[CT Birds] COA website update

Steve Morytko ctbirding at gmail.com
Thu Nov 29 19:27:23 EST 2012

CT birders,

Some of you may know that I've been working on reorganizing and updating
the COA website for what now seems like an eternity. The goal has been to
organize the existing content better, create a friendlier and more visually
appealing interface, make the website easier to manage, and add some new
features. Well, the time has come for the new pages to replace the old ones.

>> Short version for a quick read ...

Late this evening (Thursday) beginning at 10pm I will begin to switch the
website pages (there are many) to newer versions. Most of the conversion
will take perhaps a half-hour for the "major" pages but possibly several
hours (hopefully much less) more for other pages. I'll post here just
before I start and give a status update again about an hour later (11pm or
so) when I'm hoping it's mostly completed.

>> More details if you're interested ...

All of the existing website content is preserved in the new pages but some
content may have moved to another location. Of course, I'm hoping it will
now be easier for you to navigate the COA website pages and maybe you'll
find some things you didn't know were there. Navigation bars are used
instead of text links to the various pages. Horizontal navigation bars
extend across the top of each page and most pages also have a vertical
navigation bar. There is also a search bar on every page. Custom searches
extend to active and some inactive COA website pages *and* also search the
CTBirds archives (but not to the Internet by design). Website data goes
back to 2002 and CTBirds archives to February 2007.

There are visual changes that you can't miss and make the site more
colorful and visually appealing. Headers, footers, backgrounds, and more
have added or changed color. Significantly, the myriad of rare bird photos
that loaded on the landing (front) page have been organized into yearly
galleries on separate page. Consequently the page will load considerably

In addition there are some new pages with additional content. The "Birdbot"
page contains information that you may find useful for planning your
birding days or chases. The page currently has links to: eBird sighting
data; other sighting websites; weather, wind and tide information; and you
can expect more in the future. The "News" page is somewhat streamlined and
content has moved to other pages under the  "Publications" tab of the
horizontal nav bar where virtually all online COA publications can be found
(see the dropdown menu). There is now a separate Hawkwatch page, plans for
a Count page, and a few other ideas. By design, links to some pages appear
under several navigation dropdowns so that you can find information easier.
The (front) or landing page is intentionally streamlined with less content
but it needs and will get a bit more work soon so stay tuned.

>> Geeky stuff ...

Pages use CSS3 extensively and incorporate HTML5 coding standards (checked
by W3C validator). HTML5 makes future A/V content easier to embed but not
all browsers incorporate equally. Page loading has been streamlined by
replacing legacy coding with more efficient CSS3 code. Appropriate titles
and meta data have been added to most pages. All of the above increases our
status among search engine crawlers.

>> Problems? ...

The website should display well on workstations, laptops, tablets and
mobile devices and in all major operating systems and browsers. Naturally I
haven't tested all devices but feedback from early testing has all been
good. However, if you're using a device from the dark ages that uses
Internet Explorer 6 or 7 (probably on a really old system) you *may* notice
some page display problems that aren't likely to be fixed soon or perhaps
ever. Sorry, it's time to upgrade.

You might find that some new pages are out-of-sync with the "old" pages.
I've had to maintain them in parallel and I may have to update a few that I
missed. I'll be seeking out those pages and they should be updated quickly.

If you dig deep enough you may also run into some pages that haven't been
converted to the new visual interface. Soon enough I'll get to those but I
believe I've converted all but the more obscure pages. If you do find some
just hit "Home" to get back to the main page.

>> Feedback and comments ...

Your feedback is welcome! Email constructive comments directly to >>
ctbirding at gmail.com << (not to CTBirds please!). If you notice that
something is missing or needs attention let me know. That said, I may not
get to minor issues immediately but they'll get added to the housekeeping
list. Suggestions for stylistic and new content require additional thought
and consideration and possibly significant work!

Thanks in advance for your patience with the service interruption.
Hopefully you didn't have big plans to use the website late this evening.
If the activity will create a real hardship for you contact me.

Steve Morytko

COA Website Administrator

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