We are about to release an upgrade to all of our engagement tools and the general layout ratio of the site. This upgrade is the result of a lot of hard work and thought about how we can improve the engagement experience your community and you.
Whilst this release WILL affect the way your site looks, we also carried out a lot of work in the background, such a increasing the stability and flexibility of EHQ. These invisible changes have set us up for lots more exciting releases in the near future.
Please read through the below and be prepared to get excited. We will start rolling out the changes to you from 10 March 2015 onward.
NOTE: If you have a rebranded site, this date does not apply and we will be in touch with you separately.
UPGRADE OF ALL TOOLS
Our eight tools have all received significant face lifts. Not only do all tools look cleaner and more modern now, they are designed to be even easier to use than before for a better engagement experience.
UPGRADE OF OUR GENERAL LAYOUT RATIO
The standard site layout that most of you use is an odd 7:5 ratio. The left, the space for your project description and engagement tools is the '7', the widgets on the right is the '5'. This ratio has been in use in EHQ many years and is somewhat out-dated.
We are now upgrading the ratio to 8:4. This will increase the space for your description and tools and decrease the widget space slightly. Why the change you may ask? Here are some of our top reasons:
- The new ratio will put more emphasis on your tools: EHQ is about engaging with your community and stakeholders. With the new ratio your tools move back into the prime focus of EHQ and with it we expect your overall engagement to increase.
- Improved look and feel of widgets: Although the space for widgets is decreased, the look and feel will be enhanced. The widgets are all about providing content (documents, images, videos, etc.). In the old ratio the widgets looked too much like a not quite grown up tool. With a clearer separation between the two, it is more obvious to the user what a tool and what a widget is.
- Cleaner and contemporary overall look: While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is commonly accepted among design and user experience experts that a 8:4 (or 4:2 or 2:1) ratio is best. It splits the site into three even parts (the 'three column layout'), where in EHQ two parts are combined into one. This clear separation is not possible with the odd 7:5.
- Project description require less lines: Too often we see the project descriptions with too much text. The downside to this is that with more text and longer description, the tools will move further down the page and require more scrolling for your visitors and too much scrolling is bad user experience. After the upgrade the project description will now have more horizontal space, hence can fit more without taking up valuable tool space.
- More space within the tools: The tools itself will have more space. Take the survey tool for example. The likert question has the potential to look a little awkward. With more space available there is more room for all response options.
- More space on the tool bar: Have you seen or had any projects yourself where you had 3 or more tools enabled and some of them would no longer fit into the tool bar and show under 'More'? The new ratio allows for more space and at least one more tool to show before the dreaded 'More' will appear.
Some questions you may ask:
What will happen to my custom widgets that I set up so they fit into the widget?
The custom widgets are responsive and most, if not all will be unaffected. If you have widgets you are worried about we recommend you check after the upgrade.
Will the photo and video gallery still show 3 images/video thumbnails?
No, both widgets, when in gallery mode, will only show two images or video thumbnails. The thumbnails are now square which means that the images will be displayed in equal sizes.
I am using the Facebook widget on all my projects, will this be affected?
No, the Facebook widget will show scaled to the right size.
I notice news articles, forum topics, etc. now have thumbnails. What do I need to know about this?
Thumbnails are displayed on the site in a 200x150 pixels size. The first image in the Forum Topic or News article is chosen as the thumbnail if there is no explicit image set. Ideally this means that the thumbnail you set or the first image in the content has to have 4 to 3 ratio to be displayed perfectly. Don’t worry if it is not in the right ratio, EHQ will automatically crop the image to fit beautifully with the site.
Note: This matters greatly if you have text in your image which needs to be displayed fully. If it is not in the right ratio, EHQ will automatically pick a section of the image.
Does anything else change?
Yes, all tools now have pagination in place. You can already observe this in the news feed. It means that after ten articles on the same page, more articles will start to appear to avoid endlessly long sites. This is now consistent across all tools. E.g. if you have more than ten forum topics in place, these will be displayed on multiple pages.
You can see the changes on the below sites already. If you want to be using this exclusively before the release date, get in touch with us and we will make it happen straight away:
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions at all about this upcoming release before we start rolling it out on 10 March 2015.