Rework of the APOD page to be more user friendly

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Korfuntu
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Rework of the APOD page to be more user friendly

Postby Korfuntu » Thu Oct 26, 2017 1:13 pm

I love APOD and visit it every day. But I wish the page could be rearranged so that navigation would be easier.

Specifically, the links at the bottom of the page should be at the top or left of the page. When they are at the bottom of the page, they are most often NOT visible without scrolling down. This means if I want to review the images from the last week, for example, I would have to scroll down on each page I view to see the link allowing me to go back one day.

Moving the links to the top of the page would mean they are visible to all users on each page without scrolling.

As an alternative, because it looks like there is always white space on the left and right margins of the screen on my monitor with its 16x9 aspect ratio, why not create a left-side navigation menu to place in the left margin. This would allow the top of the current page to remain unchanged, but would greatly facilitate users' access to the APOD content.

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rstevenson
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Re: Rework of the APOD page to be more user friendly

Postby rstevenson » Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:00 pm

And while they're at it, make it fully compatible with all screen sizes and devices, using either an adaptive or a responsive design. (They're slightly different concepts.).

But having said that, you should know that...
Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) is a website provided by NASA and Michigan Technological University (MTU). [from it's Wikipedia page]

Also, the APOD image selection and writing are done by Dr. Robert J. Nemiroff and Dr. Jerry T. Bonnell, on a volunteer basis.

I don't think it is any one person's job to work on the code structure of the APOD page, though perhaps a few students could be enticed to do so from time to time.

I think there might be some issues with redesigning and recoding the original APOD page, because there are now more than 20 other APOD pages in other languages hosted on other servers. And there are secondary applications which depend on pulling content from APOD to display it as desktop wallpaper, and I suspect at least some of them would cease working properly the day the newly recoded page was put up on the server.

Your suggestion is sound and agreeable to me, but I suspect not to the people behind APOD. And, of course, there will be the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" crowd, which I'm sure we'll hear from shortly.

Rob

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geckzilla
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Re: Rework of the APOD page to be more user friendly

Postby geckzilla » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:20 pm

There have been many attempts by helpful individuals to offer up a redesign. I am one of them. The editors don't even want a little css, much less some kind of an overhaul. They would have to receive a flood of complaints for them to feel any change is warranted. Right now it's just a trickle.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Chris Peterson
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Re: Rework of the APOD page to be more user friendly

Postby Chris Peterson » Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:40 pm

geckzilla wrote:There have been many attempts by helpful individuals to offer up a redesign. I am one of them. The editors don't even want a little css, much less some kind of an overhaul. They would have to receive a flood of complaints for them to feel any change is warranted. Right now it's just a trickle.

It's a shame. The page is really hopelessly dated, especially given that it's one of the most popular sites on the Internet. And it's also so simple, with just a single page per day. It would be trivial to put together a data driven (I'd use mySQL and PHP, but there a lots of options) site with CSS, making it look good on all devices and screen resolutions. No need for any scripting at all.

Sigh. Maybe someday. As Rob suggested, maybe one of their students will take it on as a small project.
Chris

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geckzilla
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Re: Rework of the APOD page to be more user friendly

Postby geckzilla » Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:23 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:(I'd use mySQL and PHP, but there a lots of options) site with CSS, making it look good on all devices and screen resolutions. No need for any scripting at all.

I made a mySQL and php version, and the great thing about that are the fun little things that can be done once the data is in that format. RJN and Dr. Bonnell are just very skeptical of that since they themselves do not know how to upkeep php code in the inevitable event that an update is needed or an error occurs. That's understandable. Others have tried CSS-only modifications. There are some browser addons such as Stylish that include multiple CSS templates for APOD. I'm using my own simple modification to keep the paragraph text from being wider than 900 pixels.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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rstevenson
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Re: Rework of the APOD page to be more user friendly

Postby rstevenson » Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:33 pm

Chris Peterson wrote:... The page is really hopelessly dated, especially given that it's one of the most popular sites on the Internet. ...

I suppose there will come a day when such an old-fashioned look is suddenly trendy -- everything old is new again -- and APOD will get another award for sticking with it for so long.

Rob


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