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forumadmin
08-22-2008, 11:24 AM
We are in the process of making some revisions to the MWO web design, and would appreciate your help in testing it out to ensure it works well across common web browsers.

Here are two sample pages using the new design:
Home page: http://www.mountwashington.org/sample.php
Inside page: http://www.mountwashington.org/education/outreach/sample.php

Please take a look at these pages and if anything looks out of place, please fill out this feedback form (http://www.mountwashington.org/feedback.php).

The sample pages and feedback form will remain available until Monday, August 25th.

Thank you!

Rich
08-22-2008, 12:46 PM
Looks good to me.

CHRIS
08-22-2008, 01:26 PM
Everything looks great

Brad
08-22-2008, 01:57 PM
I checked them out using Firefox 3.0.1 and they looked fine. Also checked with IE 6 and IE 7 - worked fine. Behind a corporate firewall - fine.

One thing to think about though is screen resolution. On my laptop I am running 1024 x 768 and the web pages just fit. If I have a monitor set for a smaller resolution size, the pages will not be viewable in the window. Or if I reduce the browser window size the web pages do not adjust and shift words so everything is still viewable.

If I adjust the text size to be larger, then the page does not fit in the window.

I understand red is now a key color for MWO. However, it is a color most web designers know to stay away from for navigation purposes - like the links on the left side. Most color blind people lose the ability to see red first. For them, key navigation will not be viewable.

On a Windows Mobile 6 cell phone the home page is harder to deal with compared to the current production copy. The sponsor logos are fixed for the width of a computer screen and therefore do not change to be 2 lines of logos to be viewable on the cell phone. The observer comments are very hard to read because of the comment frame's scrolling. Several things do not line up well on the right side since the page is made up of elements of varying sizes.

My 3.5 cents worth

BlueDog
08-22-2008, 02:02 PM
FF3 and Safari on Mac both look fine

Brad
08-22-2008, 02:03 PM
Additional feedback:

Images do not all have text associated with them. A screen reader depends on this text to be able to read the page to a visually impaired person. For example the Yankee magazine link would not "appear" when using a screen reader since there is no associated text. The Observer's Comment picture's text is not helpful since it says to read the text below.

There are tools to check web pages to be ADA compliant and look for these things.

Brad
08-22-2008, 02:07 PM
I would be interested in folks' reaction to the two different logos - the one currently at the top of the forum and this new one.

The forum is
http://www.mountwashington.org/images/header-forums-mwobs.gif

and the new one has the colors reversed.
http://www.mountwashington.org/images/header2-mwobs.png

I find the forum version easier to see.

FisherCat
08-22-2008, 03:03 PM
All the pages worked good for me too, and I still prefer the forum logo.

hobbes
08-22-2008, 03:34 PM
Brad - The missing alt text is a result of images that will be dynamically included but have place holders for now. As part of the final testing, S.508/etc will also be checked against.

Brad
08-22-2008, 03:48 PM
Brad - The missing alt text is a result of images that will be dynamically included but have place holders for now. As part of the final testing, S.508/etc will also be checked against.
Cool - thanks.

M_Six
08-23-2008, 12:27 AM
The new site looks great, but as Brad pointed out, ADA compliance is a must. Looks like you're already thinking along those lines, though. Good for you. :cool:

Charlie
08-23-2008, 10:21 AM
im up for all new things so thanks for asking the users things about it .its nice that you want to know what we think


brad go ahead and speak whats on your mind dont hold nothing back :D:D:D

its nice you know all about this stuff to help out thanks

Brad
08-23-2008, 05:19 PM
im up for all new things so thanks for asking the users things about it .its nice that you want to know what we think


brad go ahead and speak whats on your mind dont hold nothing back :D:D:D

its nice you know all about this stuff to help out thanks
When asked my opinion, I give it. And I too like being asked. They can do what they wish with the feedback. But, it is sure nice that they listen.

Charlie
08-23-2008, 08:54 PM
it is nice you know what they are talking about and it is good you can help

BlueDog
08-24-2008, 08:38 AM
I have to agree with Brad on the over use of red. If you are going for 508 and Accessibility compliance you need more contrast. Even the a:hover color gets lost on my screen.

Brad, 1024x768 is consider the industry standard as the lowest common denominator. Even the cheapest computers these days ship with displays that can got to higher resolutions.

There are a couple tables in the layout that you can replace with CSS rules. However if you keep the tables you need to label them properly as "For layout only" or use TH and SCOPE tags.

Glad to see CSS used for the majority of the layout!

