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Awesys

Static Website

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3360 x 1050here, but having it sized for 1024x768 at the min would suffice. maybe even 1280x1024 as it's next to impossible to get a monitor smaller than 15" nowadays

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3360 x 1050here, but having it sized for 1024x768 at the min would suffice. maybe even 1280x1024 as it's next to impossible to get a monitor smaller than 15" nowadays

Please tell me that's on a dual/trip setup.That said, about to setup my Wife's 24" Imac.Fark me but it's big.

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Lucky, one of the new iMacs! :oAnyways, I have finished synchronizing the online and Mike T's databases, so I will be concentrating on the static site in my free time before I head off to BC for a week (then school starts). I'll look up some CSS stuff and then get to work on getting a finalized, clean coded site with everyone's requests so far.

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Thanks for all the hard work, Anyways.Congrats on the new iMac, Hammer Smart.

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Hi Awesys, Each time I log on, I go to the main page then select "Read Unread Posts". Then a new list comes up and and I start from the oldest post to the most recent post. However, there are several forums I am not interested in. To get past these, I just skip them and then read the posts that interest me. Then once I'm done, I mark all the undesirable post as "Mark unread posts as Read". I have worded this simply but it is very time consuming going back and forth after you have read a new post, posted a response and then you have to go back far enough to the list of "View Unread Posts" (remember what you last skipped) and keeping going along.I would love to see an enhancement that would allow me from the main page to check a box next to each forum that I want to read or which are my favorite forums. After I have read those, I will go back to the main page and select "Mark all unread posts as Read". It just seems I am spending way too much time reading posts I'm not interested in or my page of "Read Unmarked Posts" is littered with undesireable forums. I know you can quickly refresh the site by stating "Mark as Read" but I don't want the undesired posts to list at all when I select "Read Unread Posts". Let me know your thoughts. Thanks, Regina

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No forum software I have seen has this ability. It would certainly be nice though! It could be done with some programming I'm sure, but I don't think anyone has taken up the challenge.I just click on the forums I want to read and look at the new posts that way. A few extra clicks, but I don't see every new post on the board (which that link was designed for).

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OK, I've made a few updates to the site, but it is still not the "absolute final" template. Some of the links won't work yet, as I am just getting a template ready first before I start making new pages on the site. I've reduced the navigation bar quite a bit, and the site has a minimum width (which doesn't work in IE6) so it doesn't crunch too badly.

You can check out the changes at:

http://www.clubsmartcar.ca/betawebsite/2/

I need suggestions of which forums people would like to see linked directly from the forum dropdown (reasonably, we don't need every single one). And of course if you would like to contribute content, please do not hesitate to do so. :) Again, comments on the design are always welcome.

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I like it. Good work. I checked it on IE7, Firefox for Win, Firefox for OSX, Safari and Opera for the Wii.They all displayed correctly except the wii browser. :biglaugh: The wii had a very minor problem with the navigation bar extending off screen and the Upcoming Events box a little past the right margin. I just posted the wii info cause it's funny.Great work, man.

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Since it has been checked on the Wii, I figured I would check it on Opera for the DS. It looks pretty good there (for such a tiny screen). The dropdowns all appear under the main menu rather than dropping.Oddly, when going to a thread through the regular site, the posts appear completely vertically - username followed by their avatar followed by their post. When I go in using the beta website, the username & avatar are on the left, with a narrow band on the right for the post (similar to how it appears on a computer, except the screen width is so limited). I didn't think it should affect this, since they are linking to the same page.

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I'd like to see an integration with a full calendar of events software.Ultimately, I'd like to see all events on there, rather than in the forum. It'd be great if you could go on, select the region(s) you are interested in, and see all upcoming events.No - I haven't found any good software for this :) But I'm sure its out there. - Steven

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Thanks for the comments! :)

I hope you won't be surfing using your Wiis or DSes all the time. ;) Odd with the same page displaying differently. I've only really checked the site on FF2 and IE6 myself, but I'll check a bunch of others at work too.

