Website & Forum Suggestion Box

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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Gary Lewis
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Not half-baked at all!  I really want to make this work for everyone, and have even paid Facebook for advertising to get it off the ground.  But, that cost me something like $40 and netted very little in the way of traffic, so I turned that off.

And, I didn't take it that you were suggesting we move to Facebook.  I was just explaining why I don't problem-solve over there.

Chris said something to me recently that has me thinking.  He said that he's been told that most of the traffic on FTE is one-timers that come on to get a problem solved and don't come back until the next problem comes along.  And while I don't dislike one-timers, I really like getting to know people and helping them.  But I have nothing against those who want to spend their time helping one-offers.  That's just not where I want to spend my time.

Anyway, I can move the search function to the top of the page and highlight it so people can find it.  Let me think about that a bit.  (And, if I come off with some bizarre responses blame it on Brandon's lacquer thinner fumes.)
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

ArdWrknTrk
Administrator
In reply to this post by Gary Lewis
Maybe if "search Garagemahal resources and documentation" was up in the stickies at the top of the page instead of at the bottom, people would use it more?

I don't know and I'm not a psychologist.
'You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink' comes to mind.
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250 HD, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Ford F834
Administrator
ArdWrknTrk wrote
'You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink' comes to mind.
Perhaps not, but if presented as a glistening, shimmering, crystal clear pool of glacial runoff you are more likely to get a horse to drink than by showing it a sign that says “water”.
SHORT BED 4-DOOR DIESEL: 1986 F350 4x4 SRW under construction-- 7.3 IDIT R&D 64mm intercooled turbo 150cc IP stage 1 cam main girdle 13" Southbend clutch ZF-5 + GearVendors overdrive 4.10 axle gears hydroboost brakes

STRAIGHT SIX 4X4: 1981 F150 2wd to 4x4 conversion-- 300 I6 close ratio diesel T19, hydroboost brakes, Saginaw steering
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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

ArdWrknTrk
Administrator
Ah!

"Raw" water


With bonus Giardia & Cryptosporidium!!!!      
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250 HD, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

ArdWrknTrk
Administrator
Seriously though, I understand the *oh, shiny* aspect of it.

So you're suggesting a header shot of whatever is included in the subsection?
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250 HD, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Ford F834
Administrator
Part of it is the “oh shiny...” aspect (for new users) to see what is behind door no. 1 etc., but also people process visual information much faster and easier than text. Repeat users will likely find it easier to navigate with a visual map of land marks rather than having to read the street signs each time, if that analogy makes any sense...
SHORT BED 4-DOOR DIESEL: 1986 F350 4x4 SRW under construction-- 7.3 IDIT R&D 64mm intercooled turbo 150cc IP stage 1 cam main girdle 13" Southbend clutch ZF-5 + GearVendors overdrive 4.10 axle gears hydroboost brakes

STRAIGHT SIX 4X4: 1981 F150 2wd to 4x4 conversion-- 300 I6 close ratio diesel T19, hydroboost brakes, Saginaw steering
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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

ArdWrknTrk
Administrator
Makes perfect sense.

The same way I can glance at an analog instrument panel and instantly tell if any needles are in or close to the red zone, while reading digital numbers and having to *consider* the context and implications of those numbers vs what should be 'normal' takes a second.

Amazing -to me- that someone *literally* searching for information can't be bothered to RTFM when it is put in front of them, but I guess that's what's happened.
 Jim,
Lil'Red is a '87 F250 HD, 4.10's, 1356 4x4, Zf-5, 3G, PMGR, Saginaw PS, desmogged with an Edelbrock 1826 and Performer intake.
Too much other stuff to mention.
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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

1985 Bronco
I think the Radiator Support page could use some pictures to better explain the difference between the 80/84 supports, and the 85/86 supports. You could also post some pictures of the diesel support, since they are not reproduced, and someone may want to try to modify a gas support to work.