Personally, I can't stand scrolling boxes within a layout. Please do not subscribe to the very old rules that you need to try and fit everything on the first screen. Users know how to use the scroll bar and very often will 'explore' the page before making a decision of what to click on. If the old rule still held up, the web sites of most major papers, CNN, ESPN would fail.

In my opinion, most of the content in your center column doesn't change. Give the continually changing comment (Obs Comments) more real estate, move the current conditions box to the upper right. Show visitors there's reason to come back to the home page as their starting point for each visit. Possibly bring some video content to the homepage. I love the videos up on YouTube of the observers 'playing' in the winter.

Of course, having done web design/dev and usability studies for many years, having some jerk come in and tell you what to change after you've done all the work is somewhat annoying. :) So, I really do appreciate all the work that's been done by the folks that did this. Job well done!

Brad
08-24-2008, 09:51 AM
BlueDog,

Is 1024x768 still the standard from an ADA perspective? I would think as one enlarges the font or changes the screen resolution the layout should flow to fit. Maybe that is just my personal preference and no one else cares.

I agree on scrolling boxes. That was the one thing on the cell phone that did not work well at all. We need to think more about smaller devices. The idea of getting in a car to drive to an ATM to do a transfer of funds is an old concept. Pretty soon people will realize that for many folks finding a computer and a browser is a old concept too.

Bill O
08-24-2008, 10:09 AM
Something that flows well onto an iPhone or similar device seems essential today. That doesn't necessarily mean you need a "mobile" version, but that would be cool.

Visually, I think the reds look great. ADA compliant or not, red is the color scheme for MWO, I'm not sure how you get around not using it if they have committed so much to the new design. Also, MWO is not a public service website, nobody has to view it to survive. Can't the accessibility functions built into Windows compensate for most of these problems?

BlueDog
08-24-2008, 11:13 AM
BlueDog,

Is 1024x768 still the standard from an ADA perspective? I would think as one enlarges the font or changes the screen resolution the layout should flow to fit. Maybe that is just my personal preference and no one else cares.

I agree on scrolling boxes. That was the one thing on the cell phone that did not work well at all. We need to think more about smaller devices. The idea of getting in a car to drive to an ATM to do a transfer of funds is an old concept. Pretty soon people will realize that for many folks finding a computer and a browser is a old concept too.

AFAIK, ADA does not specify a screen resolution. I follow the industry standards fairly closely and have to build my stuff 508 compliant as well. (My last three sites were www.fema.gov, www.tsa.gov and www.dhs.gov)

From conferences I've been to, and the way I prefer to build my layouts is what I call "jello" containers. We've all seen the fixed width sites and the fluid ones that expand to fill the browser (ugh, worst thing you can do). In order for type to be scalable you need to set them in your CSS using EM or % (EM being the most preferred method.) Well, if you layout your block level DIVs using EM instead of pixels, then when you scale your browser to make the type larger, the layout will get larger as well. The downside is yes, you will make the layout wider than the screen and have to scroll left to right if you make everything large enough. But if you build the layout to try and avoid this you'll still have to build down to 640x480 and that's not reasonable.


Something that flows well onto an iPhone or similar device seems essential today. That doesn't necessarily mean you need a "mobile" version, but that would be cool.

Visually, I think the reds look great. ADA compliant or not, red is the color scheme for MWO, I'm not sure how you get around not using it if they have committed so much to the new design. Also, MWO is not a public service website, nobody has to view it to survive. Can't the accessibility functions built into Windows compensate for most of these problems?

As far as the iPhone is concerned, it has a REAL browser and you don't need to do anything specific, the site will display. As far as "smart phones" go, this is where the magic of building a standards based, syntactically correct CSS site really shines, as you simply need to build a mobile.css file. In the page header when you link to the css and specify type="mobile" any mobile browser will use that style sheet instead of the one that regular browsers use.

You can also specify a totally different style sheet for when a user prints a page on the site. You can hide certain DIVs (like the navigation since that's no use on paper and will cause the printer to use more sheets to print a long story), reveal others, user a B&W logo versus a color one, etc.

True the site doesn't HAVE to be 508/ADA compliant, but its a nice to have sort of thing and its fairly easy to build the site to be compliant, and you never know who will complain. Case in point of a web surfer that found Target Stores site not 508 compliant and then decided to sue on discrimination. While it only shows that you can cue anyone for anything in this country, they clearly have the budget to build it right.

