By. Chris Stritzel
As many of you know, navigating on Building St. Louis, and getting to popular pages, has been perpetual hell for the past three weeks. Pages had to be closed down and locked and many were deleted and merged with other pages. I have been touting the Version 7 updates for sometime now. I have even said that Version 7 would bring redesigned pages, new features, better flow and integration and a not so zoomed in layout. I believe that I have accomplished this and I hope you all find it worth it. I am writing this story three days ahead of the release of Version 7 (the 27th at Midnight). This story will be a "sneak peak" at what I, and others, have even working on for sometime after the survey was sent out at the beginning of the month.
Lets get started with the homepage.
It was the first change made after Version 7 was announced and the redesign was completed. It showcases a simpler design where the two primary story sections are under one section thus reducing the overall size of the page. What I mean by this is the amount of time it takes you to find your content when scrolling. It is faster now since the page was shrunk. The homepage even received new descriptions for all categories featured on it to make them easier to understand. Even the background images were refreshed. To see this change, please see the "homepage".
STL Projects List
At the beginning of the month, we introduced "The Map" on is own page. That began to be an issue so some people on the survey responded by saying that they want to see the Map and Projects List better integrated. In doing so, I tried to integrate it right onto the Landing Page for STL Projects. It fits in beautifully and works well on mobile and desktop devices. Another large change was the condensing of the regional projects buttons section. They have been combined into one to make the searching on the website easier.
Other changes include...
City of St. Louis Project List Page
The City of St. Louis Page was completely overhauled. All three sectors of the City (North, Central and South) have been combined into one page that was previously the Landing Page to go their individual profiles. The slideshow of renderings was replaced with a Gallery of renderings. Each gallery bookends each row of project names so it is easier to find what project is what. Each project name that had the status of it said project had the status removed for the date or year feature commonly known on this website.
In addition to the above features...
Question and Answer Sessions
I tweeted out this the other day showcasing the new "card" design of the Question and Answer Sessions Landing Page. Gone are the days of overly long descriptions and the dark gray color scheme and in is smaller descriptions, a clean white design as seen throughout the website and redesigned Sessions themselves (oldest ones only). This new design allows us to add many more participants to the Sessions over the coming weeks, months and years. It also allows for easier navigation when trying to find what participant you would like to see.
Other changes include...
Author Profiles have been updated to include new descriptions, new background photos and new profile photos*.
We have introduced a new way for the public to get engaged on our website. We are introducing Guest Stories and Contributor Sign Up pages. Each one will be linked in buttons under the current "Social Media" section on the homepage. If you want to be a guest writer, you can write a story and submit it to us to be reviewed. If we believe there is a photo, we will email you to get the photo and your story will be published practically immediately. To become a contributor, there will be a form and a set of rules you must follow to be a contributor. It is open to the public but only 8 contributors will be allowed on the website. That means that there will be a total of 11 authors on here if the 8 spots fill up.
In addition to this, we are in the process of coding pages for the future of the website which welcomes Drone videos and potential live streams to discuss new developments in the region. While the Drone is for sure happening, we always have the option to pull the plug on these if we don't see them as being a viable resource.
In the End...
...We hope Version 7 is what people asked for as it leads this website on into the future. It is a new foundation that we will build upon while keeping the same overall design that people love. This is the future of Building St. louis and we are excited to see what it brings!