Modemworld – navigation updates

blogging

One of the things I strive for in this blog is ease of access to information, be it through the way I use categories and tags for posts or through the use of the available menu options and widgets, etc., within the blog’s theme.

Three changes I’ve made through 2018 – which may or may not have been noticed  –  is to information displayed in the widgets bar on the right of the blog.

In terms of the order in which they appear, these are:

  • A section on SL user groups.
  • A section on SL tutorials in this blog.
  • A revised RSS feed from the SL grid status.

All three can be found between the Blogroll lists and Tag Cloud.

The new / updated blog widgets – all colour items are clickable links. These actually appear one above the next (l-r) in the widgets bar on the right of the blog. 

SL User Groups: provides direct links to all of the current Second Life user group pages on the Second Life wiki. These pages provide a summary of the purpose of the meetings, the date and times of forthcoming meetings and often, but not always an agenda for the next meeting and / or, where recorded, archives of past meetings. All meetings are open to those interested in attending. I provide summaries of all meetings I attend.

SL Tutorials: over the years I’ve provided a series of Second Life tutorials on various subjects. This widget is designed to provide a link to my full index of tutorials (which also includes links to tutorials by others). It also lists key Second Life tutorials I’ve produced either on my own, or with the assistance of Linden Lab (e.g. the Abuse Reports tutorial). I plan to add further relevant tutorials to this selection as they become available, together with what I think are the more interesting of my own tutorials on interesting subjects.

RSS Feed: this is tweak to the RSS feed from the Second Life Grid Status page, which hopefully presents updates in a clean, readable manner.

Menu Updates

Since the introduction of the current blog layout in 2017, I’ve continued to make adjustments to the menu system to try to ease navigation, not all of which I’ve subsequently written about.

Most recently, I’ve attempted to simplify the menu structure further by combining a couple of the top-level menus and reducing the sub-menu structure of each.

Revised menu structure as of December 2018

The top-level menus are now as follows:

  • SL (unchanged): provides access to all Second Life posts and pages, divided into the following sub-menus / categories, including news items, opinion pieces, my Exploring Second Life travelogues, all of my SL user group meeting summaries, art reviews, all viewer reviews, etc.
  • LL (unchanged): provides access to general news and information specific to Linden Lab, including all transcripts of Lab Chats and Q&As by Lab CEOs and senior staff.
  • Sansar (unchanged): provides a breakdown of all Sansar-related posts and articles in this blog, again divided into sub-menus / categories.
  • Other Worlds and Tech (unchanged): covers articles on other virtual worlds, AR and VR, pieces on general tech and my Space Sunday astronomy & space reports.
  • Guests (unchanged): provides access to all articles written by guests on this blog, accessed via the writer’s name.
  • Blog Bits (new): this now combines general information on this blog (blog guidelines, blog navigation, privacy statement and my review systems specifications), my “personal” items (biography, SL home life, my blogging journey, my SL videos, etc.), as shown in the image above.

Note that the majority of the menu items in the above options have right-pointing arrow (“>”) indicating sub-menu options can be accessed. However, do please note that all articles for a specific category can be accessed by clicking on the top-level menu / sub-category option, as (hopefully!) explained in the image below.  The only exception to this is the About Me item under Blog Bits – just use the sub-menu from this to navigate further.

1. Clicking a top-level menu will display all articles under that topic, as indicated by the yellow lines. 2. Clicking on a topic within a top-level menu will display all articles for all sub-menus under that topic, as indicated by the red lines. 3. Clicking on a topic within a sub-menu will display all articles found under any sub-sub-menus for that topic, as indicated by the black lines. 4. Clicking on a specific topic name without any “>” will display only the articles related to that topic.

I hope these changes and updates further help people locate information within this blog. Obviously, the tag cloud can also be used to assist with finding article sets, and don’t forget there are the search options, also found in the right-side widget bar, which include the ability to list post by the major article categories used in this blog, or to list all articles published in a given month (most recent to oldest).

Giving the blog a face-lift

The new banner – displayed on opening the blog, with latest posts displayed below it

It’s a bit hard to miss, but yes, I’ve made a change to the theme underpinning this blog. It’s by no means a permanent change – that depends on the feedback I get. However, there are a number of reasons why I wanted to change things a little, so I’m hoping readers will prefer the new layout.