This calendar looks nice:

http://www.easyphpcalendar.com/demo.php

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Awesys,You are doing a wonderful job on the new site. Everything looks very well put together. Some observations and suggestions:1. Is there going to be a drop down link to the "How To" section?2. Has the BoD decided if the site is going to remain a Canadian site or become a North American site? Which ever is the choice, I think it's important to prominently display that information on the main page. If I missed it..I'm sorry. If I'm not mistaken many of the other global smart sites note which region or country they represent.3. If you haven't already decided, I think it would be cool to have drop downs for Canada and USA on the main page. Or if you decided on time zone regions, that would be fine too. That way, people can quickly check out the forums for their country or time zone.4. If at all possible, the site should have a North American map shown with interactive stars (or some type of smart car icon) indicating the dealerships and service center locations (with links to those locations). I'm unsure if this is in the works and I know it could be a labor of love but just think how valuable this information would be to the masses. To be able to open our own smart map, click on a region and quickly see where the dealerships are would be impressive too. Also, we may want to include some of the top aftermarket partners we work with like Fast Eddy's shop. Don't shoot me for suggestioning it, but maybe these shops could pay an annual fee to have their shop listed on our site. This would be a great way to increase our resources as well as giving smart owners and prospective owners a quick location reference. Yes it's a big project initially but I think the maintenance will be minimal. I could definitely see myself helping Schmart to provide a comprehensive US list to you and I'm sure there is someone in each regional forum for Canada who would help their Director as well.Just some thoughts I thought I would share.Regina

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Regarding the forum link... I think it would be wiser and easier to manage if the link simply went to the root forum page... not any given individual one.I always envisioned the portal page to be that... a portal to the other technologies on the site (forum, how-to, events, etc). Linking directly to any given event, forum, etc should be reserved (if ever done) for VERY special events or VERY special announcements, etc.As for US/CAN. We have decided. The forum is going to remain what it is right now... a-national. Not Canadian, Not American... not even both. We will continue to welcome "everyone who loves smart cars". The regional sections will be dictated by demand and expanded dynamically. If we happen to get enough Italians for an Italian region... so be it.It will LIKELY continue being frequented primarily by Canadian and US visitors, but everyone is welcome regardless of locale. - Steven

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The maps idea is definitely a good one. :) Mapping dealerships and "smart shops" would definitely be cool. I would use Google Maps API to do this - it is something I will have to look into though. One of my friends has implemented it, you can see its customizability (is that even a word?) at http://chicagobus.org/garages

and Evilution has done it as well: http://www.clubsmartcar.com/index.php?showtopic=11004

As for how-to, I don't know how that section is really going to work, so it might have to put linked through a forum dropdown. It will be a job to convert someone's posts to a standardized format for the static site. (BTW, where you hover over "forums", you can click and it does bring you to the main index page.)

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Alright folks / Awesys... It is 5:30 in the morning (that I'm starting to type) and I couldn't sleep because my mind was thinking of the direction the club should take, particularly with the so-called "static site". I'm sorry if any parts of this don't mesh with what you've already done, but I've thought pretty carefully about it.

overall structure

www.clubsmartcar.com takes you to a portal site (much like you've done). That portal site contains virtually no information on it, expect perhaps an "about clubsmartcar" page that gives a BRIEF overview of the club... although, I think it should be so brief that it would be summed up in our welcome message, making an "about us" redundant. SIMPLE SIMPLE SIMPLE.

The portal should have links to: The forum (not specific sections); The Info Pages; The blog; The calendar

The Forum: This will remain the most active and most used part of csc, but will be more defined and cleaned up, since much of what it is currently used for will now take place in the other sections. For example: regional sections will take a much-diminished roll, if not deleted, as it was originally intended to announce/discuss events and that will now be done on the Calendar (well, "discussion" of the events will continue on the forum, but perhaps in a generic "events" section, linked to from the calendar). The How-To section will be dismantled and moved to the Info Pages. A lot of the forum, when you think about it, will be made obsolete by the sections below - and that's a good thing.

The Info Pages: This is really what was meant by "static". Information that doesn't need to be discussed, has no particular event/time/location associated with it, etc. The How-Tos will go here - yes, its a lot of work but will be worth it. It will be split into many sections, such as: Smart Car History; Vehicle Maintenance (how-to); Popular Mods (how-to); Vehicle safety; vehicle specs; statistics; etc, etc, etc. This should probably solve 99% of the "search" problems as well, since this info will no longer be scattered throughout a messy forum. Basically, if it is something any member (but especially a new one) wants to "look up", it should be in these pages.

The Blog: I'm not 100% certain this will take off, but there have been a number of members that have offered to contribute with semi-regular "articles" if the means were provided. This could be an extremely valuable section if the supply of content is there (or a waste of space if it isn't). Blogs have proven incredible draws for many communities. However, the authors have to be carefully selected for their a) motivation and ability to contribute and B) expertise on the subject they are rambling on about. This section may be best rolled in with the "Info Pages".

