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Perhaps each subforum could be represented as a bubble, with the size of the bubble showing when the last post was made (bigger bubble = newer posts)

It's a little different, but it could be kind of interesting.

Like maybe something like this:


But instead of, say "6 legs" it has "graphics" (6 legs is the biggest on that site, and the graphics subforum has the most recent post was made, as I am writing this), and instead of check boxes there are clickable bubbles around the text. The oldest subforum should still be visible, though. Inside of these bubbles should be a link to the most recent post and a bubble for any subforums that it may have.

Here's my example:


EDIT: I had a limited color pallette, but presumably everything would be Cemetech Red.
Is there a "deadline" for answers on this topic? I've been tinkering with UI design, especially mobile, recently and I am currently on vacations. I may make a mockup of a new UI, but it would take some time, especially since I am leaving for a few weeks soon, and I do not want to promise anything.

To summarize what I want to change, in case I do not get to make a mockup anytime soon:
For mobile, it would be largely building a priority for existing elements based on my own user experience, and rearranging them to be accessible in that order of priority. I really like the "information scent model": The user wants to see something, but they do not know where it is, possibly not even what exactly it is. The UI's task is to 1) give them proper suggestions at first glance and 2) hint them where they can find things, by leaving a "scent" of where it should be located.
For desktops, it would be the same sort of information scent thingy, but with more available space, and thus probably easier to create/less prioritizing. Hence, I suggest starting to work on the mobile design first, and making a less "strict" version for desktops.

I believe those changes are very doable while preserving the current layout but they require rethinking the exact positions of various elements on every page and on the website in general.
Relatively soon. We have the design already created on the dev site, just seeking feedback if it works or how you guys would consolidate it.

Just a second reminder today, that none of these recent posts are about the navigation. There is a topic about the forum organization if you guys would rather talk about that.

Let's really try and stay on topic here.
I think that Home and About should be merged (basically just put the about page below the home page), Tools and Learn should be merged (make Learn one of the top tools), and Archives should contain a separate list of Cemetech Projects.

Other than that, I think it is fine.

Home/Tools/Forum/Archives/Play or Home/Archives/Forum/Tools/Play

I would merge forum and archives, but I think that would be confusing for the people who come here to download calc games and whatnot.
I am not a believer of this. I haven't seen any homepages that list the history and background of that website. The homepage is unequivocally related site content, usually news or relative articles in some form or another. I'm all for counter arguments on this matter, though.
I will make my point here as well, instead of in admin topics. Forum and Archives are the biggest sections of Cemetech, so they should be separated. About is rather important as well, so that might be a separate button too. Projects/Tools/Learn could be merged into one, and I'm not sure about Play, so let's just keep that as a separate button. I don't mind about the Home button, both a Home button and clicking on the header image are fine to me. Smile
Solution:

Get rid of Learn and put it under Tools at the top. People who use tools like to learn. Problem solved, less clutter, move on to the next topic.
PT_ wrote:
I will make my point here as well, instead of in admin topics. Forum and Archives are the biggest sections of Cemetech, so they should be separated. About is rather important as well, so that might be a separate button too. Projects/Tools/Learn could be merged into one, and I'm not sure about Play, so let's just keep that as a separate button. I don't mind about the Home button, both a Home button and clicking on the header image are fine to me. Smile


I agree with PT_ pretty much 100%.

I also agree with Mateo, that's pretty much what I said.

Here's the extent of my photo editing skills put to work: (I don't care if it's uneven, I'm proud of my work!)
MateoConLechuga wrote:
Solution:

Get rid of Learn and put it under Tools at the top. People who use tools like to learn. Problem solved, less clutter, move on to the next topic.




So, basically like I first suggested? Or are you saying the navigation would be fine with 7 links instead of 8?
Good, now go program. Less time spent worrying over how the menu bar looks would be awesome. It's not really a point of interest to most people; users tend to adapt to whatever the site offers.
MateoConLechuga wrote:
Solution:

Get rid of Learn and put it under Tools at the top. People who use tools like to learn. Problem solved, less clutter, move on to the next topic.
This is not intuitive. If you're looking for resources to learn, you would probably not look at the "Tools" section. See my post on "information scent".


