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Post  SFGIdeas on 5/13/2010, 12:28 pm

Good day to all of the Square Foot Gardeners out there and users of the forum. This post is for us to obtain an idea of what you, our users, would like to see on our website www.squarefootgardening.com.

We are looking for ideas and suggestions on how you would like to view and navigate our site. You ideas can include layout, links, photos, captions, pricing sheets, information, search options, or anything else that you may like to see change or possibly make it easier for you to use and get the information you are looking for.

We do realize that there are multiple suggestions throughout the forum but hopefully this will streamline everyones thoughts and allow others to build upon them.

As the user of our site, your ideas are valued and we fully thank you for them. We hope that all of your gardens are either flourishing or are well on their way to producing a wonderful crop for you or your family. Happy Gardening from all of us here at Square Foot Gardening.
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Post  Toastie on 5/13/2010, 1:11 pm

How about an iphone app or at least a version of the website I can access on my iphone

Also how about a wikipedia so we can look at tips from other users about certain seeds and such


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Post  timwardell on 5/14/2010, 12:04 am

I think the content is largely already present (though I do support the idea of a SFG wiki that boffer and others are pursuing in another thread). The problem with the content is that it's currently in flash so there is no direct way to link to it (nor any way for search engines to crawl it). It would be so much easier to email a link to someone with the exact content that answers their question as opposed to saying, click A, then select B, once that opens choose C, etc. I know this has been discussed before so I won't belabor the point that a non-flash site would be a big help. ... As for the layout, I think clean and simple is always best - a nice looking banner, navigation bar either across the header or in a left side bar, middle section for the main content, and possibly a right side bar for special announcements and such.

Again, I'll state that I think the content is 90% there - it just needs to be available in a non-flash format.
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Post  Shoda on 5/14/2010, 12:13 am

My suggestion would be to make page layout be more friendly to laptops. My laptop is 1200 x 800 ( or something close to that) and I love to read the forums while the TV is on. Trouble is, the page header (Green bar & SFG graphic), menu bar and such take over half of the vertical space. This means in order to use the forum on my laptop, every page has to be scrolled down so that the content displays. 400px is a lot for static stuff. Would be nice if this could be smaller.

Thanks for asking.
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Post  1chichi on 5/14/2010, 9:24 am

I agree w/ Shonda. The page header takes up too much space.
It pops up when I open up a post. So, I'm constantly scrolling down to get past it.
Can it be eliminated? WEBSITE suggestions: Layout, Design, Etc 109486
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Post  herbarium on 5/14/2010, 9:38 am

I would also appreciate a non flash site.
Mostly I think the site is great.
I do miss the profile info from the old site where we could fill out info about our gardens and post our garden photos right to our profile.
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Post  pattipan on 5/14/2010, 10:13 am

We're talking about the SFG's web site, not the forum right?

My first suggestion would be to get rid of the Flash. It makes the website take much too long to load and it is not very user friendly or accessible. It needs to be made more accessible IMHO. Maybe an example would help me explain. Here's a well laid out site with lots and lots of content.

http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/index.shtml

Note how much info they were able contain on their home page -- with links and images to important content. The navigation is on the left and expands to sub-menus as needed. It loads very FAST too. Is the print too small? -- no problem! -- just hold down your CTRL key and scroll with your mouse wheel (or touchpad scroll). The entire page and text becomes larger. This is accessibility. And like Tim W. mentioned, you can link to any of the content pages. For those of you with kids and grandkids or who are teachers...check out the Just for Kids links. I don't know if it's iPhone friendly, but it shows what I was trying to explain.

I believe you've included most of the content new SFG'ers are looking for, it just needs to be made easier to access.

Thanks for asking!
Patti
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Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/14/2010, 12:04 pm

I agree with others about having a non-flash site. The current one takes too long to load and if I could provide a link to a particular page, I'd be spreading the SFG message far and wide.

