Feedback on the Blog Design Change

OK, I have been getting up to speed with WordPress, and playing with our new design for a few days. I’ve also gotten lots of feedback from everyone, nearly all of which was extremely useful.

There are some things I need to fix ASAP, and a few items that will have to wait for version 2.0. As always, your thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Immediate fixes:

1. Set the Drop Down Menus default to open: A few of you suggested this, and it makes sense. I want people to see what is on the other tabs, but allow them to close the menus if they want.

2. Other WordPress Plug Ins:  I am told there are many way cool plugins — any suggestions? What are the way cool must have functionality/features plug ins provide ? What are the must haves, and the really-like-to haves?

3. RSS Feeds: Feedburner needs to be switched to the new domain. Doh! I thought that was an automatic, but it (apparently) requires a plug in. (Any suggestions?)

4. Separate Feeds for Cafe and Video:  Another good reader idea. I assume I can create RSS category feeds?

5. Vote on this post:  It might be worthwhile to track the top rated video and cafe posts, and display those votes elsewhere on the blog. (um, plug in?)

6. Archive calendar: My bad, I should have been more explicit to the designers. That needs to get posted on the main page. Categories also (let me guess: another plug in?)

7. Traffic monitoring:  A few things with this should occur
-Install Google Analytics on all tabs.
-Sitemeter Traffic code (all tabs)
– anyone know a good WP traffic monitor?

8. Bad URLS: There are a few bad links like this:
Any others?

9. Media reviews should be separate (above or below) the expandable/collapsible menus.

Next version changes:

• I’d like the tabs to be simpler, less colorful. Instead of the various colors, I’d like the tab you are on as a solid, and the rest of them semi-transparent. There’s too much going on up top, and this will simplify it.

The biggest complaint of readers is the header: a) Its flash, and b) It takes up a lot of space. I assume we could offer up a static (non flash) version also, (flash/no flash) selectable by the user.

As to the size, I feel the nature of blogs is that you scroll down quickly, so you hardly see the header for very long. We will have to see if that grows on you as to whether we keep it or not.

Digital Media may not deserve its own stand alone tab. The content there could easily be merged into the video tab (Video & Digital Media) and market/economic related stuff could work its way back to the main tab.

I have been using it this week for all of the election related graphs/charts/tables/polls. This is not really a regular event.

• The Cafe header — was kinda a last minute compromise (I just wanted to launch already!). I was hoping for something that conveyed the idea of debate and discussion, a group effort, and I’m not sure that this does that.

I’d love to see some other ideas for this header.

• Navigation Bar (About, Contact, etc) I’d like to see this look more like buttons . . .

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