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Navigation Change and new Community section

Travel Forums System Talk Navigation Change and new Community section

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1. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5451 posts) 2 Dec '13 17:23

I made a somewhat significant change today, particularly noteworthy in here because it affects the forum.

Our main navigation now includes a new "Community" link with a subnavigation including "Highlights, Forums and Photography". This means that to get to the forum you will need to navigate through the subnavigation. This, in the interest of tidying up the navigation a bit and ensuring it's more easily digestible.

The new section we've added is the Community highlights page. This is a replacement for our old Blogs page which we felt needed refreshing. The Community Highlights page has featured blog entries from the Travellerspoint bloggers, organised into themes. You can subscribe to certain themes if you are particularly interested in that topic - for example "World Food" or "Photography". We have also removed our own official Travellerspoint blog and all content from that will now be posted under these themes. All the photo competition posts for example will be found under the new community Photography section.

As a bonus, this new community area also is the first part of our site to actually be responsive to your device. Instead of reworking the entire site to be responsive all at once, I decided to tackle one section at a time. If you have a chance, try having a look at these pages on some other devices to see if you think they hold up OK.

I'm kind of expecting a bit of pushback to the decision to remove Forums from our main navigation. Please understand this is not in any way meant to lower its status within our site. It's purely driven by a need to simplify our navigation and present a clearer set of options. I also know that Map and Planner have huge overlaps - these are also ripe candidates for merging into a single navigation item and will probably be tackled at some point in the future.

Let me know if you have any thoughts, good or bad.

2. Posted by mojorob (Moderator, 1044 posts) 4 Dec '13 03:33

Quoting Peter

I'm kind of expecting a bit of pushback to the decision to remove Forums from our main navigation.

Indeed... I'm really not a fan of the link to Forums being moved to a submenu - whereas Map & Planner have both been kept as separate main menu options although they're very much linked (I would also suggest that Travel Guide is linked in with those as well).

The description of Travellerspoint is an "online community of travellers from around the world" - according to the meta description - or a similar statement if you look elsewhere. Therefore I'm not convinced of the need to have Community as a main menu option. It's not clear from first looks at this new menu structure that there is both a large forum, and blogs available on TP.

The submenu option Highlights is very unclear as to what that is supposed to be (which goes to the same location as clicking on the main menu Community option). Even once on that page, it is also unclear what that page is (there is nothing to say what it is) - when I first saw the big tiles with regions of the world on them I thought they would link to either the Travel Guide or perhaps relevant Forum. Also once you click through to one of the options, there's no easy way to go back except either keep clicking back or going back via the main menu option or the not very visible breadcrumb trail at the top of the right sidebar (i.e. why no sidebar menu similar to that found on the forum pages?).

I also think on the "highlights" pages that links to blog posts should be clearly marked as such, perhaps with author mentioned too. Currently it looks like a link to a page within the main site - it is currently quite a jolt to be taken to a blog page (with very different page design) and away from the main site when not expecting it, and the author is also not recognised. I know Sander will disagree with me on this point as we've disagreed in the past, but I think this is an example of when links opening in a new tab can be justified. Either that, or change the link so there is a top bar that goes back to the main site (preferably including a link to the page where the user came from).

(This is all based at looking from a desktop PC, not looked from any other devices)

3. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5451 posts) 4 Dec '13 03:43

Thanks, I appreciate the feedback.

I'm in the process of making a new "Community" page which will take over that main navigation element and then the highlights will fall under that. Preview here (subject to wild change).

Breadcrumbs on those theme pages are a bit lost, I agree on that. And yes, I've been pondering whether to add some sort of indication that the featured blog entries take you elsewhere. Maybe showing the URL would help. Opening a link in a new tab is always possible with your browser's functionality :) I'm with Sander on that one.

As for Planner and Map in the navigation, it's simply a case of one thing at a time :)

4. Posted by mojorob (Moderator, 1044 posts) 4 Dec '13 04:01

Quoting Peter

Opening a link in a new tab is always possible with your browser's functionality :) I'm with Sander on that one.

It is possible, but with the link taking you away from the main site and to a blog (effectively a different site) I would think trying to retain visitors on the main TP site would be a consideration.

Also some people may not be aware that it is possible - I know for sure that there are non-techie people who are unaware of either the right click option or holding Ctrl when clicking on a link - or equivalent depending on machine AND operating system AND browser.

I pointed out in a previous discussion with Sander that one of the problems with the user surveys showing people get confused with links opening in new windows is that most of them were done years ago before IE had tab based browsing. The surveys were done when IE clearly had the largest share (and if not IE, then earlier browsers like Netscape Navigator didn't have tabbed browsing). Things have changed now, and tabbed browsing is the norm - it is not so confusing for new tabs to open up links, as the original can be easily seen whereas a new window in the old days hid the original browser location plus there were so many nasty pop-up window ads in those days too.

5. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5451 posts) 4 Dec '13 04:03

Well yes, tabbed browsing make it slightly better. But we also now have an increasing number of people on mobile browsers where opening a new window is more frustrating than ever.

6. Posted by mojorob (Moderator, 1044 posts) 4 Dec '13 04:05

Quoting Peter

And yes, I've been pondering whether to add some sort of indication that the featured blog entries take you elsewhere. Maybe showing the URL would help.

I would suggest some kind of icon to indicate that it is a blog (along with authors username) - I'm not sure URL would help, as people would still see travellerspoint.com in that address so it wouldn't be clear to everyone that it is a blog and therefore different to the main site.

Also, with the highlights showing featured blogs is there any opt-out system if anyone would prefer not to be included? It may sound odd, but it's possible that people may not want to appear on that page. And how do people get featured - can normal members of the community suggest blog posts to be featured?

7. Posted by mojorob (Moderator, 1044 posts) 4 Dec '13 04:06

Quoting Peter

Well yes, tabbed browsing make it slightly better. But we also now have an increasing number of people on mobile browsers where opening a new window is more frustrating than ever.

Mobile browsers use tabs as well, don't they? I have an Android phone and Chrome on that uses tabs - as does the very flawed default Android browser.

8. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5451 posts) 4 Dec '13 04:08

There's a setting in the blogs that controls whether entries are listed on Travellerspoint. This extends to featuring. And of course, people can make their blog entirely private too. We manually review blog entries and feature the best ones.

I'd like to find a more crowdsourced way of doing this, because it is time consuming, but unfortunately it's not all that straightforward considering how spread out the blogs are.

9. Posted by Peter (Admin, 5451 posts) 4 Dec '13 04:10

Quoting mojorob

Mobile browsers use tabs as well, don't they? I have an Android phone and Chrome on that uses tabs - as does the very flawed default Android browser.

Safari on my phone doesn't really have tabs (admittedly I'm on an old OS now, so maybe it's new in iOS7). There's a number at the bottom that shows the other windows. Back button totally broken.

10. Posted by deeptisubraya (Full Member, 4 posts) 5 Dec '13 04:28

In the previous navigation options ‘blogs’ were clearly identified, which was easy to navigate into. Featured blog entires were highlighted and on the side bar ‘recently updated ‘ blog entires would show any entry made by TP members.

This way any member was able to visit blog page of another member (whether featured or not). I really enjoyed that section. As reader / blogger I am not happy that I can access only what is featured.