I'd also like to see more specific plant and herb content. The current page with the plants and herbs on a grid is a good beginning, but how about adding SFG planting spacing, etc. to the descriptions? I know that is in the book, but if I'm on the forum answering questions, it would be lovely to provide a link rather than go find the book and type in the answer.
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Post  SFGIdeas on 5/14/2010, 12:10 pm

@Toastie wrote:How about an iphone app or at least a version of the website I can access on my iphone

Also how about a wikipedia so we can look at tips from other users about certain seeds and such



We are currently in the process of building an iPhone. Keep your eyes open for it in the application store in about a week or two!!
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Post  SFGIdeas on 5/14/2010, 12:15 pm

Thank you all for you ideas and suggestions and please keep them coming. Please continue to keep in mind that this is strickly for our main page at www.squarefootgardening.com and not the forum.

Keep them coming all!!! Happy Gardening!!!
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Post  SFGIdeas on 5/14/2010, 12:20 pm

@Shoda wrote:My suggestion would be to make page layout be more friendly to laptops. My laptop is 1200 x 800 ( or something close to that) and I love to read the forums while the TV is on. Trouble is, the page header (Green bar & SFG graphic), menu bar and such take over half of the vertical space. This means in order to use the forum on my laptop, every page has to be scrolled down so that the content displays. 400px is a lot for static stuff. Would be nice if this could be smaller.

Thanks for asking.

That's interesting that you have to scroll on your laptop. Our page is set up at 1000 x 650 so there should be no reason why you would have to scroll on the main website for anything other than merchandise. We will look into it but you may want to check your computer settings as well. Thank you again.
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Post  SFGIdeas on 5/14/2010, 12:32 pm

@pattipan wrote:We're talking about the SFG's web site, not the forum right?

My first suggestion would be to get rid of the Flash. It makes the website take much too long to load and it is not very user friendly or accessible. It needs to be made more accessible IMHO. Maybe an example would help me explain. Here's a well laid out site with lots and lots of content.

http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/index.shtml

Note how much info they were able contain on their home page -- with links and images to important content. The navigation is on the left and expands to sub-menus as needed. It loads very FAST too. Is the print too small? -- no problem! -- just hold down your CTRL key and scroll with your mouse wheel (or touchpad scroll). The entire page and text becomes larger. This is accessibility. And like Tim W. mentioned, you can link to any of the content pages. For those of you with kids and grandkids or who are teachers...check out the Just for Kids links. I don't know if it's iPhone friendly, but it shows what I was trying to explain.

I believe you've included most of the content new SFG'ers are looking for, it just needs to be made easier to access.

Thanks for asking!
Patti

Yes, we are talking about the SFG Website and not the forum.
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Post  jkdistad on 5/14/2010, 1:37 pm

@SFGIdeas wrote:
@Toastie wrote:How about an iphone app or at least a version of the website I can access on my iphone

Also how about a wikipedia so we can look at tips from other users about certain seeds and such



We are currently in the process of building an iPhone. Keep your eyes open for it in the application store in about a week or two!!

This excites me! will it be a free app, or paid?
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Post  mckr3441 on 5/14/2010, 1:51 pm

What they all said above plus... I find the teaching/learning section difficult to navigate to find a teacher. To deeply imbedded.

The Store is fun but maybe should be more direct.

The site is very creative however are most viewers interested in the cleverness or getting to the info?

Claire WEBSITE suggestions: Layout, Design, Etc Icon_flower

P.S. Need to be able to search content of posts on forum. Not sure this is part of what you're looking for right now, though.
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Post  SFGIdeas on 5/14/2010, 2:13 pm

@mckr3441 wrote:What they all said above plus... I find the teaching/learning section difficult to navigate to find a teacher. To deeply imbedded.

The Store is fun but maybe should be more direct.

The site is very creative however are most viewers interested in the cleverness or getting to the info?

Claire WEBSITE suggestions: Layout, Design, Etc Icon_flower

P.S. Need to be able to search content of posts on forum. Not sure this is part of what you're looking for right now, though.

Claire, If you could change the teaching/learning section, what would you change to make it easier to navigate?
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Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/14/2010, 2:20 pm

@SFGIdeas wrote:
@Shoda wrote:My suggestion would be to make page layout be more friendly to laptops. My laptop is 1200 x 800 ( or something close to that) and I love to read the forums while the TV is on. Trouble is, the page header (Green bar & SFG graphic), menu bar and such take over half of the vertical space. This means in order to use the forum on my laptop, every page has to be scrolled down so that the content displays. 400px is a lot for static stuff. Would be nice if this could be smaller.

