April 29 2015 Editor Assistance Newsletter
The forum has now been upgraded to the latest version of the forum software. We still have the issue of the very first post going slowly, so I will continue to investigate that. In general the forums seem to be quick, with that one specific exception. I'll figure that out :).
Everything should now be wholly up to date on the new server. Feel free to announce news to newsletters and social networks! If you run into any issues, please let me know. It's always possible that quirky things go awry after one of these moves.
Next up is to get our website into a responsive / mobile-friendly design. This is important for many reasons. I know it'll be a big change for us. We've had this same design since 2000. That's a lifetime in the internet world! It's time for us to tweak our site so it runs smoothly in mobile phones.
I've been practicing quite a bit with my own sites, using them as guinea pigs, and simplicity really seems to be the key. We need to figure out which things a user is most likely to need and make sure those are easy to get to. Create a design with just a few meaningful images. Especially on a mobile phone, clutter isn't helpful.
Also, the images have to be clear. It seems that about 200x200 square is the ideal size. They can be seen well on a phone, tablet, and PC.
Up until now we've had our editor photo and the article "Facebook image" be 100x100 in size. That was a previous standard. Now, as phones get higher resolutions and bigger screens, 200x200 is the new standard.
Wednesday's project is for me to tweak any editor-photo-showing pages on our current site (the site homepage, channel page, and so on) so they can handle a 200x200 image. Then I'm going to process all images in the queue at that new, larger size. If you haven't submitted an editor photo to the system recently, please submit a new one that is at least 200x200 in size. I'll create a fresh entry for you. This is all in preparation for our new design.
Also, please take a look at your most-visited articles and load up a 200x200 "Facebook" image for each of those. That will be what we use for our own internal design as well. I'll update our article edit area so it shows the image, to make it easier for you to manage, and I'll add an indicator on the main article list too so you can scan that and see which ones have photos.
The aim is, going forward, for the "listing pages" like our main site homepage, channel pages, each editor's homepage, and so on, to show the images for the articles along with the title and description. People on phones and tablets find it easier to click on images than on tiny links. Also, images are alluring. Readers are drawn in more effectively by a lovely image of a steak dinner than the words "Steak Dinner Recipe."
For the times an image isn't available, which in the beginning will be most of the time, it'll show the editor's photo instead. This will be a long term project :). It should increase traffic, though, so each article can help more people!
For some topics, it can be challenging to find an image that is meaningful. I am happy to brainstorm with editors for those situations where even a generic image related to the site doesn't seem to fit.
I've been searching for a new chat option for us for months and months, after that old one got hacked, and I just haven't found a replacement I like. So as a test I'd like to offer to run a Google hangout on the topic of images. Google Hangout is free and easy, although I think it does require a Google account (which, I know, I know, seems to be all-pervasive in our modern world). If anyone has a better idea, let me know. And also let me know what day-of-week and time-of-day works best for you. I will try to choose a combination that works best for the most of us.
One step at a time!!
Lisa Shea, owner
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