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Old 10-01-2008, 20:23   #2
Eric
Big Giant Head
 
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Join Date: Jan 1970
Posts: 23,960
Current Issues

There seem to be a few issues specifically that are bugging the people who are bugged by these changes. I am going to take a moment to address them.

  1. The front page changes: These changes are being made because the front page is very wasteful of space and server load and because due to its size, it takes a long time to scroll up and down the page. The new front page puts EXACTLY the same functionality of the original index page into a much smaller and easier to navigate design. All the forums are still there. They are separated into the categories which are linked to by the tabs across the top of the index box. Click each table and that category's forums will open below it. By the time I am done, this tab bar will be on every page and will link you back to the proper tab display back on the index page. I am looking into both being able to give you a user option to decide what tab opens on the home page, by default. I am also looking into the feasibility of putting each user's subscribed forum list under its own tab, on the forum index. This would be the best possible way for each user to have the forums he regularly visits right at his fingertips.
  2. Page width: As I have said before, more than 96% of the people here use 1024X768 screen resolution or higher. I other words, very few people here are using 800 pixel-wide screen resolution and keeping the site's design limited to view properly in that resolution puts a real constraint on what I can do with page space. I have switched to a fixed-width format, based on 11024 pixel-wide screen resolution, which is the design standard used by most websites today. Even so, when I am done with the site changes, I will create a lower-res theme that people using 800X600 resolution can use. It will happen by the end of next week, at the latest. I may or may not added a fluid-width theme as well, based on the 1024 pixel model. I will let you guys know about this soon, one way or the other.
  3. Banner Ads: Folks, something has to pay the bills here. The paid memberships and occasional memberships, while helpful and much appreciated, are not coming close to doing it. Advertising is going to have to. Many people got themselves worked up about the launch of the banner system today. It is not in its final format, folks. It will get moved around, tweaked, considered and tweaked some more. Ads, in some form, are going to be a part of the landscape around here though, as they have been for more than nine years. I will keep the ads as unobtrusive as possible, but they need to be there. In the end, there will probably spots that will appear in different locations, or disappear entirely, for paid members. I will also soon be added a horizontal box of twenty 75X40 pixel static ad spots, similar to the ones at the top of AR15.com, though they will be packed into a tight horizontal group here. They will have a little format, but same rough shape as a current standard banner ad. They will appear in the area above and right of the main content area on each page and will be fixed throughout the site. We will be losing the navigation box above, that resides between the header and content area of each page. The functional contents of that box will be relocated elsewhere on the page. The two rows of links, for instance, will end up located above and below the header table above, in place of the black rows, with thew brown decorative weave on their left. With this change, we will gain quite a bit of vertical space,even with the addition of the static ads, which will move the primary content of each page up a bit.
You are only seeing a slice of the overall pie at a time, right now and that pie is still being constructed. You all need to keep that in mind. When you see the whole thing,I think each aspect of the changes will make a lot more sense, and the completed package will be functional, attractive and easy to navigate. I'll post more tomorrow. Eric
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