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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:30 am 
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Hi everyone, we're considering doing a redesign on the site, particularly on the front page. If it goes ahead, it'll coincide with a switch to a content management system which will hopefully make things easier.

The content management system will allow multiple RSS feeds for different subjects, such as news, or reviews, or even just news from one company. It should hopefully also support a decent search facility, along with database queries which could allow top-10 lists, latest forum posts, that sort of thing.

As this site belongs to you guys, I wanted to ask if anyone had any suggestions for what they'd like to see in a redesign. Feel free to suggest ideas, while the more arty of you could even show example layouts! If there's something you really like the look of on another site - doesn't have to be a photography or a review site - which you think would work well here, then please share!


There are of course some requirements: the front page will need to accommodate a leaderboard ad, a 300x250 box ad and probably a skyscraper ad - these are commercial necessities.

In terms of size, we'll probably stick with a design optimised for displays 1024 pixels wide as that's still what most of our readers use (maybe not you guys on the cutting edge, but the majority), plus it retains compatibility with tablets and other mobiles.

I also like the idea of having a seperate area for latest news headlines, a bit like they have at http://www.independent.co.uk/

Cameralabs is primarily a review site, so the latest camera reviews and buyers guides still need top-billing.

I'm open to shrinking the main name and logo, or even having it in a square box, a bit like Q magazine. A top or lead story panel would also be fine.

So please fire away with yor suggestions or sketches. I can't guarentee they'll be included, or that we'll even definitely be doing a redesign, but I'd really like to hear what you all think.

Gordon


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:16 am 
The only things I can think of from the top of my head is a shoutbox, a quote button and special tab for community made reviews.
Ideally the quote button would pop up a window asking you to select what parts of the post you want to quote. That way we prevent quote spam.

Another idea could be to have the on assignment winner to get their photo on the front page.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 11:30 am 
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Hi Gordon,

Interesting and a task I don't envy at all. I'm not sure how you resolve the tension between having a stylish web presence (graphically strong but uncluttered such as the Martin Logan site) and an information rich site with a great deal of text and graphics which runs the risk of too cluttered (BBC).

One easy change I'd love to see is for the existing site content to be centred in the browser. My default browser window is a lot wider than the CameraLabs 1024 pixels width and it sits in the middle of my monitor. Much nicer for the CameraLabs reviews etc to be in front of me rather than off to the left.

Bob.

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Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:05 pm 
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Definitely not a shoutbox, I'm really not a fan of bloated forums...
A quote feature, but one which disables quoting the last post, and will stop multi-quoting (so it does not allow embedded quotes).

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:21 pm 
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Wasn't the question about the main CameraLabs site rather than the forum? :?

Bob.

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Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 1:44 pm 
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Please, leave it!
The site is just great as it is, really.

If you WANT some suggestions, I got one:
The person who wins the monthly assignment, his photo may be put on the background of the site.
Isnt that an idea?

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Panasonic DMC-FZ18, Panasonic DMC-FZ28, Canon G5, Canon 350D, Canon 50D + BG-E2N
Tamron 17-50 2.8, Canon EF 70-200mm f/4L USM,
Canon 18-55 II plus lots of Minolta MD/M42 lenses and bodies


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:03 pm 
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A few things I like from other sites are:

the user review section from SLRgear. It might be a good idea to be able to submit a user experience/review of gear which could include video, photos, and text. This could also be associated with relevant ads for purchasing the kit for your revenue.

At the moment, there's only random forum entries and the narrowly-focused lens galleries to offer opinions and insight.

I also like dpreview's gallery section. I;m not sure if their way of grading assignment entries is better than CamerLab's basic voting system, but I would like to be able to grade and receive grades on member's gallery photos with feedback - kind of a hybrid between dpreview "5-star grading system" and flickr's photo comments.

I have a few more ideas but it's late :)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 2:52 pm 
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Oh well, as everyone seems to think Gordon's request is about the forum and not the main site I'll go with the flow and suggest the Black Pearl colour scheme. :twisted: What do you think?

Or is it just that forum members believe that the forum is the main part of the CameraLabs site. ;) :lol: :lol: :lol:

Bob.

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Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 3:17 pm 
@Bob: At the risk of incurring a mod's wrath - HELL NO! That'll make Cameralabs forums look like... well... uh... you know, that other site with the black theme and all the attitude :twisted:

About the main website design... Hmm, I think the design is clean and smart the way it is. Apart from the backend changes, I think a little cosmetic touch-up to the main navigation menu with a gloss effect or something (and possibly drop-down menus) and a little smoothing to the logo typeface is more than enough.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 4:03 pm 
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Hi Hailstorm,

Hey, I'm wrathless. :P Just going through a Goth phase. :lol: But I've always found Pro Photo and RangeFinder quite civilised. Can't think who you mean... :twisted: :twisted: :twisted:

We had dropdown menus (from the "reviews\bestbuys..." bar) until a couple of years ago and there was a collective sigh of relief when they went as they were always dropping down when not wanted.

Ignoring Gordon's strictures on advertising space for the moment I'd offer up the following web-site as an exemplar of an information rich site with a huge sense of style:
There's a logo at the top, room for more than one menu bar and a "news" panel, great use of "roll-over graphics" to enter the site's main sections and the longer I look at that front page the more I want to explore. The front page also fits quite nicely with my Goth phase but the black background doesn't carry over into the main feature pages. Whether Gordon could include the required advertising space into such an integrated look and feel is another matter but where there's a will there might be a way... 8)

I suspect the biggest issue with such a site is that to commission such a design and incorporate the CameraLabs brand image might cost more than Gordon makes in a year. :(

Bob.

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Olympus OM-D E-M1 + M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8, Lumix 7-14mm f/4, Leica DG Summilux 15mm f/1.7 ASPH, M.Zuiko Digital 45mm 1:1.8, M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm 1:1.8.
Leica D Vario-Elmar 14mm-150mm f/3.5 - f/5.6 ASPH.
OM-D E-M5, H-PS14042E, Gitzo GT1541T, Arca-Swiss Z1 DP ball-head.
Astrophotography: TEC 140 'scope, FLI ML16803 camera, ASA DDM60 Pro mount.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:14 pm 
I like the nasa science layout. It shouldn't be rocket science to implement. :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 5:47 pm 
Hey gordon, for the mobile usage part, why not make a mobile version of the site?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 6:30 pm 
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Fixing the “Log me on automatically each visit” button, so I don’t have to log-on every second visit would be nice.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:04 pm 
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I'll think of a couple of designs for the homepage, should be fun!

To me it was clear this thread is about the page that has Gordon's latest reviews on it. Why are there so many posts on the forum? :)

- Bjorn -

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2010 8:41 pm 
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Cos we all hang out on the forum too much? :D I'm thinking about the rest of the site, but it might take some time...

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