The Boulder Jewish News team has been busy over the last few weeks, and finally this weekend rolled out the first major redesign of the site! We think the new design is cleaner and more functional than before, and allows us to add some cool new features. It also works better with Internet Explorer 8, as well as Firefox, Safari and Chrome: no small feat in the world of browser compatibility design. The first thing you’ll probably notice is that we went from green to blue. But there’s more! Here’s a walk-through of the features on the front page.
Better Menus. Our menus work better than before – now they are standard drop-down menus (check out what’s there!). Site search is now in the upper right corner – looking for something? Type a keyword in that box and press “enter.”
More Features. Below the menu is a nifty Featured Posts slider box, which rotates several featured stories. This gives us the ability to keep a story “top” if it should stay on the top. Below the slider are excerpts of the most recent posts. And below that, the middle of the front page now has a grouping that shows the headlines of the most recent posts in each of the four main sections: Arts and Culture, Jewish Life, Events and News. As before, to see the full text of any post, just click on the headline or the “Read More” link at the end of the description. Overall, this means more stories on the front page than before.
Find More Things Faster. Moving to the right-hand side bar, we now have a subscription form for our popular daily email service, and then a tabbed group with four sections (click on a tab to see what’s there). The tabs might change depending on what’s “happening” but for now they show:
- Find: links to the Community Calendar and Shabbat Times tools, local Jewish organizations and a Where? Jewish Boulder Map, which shows you where all the organizations are located;
- Newsy: links to interesting articles from around the Internet;
- Authors: lists all the authors who have posted stories – click on a name to see the articles by that person, and
- Tags: shows a Web 2.0 “Tag Cloud” — click on a tag to see the posts “tagged” that way.
Under our Ads and Sponsors, you’ll find live tweets from Twitter, Upcoming Calendar Highlights and the “Meta” section where registered users can sign into our content management system.
Footer Feeds. Finally, we’ve moved all syndicated content (automatic feeds) to the bottom blue section – the “footer”. This means that when the other sites update, the headline/story titles update on Boulder Jewish News also. As more Jewish organizations in the Boulder area add RSS feeds, we’ll add them to the BJN.
- JTA – the Jewish Telegraph Agency;
- Local “blogs” – sites with feeds: Community Groups News, Education and Youth News, and Local Rabbi Blogs;
- Outside the Bubble – group of interesting content from Jewish blog sites;
- “Get the Headlines“ widget, that you can place on your own site and show our most recent five posts all the time.
Mobile. Have you checked out BJN on your mobile device? If you have an iPhone/iPod Touch or Android device, you are already getting optimized content. We’re working on a mobile solution for Palm, Blackberries and other mobile browsers. . . hope to have that soon.
Thank yous. We’d like to thank Justin Tadlock (ThemeHybrid and Hybrid News), and local designers Justin Rosenthal and Angela Bowman for their design assistance and input. Please let us know what you think of the new look and layout – leave a comment or click on the “Contact us” link at the top of the page to send us an email. Either way, we’d like to hear from you! Have a great last week of 2009.