I have some pictures of how to modify a 80/84 support to work with a 85/86 radiator if you want those too.
1976 Ford F150: Regular Cab, Long Bed, 2WD, 460, C6


1985 Ford Bronco: Sold

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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Gary Lewis
Administrator
1985 Bronco - If you have pics to use on the radiator support send them on.  I'll schedule that when I can.

Jim/Jonathan - We need to achieve a balance.  On one extreme I could spend a whole lot of time making it easy for those who won't read the menu to find what they need.  On the other, I could spend my time adding new pages and the site would serve those who will read the menu.  But, if we can find a middle-of-the-road approach that doesn't take much more time that the current approach then we might have a good solution.

But I'm having a hard time imagining what the "header shot of whatever is included in the subsection" looks like.  Would it be something like a page with small pictures that are used as icons to get to the info, like:

Cooling Systems a radiator?
Driveline a picture of an engine, tranny, rear axle
Electrical a picture of a battery or an alternator or maybe a lightning bolt

Is that what you mean?  If so, look at 1981 Literature.  I can pack them much tighter than that, but we still have 20 things at the top level, so maybe 4 wide by 5 deep.  But, then do we have to do that at the next level?  Or, to put it another way, if you click on Electrical where should it take you?  Currently it takes you to the page shown below, which is waaaay out of date since it shows 7 entries at the next level and there are actually 27 of them.  In other words, I've not keep that up for a long time.  

So, my fear is that we come up with a plan that brings others in but is onerous to maintain and, therefore, won't be.  But, if I had a helper, ......  


Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Ford F834
Administrator
Gary,
 
I don’t know what I was suggesting. Clickable tiles like the literature section would be ludacris for the amount of information you have to organize. Overall bad idea….
 
I don’t know how hard it would be to maintain, but I did come up with an example website that I think has a good balance of visual display and organized munues. Sorry, it is not truck related… it is for cameras. But it was built by Pentax fans to organize product information from the 80’s onward and I think they did a great job. Take a look and see if there are any useable ideas here. I have always loved this site and I think it does a good job of displaying the information.
 
http://kmp.pentaxians.eu
 
And Gary you have a very good point. There is no reason to dumb-down the website interface to a bunch of clip art icons. If people can’t be bothered to read a bulleted menu then they probably won’t find much use for the pages themselves. But I do think color, graphic design, and some images will improve the user experience and bring more traffic.
SHORT BED 4-DOOR DIESEL: 1986 F350 4x4 SRW under construction-- 7.3 IDIT R&D 64mm intercooled turbo 150cc IP stage 1 cam main girdle 13" Southbend clutch ZF-5 + GearVendors overdrive 4.10 axle gears hydroboost brakes

STRAIGHT SIX 4X4: 1981 F150 2wd to 4x4 conversion-- 300 I6 close ratio diesel T19, hydroboost brakes, Saginaw steering
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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Jonathan - I hope I didn't come across as saying the idea is a bad one.  I think the idea has merit.  So I want to explore it to see what it entails, how it might help, etc.  But, I think we need to keep in mind the "cost", in man hours, to implement and maintain it vs the ease of use.

Said another way, a simple interface makes it easy to add pages (more of which later) but more difficult to use, and a complex interface reverses the effort - it makes it easier to use and more complex to implement or maintain.  

So, let's dissect the Pentaxians site:

Home Page: Graphics on the home page that take you to Level 2, but also a Level 2 menu at the top that lets you drill down to Level 3.  In other words, once you get familiar with the site it is faster to use the drop-down menu than the icons as there's only one step instead of two.

Level 2: No graphics, but it has both the menu above and a listing of Level 3 things in tabular form.  However, if you go to the Bodies page you'll see that the drop-down menu doesn't have everything that is on the page in tabular form.  That means the tabular form was created by a man - who then has to keep it up.

Level 3: Nice tables, but on the pages I explored there aren't links to lower levels.  And no graphics.

