I’ve just uploaded a whole bunch of changes to the Petopia website. Most of these are fairly subtle changes meant to make things easier for me, but some of them are also meant to make things easier for you. :>
Now I should start by saying that, just like a live MMO game, a web site like Petopia is a living, growing thing. And it’s going to go on growing — there’s a lot of work left to do, a lot of small tweaks I want to make, major features I want to add, interesting research I want to host, all sorts of things – but since there’s just me whacking away at it right now, it won’t all get done overnight. So expect ongoing changes as I continue to polish things up. :>
The flip side of that is that I have a lot of opportunity to evaluate feedback as I go. It doesn’t matter if I am excited about a change if it makes it harder to use the site. So I’m going to be watching all the feedback I get about changes to Petopia very carefully. If you have a comment or a suggestion, please drop me an e-mail! I prefer e-mail for this kind of feedback — I find it easier to sort and track that way.
So let’s look at what actually changed:
- Much of the site now uses CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to control formatting. This doesn’t neccesarily have much effect on what readers see, but it does make it easier for me to update and add pages. You will likely notice some formatting changes, though — these aren’t from CSS per se but because I wanted to clean up some of the formatting while I was making the changeover. I’m still not completely satisfied with a lot of the formatting, but I wanted to get the new functionality up before I start obsessing about margins.
- The first really visible change is that the navigation menu looks a bit different. The information is all still there, but I’m trying to make it easier to find your way around the site, especially if you’re new. I find this layout just slightly easier to grasp, but we’ll see what everyone else thinks also. :>
- The second big change is the addition of a Pet Database – a real, honest-to-goodness database instead of the hand-coded static information Petopia had before. I was anxious to get this new functionality up and live because I’ve already found it to be really helpful myself. (I’ve had a version running on my home server while I work on it, of course.) Searching the database for, say, a pet your level is much simpler than scanning up and down the old Pets By Level page making notes on a piece of paper. *grin* You can also search for things like diet, which is handy.
So try it out and tell me what you think!