The Calendar: This is where I envision ALL events to be announced. I found a promising PHP-based system... not free, but it has some key features such as: Locations!!! Almost no calendar software offers this - the ability to show only events from your area of interest (its not perfect, but perhaps customizable); Interactive Mapping; Extensive management options and flexibility. Costs one-time US$149 so not out of reach and saves us having to make something from scratch. From local meetings for coffee to full-blown smart mega-events, all "real-world" get-togethers will be announced and managed from here. This will do wonders for making people from any given region feel welcomed and involved.

Common Look And Feel

Each of the sections above will have their own 'area' of the site. For example, the forum is already at www.clubsmartcar.com/forums. The calendar would be at www.clubsmartcar.com/calendar. And so on. No matter what section you are on though, there should be a common look and feel - similar header, fonts, etc. And in the header should be a constant menu that will take you to any other section, or at the very least - back to the portal (perhaps just clicking the csc logo).

Use of email

I'm not sure if we need to use a full-blown newsletter management software suite, but it should be a requirement that every member be "subscribed" to an announcements email list for important events. It would be used VERY sparingly... in fact, the only event I can think of that should be on it (off the top of my head) is to announce up-coming elections. If we did use a full-blown newsletter system, we could have various "levels" that people could choose to subscribe to: "announcements only"; "major events"; "all events"; "monthly news" - that sort of thing.

Specific things in the Beta that I would change

Not to pick on anything - THANK YOU VERY MUCH for your efforts Awesys... but I don't think the "been spotted" needs to be there - it is redundant... they came, they already know. A welcome is good enough. The spotted cards themselves could be available and encouraged in one of the static sections and/or the forum. The Vin Database too... there's no reason for it to merit any special consideration on the portal - just another Info Page. "about the car" and "about the club" would actually encompass many info pages. "links", while I appreciate the recognition, has to be thought of very carefully - why would smartieparts be included and not parts4smarts... or Joe's New Store. Same with a link to Evil's site... while a very valuable resource, I don't think that should be linked to from the portal - it should be for our own content only.

I see you've already changed some things in version "2" - I hadn't really been looking at that when I wrote the above.

That's it for now. Its 20 after 6 and I'm going to try to get some sleep :)

Awesys - by all means it is up for discussion, but I'd like you to keep the above in mind when thinking of how to form the portal page.

- Steven

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I don't have much time to write a reply right now, but here are some of my thoughts quickly:For the portal, if it is just going to be links to 4-5 sections, we can just incorporate a thin horizontal bar that appears on the top of every page with a consistent look. Then all sections linked would have links to each other.RE: Blog - not sure about the use of it - the forum should be enough. If there is a good article posted, it can be featured on the static site? The Relay one didn't get used too much...RE: Been Spotted - I just put it there because it was on the existing site. I noticed it has slowed down (though I don't know how popular this was when smarts were new) and we only get a member saying they've been spotted once in a blue moon.RE: Links - those other stores *should* be included, as well as any other handy links that smart car owners would need. (stores such as those, Evil's site, official sites, etc)Will be back home tomorrow, and then school is starting, but a lot of my spare time will be spent working on CsC stuff.

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Prez,Some very good suggestions indeed. I love the calendar example a lot.Awesys,Your continued progress on the static site is truly appreciated.Thank you both!Reina

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overall structure

The portal should have links to: The forum (not specific sections); The Info Pages; The blog; The calendar

Minimalistic is good. Simple is very good!

The Forum: For example: regional sections will take a much-diminished roll, if not deleted, as it was originally intended to announce/discuss events and that will now be done on the Calendar (well, "discussion" of the events will continue on the forum, but perhaps in a generic "events" section, linked to from the calendar).

So each "event" would have it's own thread. With maybe the first post being the link to the calendar page, cross linked with the calendar to thread? I like that idea.

The How-To section will be dismantled and moved to the Info Pages. A lot of the forum, when you think about it, will be made obsolete by the sections below - and that's a good thing.

I would think however that there would still need to be a how to section to allow for things that aren't on the info pages. "How-To install Lambo or Gullwing Doors on your Smart! (Seriously the level of awesome that would be? *laugh!* It might not make sense but still Awesome! A 2-4 of beer from Hammer to the first Canuck who does it!) But in all seriousness, there may be some merit to keeping 'something' around. Eh.