As far as the red navigation goes, the links down the left side get lost visually. Since you are using the drop down menus across the top, the wider layout gives more room for another menu or two. If it was me, I'd look at the possibility of utilizing that a bit more and not even having to have a left nav column. This will free up tons of real estate and give you room to focus on the important stuff.... the content. If you are set on keeping the left nav, I would suggest using the same styling as the main nav bar, solid red background and white text. This provides plenty of visual contrast to meet compliance, plus its a visual queue to the user that these similar elements are your tools to navigate the site.

fifteendays
08-25-2008, 12:16 AM
Great comments from everyone. Thank you very much.

So here's why we're making the design changes... The Obs is very, very fortunate to have extremely loyal web visitors. We draw as many as 46,000 people to the site each day to check the webcams, current conditions, observer comments and these forums. For a non-profit of our size, those numbers are extraordinary, especially since, in comparison, we have a total of 4,000 +/- paying members.

However, we have not done much of anything over the years (minus a webcam membership drive here and there) to harness that energy and work to convert those visitors into members and donors. We don't know who they are, where they live or how important the Observatory is to their everyday lives.

This fall, we'll be integrating new online fundraising software into the mix. The software is provided by a company called Convio and is used by a number of non-profits across the country. It will give us a number of things, including e-marketing capabilities, efficiencies in how we process transactions, highly streamlined events/programs reservations and new ways to speak to prospective members. For the visitor, it will provide new ways to share the Obs with others, several new ways to give and a more seamless overall donor experience.

In order to better encourage folks to give, we opted to widen the pixel dimensions of the site and add that new nav bar to the left. That is where we will have all the "calls to action." Once the new software is up and running, you will see additional options like "send an e-card" or "join our email list." It's our attempt to be a bit more active in encouraging people to support this fantastic cause.

We will soon be able to send regular e-newsletters to those who opt to receive them. These will include MWO news, weather tidbits, profiles, mountain stories, exclusive goodies and, of course, direct pleas for support. (I also envision "extreme weather alerts," sent when things are going to get especially crazy on the summit...)

Admittedly, this may be a jolt for some of you. Our website has always been rich in information, while being quite passive in how we market ourselves. This is just our way of taking a small step towards being more upfront that this is a cause worthy of widespread support.

In the marketing world, you need to "fish where the fish are." For the Obs, our greatest opportunity for much needed income growth is through the generosity of the passionate, loyal web visitors who use this service each and every day. They already love the Observatory, now we'll be trying a little harder to nudge them towards membership and charitable giving.

Here's why it's very, very important. If just 2% of our web visitors become MWO members through these efforts, that will be enough annual income to fund a full-time staff position, buy new tracks for the snowtractor, cover all summit food costs or even pay our annual utilities at the summit. If 10% become members, our entire summit payroll is covered. That's the stakes we're dealing with here.

Sorry for my marathon post... I just re-read it and it's a long one! But I hope this gives you some insight as to what we're looking to accomplish. Forums people are definitely more plugged into the Obs than the rest of our web visitors, so I enjoy keeping you especially informed. And I also take your feedback to heart, so please keep it coming.

All the best,
Scot
MWO Exec. Dir.

Brad
08-25-2008, 05:31 AM
Scot,

Thanks for the wonderful post and additional background. At 12:16AM you are supposed to be sleeping though.

Working to leverage the web site to reach out to the non-member web visitors better is a great strategy. The new software sounds very interesting and it will be great to see it unfold. When we finished STP08 we very quickly heard about the plans for the STP09 web site which would include a lot more information and capability. Plus, you heard us and are providing it earlier. Now we find out the main web site is being transformed into a more powerful tool. This is one thing I like about the organization - it is not satisfied with what it is doing today. It is always striving to improve and do better.

Keep it up - keep using the forum to keep us informed - and thanks for letting us voice our opinions and listening to us.

Charlie
08-25-2008, 08:08 PM
yes all that brad said
thank you

mtruman
08-25-2008, 08:29 PM
I would be interested in folks' reaction to the two different logos - the one currently at the top of the forum and this new one.

The forum is
http://www.mountwashington.org/images/header-forums-mwobs.gif

and the new one has the colors reversed.
http://www.mountwashington.org/images/header2-mwobs.png

I find the forum version easier to see.

Sorry for the slow feedback - we've been out of town. I like the new design and the reasoning behind everything in Scot's explanation of the new design. I do agree with Brad's observation on the change in the logo colors. Since all the logos on promotional materials, decals, letterhead, etc are red/black on white I think this is what should be carried forward in the new site since it represents the OBS "brand". I also think it just looks better.