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Nathan Robinson
myArmoury Admin

myArmoury Admin

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2005 1:10 am    Post subject: New features: Customized homepage portal and user settings         Reply with quote

As many of you know, I recently changed many things on the back-end of the site that are quite invisible to the end-user. I did this because it makes it easier for me to update and maintain the site, track the usage, respond to usage patterns with improved content and features, and manage resources a bit better.

In doing this, I changed the home page of our site. Some of you like it. Others don't. Over the last two years, many people have asked for more info to be added to the home page and others have asked for it to be simplified. It's always a balancing act how to design these things because everybody has a different way of using a site.

I wanted to make the home page into more of a "portal" than a simple doorway or introduction into the site. To some, this means having a list of recent forum topics right there. For others, they may want to have a list of often-used links. And for others, still, they may want to have a quick summary of what is going on site-wide so they can merely give a glance and move onwards.

Over the last couple days I coded up a custom system that lets registered members who are logged in customize their home page. Members can put whatever info they want on it from a list of "blocks" and can also place these blocks where they choose. It's your personalized space and you can make it what you want it to be.

You'll notice in the far upper left corner of the home page a new button titled "Customize your home page" that brings you directly to the home page layout manager I built. Check it out. Make a portal that is useful to *you* completely by scratch or choose from various presets:

On top of that, you can change some other settings that change the way features, reviews, links, and other things are displayed to you. These are your "user preferences" and they're something you can set and forget. I'll add more preferences to allow you to customize your browsing experience as I think of them.

All these things can be found by clicking the Profile button. Once there, you'll notice a new option to "Edit Your User Preferences" that lets you change your home page layout and change your site preferences.

A few things that you can now change on your own home page:

  • A list of your favorite topics: save for later and reference whenever
  • A list of your favorite outside links: make your own link-list and place it right on your portal
  • The most popular links, ranked on the number of hits they've gotten: where are others going?
  • A list of our recent Spotlight Topics with a choice of how many to show: a good reference tool
  • A welcome block with detailed information about you
  • A customizable listing of recent topics from the forum

One thing I noticed while looking at the recent info I can now see is that the Links page is used a lot more than I had ever expected it to be. It seems as though it's the "entry" page for many of you. Perhaps a lot of people set it as their browser's homepage or at least as a "jumping off page" to other arms and armour related sites. Either way, I thought it would be useful to be able to save your "favorite links" and then filter out all the others from view. To this end, please pay attention to the new setting: "Do you want to only show your favorite links by default on the links page?"

If you answer "yes" to this, then only the links that you marked as favorites will show on the links page. (You can still view the others with one click on the links page). This unclutters this page for those of you who use it as a starting/exiting page..


A couple notes:

1. This is something I created on my own and quickly. There are bound to be bugs. If you see big error messages or other things, email or PM me so I can respond to them quicker..
2. The setting that asks if you want the various buttons to appear on the top of each page will only be active as I can find the time to convert all the pages to the new format. So for now, only a few pages have the login/out buttons, etc. visible.
3. I know all this is relatively trivial and superfluous for this site, but it was fun to make and gives me the opportunity to flex my developer muscles a bit. I've already found it useful for my own browsing experience so you guys might, too. I don't know.

.:. Visit my Collection Gallery :: View my Reading List :: View my Wish List :: See Pages I Like :: Find me on Facebook .:.
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Craig Johnson
Industry Professional

Location: Minneapolis, MN, USA
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
Likes: 16 pages
Reading list: 20 books

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 1,418

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2005 7:18 am    Post subject: Cool         Reply with quote

Cool Happy
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Patrik Erik Lars Lindblom

Location: Göteborg Sweden
Joined: 07 Jul 2004
Reading list: 8 books

Posts: 411

PostPosted: Wed 23 Nov, 2005 8:23 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Big Grin Kallt Big Grin
Now are myArmoury myArmoury Cool
I like it allot, very nice Nathan!

Frid o Fröjd!
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