Website changes

Its finally here! This is the updated look to our lab website. I’d like to discuss a few changes seen both in new features and unfortunate shortcomings.

The people list has ‘current projects’ displayed next to each person’s name. I can change this to any other section and in a future revision I’d like the user to be able to choose what shows up next to their name. When a user goes to change their profile picture I’ve added a cropping window that creates a square image. The coding I used to make this works requires the image to be a jpeg and sometimes it gets picky about the type of jpeg. I didn’t realize this was buggy until today so it will be addressed in future revisions.

Individual user pages displays a person’s information in a long list which looks a bit dull to me. I’d like to address the look of this in the future so any feedback would be appreciated.

The biggest change I made is the blog. You have the ability to save posts as drafts and publish them at a later time. When a post is created (either draft or published) it will show up on the Manage Posts page. From the manage posts page a user can see their entire post history and edit them accordingly. I also added categories in which you can tag your posts. There is the ‘lab-only’ tag that works the same as the old ‘private vs public’ selector of the old blog. I plan on putting this tag in a more prominent position in a future release. One shortcoming with this blog right now is that I’ve disabled the ability to attach PDFs or upload images. This will be addressed when I finish my media uploader.

Since the new blog is programmed in a different way from the old one I had to manually re-enter old blog posts. Due to this I still need to assign certain posts to their owners. Currently they are published by “Blog Administrator”. I’ll fix this sometime tomorrow after the majority of users log on for the first time (which completes the creation of their accounts).

I plan on waiting for about a week to let people use the blog and verify it works before having newly published posts send out a mass email. Hopefully this will prevent me from spamming your inbox.

The media gallery is currently set to lab only until I address privacy concerns. I will turn on sections of it to the public once I add the ability for users to upload and tag media. I was unable to get that completed for this first release of the website but will be the primary focus of the next release.

And lastly a few more minor things, I know I need to find a better image on the links page for the ‘UW-Madison’ section. (Also I need to add a way for admins to edit links)..

Now that I have this framework in place it will be easy for me to make future updates with new features. I plan on focusing on two major things for the next update: 1) having users to upload pictures (and possibly videos) along with tagging them 2) creating a ‘field log’ that can be updated by the field crews (ideally that works well with mobile devices) to help our record keeping and to enhance communication between in-lab and the field.

So that is all I can think of at the moment. Right now I only have Erica, Randy, Gary and myself to administrator accounts which adds extra functionality to edit various parts of the website. If there are questions about any of these pages please send questions my way.

EDIT: I still need to update the lab meeting schedule with the most recent entries. Link Test