Survey: your opinion on a new website design

UPDATED at 6 p.m. PST November 24, 2019

The poll below about alternatives for modifying our website home page has closed. The final tally was 44 percent favoring a change to a magazine style or tiled home page, and 56 percent wanting to retain the format that we have always used, multiple full-length articles that you can scroll down through. At the bottom of this article is a screenshot of the modified trial version of the home page showing the experiment with the magazine tiled format. We have converted the format on Wildfire Today back to the original version.

Thanks go out to everyone that voted or left comments. We’re going to consider the input and make a decision about what our next step will be.


Originally published at 9:27 a.m. PST November 23, 2019

We are experimenting with a new website design on Wildfire Today. For the next couple of days (as this is written at 9:25 a.m. PST on November 23) we will try out a rough draft of a new style on the Wildfire Today home page (here). It’s called a magazine theme. The home page has one photo for each article (usually), with a headline and a sentence or two. You can click each one to read the entire article. After you go to the full version, you can click on the left or right arrows at the bottom to go to the next.

The previous style is still being used at Fire Aviation (click here), where the full versions of eight articles can be seen as you scroll down the page.

This version of the home page is a rough draft, using a standard out-of-the-box style, or Theme. The left side bar will be eliminated, the right side bar will be prettied up, and there will be a header graphic at the top smaller than what is now at Fire Aviation. And less empty space.

What I’m most interested in is how folks feel about converting from what we see on the home page at Fire Aviation — where the full versions of eight articles can be seen as you scroll down the page, and changing to a magazine format where we see tiles with a sample of each article.

Let us know which style you like better, the home page on Wildfire Today or the home page at Fire Aviation. And, it would be helpful if you tell us why in a comment.

Thanks!

poll results

The poll closed at 6 p.m. PST November 24, 2019.


home page alternative
Screenshot of a possible modified version of the home page showing the magazine tiled format. The sidebar on the left was cropped out, since it for sure will NOT be used.

Author: Bill Gabbert

After working full time in wildland fire for 33 years, he continues to learn, and strives to be a Student of Fire. Google+

33 thoughts on “Survey: your opinion on a new website design”

    1. Thanks Christina. Do you mean shrink the size of the banner graphic that is at the top of the Fire Aviation site now that is similar to the original one on Wildfire Today? If not, where is the “Wildfire Today” that you want to be smaller? Or, are you saying to change the name to something with fewer letters?

  1. My immediate reaction is that I prefer the ‘old’ look, so my vote is for the Fire Aviation example. The old look has character, not a cookie-cutter design like the new one. It was an easy, fast read. I’m against the change, BUT since the vote is looking in favor of that…. I think the right sidebar could be smaller (leaving the ads the same size) by eliminating the thickness of the white and ‘reddish’ outlines. Make the photos, maps, diagrams smaller on the page, but able to click on for a ‘full page’ version. I’ve often enlarged those, then cut-and-pasted in order to have a full-screen version.

    And a note to subscribers: C’mon you grizzled young & old smoke-eaters (and others)! Get off your axes and give your opinion! Add your two-cents worth! And when you comment, check the “Notify me of follow-up comments by email” at the bottom, so you can see if you’re being asked for more info. If you don’t give your opinion now, then live with it and don’t complain later.

  2. I like the old style better. Seems like an easier read with the enlarged font, and it doesn’t look like a “generic” news site.

  3. I like the new style, but, I think it might look and feel better with a name banner across the top, and eliminate the left side box. A lot of newspapers look similar, but, they have the name of their paper across the top. Just a thought!

  4. As others have said I like the old style better. It was easier to read the partial article before deciding to expand it.

    Your content is excellent. Keep up the good work

  5. Like the old format, simple and fast to navigate thru without the overloading of visual items. Thanks for the opportunity to respond.

  6. I appreciate everyone’s input. This version of the home page is a rough draft, using a standard out-of-the-box style, or Theme. The left side bar will be eliminated, the right side bar will be prettied up, and there will be a header graphic at the top smaller than what is now at Fire Aviation. And less empty space.

