Today we have re-launched our site - imagnatively dubbed Urban Melbourne 2.0 - with a completely new theme.
Over the Christmas and New Year break the team have been working on customising the theme, as well as making some infrastructure upgrades which will allow us to integrate many different content silos.
All content areas of Urban Melbourne 2.0 are now completely responsive, meaning whether you're looking at Urban Melbourne on a desktop, laptop, tablet or smartphone, the site will render to best suit the device you are using. In our previous theme, the forum - which attracts near 40% of our total site traffic - was not responsive and mobile users (which represent 20% of all Urban Melbourne users) had a very poor browsing experience. Not anymore.
For our heavy forum users, when you hotlink images you wish to post, the site will automatically resize the image if it is wider than the viewable area. No need to resize existing images you have posted, it is all automatic and the images will resize depending on the device you're using to browse.
We have also heeded advice and we're responding to feedback on the need to integrate the main 'silos' of content we have been working with for the past nine months. As part of the infrastructure upgrades, we're now able to show Project Database information directly on related Projects & Construction forum threads at the top of the left sidebar. See our single project thread and multi-project thread examples. The process of linking Project Database pages to forums is a slow process, so bear with us as we continue to roll this out.
While only a small visible change at present, the ability to integrate information that rests in different areas on the site will play a big role in future development.
You might have also noticed that Visual Melbourne, previously integrated with other news items, now sits prominently in the main menu - this is because we have introduced "Photo of the day". This is a single image we either take ourselves, or find from an external source, that we love and want to highlight. It may have been previously posted on the forum, or submitted to us by content partners.
If you are interested in participating, you can submit images in this forum thread.
We've also made changes to article categories. Given we specialise on planning application reporting, we've split this from a general 'Development' category and any planning application pieces will be in the new 'Planning' category. Likewise we have split Design from Sustainability & Environment as well as splitting Policy and Culture into their own individual categories.
These article category splits have been partly guided by our ongoing user surveys conducted by Effective Measure.
We've also enhanced the login process to allow using either a username or associated e-mail address as the login. We have also implemented Transport Layer Security (TLS/SSL) across the site - data transmitted between your browser and our server is encrypted.
A belated apology for taking the site down for the past few days - when we only anticipated needing one - however we're back and ready to roll for 2014.
If you have any feedback, questions or would like to report any issues, we've created this forum thread that we'll be monitoring.