The Info Pages: This is really what was meant by "static". Information that doesn't need to be discussed, has no particular event/time/location associated with it, etc. The How-Tos will go here - yes, its a lot of work but will be worth it. It will be split into many sections, such as: Smart Car History; Vehicle Maintenance (how-to); Popular Mods (how-to); Vehicle safety; vehicle specs; statistics; etc, etc, etc. This should probably solve 99% of the "search" problems as well, since this info will no longer be scattered throughout a messy forum. Basically, if it is something any member (but especially a new one) wants to "look up", it should be in these pages.

Yes. This!

The Blog: I'm not 100% certain this will take off, but there have been a number of members that have offered to contribute with semi-regular "articles" if the means were provided. This could be an extremely valuable section if the supply of content is there (or a waste of space if it isn't). Blogs have proven incredible draws for many communities. However, the authors have to be carefully selected for their a) motivation and ability to contribute and B) expertise on the subject they are rambling on about. This section may be best rolled in with the "Info Pages".

I think if we could get some people who are articulate, who have a serious passion and can discuss the smart in terms of current auto policy/automotive politics, etc., then the blog would be something to seriously consider. Some featured writers, some guest appearances (MB/Smart Brass I'm thinking,) and even some automotive commentators/bona fide journalists would be pretty cool.

The Calendar:

Yes Yes Yes Yes YES!

Use of email

I'm not sure if we need to use a full-blown newsletter management software suite, but it should be a requirement that every member be "subscribed" to an announcements email list for important events. It would be used VERY sparingly... in fact, the only event I can think of that should be on it (off the top of my head) is to announce up-coming elections. If we did use a full-blown newsletter system, we could have various "levels" that people could choose to subscribe to: "announcements only"; "major events"; "all events"; "monthly news" - that sort of thing.

I like the idea of a full-blown system, if it can be done properly. The announcement system that Steve is talking about for "BIG" events would include things like yes, elections/major referendums/major downtimes/outages etc. And for things that I think the club has a serious ethos alignment with if that makes sense. (The relay.) I think in the Membership agreement TOS we could say, 'Your registration email address will receive emails as you request from the forum software, as well as certain major announcements as determined by the BOD.' Four-Six Emails per year is I think totally acceptable for a group you are signing up for.

That's it for now. Its 20 after 6 and I'm going to try to get some sleep :)

- Steven

Yes! Sleep good!

:)

One thing I would like to add. Pictures.

WE have a large number of pictures and so forth. Mostly in conjunction with events but not always.

So, perhaps with this calendar software we can have a photo section for each event? And then some other section, with random pictures. (I'm thinking of Ducko! who takes a lot of them, not saying it's a bad thing at all. just yeah. :))

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Right on! So far, its sounding like you're getting it and my sleep-deprived statements weren't gibberish... that's good.

Hammer... regarding the How-To... yes, by "dismantled" I should have said "scoured"... the current content being poured over and the best of the bunch being converted to the static site. But you are absolutely right - the section in the how-to should stay in the forum to receive new content. The moderator of the continuing How-To would be responsible for picking the new content that has merit and bringing it to the admins' attention.

And the pictures idea! Of course! That's another piece of technology that we could use... there are plenty of free and very good Gallery suites (Coppermine comes to mind) out there that we could use, so perhaps that's another section from the portal?

Awesys... if you find yourself too busy when school starts, let me know OK? That's not a problem unless it completely stalls and we don't know about it. It needs to get done.

- Steven

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Yeppers... it will probably be stalled for a few days here as I get into the swing of things but feel free to make adjustments to the web page. :)

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We didn't use the Relay Blog much because the interest in that specifc item was smaller than the year previous, and I had scheduling conflicts. No one wanted to use it for it's purpose.However, myself, Mike T, and Rich Helms have written many bits and pieces which give you an idea of what goes into a blog.The blog is for the casual reader, someone who doesn't want to wade through countless choppy and scattered conversations to get some perspective on what is happening in the smart car universe. I quite honestly, get more out of blog entries than forum discussions.So that said, I'm looking forward to there being a CsC blog.

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Well before school gets really into it (fairly soon), I decided to make the placeholder pages at least. I just transferred the smart specs page over really. But everything is ready to go, once the content is complete it can be launched easily.

http://www.clubsmartcar.ca/indexnew.php

Still a work in progress!

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I copied the Safety and History section over from the Relay blog, as well added the links section. If anyone has more suggestions for links, please let me know. :)

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