Site design suggestions?We're working on some tweaks, and are open to suggestions.
From Robert NilesHi everyone,
Posted January 31, 2013 at 11:44 PM
I'm working on some tweaks to the site design, to go up next week or so. If you have any requests/suggestions for changes, here's your opportunity to let me know.
Also, along with the design changes, we'll be bringing more writers to the front page of the site. They'll all be familiar names -- people who've been contributing to both the blog and the discussion board before. But they've agreed to take on more frequent posting, allowing us to have more posts on the front page on a daily basis.
I'm still looking for a few more writers, especially from the Orlando area. If you live in or near Orlando, have an annual pass to the parks, and enjoy taking photos and/or writing about food, hotels and/or attractions, let me know. We'd love to include you on the site, too.
Comments in chronological order. Most recent at the bottom. Scroll down to respond.
From TH CreativeWhat I would really like to see is a best theme park related video awards. I'd be happy to work with you to create rules and categories.
Posted February 1, 2013 at 7:28 AM
From Russell MeyerIt would be nice to have more of a newspaper format on the front page with story excerpts instead of the entire story that limits the number of articles on the front page. If you're planning on producing more content, it would be nice if the content were more easily accessible for a longer amount of time.
Posted February 1, 2013 at 7:43 AM
From Don NealHere are some thoughts. By the way, I am a consultant for an IBM partner and web solutions are our focus so a lot of this is based on best practices. Totally aside from that, I am happy to even do a Skype session with you and anyone else on generating ideas or discussing any of this. All for free of course, not trying to make a business pitch just offering my insights from experience.
Posted February 1, 2013 at 8:06 AM
One option would be by park or by park owner (i.e. Disney World versus Magic Kingdom, Cedar Fair vs Cedar Point). Another option is to organize based on where the content originated. So maybe something like the following "Editorial Articles", "BlogFlume", "CommunityContributions", "Food&Travel", "Tips", "Latest Forum Discussions", and "Top Category Lists" such as top theme parks, top rides, top this, top that.
Other widgets or features on the home page that make sense are the social media links, search, news by email registration, and of course navigation to the site. It also might be worth considering a more photo oriented carousel that would feature the latest stories or can be used to bring attention to an area of the site that was just added or recently updated.
For the news articles, it would be good to go towards a title, date added, small photo of sorts, and teaser text with a "Read More" link that would then take them to the detail or expand that area to reveal the story. This would allow you to get much more content on the screen.
From Dominick DI wouldn't mind being a writer since I'm only 50 minutes from Orlando and go on a monthly basis to WDW and Universal.
Posted February 1, 2013 at 9:08 AM
From Brian EmeryI Personally would not change a thing… It is the best site in the World…
Posted February 1, 2013 at 10:43 AM
Well actually now that you mention it… I love financials and stocks… You could have a small section reflecting stock prices of Theme parks…
Maybe an expert section: Where a user can ask certain experts’ advice for anything about vacations. These sections responses will only be answered by a select few. Kinda like a Dear Abby – we ask for advice and receive a well thought out answer…
And sell some damn Tee Shirts…
From Brian EmeryYou could keep degenerates like me off this site - Then this site would be tremendously better…
Posted February 1, 2013 at 10:23 AM
“Don’t Fret me Brother, Sticky Bun come soon”.
From James TrexenThe only thing I would suggest is more organization/accessibility on archived discussions. Rather than having to continuously click on "Previous Discussion Threads", develop a system where old threads can easily be seen, thus eliminating some potential of redundant threads.
Posted February 1, 2013 at 11:06 AM
From Rob PastorThe back pages of the site are OK but I would suggest a change in the front page. Presently you have to scroll down through the entirety of each article, which gives the last posted article precedence over the rest even though it may be the least interesting. I would think the following articles receive less interest as they drop in rank. It seems there is a large drop in discussion posting once a topic drops a few notches even though it might have been posted very recently. I believe it would be more manageable if the title of the topic and a brief synopsis were posted in a box that you could click on to read the rest. That seems to be the way most other theme park sites are set up and it makes it easier to follow threads that may have been posted earlier that day or week. As an example, there is a very long article presently on the front page and you have to scroll for a long time to get to the next post. I think some discussions get lost in the morass of print.
