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Updates From The Cyclingnews Crew

Home for all your redesign feedback. We'll make all our important announcements here too!

Updates From The Cyclingnews Crew

17 Jun 2009 13:17

Because some of the answers and feedback Cyclingnews posted yesterday was lost amongst the forum chat I've started this thread. It'll include all the relevant answers to your questions.


Hi Everyone,

I’d like to start by thanking you again for your feedback. Whether it’s been good, indifferent or bad, as long as it’s constructive we’ll read it, take it on board and try and implement what we can, as best we can. That reads like political rhetoric but I sincerely mean it, as your feedback, opinions and ideas are what inspires me as the editor and my production team too. I know for a fact that when we one of our readers emails in with a compliment or praise it really touches us and drives us on. On the flip side, when we receive criticism or flack it also acts as a driving force for us to do better. Whatever the feedback, we always try and respond. So here’s a response to some of the queries and frustrations you’ve shared with us over the last 24 hours. If I’ve missed anything specific, I apologise and please feel free to drop me a line and I’ll be happy to chat with you.

The redesign

Some of you have asked why we’ve redesigned the site. That decision wasn’t taken lightly but after significant research we reached the conclusion that the site needed work, and, we poured over a year of hard work, research and development into the project. Of course you’d be correct in assuming that there are commercial reasons for the new format too. It’s a fact that ad revenue, , is used to run, develop and maintain the site, We employ journalists in Australia, the UK, mainland Europe and North America which is expensive. It’s expensive to generate the depth and breadth of our coverage that we offer. While a lot of companies are standing still or cutting back we’ve followed our passion and backed it up with a new and exciting design with new and exciting features. It’s a fast-moving world where change is inevitable, and CN wants to be at the front of that force.

So we added extra functionality, and will continue to do so over the comings days and weeks as the transition from the old site smoothes over. For example, we’ve developed a results engine that allows us to format and upload results faster than before. Soon the results engine will tie into our riders and teams section, with added functionality. It’s not quite perfect yet but it’s going in the right direction.

There’s also the ability to post news in real time. This was a big win for the site, as while I think the editions were a fantastic addition (and we’ll get to editions shortly) CN was always hampered by the fact its competitors were able to post news in a more responsive manner. We’ve tried to improve our service by combining editions with single stories.

As yet the RSS feeds and newsletter functions are still waiting to be deployed but once they are they’ll make a big difference.

However there are bugs and the site isn’t working at 100 per cent capacity, and we accept that. What we’re not going to do is ignore, brush off or gloss over these issues. We’ll fix them and we’ll do it as fast as we possibly can. Here are some of the examples we’re working on.

Editions: We promised you that you’d be able to see your news in the same digestible manner as before. The editions are a legacy that CN has built up over the years and it’s something I never wanted to lose. It’s part of the site’s heritage after all.

To cut that story short, we are close to finding a fix, and like I’ve said it was a bitter pill to swallow when I realised that we’d be going live without them.


Speed of the site: To give you some background on this, the site used to run without a content management system, just flat page, after flat page. This was something that hindered our development and production and ultimately our ability to get news up fast. The site now runs with a content management system. You might assume that this slows down the site but from the tests we’ve run the site is actually quicker at loading than ever before.. We’ll also be making the site even quicker with new software in the coming weeks.


Missing functionality: I’m talking about all the things you loved on the old CMS that haven’t appeared or aren’t working in a manner that’s easy to find or understand. For example, race images, calendars and photo captions to name but a few topics. These issues are logged with our development team but what I’d like everyone to accept is that CN is a huge website. It has million and millions of pages with stored content with no content management system or sophisticated order. Transferring and replicating what we had on the old site was always going to be a mammoth job. In the cases of results, reports, articles, blogs, tech we’ve nailed it. There are some areas, like race images that haven’t worked yet, so please bear with us while we get to grips with these bugs and fix them. Once we’ve fixed each major bug we’ll be sure to drop into the forums to let you all know and ask for more feedback.

Navigation: This was always paramount in our minds when it came to the new design. ‘Can people find what they want, when they want it?’ The answer is that no matter how nostalgic one gets, the former site wasn’t perfect and had some major flaws. Content was lost or buried very quickly, users clicked on one page and left, with navigation almost an after-thought.

I won’t say that what we have now is perfect, there are some tweaks that need to be made in the coming days and the site will continue to evolve but overall, the site navigation has been a big win.

Our audience: Our audience is the best testing ground for site development, hence why we user-tested our site before launch. However, I still appreciate you coming up with new ways to improve the site. We’ve set up a new email address redesign@cyclingnews.com for you to send in your feedback. You’re email won’t just drop into the ether, as that address redirects to myself, a senior developer and Greg, my production editor in Australia. Alternatively, keep posting here in the forums and I’ll be along later to answer any questions.

