Talk:Main Page

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Proposal to restructure the Main Page

I had the chance to read our Main Page on a smaller, older computer recently. I was a bit dismayed by the way it presents on a small screen. Some of our best content is awfully far down the page. I am concerned that most users will not scroll down that far. I also note that Peggy is putting some of her President's notes on her userpage rather than here.

What would you all think about restructuring the page so that it shows snippets with a <read more...> link rather than putting all the content on the page itself? For example, instead of including the full description of the Beginner Class and all the logistics, we might display:

  The Medina County Beekeepers will hold their annual Beekeeping For Beginners Class starting on Feb 7. The class will cover how to get started, equipment, costs, basic care and feeding of honey bees, colony growth and development, trouble shooting, good neighbor tactics, ... read more  

In theory, this would give us more screen space to highlight more topics without flooding the main page. It would, however, increase the editing workload a bit. Not only would you have to create the page with your announcement but you'd also have to edit the snippet on the main page. It may also discourage some readers who don't click through the link. Thoughts? Mike Rossander (talk) 19:02, 31 January 2011 (EST)

Mike: To me the home page of a website should show a visitor what the website is about. It should be interesting enough to encourage members to want to visit the site, and visitors to consider joining the club. People like pictures, color, cartoons, timely articles, and anything that creates interest. Sounds like marketing, doesn't it? Guess it is, marketing for members.
I like your idea to limit the information on the main page. Even with a large screen (I have 19") the page is 2 full pages long and it's easy to miss (or forget) that there is more information further down. Some of it's habit. Most websites have a main page that is only one page. Tabs or links to other pages/topics. Specific items such as the Beg Class might be a large bold headline and maybe a brief description, with a link for those interested in details.
It would be great to see some pictures and color. A small picture of Peggy in the corner would make her article warmer. She has a great smile!
Perhaps a current or timely mini article front and center to catch viewer's attention. "How are your bees doing?" "It sure has been cold this winter, yada,yada." Many saw the article about the red bees.... it was interesting. "Your bees are starting to raise brood already.... are you ready?" Every time I see a picture of bees at the hive, it gets the juices flowing. I get excited for spring.
The bottom half of the main page is sort of lost due to it's position. Would it work to add another box on the side ...."Major Topics" or "Topics of Interest" and get rid of all the stuff at the bottom? Perhaps between Navigation and Toolbox? Some of the topics could stay. some are already in Nav box, but it would only take a small box instead of a whole page. That alone would get us to almost one page.
Ever consider adding a large header for the club? Right now the most prominent thing on the page is the header.... "Main Page". Maybe Medina County Beekeepers? Above the Main Page header? Below it? Or add the Medina Beekeepers Header and do away with Main Page header (Just assume first page is main page, or "home"). Maybe move the picture of the month up? Of course, I do not know what links to what.
It might be worth considering relocating the call for help for the website (Sorry). As important as it is, I suspect few members respond. And that is the juiciest spot on the website ............ great for a good picture, article, etc. Perhaps a picture of guest speaker from previous month and very brief review, an article, or picture of members beeyard. Or how about a "What you should be doing Right Now!" Feeding, stop feeding, swarm control, add supers, etc. Newbees would love this stuff. We would build a library of tips so easier each year and valuable to new beekeepers.
Since I am offering suggestions, I'm a firm believer that those who talk-the-talk should be willing to walk-the-walk! I don't have any pictures yet. But I've contacted a few people and if I can get them, am willing to take on the work of adding some pictures on a regular basis. I could also help with adding a picture and comment from the previous meeting. But don't want to conflict with newsletter???!!! Or a timely article (I can do the work, but would need input from our experts).
Finally, if we want the page to say welcome to MCBA with a few small articles, the club could consider putting the President's Corner in the newsletter. Depends on the agenda of the article. That is not a suggestion, just brainstorming.
