL
IFAS CONSTITUTION

How does this look?
Does it look cluttered or is it ok?

BTW, as an idea, if we have the astrophotography competition back, would there be interest in a sketching competition?

Michael.

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10 years 6 months ago #76492 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Suggestions
Sorry,
I actually forgot to put the calendar
into the main menu list.
But where you have it is perfect.


As for the competitions -
yeah why not an imaging comp!
If it stirs interest then great.
It's something new to offer and I for one would
be up for that challenge each month!

Dave G -
You are dead right.
If the articles section is to be of any use
it must have useful stuff in them.
There are a good few walkthrus already on the
boards.
I recall Dave L did a great walkthru on how to use Registax.
that kind of thing should be just plucked from the boards
and put into the articles sections.
The posters won't mind I'm sure!!

My Astrophotography
Shannonside Astronomy Club __________________________________________
Meade ETX-125PE, Bresser 10 x 50 Binos & Me Peepers

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10 years 6 months ago #76497 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Suggestions
OK, I will see what I can do. Won't all be done tonight though obviously.
Once it is up, we can see how it looks. If it needs to be tweaked again, then we can do that.
This will give others users a chance to see it and give their views.

Michael.

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10 years 6 months ago #76499 by phoenix
Replied by phoenix on topic Suggestions
I did a gradient removal tutorial using Pixinsight for another forum which I can post in a section.

Kieran
16" ODK (incoming), Mesu Mount 200, APM TMB 80mm, SXV H16, SXV H9
J16 An Carraig Observatory
ancarraigobservatory.co.uk/

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10 years 6 months ago #76516 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Suggestions

One thing that is lacking (and always has been) is detailed tutorial articles about the various aspects of our hobby.

So perhaps it's time for all of us to get up off our BS and do something about it.


Tied in with the Articles section where poeple can add anything they think visitors would find useful, as requested, back last Summer.

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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10 years 6 months ago #76526 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Suggestions
Seanie,
have you read my first post?
I'd like to hear what you think
seeing as you play such a big part in the
design and development of the site.

My Astrophotography
Shannonside Astronomy Club __________________________________________
Meade ETX-125PE, Bresser 10 x 50 Binos & Me Peepers

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10 years 6 months ago #76527 by dmcdona
Replied by dmcdona on topic Suggestions
Frank, don't take this personally but do you never give up belly aching? ;)

Clearly you spent a good bit of time on that list - well done and thanks!

I agree with ye on the "I like the website but..." comment. I think the web folks here though are a little thicker skinned than we give them credit for. Sure - they are volunteers and all their hard, unpaid work is appreciated. But they accept constructive critisism for what it is. Or at least we hope they do :P

Dave

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10 years 6 months ago - 10 years 6 months ago #76532 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Suggestions
-

My Astrophotography
Shannonside Astronomy Club __________________________________________
Meade ETX-125PE, Bresser 10 x 50 Binos & Me Peepers

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10 years 6 months ago - 10 years 6 months ago #76579 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Suggestions
Mike.
I was looking again at the 'welcome' note and
I had a thought.
It's in the form of a 'blog' entry and so by nature
takes up a lot of space.
(Lots of un nessesary text in it to do with time it
was posted and who posted it and soforth)
Maybe a banner style welcome note at the top
might look better and also give way for
more space on the main page.

I did a mock up:

farm4.static.flickr.com/3290/3285200524_530122c9fb_o.jpg


My Astrophotography
Shannonside Astronomy Club __________________________________________
Meade ETX-125PE, Bresser 10 x 50 Binos & Me Peepers

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10 years 6 months ago #76580 by dmcdona
Replied by dmcdona on topic Suggestions
Frank - that looks good to me. And fair play to you for being so proactive. Thanks.

Over to the webteam...

Dave

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10 years 6 months ago #76582 by darragh
Replied by darragh on topic Suggestions
All the author, time dates etc have been removed from the front page items now
Darragh

GTalk: darragh.sherwin at gmail.com

The Colour Lab PhotoBlog
Nature and Landscape Photography
OffShoot Photography Society
The Photography Society for South Dublin

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10 years 6 months ago #76621 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Suggestions
OK, I took a look and tried to make the changes to the Main Menu. However, I'm reluctant to press too many buttons in the control panel in case I bring the whole bloody thing down (imagine the "fun" then, eh :)).

Darragh & Seanie,

Can you update the Main Menu into this format please.

HOME
FORUM
IFAS NEWS
IFAS CLUBS & MAPS
CALENDAR
LATEST WEATHER
COMPETITIONS
ARTICLES
SEARCH
LINKS
IFAS COUNCIL
IFAS CONSTITUTION

We'll give this a try and see how it works. After a few weeks we can review it and tweak if necessary. Once the new pages are created for these new additions to the menu, I will do what I can to try and add content in there.