    What I’m most interested in is how folks feel about converting from what we see on the home page at Fire Aviation — where the full versions of eight articles can be seen as you scroll down the page, and changing to a magazine format where we see tiles with a sample of each article.

    Keep the ideas coming!

  7. For me the new site is a waste of space.

    The old one worked, why tinker with it.

    Do not care for side bars.

    May look better after you polish it up, we will see.

  8. The new Wildfire Today seems a tad generic without a headline banner like the Fire Aviation site. At this point my preference is the Fire Aviation style. It’s your great content that counts of course but I like that you’re messing with your though. Good luck with wrangling the herd of Fire Cats.

  9. Well I actually will be in the minority here. I liked the new format unchanged (as you have already done some since my initial comment in the balloon story this am). But still prefer Wildfire Today over Aviation as they are laid out this very instance. LOL

  10. We prefer the Fire Aviation website style. More user friendly for us to find the information, both using computer and phone. The new Wildfire Today web page looks more like an advertisement space / store page.

  11. Old style is much better. Although, it’s not so much the style, as it is the news, updated information, maps and photos of the world of wildland fires that you bring to us year round. So, although we each have an opinion on what style we like, it really doesn’t matter as long as it works for you to get the information out to us!!!!

  12. Hi Bill,
    Web site design these days is a hard call… Cell phones, with their tall and skinny screens display stuff far different from the appearance of a 16 X 9 monitor… And most of today’s “audience” isn’t fettered to an office stool or chair…
    It checked out your new site on my phone and it looks spiffy… But the side bars aren’t there on the phone, not even if a guy turns it sideways… (Like other commenters here my feeling would be to lose the side bars too because they kind of detract from the appearance rather than add to it…)
    And you could make the sidebar pics smaller and have them “flyout” or enlarge when moused over… (“Mouseovers” don’t work on cell phones but the side bars aren’t there either so nothing lost there…) ( If you want to know how to effect this drop me a note and I’ll help you out.. You have my address on file…)
    So as for me, I like the cell phone view just fine… The 16 X 9 monitor view not so much… Mostly because cell phones have the added advantage (or disadvantage if one’s photos aren’t hi-res.) of being able to “pinch and zoom” to almost infinity for those requiring more detail…
    Just keep up with the information! A lot of us are depending on you!
    Ol’ Bill

  13. I, too, prefer the original style page. In my case, the banner on the right covers up a portion of the article. But, in any case, thank you for what you do.

  14. I like the old style because it is less distracting. You can scroll thru articles or see them listed on side and be sure you did not skip any ones you really wanted to read even if you haven’t looked in a few days. If you go with the new style, have the home page prominently display a list of last 10 or so articles make the stories open in new tab by default so you don’t lose track of full content. Either way, thanks for all the great content!

  15. If the new way was organized better chronologically, I would be in favor of it. The way it is now, I need to scan each article for the date. The old way I knew that as I scrolled, the articles were in chronological order. A more organized order chronologically will really help during a busy fire season when big campaign fires are getting updates several times a day.

  16. I like the old page.
    If you stick with the new page, show how many comments have been left on an article. On the tile/thumbnail.
    A lot of the strength of your site is the comments left by your readers.
    I like to see if anyone has commented on an article since the last time i visited.

    Thanks

  17. Thanks for letting us provide feedback. I like the new style on the phone, and the old style for the desktop browser version. I’m not a big fan of the three-column layout over two, because once we get down into the articles, it seems like the added column becomes empty real estate. I do think the newer phone version fills the screen better, and I don’t use the tags enough to miss them.

  18. Also, NOT a fan of tiles. My brain has a harder time picking up on changes and finding things. I still struggle with the Windows 10 start menu.

  19. The old-style banner shows up much better in the multi-page iOS Safari view, so I can find this site easily among multiple open web pages. The new one just shows a bunch of text.

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