Okay, so you clicked over the ADTSTC and, holy hell!, things look different. "Where do I go?" "What do I do?" "What in God's name did you do with ____?" (Insert favorite thing you can't find.)
I spent most of my time yesterday browsing around looking at other sites getting a feel for how the experience changes from place to place. I'm not just the guy that runs this site but I'm also an SB Nation user - whether I'm at CougCenter or Through It All Together or any of the sites I like to frequent - I want my SB Nation experience to be as good as it can be.
Here are some quick tips and explanations of things you can do to "get up to speed" with all the changes.
- One of the biggest complaints/issues I read about yesterday was with readers not knowing where things were on the new layouts, particularly since stories now don't appear in reverse chronological order due to the new cover and the ability to pin stories in different spots. For our site, here's how I plan to set things ups and what you should do to find things you are looking for (new stories, FanPosts, FanShots, etc.):
The "Cover" - the big pictures at the top of the page - will contain whatever stories I've decided to feature that day/week/eternity. From this point forward, I'm going to set the site up to have everything below the cover to appear in reverse chronological order. So, if you don't care about what I'm "featuring" (or you've already read the stories on the Cover), just scroll down past it and you'll see the posts/stories/other content will be in the same order that it was on the previous layout.
If you are looking for the old sidebar content, click on the "Library" drop down menu where I can feature five "Pages" for easy navigation. Right now, I've got the Blog List (links), Scratches/Changes, Breeders' Cup Historical Payouts (I need to revise/update this page), Recommended Reading and Horse Racing Links as the five on the drop down.
I've still got work to do to get the Library more functional so that all of the old sidebar "widgets" are available for you, but I think this is a good beginning since those are the most popular pages for quick content.
- If you are looking for FanPosts and FanShots - which used to reside in the right sidebar in Ye Olde Days - you can do one of two things: 1) simply scroll down past the cover and look for the recent FanPosts and FanShots in their special menus (colored in green), or hover over the "Community" tab on the menu and click on FanShots or FanPosts. Yeah, it's a little extra work but, in my opinion, it's not atom-splitting difficulty.
- StoryStreams: Okay, this is probably the biggest addition to the new layout and, as you can see on the cover right now, I've started a StoryStream entitled "The Road To The Breeders' Cup" that is prominently displayed on the Cover. Each time either I or one of the other authors updates a StoryStream (either for news, results, etc.), you'll see an "Update" notation on the headline. If you click on the StoryStream you'll see all the updates since the start of the stream, something I think will be nice if you're looking to "catch up" on certain things.
One of the cool things with StoryStreams is that you can "subscribe" to the stream via Facebook (if that's your thing; if not, just navigate to the site in the normal fashion). If you subscribe to the StoryStream through Facebook, any time we make a "major" update (which pretty much means I check a special box on the story editor), the update will appear in you Facebook news feed.
I'm going to be using StoryStreams a lot for the big days and, I think, it will be a learning experience for me, as well as you.
Oh, and about Facebook. Yeah, I set up a ADTSTC Facebook page about a year ago and then pretty much ignored it. I'm going to give it another shot (we'll see how attempt 2.0 works out), assuming it doesn't take up too much of my time. After all, I don't want too many things encroaching into my handicapping!
- Commenting & Comments: Pretty much the same as before - you scroll to the end of the post and type whatever wonderful ideas pop into your head.
As you may have noticed, there is a small box with a number in it in the corner of each story on the front page - those are the contents for each post. If there are two numbers, then the larger number is total comments and the little number are "new" comments. This was a little buggy yesterday and should get better as things go forward, which brings me to my final point of the post:
Things will be tweaked as the days and weeks pass following this launch. The major things won't change (the cover, most of the layout, no sidebars, etc.) but other things will be improved upon as we go forward (font sizes, colors, readability). So if something seems weird, wrong or just plain confusing - rest assured the tech people are working to get it all ironed out in the coming days. And, as always, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you find something that isn't working or is overly difficult.
This is only the beginning, not the end.