  • A lot of effort has gone into the menu system, but it was always a pain to use with the “old” layout, as it was locked to the top of a page – scroll down too far and it would vanish off the top of the browser tab
  • Some readers stated they found the old layout difficult to follow, with the sidebar on the right seeming to “run into” the body text
  • It didn’t loan itself to viewing on mobile devices that well
  • I wanted to tweak the text a little and (hopefully) make it easier on the eye.

As the changes are template-based, it is possible some pages / images in this blog have gone a little sideways in places. I’m working through everything to double-check (unfortunately, the preview option in WordPress doesn’t entirely match the actual page layout, so I could only start checking things once I’d made the change to the new format. Ho hum). Please make allowances if you come across something that looks awkwardly formatted on a page in the meantime 🙂 .

The thing I’m hoping will prove most useful is the menu, which will now following you down a page as you scroll. Given I’ve put a fair amount of time in trying to categorise and track articles and pages in the blog via the menu, this will hopefully make it far more reader-friendly than has been the case in the past.

The menu bar should now move down / up the page as you scroll through this blog

I’ve also revised the default body and headings text font – again, my hope is this improves readability and comfort when browsing. Unfortunately, one thing WordPress won’t let me change is the use of block caps for headings; this is locked into a CSS I can’t access, but I how the use of caps in titles and headings isn’t overpowering.

Finally, this theme had a better set of style sheets for mobile devices. I’ve no idea how many people read this blog from the tablet, etc, but (with the possible exception of the menu, which is a bit “ugh!” on tablets, etc.), it should make for easier reading if you do.

As with the last major restructure to this blog – in 2012, can you believe?!), I’m offering a little feedback poll for those interested in letting me know quick thoughts on the layout

Poll closed – see the update here.

Blog menu update

The March 2016 iteration of the blog menu bar
The March 2016 iteration of the blog menu bar

One of the things I’m striving to achieve within this blog is ease of access to information, be it through the way I use categories and tags for posts or through the use of the available menu options within the blog’s theme.

This inevitably means that I reshuffle things every so often: rationalising tags, re-ordering categories and fiddling with the menus. I hope that such re-orderings help make finding information and topics in this blog easier as things grow, be it via category searches or through general searches or the tag cloud, or through the menus.

It is the latter in particular which I’ve revised. The work isn’t finished, as I’ll be adding, tweaking and moving things over the next few days as time allows, but I think there is enough there to offer the menu for people to try, if they’re so-minded 🙂 .

There are now six main headings to the menu, most of which should be self-explanatory:

  • Second Life: which covers all things directly related to SL, and has five sub-menu items:
    • News and Opinion – for news and views on Second Life;
    • SL tech – for all my weekly SL project updates, news and reviews of the viewers and clients I cover in the blog; and news on significant SL issues
    • Events – all coverage of the events I’ve previewed / reported on, arranged by topic ( Bay City, BURN2, VWBPE, RFL, etc,)
    • Reviews – all my art previews and reviews, my reviews of SL regions, Sl product reviews, etc.
    • Tutorials – (hopefully) useful tutorials I’ve written or found and had permission to reproduce here
  • Linden Lab:   news, views and reviews more directly related to the Lab than purely about Second Life, including things like tier, Blocksworld, meeting transcripts, etc
  • Sansar: news (via the Lab or the media) on Project Sansar, plus my own speculations / thoughts
  • Other Worlds and Tech: my coverage of other virtual world environments, my AR and VR related reports, my space and astronomy items and any general tech news I cover
  • My Bits: the About Me bit, with personal notes on blogging and other assorted bits
  • Contact Me form.
Hopefully, the topics in the menus and sub-menus will make it easier to find things, whether it is specific information you want on a topic (e.g by selecting "Firestorm News" for just that topic or all the articles I've published on Firestorm by clicking the "Firestorm" menu item)
Hopefully, the topics in the menus and sub-menus will make it easier to find things, whether it is specific information you want on a topic (e.g by selecting “Firestorm News” for just that topic or all the articles I’ve published on Firestorm by clicking the “Firestorm” menu item)

As with previous iterations of the menu note that:

  • Clicking the menu title will display all articles related to all of the sub-menus associated with that item. So if you Click “Sansar”, you will get both the “Sansar News” and “Sansar Speculations” articles
  • Similarly, clicking on a sub-menu option will display all the articles listed under that menu item, and within any sub-menu associated with it. So if you navigate to SL Project Updates (Second Life > SL  Tech > SL Project Updates), and click on it, all on my SL project update reports will be displayed in newest to oldest order. However, if you navigate to the 2015 Updates sub-menu item, only my 2015 updates will be displayed
  • Clicking the blog banner will return you to the front page.

