I have put together some more thoughts on the new GA site which is still growing and improving daily (and nightly)!
Thanks for everyone's hard work so far.
I'd like to propose that the footer section on the site is a little overboard on widgets. It's half a browser window and summerizes most sections of the site. It doesn't scale well, what happens when hundreds of people are online? This isn't a teenager's myspace blog- we don't need to see everyone's little avatar like its a popularity contest on every page. What happens when there's 50 categories? will the footer just keep growing, etc.
I think the reason the performance is an issue and that Thomas, Dan and Jake are up until 3am every night trying to find ways to improve it is that there's too much unnecessary information being pulled from the database on every page load. It looks like we have some good plugins and style going on, but I think we should take a step back and evaluate the site's organization layout. Fewer plugins on each page will unclutter it and improve performance. Like Peter Parker's father said, "With many WordPress plugins comes great responsibility". I think all of the plugins on the site contain very useful information and all have a place where that information has impact. If reducing widgets isn't an option, that is, if the information they are providing must be on every page is a critical need, we should investigate a more robust and powerful content and data management scheme including a real CMS backend and higher performance software technology stack.
I've navigated around the site and had some thoughts on how it could be organized to drive the information more in more specific directions. These suggestions are complimentary to the first Site Thoughts post of last week.
Suggested Main Menu:
News ["Breaking news for NYCGA and Occupy Wall St."] <front page>
Upcoming Events ["What's happening next?"] (events)
- Occupy Wall St Events
- National Scene
Groups ["Open forums for GA Working groups"] <groups directory>
Get Involved! ["Find an Occupation or Event Near You"]
- Find a Event Near You
- Donations (with text/subpage)
- Contact the GA
Resources & Media ["Information for GA's & Occupations"]
About NYCGA ["What is the NYCGA?"]
- Declaration of the Occupation of New York City
- What is the New York City General Assembly?
- GA Minutes
Site Header (should not float over scrolling page content)
There should also be a search page where users can search by tags, content type, and text
Suggest Footer: (single links, centered across the bottom)
- Site Map <point to text based site map>
- About the NYCGA
- Contact the GA
- Website published by the New York City General Assembly 2011
Persistant widgets for all pages:
- Donate ["Donate your time or resources to NYCGA"]
The front page widgets:
- Live Stream
- Upcoming Events
- Latest News headlines
Groups page widgets
- Recent posts
- Recent Comments
- ### users are online (Single text line of info, not avatars)
The concensus video on the About page is brilliant and should somehow have a direct link/embed on the Front page- it's that good and it's that important for first time viewers to see it.
Forums aren't everyone's cup of tea, we need a page/section where visitors can submit ideas/suggestions/proposals. The mechanism by which these can be handled technically and Process-wise will take some thinking, but would be worth the experiement.
The site should excite visitors and leave them asking how they can get involved, start a GA, make a difference.