It wouldn't be too hard to implement the approach used on the home page to our website.  As said, there are something like 20 things in Level 2.  But, it would require some changes.  One change would be to an approach I've started to use where there is no Level 2 for some categories.  For instance, try going to the Emissions page.  When you click on Emissions it drops down the Level 3 entries, but it doesn't go to a page.  That's because I don't have anything to say about "emissions" per se so I didn't want to have a page to have to think of what to say.  But, I needed a placeholder for all of the individual emissions topics, like inferred mileage and thermactor systems.  So I'd have to create a Level 2 page for Emissions so the user can go to it in order to get to inferred mileage and thermactor systems.  And then I'd have to remember to add things to that page when I add a new topic under emissions.

That's where I get sloppy - keeping up all of the ancillary things that go with fancy menus.  One thing I really dislike about our website is that you don't know where you are or how you got there.  There's no map that shows everything around you with a You Are Here yellow star.  That's why the early pages have a tabular menu at the top showing all the other pages at the same level, and the page you are on in red.  But that quickly became onerous to maintain.  Add a page to Electrical and you have to add another link to 29 other pages.  So I quit updating the existing tabular menu when I added new pages, and now you can go to some sections and think you see all of the other pages around you, but there are more that just don't show as I was too lazy to add them.  Or, didn't remember to add them.

So the easier it is to add pages the more likely I am to add them.  Conversely, if it is difficult to add a page due to the complexity of menus, then I'll probably give the new page a miss.  But if we can figure out an easy way to do this, and one that brings in lots of traffic, then maybe I could be reminded of the necessity of doing the menus when I add a page.

I really do want to make the website better.  I just want to think through what the "cost" is before embarking on that mission.  So let's keep kicking this around.
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Ford F834
Administrator
Gary, I have absolutely NO idea what is involved with the back end of a website. Therefore any suggestion I have made is strictly from a user perspective. And I agree 100% that this is a growing site and must be easy to maintain and update as things are added.

Some notes on the Pentax site. It is far from perfect. The little home page with the clickable icons isn’t really necessary. A “home” tab would be just as effective and could contain things like the faq. I noticed the same thing you did that the drop down menues for each tab did not have everything on the page. These are new, and I don’t see why they even need to exist. It is just another pathway to maintain. Maybe it is meant as an abbreviated list of commonly accessed sub tabs but I don’t see the value. They have you saving a click there while having you click dozens of links at the 3rd and 4th level to see individual pictures instead of having a gallery of them. It is imperfect, but a site that I like using. I think it used to be better when I first started using it 18 years ago, but the content has doubled or tripled since then and the growing pains show here and there. I am in no way saying ‘copy this’, just throwing it out as something to maybe borrow ideas from and learn from. I will try to find others as well.
SHORT BED 4-DOOR DIESEL: 1986 F350 4x4 SRW under construction-- 7.3 IDIT R&D 64mm intercooled turbo 150cc IP stage 1 cam main girdle 13" Southbend clutch ZF-5 + GearVendors overdrive 4.10 axle gears hydroboost brakes

STRAIGHT SIX 4X4: 1981 F150 2wd to 4x4 conversion-- 300 I6 close ratio diesel T19, hydroboost brakes, Saginaw steering
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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by ArdWrknTrk
Jim, and everyone - I've moved the Freefind site search to the top of every page - as shown below.  It currently isn't easy to see as it is apparently partially blocked by the menu bar and the font is very small.  But, I think I could sort those issues out if we like the function.

So, please play with it.  Turns out to be very useful as it only searches our website, and it finds posts in the forum as well as pages in the documentation.  Plus, it has a site map and other features I might be able to turn on if we like it.

Having said that, our site is getting big enough that it may not be free to do the whole site.  So, I need feedback on what you think of the function.  If we like it then I can address both the aesthetics, maybe make it say "search the Garagemahal", as well as the size/cost.


Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Gary Lewis
Administrator
In reply to this post by Ford F834
Jonathan - Again, please don't think I'm throwing stones.  Trust me, I want our website to be excellent, and I'm open to all suggestions.  

On the other website, I think the menu at the top is a function of the site hosting it.  It certainly is for our website as it is generated by Weebly as a function of where we place the pages in the hierarchy.  In other words, we have a home page, which is the forum, and then levels 1, 2, 3, etc.  Level 1 pages show in the first blush of the menu when you click the three lines (hamburger bar).  And then Level 2 shows up when you click one of the Level 1's.

So that is automagic and easy.  But, anything else we do, or at least anything else I've found, is manual.  And that's where the rub comes in - it get onerous and/or easily forgotten and I don't get it done.
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Ray Cecil
Administrator
In reply to this post by Gary Lewis
Gary, download "Snagit". For doing tutorials, videos, etc. Instead of using MS Paint. Just download it and fool with it a bit. A guy like you will see 1000 possibilities for use in your forum. Its free.
Ray Cecil
I AM SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW I AINT THAT SMART
1982 Flareside 4x4 300 Six, Hedman Dual Header, NP208, SROD 4 Speed, 1 Wire HEI, Offenhauser C Series and 600cfm Edelbrock


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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Ray Cecil
Administrator
In reply to this post by Gary Lewis
Hey Gary, how about a "Roll Call" thread for U.S. regions, or states? Just so guys near each other can post their approximate locations and connect with each other, share parts, tools, garages etc?
Ray Cecil
I AM SMART ENOUGH TO KNOW I AINT THAT SMART
1982 Flareside 4x4 300 Six, Hedman Dual Header, NP208, SROD 4 Speed, 1 Wire HEI, Offenhauser C Series and 600cfm Edelbrock


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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Gary Lewis
Administrator
Ray - I'll check out Snagit.  Thanks.

But I don't quite know what you mean by the roll call thread.  How would it be managed?  Would you have to sort through all the posts to find out where people are?

Check out the map idea and tell me what you think.

Also, check out the Willing To Help thread.

Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

1985 Bronco
How do I post a link to a certain thread? I tried posting a thread on here to another forum, and it just brings you to the home page.
1976 Ford F150: Regular Cab, Long Bed, 2WD, 460, C6


1985 Ford Bronco: Sold

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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Gary Lewis
Administrator
You need the Permalink.  At the top of a page there's a hot link that says Permalink.  Click it and then copy the highlighted link by hitting Control C.  And paste that into your post elsewhere.

But that only takes you to the thread itself.  If you want to take someone to a specific post click More on that post and then Permalink at the bottom of the list.
Gary, AKA "Gary fellow": Profile

Dad's: '81 F150 Ranger XLT 4x4: Down for restomod: Full-roller "stroked 351M" w/Trick Flow heads & intake, EEC-V SEFI/E4OD/3.50 gears w/Kevlar clutches
Blue: 2015 F150 Platinum 4x4 SuperCrew wearing Blue Jeans & sporting a 3.5L EB & Max Tow
Big Blue: 1985 F250HD 4x4: 460/ZF5/3.55's, D60 w/Ox locker in front & 10.25 Spicer/Trutrac in back, & EEC-V MAF/SEFI

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Re: Website & Forum Suggestion Box

Ford F834
Administrator
Is anyone else getting this? I have a link to an international dating website right above the site navigation links that says it is a sponsor.



SHORT BED 4-DOOR DIESEL: 1986 F350 4x4 SRW under construction-- 7.3 IDIT R&D 64mm intercooled turbo 150cc IP stage 1 cam main girdle 13" Southbend clutch ZF-5 + GearVendors overdrive 4.10 axle gears hydroboost brakes

STRAIGHT SIX 4X4: 1981 F150 2wd to 4x4 conversion-- 300 I6 close ratio diesel T19, hydroboost brakes, Saginaw steering
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