Hopefully, these changes won’t confuse those who have made use of the old menus, and will further assist people in finding information in these pages.

 

Blog navigation update

One of the things I’m striving to achieve within this blog is ease of access to information, be it through the way I use categories and tags for posts or through the use of the available menu options within the blog’s theme.

From time-to-time this inevitably means I tend to reshuffle and refine things in order to  – hopefully – make finding items easier. Those who regularly visit the blog may have noticed already that I’ve done so again, with a further re-vamp of the top menu.

To help you get used to the update menus, here’s quick run-down of what’s changed.

The updated menus at the top of this blog
The updated menus at the top of this blog

News and Opinion: this menu still provides access to all my “news” and “opinion” articles, all still with their own sub-menus. However, the “SL Project Updates” item has now been re-located to the new SL Tech menu – see below.

SL Tech: this is a new menu heading, and brings together:

  • My weekly SL project updates, which look at on-going server-side and viewer work
  • My on-going coverage of viewers (official and TPV) – news, reviews, etc.
  • Articles on those significant issues that have been covered in these pages
  • The various SL tutorials I’ve written, or have pulled into this blog (with the original authors’ permissions) from other sources.
My "travelogue" articles on SL destinations, and features on other virtual world have been relocated
My “travelogue” articles on SL destinations, and features on other virtual world have been relocated

Events-Reviews-Travels: This option still provides access to all my SL event previews and reviews (RFL of SL, Fantasy Faire, SLB, BURN2, etc.), and my reviews of art installations, SL products, the Drax Files, my annual reviews, etc. However, all of my travelogue features and articles on those other virtual worlds and environments can now also be found here.

General: This option now provides access to information on me, my SL interests, this blog, etc., as well as covering those things not intrinsically SL or virtual world focused: spaceflight and astronomy, VR and AR, etc.

Information related to me and the blog now appear under the General menu
Information related to me and the blog now appear under the General menu

As with previous versions of the menu system, clicking on a “main” menu topic will display the entries for all of the sub-menus listed under it (if it has a sub-menu). So, for example, if you click on SL Tech > SL Project Updates all of the project updates I’ve written will be listed chronologically (or you can use the sub-menu to display the updates written in a specific year).

Hopefully, these changes won’t confuse those who have made use of the menus, and will further assist people in finding information in these pages.

A quick note on finding meeting transcripts in this blog

As regular readers may have noticed, I’ve produced a number of transcripts for meetings related to LL and which involve the Lab’s CEO or staff.

To make finding these transcripts easier, I’ve added a new tag to the blog, which will appear appended to the end of such posts. Clicking it should list all available transcripts so tagged.

More particularly, I’ve added a new menu category which should make finding them even easier. It’s called Meeting Transcripts, and can be found under News-Updates-Opinion > Linden Lab, thus:

The new transcripts option (News-Updates-Opinion > Linden Lab > Meeting Transcripts)
The new transcripts option (News-Updates-Opinion > Linden Lab > Meeting Transcripts)

Note the transcripts related to things like specific viewer meetings – such as Firestorm meetings – will remain under the relevant section of the Viewers menu (so Viewers > V3 Style > Firestorm > Firestorm Meetings for … well, Firestorm meetings!).

Hope this makes finding information in the blog a little easier.

Another small navigation update

Just a quick note to say that I’m doing a little more tweaking to the menus at the top of this blog, and likely will be on-and-off for a bit as I try to make navigation and finding topic categories and groups a little easier within the limitations of WordPress (and without ending-up with a gazillion tags…).

The main tweak for the moment is to the Pey’s Travelogues menu, where I’ve now sub-divided my SL Explorations menu item by year as a sub-menu. While this doesn’t make finding an individual destination review that much easier, it at least breaks down the number of reviews returned compared to clicking on the main link!

SL destinations now broken down by year of visit
SL destinations now broken down by year of visit

Hopefully this will prove to be of some help to people browsing through the places I’ve visited 🙂 .