Clearing Away the Dust

Feb 25, 2006 by

I haven’t posted much this week, as I’ve been working intently on getting the new site design ready for the MACUL conference in two weeks. I’m not sure why I’m so nervous about it, but I just had a dream that I was late and unprepared for my presentation. My parents had to go and explain why I was late to the 3 people that had shown up for my presentation, which made me feel like I was back in grade school. Needless to say, my brain is telling me to clear the dust off of this construction project and my presentation and get back to blogging about technology in the classroom. Before I do however…..

What do you think? How does the new design look, and please be honest. My main goal was to have the forum remain highly visible, but also bring more prominence to the categories. I had planned on getting the archives up as well (at least by date and not just the one link on the left), but I’m still unsure about it. I do have a few more minor changes to make like the color of text, links (I really thing I enjoyed that blue over the dark grey), and size of the font (I think it’s a bit too small now and a bit difficult to read). I also had a little fun last night creating the new “Fresh Links” button to try and highlight that feature of the site. All in all I think I’ve managed to incorporate some of the fixes people have sent me over the past few months, while still maintaining the overall appeal of the site. Or am I completely blinded and this new design needs some serious re-thinking? Please, blast away as I’m more concerned about this site being functional than beautiful. Sure, I still want it to look nice, but not at the expense of navigability and delivering the content.

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7 Comments

  1. I am most impressed with the layout. I do agree the font could be a bit larger for my old eyes to see. 🙂
    One of the better sites I’ve run into. Dang it, not I’m going to have to go back and re-evaluate mine!!
    My, high opinionated, suggestion is to perhaps have a category for Special Education. That group seems to be most needy for technology, yet woefully under represented.
    Again, great resource you have here! Many Thanks!

    Casey

  2. Rosemary Gabel

    I agree on all points with Casey!.. and his suggestion to include Special Ed, reminds me that I have a class of Emotionally Disturbed students with real Control issues.. any ideas appreciated.
    Please keep up the good work.. I’d hate to lose a great resource and motivational site!. Thanks.. r

  3. Ben

    Thanks to both Casey and Rosemary for offering up some comments on the site. I still think there’s a bit more to tweak, but I’m glad that the site had completely disoriented people. I wanted to make it simple like the last layout, but have a way of including more content. I actually enjoy your layout a lot too Casey. It looks as though one of those buttons/banners in your sidebar might be stretching it out a bit, but otherwise I like the clean simple banner you have at top. Rosemary, don’t worry about me dissappearing anytime soon; I just have too many ideas (for better or worse) pop into my head to stop writting anytime soon 🙂
    As for a Special Education category, that sounds down right brilliant! This is only my first year with my own classroom (I had taught in the computer lab previously), so I’m just starting to get used to being in closer contact with special needs learners and the sped people at my school. I’ll add it to the list, and remember to check it off wherever it might apply.

  4. Tom

    A very nice improvement. The same yet different.

    The site is a lot more “open” now. It seems to have a lot more room. Still simple yet the visual impact really has improved. I don’t come to the actual site-other than the forums- very often (I try to follow about 500 odd sites so bloglines is my friend) so it was a nice surprise to see the new layout.

    I’d been considering redoing my Byrd sites for a while (about as long as they’ve been up) and now it looks like I’ll have to step up and get it done.

  5. I read the RSS feed as well but I do like the new look. It seems cleaner while adding content from your forums. Good job!

  6. nicole

    I like the forum link. I don’t have to scroll as much to find it. Plus it’s nice that the left hand column has the rest of the content. I always forget to scroll down far enough to see any of that. There’s more content in the top which makes it much easier to scan through for what I’m looking for.

  7. Ben

    Tom & Chris: I depend on Bloglines as well to read a lot of the content being published (although not nearly as mnay blogs as you guys follow), so I wasn’t overly worried about making the new layout perfect. I’m glad the site has some asthetic value though, as I want it to be inviting to other teachers that are not using bloglines, or visit the site in order to catch up on the Fresh Links or the forum.

    Tom: I actually enjoy the template for your Byrd’s Links site. It’s simple, and easy to read.

    Nicole: Hopefully having all of the blog content separated from the forum content will encourage more readerhip of past posts, so I’m glad you enjoy that it’s more visible now.

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