Thanks,

Michael.

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10 years 6 months ago - 10 years 6 months ago #76643 by Seanie_Morris
Replied by Seanie_Morris on topic Suggestions
michaeloconnell wrote:

OK, I took a look and tried to make the changes...


...will do what I can to try and add content in there.

Thanks,

Michael.


Personally, I am reluctant to start editing on-the-fly like this because 2 people want to. I mean, why clutter the menu like your suggestion Mike? Why have Weather on a seperate page - it is a small section (widget?) as it is, and I like it at the bottom of the homepage. We don't do 'competitions'. You can try it if you like, or Darragh, I'm just chipping into the 'suggestion' argument. I'm also thinking too many cooks and all that, which caused headaches a year ago.

I think if you (generic 'You' ) start putting pen to paper and submit your preferred suggestions rather than just dive in, would be a better approach.

Seanie.

Midlands Astronomy Club.
Radio Presenter (Midlands 103), Space Enthusiast, Astronomy Outreach Co-ordinator.
Former IFAS Chairperson and Secretary.

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10 years 6 months ago #76651 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Suggestions
darragh wrote:

All the author, time dates etc have been removed from the front page items now
Darragh


It's looking a lot neater Darragh.

My Astrophotography
Shannonside Astronomy Club __________________________________________
Meade ETX-125PE, Bresser 10 x 50 Binos & Me Peepers

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10 years 6 months ago #76652 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Suggestions
michaeloconnell wrote:


HOME
FORUM
IFAS NEWS
IFAS CLUBS & MAPS
CALENDAR
LATEST WEATHER
COMPETITIONS
ARTICLES
SEARCH
LINKS
IFAS COUNCIL
IFAS CONSTITUTION


Looks good Mike,

Have you ascertained what can be put into the weather page yet?
I've scoured around the net but this site keeps coming up trumps
in terms of providing everything an astronomer would need.
www.ihpa.ie/weather-all-in-one.htm

Indeed the website it's from is actually an Irish hang gliding website.
I'm not sure what kind of permissions you need to use the Met Eireann data but
they seem to be able to use it.

It will be still nice to have the wee weather 'forecast' on the
bottom of the main page as we do now but at least with all the
current data available inc satellite images, wind speed & jet stream
in a page of it's own we can make a
more informed decision on the weather.


As for the calender.
There still seems to be issues with granting certain users
the ability to add an event.
Seems it's just the IFAS reps.
I had to get Darragh to delete all the SAC entrys so
we could add them ourselves and in so doing be able to
edit them.
I've just one up at the moment (for a public observing event in March)
but it's looking goog and the HTML option is neat.
Hopefully more people will use it once the bugs are ironed out.


So you are going to go with a competitions page?
Fair play to you.
I hope it go's well,
it seems there was some interest again to have the photo comp back
and as you suggested a sketching comp may indeed get some interest
going, no harm in trying anyway right?

IFAS news.
I can hear the ticker tape already!
Still,
all the news as it happens and happened in one page
for prosperity seems like a good way of recording
all of efforts of IFAS and a great way of showcasing
the group efforts of the member clubs.

My Astrophotography
Shannonside Astronomy Club __________________________________________
Meade ETX-125PE, Bresser 10 x 50 Binos & Me Peepers

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10 years 6 months ago #76658 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Suggestions
Actually Mike.
One of the issues before was that some of the sections
were empty when the menu links were put up.
If you put up links to empty or under construction pages (eg Weather / Comps etc)
then it will loose the effect.

Maybe it's better to design up the pages first,
get them as best you can and then 'go live' with the links?

My Astrophotography
Shannonside Astronomy Club __________________________________________
Meade ETX-125PE, Bresser 10 x 50 Binos & Me Peepers

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10 years 6 months ago - 10 years 6 months ago #76689 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Suggestions
Just home now and I see there is a weather section added now. Looks really well! Thanks to whoever did that! Nice to see that good ideas are acted upon. Thanks for the suggestion Frank.

Michael.

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10 years 6 months ago - 10 years 6 months ago #76694 by Frank Ryan
Replied by Frank Ryan on topic Suggestions
Wow. :woohoo:
That looks great!
pity I can't say the same for the weather tonight!

Well done lads.

Ye do have the rights to use that info in the page
I take it!?
I'd hate to see a lawsuit happening!!!
:unsure:

My Astrophotography
Shannonside Astronomy Club __________________________________________
Meade ETX-125PE, Bresser 10 x 50 Binos & Me Peepers

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