Group News

New Website Design Launched

If you’ve visited this site at any time in the last ten years or so, you’ll probably wondering what’s happened to it. The familiar green and yellow design has gone, to be replaced by a dramatic new look.

Despite winning the President’s Award this year, the old design was looking tired and dated. Since Christmas, I’ve been working on a new layout that would refresh the site’s appearance and pull together the group’s various online activities more effectively. These efforts are finally ready for a public airing. Here are just a few features of the new design:

  • Colour Scheme:  The new scheme uses a range of natural greens, yellows and browns. As well as being appropriate to our outdoor activities, these colours complement the new banner image and other pictures on the site.
  • Google Search: As part of the new ethos of using freely available services instead of doing it ourselves, the site search has been outsourced to the leader in the field: Google. The prominent position of the search box might mean people use it more too.
  • New Front Page: The home page has been totally rewritten, in order to better welcome people into the site. A Twitter widget (see below) and some news feeds give an at-a-glance guide to what’s happening in the group and in the wider world of hostelling.
  • Twitter: We’ve been posting to Twitter for nearly a year now, but the new design makes it a lot more visible. Tweets are automatically generated whenever new content is added to the site, and can also be written manually by committee members. The widget on the front page makes it easy for everyone to see what’s been happening lately.
  • Advertising: Nobody likes ads, but they do help to cover the costs of running the group. Placing ads above, below and (sometimes) beside the content of each page should attract a few clicks, and a few pennies!
  • Footer: A new area at the foot of each page gives easy access to the Group’s other web outposts. As well as Twitter, we’re also on Facebook, Google Calendar and Flickr. You can also get to the group’s new Amazon store,  where every purchase earns us a small commission.

This is only phase one of the redesign. The next step will be to review each page on the site, correcting any outdated information and trying to make them easier to use. The “Frequently Asked Questions” section will be an early candidate for a revamp.

I’d be interested to hear any feedback – positive or negative – or ideas you may have for further improving the site. Please talk to me in person, by email, or in the comments section below.

Leave a Comment