Friday, January 05, 2007

Homepage wireframe proposed

After six months of talking, planning, and speculating (here, here, and here) we finally have something to rest our eyes on: a wireframe homepage. Amazing how a few lines, boxes, and words can really help me (and I'll go on a limb and say everyone else too) put a face on this project.

This is a huge first step for us and I think we're on the right track with our work to date (see the proposed site map). Our October 2006 meeting identified several key features and tools, however, despite our many wants, our site is deployed using Convio’s platform, so enhancing features or adding tools is going to be driven somewhat by Convio’s application set. That said, there are some features and tools that seem worth exploring as we discuss future work:

  • Integrating Flash modules on the Home Page and/or key sections
  • Using Google maps API to create a more dynamic interface around Most Endangered Rivers and/or River Stories
  • RSS feeds, specifically of the latest news, events and announcements
  • Streaming audio and video content (podcasts, vlogs, etc.)
  • Adding “Print This Page”, “Email This Alert”, “Tell a Friend” features
  • Adding community features such as discussion boards
  • Making the online store a more streamlined and user-friendly experience
To view a larger image of the homepage wireframe, click on the image above. I'd like to get feedback from folks on the overall navigation scheme from a front page, first time perspective. Does it work? Who does it speak to? Where do the eyes go? Where would you navigate first? How can we best engage river newbies, resource professionals, and community leaders?


Jacob Smith said...

Looks good so far, I just picked this up the other day and think it is a great idea to put the process out there.

In general, I think this wireframe is headed to where it seems ya'll want to go, but I think some of your questions have to be answered by a design comp, and can't be answered fully with a wireframe.

One comment there is a lot of real estate devoted to "hot topics" and news. From what I see on your current site, there is a pretty steady stream of news, but I'm not sure where you are going with the "hot topics."

As a list of links I'm not sure they would engage a river noob as much as expanding that campaign feature to the right column might.

Free advice is always worth what you pay for it :)

Chas Offutt said...

Jacob, thanks for the great feedback. And good point about not getting all of the answers we're looking for from just the wireframe.

Re: Hot Topics, like the thinking of expanding our campaign work. We've been throwing around the idea of something along the lines of a 'River Log'(?).

We'd like this to be the engine of the site and hopefully develop readership as well as increase return visits. The thought is to put a face on specific aspects of our work so that our audience can develop relationships with the people behind our work and not just AR the organization.

All staff have cool projects, travel a good bit to meet folks, participate (and present) at conferences, and partner with like-minded (and sometimes not so like-minded) groups. The thinking is to take these real interactions and turn them outward facing for our audience to learn not what we’re doing, but how we’re doing it. Show not tell, that kind of thing.

But as you can tell this still needs to be vetted. Thanks for the read and perspective, helpful stuff.