A reader writes:
Don’t get me wrong. I love shroud.com and I love Barrie. It is good to be reminded that a non-profit site like this needs to raise funds. Shroud.com is the greatest shroud content anywhere. It deserves funds. But the site looks oh-so 90s. It needs to be updated. I’m talking about one ten-minute fix and one two-hour fix that would help draw in more people, keep them reading the wonderful content and make them more likely willing contributors.
Super Easy: First of all, get rid of the mottled brown and yellow background. It was eye-candy once upon a time. No longer. It makes reading difficult on the higher resolution, smaller font tablets and smart phones. It employs a bandwidth hogging graphic on cellular connections and the sort of public WiFi found in Starbucks. Many memory starved smart phones and tablets are not good at caching reusable backgrounds so they reload them over and over. The solution is easier than you think.
Create a new background image called sandy3.gif that is one hundred percent white. Make it much smaller like 8 by 8 pixels. Or leave it at 486 by 479, the size of the present sandy3.gif, but optimize it in Photoshop to about 3 percent of its current size. It doesn’t need to be 39K. The beauty of this change is that there is no need to modify a single line of HTML on any page. Just create the new background to replace the old one by giving it the same name.
Super Important: Next, redesign the home page and the main menu onto one page. It will make users very happy and increase real pages viewed. I can’t tell you how many times I type in shroud.com or arrive by way of a link to the home page only to find myself having to click on text that reads “Click here or anywhere on the image below to go to the Main Menu.” Super yuk on a Blackberry. It is a real pain when using a cellular or public WiFi connection. About 107 million tablet and phone devices now account for about 11.2% of web pages delivered. That percentage is growing. Also make the menu items into clickable text in an unordered list. Buttons that don’t look like buttons are confusing and a big pain on handheld devices. Nor do they work with voice navigation. Because there are multiple outside links to the old menu.html, set up a 401 redirect to the home page or clone the index page. Your hosting service can show you how to redirect, which is the better way to go.
Okay people, send in contributions.
YES. DO CONTRIBUTE!