Thanks

Daniel Benson
Managing Editor Cyclingnews.com
User avatar Daniel Benson
 
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17 Jun 2009 13:18

User avatar Daniel Benson
 
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17 Jun 2009 13:22

All,

Another update. While the re-worked race section is still in the works, I've gotten wind that the results will be displayed in full as previously done without having to click on the 'show more'. I'm not sure when it will be ready for the live website, but that's what will be happening.

Another example of your feedback at work. Again, keep it coming.

Cheers
Greg Johnson
Greg Johnson
 
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Location: Sydney

17 Jun 2009 13:25

Guys,

Another quick update - the visited link colour has now been changed. It is quiet light in colour once visited, so I'd appreciate people's thoughts on whether it's too light or okay as it is. This makes it much easier to see where you've been on the homepage.

Cheers
Greg Johnson
Greg Johnson
 
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Location: Sydney

17 Jun 2009 14:04

Spoilers:


While I'm keen to hear opinions on this matter I’m afraid that spoilers, or race headlines, are very much here to stay. I understand that some of you are against this but if you look on the majority of news websites you’ll see exactly the same thing. Whether it’s news, weather or sport, headlines in themselves are there to tell a story and entice people in. There are other factors as well, like search engine optimisation but the main reason is that it fits with real news reporting.

Thanks

Daniel
User avatar Daniel Benson
 
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18 Jun 2009 12:18

Guys,

An update on what will come in today's rollout. There's two main features that will change - the first is the removal of 'show more' on results, so results will show in full on the first instance as with the previous website. The second is Really Simple Syndication (RSS) feeds will be added to the live website.

There are some other smaller issues that will be addressed: Softening of links underline, link colour consistency, removal of double captions on photos and some fixes to text displaying oddly due to CSS issues.

One other important note - you'll have seen me mention that there's several issues in the race sections which has led to a major overhaul. The code for this overhaul has been complete but we won't be releasing it today. This needs a significant amount of testing to avoid a repeat of the issues we've had with the current system, so it will be made public over coming days. I will keep you informed on this and other coming changes as they arrive.

Thanks
Greg Johnson
Greg Johnson
 
Posts: 372
Joined: 03 Mar 2009 07:22
Location: Sydney

18 Jun 2009 15:16

Thanks to everyone who sent their feedback to redesign@cyclingnews.com

I'll be responding to every query that comes in and some of you should have replies already. Of course, I'll be in the forums too.

Daniel
User avatar Daniel Benson
 
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18 Jun 2009 15:25

Hi Everyone,

We’ve just deployed a new set of changes and updates on the site. I’ve provided a list below of what we’ve done today. There will be more changes and improvements over the coming days but your patience is really appreciated and we’re churning through the bugs as quickly and as efficiently as we can.


* The next and previous editions are in an a logical order now

* We’ve sorted out underlines of links (they are now light grey) and made them all consistent across the site.

* We’ve removed the show more links from the results pages so pages will display full results list by default

* RSS feeds are now live on the site. You just need to click on the orange icons on the homepage.

* Any items on tech section have now been given strap lines.

* Text displaying oddly for some users so we’ve fixed any font problems you’ve been having.

* Double captions on images have been removed too

* And how could I forget, Live coverage is now up and running.
User avatar Daniel Benson
 
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23 Jun 2009 18:27

Hi Everyone,

We put through a big batch of changes today and I'll provide you with a list of what's been done very soon. In the meantime, if you're having problems with 404 links on the site please can you clear your cache. This should solve any problems related to the dreaded 404s.

Thanks

Daniel
Managing Editor Cyclingnews.com
User avatar Daniel Benson
 
Posts: 658
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24 Jun 2009 16:14

Hi Everyone,

Just an update on some of the bug fixing we rolled out yesterday:

- We've created the live coverage archive page
- Overlapping of ads on the right hand column (ads overlapping the also on CYN box). This was a cross browser issue, so we have resolved it in the browsers for which we have been supplied information, please note that this may therefore pop up again. If so, please let us know.
- Race reports can now be added to within carousel listings. That's the main flash section at the top of the site.
- We've linked ‘news editions’ to news section homepage
- Clicking on photos should take you to the next photo
- IE7 results display issue and specification issues have been fixed
- We've made several live reporting styling tweaks in order to make those pages more accessible.
- We have made changes to the results engine that will help with the accuracy of names

What's next?

