Those who come to the site regularly will probably have already noticed that we've made some tweeks to the design and functionality of the site. These reflect some of the feedback we've had from users, as well as our personal feelings about how the site 'works'.
The more prominent changes are a left hand navigation on the home page, the formatting of the forum in a more standard way, and the movement of the contact functions of the forum to a separate about us/contact section.
The left hand navigation comes from the feedback that the site isn't as easy to use as before. This is a difficult problem to address, as it assumes that the site has a specific use rather than being an ongoing experiment. Wheras many of our visitors presume that the purpose is to access our projects, part of the purpose is documenting the process of creation, and this was unworkable within previous site versions.
The intent with our current design is to bring the process forward on the site, but we did this at the expense of obvious and immediate access to the projects. Most people commented that they found the site more approachable and easier to comprehend, but some were loathe to see SHOWstudio move on from what they were familiar with. We hope that we've rectified access to our projects to some extent by clearer signposting and navigation, allowing people to get their quick fix on the site, and that other visitors will continue to follow the web of trails we've started to develop through our regular updates.
The forum changes, I hope, are pretty self explanitory. We realised that visitors to the site were being overloaded by choices on the forum page from the way it was presented - as evident by the number of messages directed to me in the forum, some that were most certainly not for my attention. The intent of the original forum was to encourage discourse with the SHOWstudio team, as well as with each other, but this wasn't working.
The answer was to move this contact into it's own section, expanding out the contact section to allow you to contact 'us' and find out about 'us'. The rationale isn't self-massage of our ego's, but rather to try and help our audience familiarise themselves with who we are and what we do, and provide a bridge across which they feel they can communicate with us about the ongoing project that is SHOWstudio (and perhaps take some of the weight off of Penny's inbox)
There are numerous other small changes, and some bug fixes, throughout the site.
However we are always working on the development of the site, and we are aware of a number of outstanding issues that we have to address, so please continue to give us your feedback, contstructive criticism is always gratefully received.