Posted February 1, 2013 at 1:22 PM
From Lisa EstradaHow about something other than the boring tan sidebars? Seems like a waste of space. Some pictures that change weekly would be really nice!
Posted February 3, 2013 at 7:52 AM
From Andrew DoughertyThe ability to rate closed attractions.
Posted February 3, 2013 at 1:33 PM
From Mike Gallagher^I'm not gonna beat around the bush. I think that's a really stupid idea.
Posted February 3, 2013 at 6:24 PM
From AJ HummelFor the home page, I think it would be good to display a preview of the most recent article in a given category instead of just listing the articles sequentially. For example, you could have boxes for the categories "Disney News," "Universal News," "Other Park News," "TPI Features," and other appropriate categories arranged in an attractive format, and in each box a picture and the first three or four lines of text from the most recent article would appear. Clicking on the image would link to the full article. The archives would also be sorted by these categories so it would be easy to find an old article (if implemented, I'd categorize everything within the past year and then leave everything else in an "older archive" as is).
Posted February 3, 2013 at 5:28 PM
If possible, perhaps the vote of the week and other polls could be done in the sidebar. Only the poll need be posted, and a link could be available for the full article.
For the park rating pages, it would be a good idea to go through and update them. I've noticed several attractions that are no longer operating but haven't been removed yet, as well as rides that changed names several years ago but are still listed under their old names. The layout and format is good (although it might be a good idea to have the top text in a uniform format), but the listings are out of date. I could think of a few parks that should maybe be added, but that's not really a design thing.
Finally, on the discussion boards, it would be really nice to have the previous posts visible while writing your reply. It would be easier to have a post you're responding to visible directly above or below the reply box instead of having to open a new tab/window and keep switching between the two.
From Karly Tenney^agreed AJ
Posted February 3, 2013 at 8:32 PM
From Robert NilesI wanted to note that (except for the Disney and Universal parks), any registered member should be able to submit updates to the park listings. You can click the "[Update this description]" link to submit a name change or status change for any listed attraction or restaurant. If there's a change needed for a Disney or Universal listing, please just email me and I'll get to it ASAP.
Posted February 5, 2013 at 10:36 PM
From Tim WI honestly like the clean and easy to navigate layout of the current TPI. However, I am certainly not opposed to seeing something with a bit more flare and modern feel to the site. I would just be cautious of this because I feel that some sites have failed once they drastically changed their web design (Miceage, JMH). Maybe what would be best is to test under certain templates and request user feedback.
Posted February 7, 2013 at 5:58 AM
One thing that I would like to see change is the color scheme. I'd like to see something different than blue, gold, green, and tan.
From Chad HI'd love to see an international expansion...
Posted February 10, 2013 at 11:51 AM
From Mike GallagherLooks very nice so far!!
Posted February 10, 2013 at 2:38 PM
From David L.When I first got on the computer I said to myself, "Did I type in the wrong site address?" I think the new design is better, but it still doesn't fix the find really old threads easily problem (unless I missed something).
Posted February 10, 2013 at 3:40 PM
From Tim WI like the new design alot. I think rotating pictures at the top will be a great idea. One thing I forgot to suggest, that I'm not sure if was mentioned, but is to eliminate the capping at 100 posts.
Posted February 10, 2013 at 5:37 PM
From Dominick DI go to Universal for a day and this is what happens. Looks pretty good!
Posted February 10, 2013 at 7:37 PM
From Anthony MurphyI went bowling and then came back to this....
Posted February 10, 2013 at 9:06 PM
Excellent so far! Make sure to go and update your information!
From Tyler BellLove the new design, is there a mobile app coming?
Posted February 11, 2013 at 8:53 PM
From Andy MilitoOne question (may not be related): are the ads in the middle of the thread going to be a permanent thing?
Posted February 12, 2013 at 2:19 PM
From Mike GallagherWell, they've been there a while, and ads support the site..so I may not be Mr. Niles but my guess would be "YES."
Posted February 12, 2013 at 2:30 PM
From Andy Milito^ Makes sense... I just think they look goofy right in the middle of the thread.
Posted February 13, 2013 at 5:09 AM
From Mike GallagherWell, that's the only spot where a reader is FORCED to see it.
Posted February 13, 2013 at 7:17 AM
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