We’ve been busy in the last 24 hours around here. There have been some changes to the website based on various feedback revolving around people not being able to find things on the site. It’s actually been an ongoing complaint for some time. If I had a dollar for every time we’ve heard “The site isn’t very intuitive” hosting for next year would be paid.
Gus did an awesome job on the site however, when the site was being built originally, we picked a premium wordpress theme that we had to bend to our will. It looked really professional, but using it was a nightmare. To simplify things, we changed over to what is called a magazine theme. Other Sim sites also use magazine style themes. They seem to work really well. However, people are still lost, and are giving up trying to use the site. While there is now a deal of redundancy on the site (that Gus is going to yell about later), the important things should be easier to find.
The navigation menu has changed. “Explore” has been changed to the season number. This should make it easier to find everything that is needed for the current season. Currently, Battle of the Bands and festival entry form are under “Participate”. A the start of Season 19 we will add the entry form under the season number. The festival rules have been moved under “About” and there is a banner button in the right sidebar that will also take you to them. Also in that right sidebar are banner buttons to the Festival Calendar, the Voice Actor Submission Form, and the playlist hub page.
The Festival Calendar is once again calendar images with important dates marked on them. Word is that people like the visual much better than just a list of dates. We added the Voice Actor Submission Form there because people have been unable to find it and Voice Actor submissions have been in a serious decline over the last several seasons. We want to change that. There was also some feedback this season that people couldn’t find the playlists to watch the entries. The hub page has links to both the category playlists on the site and the YouTube playlists. The Rules were added because people still aren’t reading them.
Speaking of the rules, there have been a few minor changes made to them. One reflects the change that we will be allowing more than one entry per category and a directors work will be considered as a collective. Poster sizes have been clarified to read “831 pixels wide x 1175 pixels long” and that anything that does not meet these guidelines will not be accepted in the future. We have these guidelines in place for a reason and it makes a lot of extra work for us when they are not followed. Posters that were sized wrong is what made the playlists go wonky this season, and that’s just one of the issues we ran into. Category explanations have also been adjusted. We are still looking for a better name for the “Other” category.
The category navigation links have been added back to the playlist pages to make it easier for people to flip through the pages.
In the coming week we will be fixing and expanding the gallery on the site. One of the problems we ran into this season had to do with the poster gallery. The documentation for the plugin we are using did not make it clear that functions were limited in the free version, including only hosting 10 images. Before we can start taking content for Battle of the Bands we need to get this in working order, so it has been made a priority.
The Voice Actor Submission Form has been fixed and updated. You can now list up to 10 voice actors at a time on the new form. No more submitting one Voice Actor per form. We do ask for their email addresses where we are able to contact them for interviews and sending out awards.
If there are any other suggestions anyone has for the website to make it easier to use, let us know.