We're hoping to make another deployment of improvements in the next few days. This should cover some of the issues surrounding image galleries and the racing section. Some of the problems we were aware of but thanks to everyone who has given us feedback. When it's been possible we've tried to use it.

Daniel
Managing Editor Cyclingnews.com
User avatar Daniel Benson
 
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01 Jul 2009 10:05

Hi Everyone,

We're in the process of uploading a new batch of updates and improvements to the site. This may cause a few pages to break but the problems should only last a few clicks and once you refresh or clear your cache everything should be fine.

I'll post back later today and let you know what we've done to the site as well what's coming up in the future.

Thanks again for your patience.

Daniel
Managing Editor Cyclingnews.com
User avatar Daniel Benson
 
Posts: 658
Joined: 02 Mar 2009 16:39
Location: Bath, UK

01 Jul 2009 12:11

Hi Everyone,

We've deployed a huge bunch of improvements to the site this morning. Here's a quick breakdown so you can see what's been done. We have more work going on as we speak and I'll post back once I know the date for our next deployment of fixes and improvements.

• Made it easier for our editors to display multiple images on the site
• Simplified the navigation in result and report pages
• Improved the format of results displaying
• Some of you complained about how results displayed in IE. We hope we’ve fixed this but please send us your feedback if you’re still having issues
• The RSS issues that you’ve raised have now been fixed
• We’ve also added an ‘About Us’ page
• Ads were overlapping and sometimes missing but this has now been fixed. This was a browser version specific issue (i.e. if you have IE 7.5.3 you will see different to IE 7.6.4) so worth mentioning that if users can still see it we'd like to know
• The Tour de France stage descriptions are now displaying properly, with maps and comments from Jonathan Vaughters. (We’ll be making some tweaks to these pages in the next 24 hours) so please accept that these pages are a work in progress
• Eliminated various pages that were throwing back 404 error messages
• Improved some styling issues with text displaying
• Removed redundant sponsored links from races

Thanks for your patience

Daniel
Managing Editor Cyclingnews.com
User avatar Daniel Benson
 
Posts: 658
Joined: 02 Mar 2009 16:39
Location: Bath, UK

a note on 404's

01 Jul 2009 20:23

You may experience some 404 errors due to the latest batch of fixes. Because the changes affected most of the pages on the site, they were temporarily unavailable. The 404 message is due to the page being cached while unavailable.

To get to the content, simply refresh the page while viewing the 404 error and the real content should appear.

If there are pages which do not load, please let us know.

Thanks
User avatar laura.weislo
 
Posts: 127
Joined: 04 Mar 2009 17:49
Location: North Carolina, USA

03 Jul 2009 10:30

Hi Everyone,

We've rolled out a new deployment on the site. It covers the following areas:

Image Galleries

- There is now a link underneath galleries to ‘click here for photo gallery’. This link will take you to a page showing a grid of thumbnail images for the gallery.
- Clicking on the larger image from within an article will take you to the big image.
- Within articles there are now links to image gallery thumbnails where applicable

Spoilers

- We’ve introduced a spoiler free racing and results section
- It’s a bit of Javascript and all you need to do is click on the red button on the homepage that says ‘show/hide headlines’. The button is located in the racing and results section.
- Once you’ve selected the version you’d like to display a cookie will save your preference.
- The button also appears on the racing and results homepage


Race Results

- We’ve made further improvements to race results and race reports by making sure that they appear on one page.
- We’ve also made a few teaks to make sure that the navigation has improved. Links should point to the correct destinations now.
- We'll be making more changes and improvements to this specific section of the site over the comings days and we'll post back with more update information as soon as it's available.

As ever, thanks for your patience and feedback.

Daniel
Managing Editor Cyclingnews.com
User avatar Daniel Benson
 
Posts: 658
Joined: 02 Mar 2009 16:39
Location: Bath, UK

03 Jul 2009 13:18

Hi Everyone,

We're about to start creating a few sub sections within the Road forum. These will be going up over the next few hours and shouldn't cause any disruption.

Thanks

Daniel
Managing Editor Cyclingnews.com
User avatar Daniel Benson
 
Posts: 658
Joined: 02 Mar 2009 16:39
Location: Bath, UK

06 Jul 2009 14:23

Back again,

We'll be rolling out a few more changes tomorrow morning based on your feedback and some of the bugs we need to fix. The two main areas you'll see improvements in are Live coverage and the racing section.

As soon as we have made the improvements I'll post back with a list of specific changes.

Thanks

Daniel
Managing Editor Cyclingnews.com
User avatar Daniel Benson
 
Posts: 658
Joined: 02 Mar 2009 16:39
Location: Bath, UK


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