Thanks for asking.

That's interesting that you have to scroll on your laptop. Our page is set up at 1000 x 650 so there should be no reason why you would have to scroll on the main website for anything other than merchandise. We will look into it but you may want to check your computer settings as well. Thank you again.

I think the original poster is speaking about the forum, not the main site. Even on my laptop I can see all but the very last line of text on the main site. But, the header on the forum takes up most of my screen space on the desktop as well as laptop. I like the banner you use -- pretty -- but perhaps for the forum use something much shorter?
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Post  SFGIdeas on 5/14/2010, 2:22 pm

@jkdistad wrote:
@SFGIdeas wrote:
@Toastie wrote:How about an iphone app or at least a version of the website I can access on my iphone

Also how about a wikipedia so we can look at tips from other users about certain seeds and such



We are currently in the process of building an iPhone. Keep your eyes open for it in the application store in about a week or two!!

This excites me! will it be a free app, or paid?

We will be offering both.
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Post  raymondaitken on 5/14/2010, 2:25 pm

The biggest problem with the site is the use of flash. It is very slow to load, and you cannot search the text, nor link to it. The best approach for users is "KISS" (keep it simple stupid), I am more interested in accessing and sharing information - technical gimmickry is getting in the way.
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Post  timwardell on 5/14/2010, 2:37 pm

@pattipan wrote:...Here's a well laid out site with lots and lots of content.
http://www.fs.fed.us/wildflowers/index.shtml
Note how much info they were able contain on their home page -- with links and images to important content. The navigation is on the left and expands to sub-menus as needed. It loads very FAST too. Is the print too small? -- no problem! -- just hold down your CTRL key and scroll with your mouse wheel (or touchpad scroll). The entire page and text becomes larger. This is accessibility.
Patti
I agree with Patti that her example is a great example of clean, professional, easy to navigate, non-flash site with TONS of content. If the SFGF could emulate something like that in a new site it would be GREAT! Very Happy ...and there was much rejoicing, yea!
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Post  mckr3441 on 5/14/2010, 2:45 pm

SFGideas...

re teaching/learning section. I will study that section more thoroughly and give feedback but am on the road for a few days so may not get to it till next week. Hope that's ok.

Claire WEBSITE suggestions: Layout, Design, Etc Icon_flower
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Post  SFGIdeas on 5/14/2010, 3:11 pm

@mckr3441 wrote:SFGideas...

re teaching/learning section. I will study that section more thoroughly and give feedback but am on the road for a few days so may not get to it till next week. Hope that's ok.

Claire WEBSITE suggestions: Layout, Design, Etc Icon_flower

That is absolutely fine. Enjoy your "road trip".
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Post  boffer on 5/14/2010, 3:14 pm

I think the focus of an informational web site should be content and ease of navigation. Flash should be embedded here and there as a cherry on top!

I addressed the scrolling issue here:

http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/outside-the-box-f40/scrolling-in-the-forum-t2140.htm#14888
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Post  SFGIdeas on 5/14/2010, 3:31 pm

@boffer wrote:I think the focus of an informational web site should be content and ease of navigation. Flash should be embedded here and there as a cherry on top!

I addressed the scrolling issue here:

[url=http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/outside-the-box-f40/scrolling-in-the-forum-t2140.htm#14888
http://squarefoot.forumotion.com/outside-the-box-f40/scrolling-in-the-forum-t2140.htm#14888[/quote[/url]]

Boffer, Thank you so much for creating the topic for the scrolling issue. It seems to me the scrolling issue is only one that is seen on the forum and not on our actual webpage. The only scrolling that should need to be done on our website (not forum) would be navagating through our merchandise and information.
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Post  timwardell on 5/18/2010, 10:28 pm

One more thought... I think a SFG badge would be nice. Something we can put on our web sites and blogs that links back to the SFG.com site.
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Post  herbarium on 5/19/2010, 10:03 am

SFG Badge! What a great idea Tim!
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