Managing your Website with RiSE – Tips, Tricks and Ideas
from the Causeis resident RiSE guru
OK, so by now everyone has had some involvement with RiSE whether it’s with staff sites or if you use to it manage your website. We’ve also heard of the wonderful building blocks like iParts, panel editors, data showcase parts, tagged lists, panel editors, to name a few. As we start to use more and more of these and websites start to grow, were with a faced a slightly different dilemma; managing the clutter.
Our in-house web guru, Sam Newport, has provided these short tips and tricks (and some innovative ideas) to keep on top of you RiSE website.
1. Hide the Secondary Navigation
The secondary navigation appears on the right side of your webpage. It displays the menu structure you have followed to arrive at that page, more importantly, it takes up 22% of the content area (space that would be better utilised for images or a call to action item).
It is turned on by default on RiSE sites, so you may have never considered hiding it. Unfortunately, the secondary navigation is required for iPad users to navigate RiSE websites as the navigation does not drop down when clicked (in most cases).
Use a media query to make sure it is hidden on screen sizes wider than an iPad.
2. Clean up Your IQA Displays
Using IQA’s is the best way to show dynamic content e.g. Event List, Member Profile information, Board and Committee Member lists, BUT they are quite ugly.
By default, they appear with a table column heading you can click for sorting, every second row is coloured, and on top of that - when you click the row it changes colour to highlight the selected row.
In most cases, this is all unnecessary. You can use CSS to hide the column titles, the alternating row colours and the on click colour change, to make it look like a standard list.
3. Have Compelling Calls to Actions
It’s not enough to say; “Become a Member” or “Find events near you” below a stock photo of a group of people.
Have a title: “Become part of the community”
Describe why you should: “Join our community/organisation to enhance/learn/support/raise awareness”
Use a button: “Join Today”
4. Check Your Website Speed, Reduce Your Images
The speed of your website is a key factor in how much time users spend on your website.
The simplest way to make your page load times faster is to reduce the size of your image files, rather than reducing the dimensions of your images.
While it may seem like a quick fix, cropping your images to make them “smaller” is not really a good solution, if someone is viewing on an iPad where the images are expanded to fill the screen, or is someone is viewing on a higher resolution monitor, they will notice the difference. You are better of keeping them larger then they appear on your desktop so mobile users can enjoy a high-resolution image too. I would recommend 2000px across for full-width banners, and between 500 - 1000px across for all other images.
You now need to reduce the quality of your images, if you have access to photoshop, great! If not, you may need to use some online tools. Make sure the file sizes do not exceed about 250 - 300kb. It’s all about finding the perfect balance of resolution and file size. Do some experimenting. Remember, the more images you have on a page the longer it will take to load.
If you would like to know your page load times, and which images are taking the most time to load. Learn to use the Google Chrome “audits” tool
5. Check your google analytics
It is important to know where your users are spending time on the website, in order to make an informed decision regarding which areas of the site need updating, promoting or simplifying. If a page is visually confusing, or hard to navigate to, it will likely be reflected in the data.
6. Know the goal of your website
Before committing to any project, be aware of the effect it may have on your primary goals e.g. event revenue, membership growth, access to resources. If the changes you are considering make it more difficult for the user to take the action dictated by your primary goal, you need to re-think your approach.