It would probably make sense to run an experiment for a week or so: Count how many people visit the navigation sections (easy to do) and maybe even see what page/kind of page they end up looking at (harder to do, thus optional). This would give you a general idea of how important the menu sections are, and, if you implement the second suggestion, you'd have an idea of what sections could be merged.
Nik wrote:

It would probably make sense to run an experiment for a week or so: Count how many people visit the navigation sections (easy to do) and maybe even see what page/kind of page they end up looking at (harder to do, thus optional)..


Basically, run Google Analytics for a few weeks and add some hooks to the navbar buttons on hover and click so that they send a specific event to GA on either event. Boom, you got your stats.
It would be better to do such a thing unannounced, to prevent people from consciously visiting the ones they want to keep more.
_iPhoenix_ wrote:
It would be better to do such a thing unannounced, to prevent people from consciously visiting the ones they want to keep more.

Too late. I've already set up an automated clicking system.
On a very related note, would "Downloads" be a more recognizable word for the archives than "Archives"? I meant to mention that in my first post in this topic.
KermMartian wrote:
On a very related note, would "Downloads" be a more recognizable word for the archives than "Archives"? I meant to mention that in my first post in this topic.

I guess it can kind of be rather odd at first; I remember thinking it was a link to like forum or project archives or something. Perhaps 'Programs' would be more descriptive? I'm not too sure though Razz
oldmud0 wrote:
Basically, run Google Analytics for a few weeks and add some hooks to the navbar buttons on hover and click so that they send a specific event to GA on either event. Boom, you got your stats.


That's what we're slowly putting in place, minus the hover. I'm tracking a few things now and we're slowly adding in reference modifiers (or whatever they're called) around the forum. Mostly to check what links are more popular to visitors: The registration prompt on the topic pages or the registration link in the side bar? Stuff like that. I'll definitely be putting such comparison modifiers in more places.

We should add them to the navigation bar but I get a pretty good idea based on page view counts.

MateoConLechuga wrote:
KermMartian wrote:
On a very related note, would "Downloads" be a more recognizable word for the archives than "Archives"? I meant to mention that in my first post in this topic.

I guess it can kind of be rather odd at first; I remember thinking it was a link to like forum or project archives or something. Perhaps 'Programs' would be more descriptive? I'm not too sure though Razz


I concur. I keep thinking Archives are the News archives. I think "Downloads" would be more suitable but "Programs" is just as informative.
Alex wrote:
I think "Downloads" would be more suitable but "Programs" is just as informative.


What? Programs isn't informative at all. Everyone understands what a "download" is, but a program? Hardly. I'd assume it's referring to some sort of educational program (akin to a class) rather than some calculator software.
allynfolksjr wrote:
Alex wrote:
I think "Downloads" would be more suitable but "Programs" is just as informative.


What? Programs isn't informative at all. Everyone understands what a "download" is, but a program? Hardly. I'd assume it's referring to some sort of educational program (akin to a class) rather than some calculator software.


I think it depends entirely on context. An educator might associate programs with an educational agenda or an after school extracurricular. A theatre goer might associate a program with the series of plays at a particular venue. A programmer might associate programs with software downloads.

I would imagine visitors are finding us because they have a calculator and notice that they can program it via the appropriate menu, [PRGM]. So they start making their own programs and then wonder if they can find others online. Or they're told they can download and install programs on their calculator so they search for that.

I would imagine either term is ambiguous when it comes to a vast majority of our visitors and members. Downloads is certainly more informative and less open to interpretation, as you eloquently pointed out. Maybe one day we'll host educational programs/syllabuses for teachers to follow.
I think archives is good, as this, this, and this, and they are all called archives (there are more, these are just examples)
  
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