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Web Site changes

Written by Steve Graham (GRAM)   
Sunday, 13 June 2004

I just wanted to take a few minutes and outline the changes to the website, and the reasons for making them.

As the Road Star Clinic grew, the administrative tasks required for its continued operation grew with it.  Originally founded as an archive for technical information for the members of the Road Star Riders forum on Delphi, it quickly became a well visited repository for readers from all affiliations associated with the Road Star.

We got easier to find when we made the listings on Yahoo (type in road star clinic), and that complicated the problem.  We had no idea we would get this type of response when we created this web site, but we did, and that points to a need for exactly what we are offering.

We could not continue as was, so opted to re architect the site to meet future and current demands for growth and expansion.  It became clear that the continued success of the site was going to hinge on enlarging the circle of direct participants in order to reduce the overhead for the site administrators.  This process also gave us a chance to redesign the look and some of the features of the site.

So, here's a brief list of new features on the site:

New forum:

Its smaller and more compact.  Considerably less overhead to manage.  All the basic posting features are intact excepting the old sigs.  Some were coded in HTML wich this forum does not support.  If you have a sig in your profile that was done in HTML, it will need to be recoded to work here.  As soon as I can get some time I will post a brief overview of how to create a BB based sig.  If someone has time to play with it, the tools are in the profile and passing your cursor over them will give you sytax details on how to use them.  Please post a how to if you figure it all out.

New look:

When we had to start from the ground up to redsign this site, it made good sense to adopt the template approach for the new design.  We can now change the look of every page very quickly (a few clicks if we have a template ready).

New menu and Navigation:

Our new menu changes as it needs to to give you all your options.  It stays very compact when it is able to.  There is also a navigation path listed just below the "newsflash" block at the top of the page, in the header of the main content area.  This path follows you into most areas of the site and allows for easy "clickable" navigation backwards to the menu.

Direct editing capability:

Author's of articles on this site can now edit their articles at will, and submit new ones from thier browsers.  The administrators of the site only need to accept them for them to be added to the site.  If you have an article published here, please be sure you have a userid setup and forward it to us.  We will add your userid to the articles access processes so that you can make changes to it yourself.  After this initial setup, you will also be able to submit new articles directly.

Direct link submission:

We got more links than we had time to add to the links list.  We have rebuilt the list with a new format, and members of this site can now submit new links online.  Please take a minute to compare your browser "favorites" list to the links page.  We would love to have you submit any we don't have directly to us.  You can do this from the menu that shows up below your username on the left side of the page after you login.

Reorganization of the "Tech Tips" section:

As the old "Tech Tips" section grew, it got harder and harder to find articles in.  We have completely reorganized and reclassified the section, now called "Articles".  We are looking into adding a search engine to allow you to search for words in all the articles.

Quick links to forum discussion threads for articles on this website:

At the bottom of most articles (there is one at the bottom of this article) there is now a link that will take you to a thread in our technical "articles" forum which has the same name as this article's title.  It is a discussion thread reserved for questions, answers, and discussions about the topic of that article.  If you have a question, or wish to make a comment, please click on this link.

Plans for the future:

  1. Picture galleries are coming very soon.  We hope to create galleries of many comon stock and aftermarket parts, as well as aquiring pictures of some great bikes.
  2. We are working on something to address common rejet support.  Still evaluating how to proceed, but hoping to get onto this project soon.
  3. Anyone interested in having a list of local wrenches who can work on your bike?  Just something we are thinking of trying out.

The new site will accomodate faster implementation of new content, and lower development time for new projects. 

Please take a minute and post what you think about it in our new forum. 

Its going to get even better....


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