These ideas are to encourage more members to use the website, and make it easier for them and for visitors. Some of the items are not as intuitive for technophobes. Of course, since I am new I do not know what the preferences of the club are. Just food for thought and an offer to assist.
Paul Kosmos 18:39, 4 February 2011 (EST)
I agree that restructuring it would be a good idea. I actually didn't realize there was content so far down the first time I used the site. Maybe a newspaper sort of layout - with a headline (hyperlink to full content) and a snippet would be nice and it might be useful to incorporate some of the other ideas as well. Also, what do you think about a member spotlight feature, where each XXX(day, week, month, whatever) a member is asked to write a little blurb about themselves, or their bees, or both. It might be a nice way to get to know each other better.Adam Stearns 21:15, 4 February 2011 (EST)
Thank you both for your feedback. I've tried to incorporate some of the suggestions in the new layout. Please let me know what you think. I also reordered the blocks to bring up the picture and reorganize the way the eye flows across the page. I kind of like the 'quadrant' view but maybe there's a better way?
The big challenge with this new layout will be aging off old "announcements" and ensuring a steady stream of new ones. Please feel free to jump in with your own edits and updates.
To some of the other suggestions:
  • The "Main Page" title is a system default. I do not know how to change it. Someone would have to dig into the MediaWiki documentation to see if it's possible and if so, how.
  • The "Medina County Beekeepers" header is, in theory, met through the logo at top left. Nothing but the website uses that logo, though, so it's not very recognizable yet. Should we switch back to a text-only logo? Some other image?
  • Member spotlights are a great idea and one that we actually attempted on the old website. Unfortunately, the idea died when we couldn't recruit updates. After 6 months of the same person on the page, we pulled the section. If someone is willing to take ownership of the content creation, we can easily add a section back.
  • I don't know how Peggy plans to use the President's Corner. Kim usually used it to either provide seasonal advice like you suggested or to announce updates to new bee research. I've seen some other clubs use that space effectively to make a more personal connection. It depends on how regularly that section gets updated, though.
  • The navigation box at left can be expanded but the experience of other wikis shows that clutter in that column is extremely bad.
That's all I can think of for now. Looking forward to additional thoughts. Or even better, just be bold and make some changes. Let's see what they look like. (Or be bold and revert the changes so far if they didn't make it better.) Thanks. Mike Rossander (talk) 11:35, 8 February 2011 (EST)
Mike: You sure have been busy. Many changes and lots of updates. The Main Page looks better already. The topics/articles look better and are more interesting. Nice start. Also, thanks for answering our questions.
Now that the topics from the lower part of the page have been moved up, several of them are duplicated on the Main Page. Calendar, Swarm List, Newsletter, Beeyard Reports and Recipes show up twice. Do you think it would open up space to remove them from the Topics section?Paul Kosmos 19:47, 14 February 2011 (EST)

New member observation

I am a new member and have never used a wiki format webpage before. When I was first looking over the site I was, at first confused that it was difficult to find the information that I was looking for. Nothing specific but I found it very cumbersome and awkward to digest. After great lengths I found the help page and sort of went from there. I still do not have a complete handle on this site yet but I think I would not be alone in saying that as a casual web surfer for local bee info, this format is confusing. I guess I am saying this... Think in terms of what you normally see when you Google something and glance over the first page of the site. You give it about 10 seconds before you decide to stay or move on. I feel our site makes you work too hard for basic info or at least does not inform you right off the bat how to approach this site. By the way, this comment has been given from the cheapest of seats and as an active member in several organizations, I realize that 90% of the work is accomplished by 5% of its members and I applaud the efforts of those who work to make this site better for all. H. Abiff 01:45, 3 May 2011 (EDT)

A great example of what I posted above is the fact that after searching around, I cannot find how to delete the record of multiple postings of the same comment and it sghows on the main page that I posted like four times. I was frozen out so I hit the save page button a couple of times.Ugh! H. Abiff 01:48, 3 May 2011 (EDT)

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