Wanted: Your ideas for the new F1 Fanatic

F1 Fanatic last had a redesign at the beginning of 2007 and it’s starting to look a bit tired in places.

There’s a whole host of new functionality I want to add to the site and there’s a lot of work to do in making it load more quickly and less prone to crashing.

But I also want to know what your ideas are for the site. How would you change F1 Fanatic? What bits should be chucked out and what should we keep?

Feel free to suggest anything including article or series ideas, changes to the layout of the site, the live blogs, the forum or anything else.

I’m going to be working on the new version of the site during the off-season. If you’ve got web design experience – particularly with PHP and MySQL – and would like to volunteer to help out, please let me know.

Thanks to everyone who replied top my earlier request for help with optimising the site. I’ve taken lots of your suggestions on board and will be in touch with you about further developments.

In the meantime, please let me know what you’d like to see on F1 Fanatic in the future!

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111 comments on Wanted: Your ideas for the new F1 Fanatic

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  1. sato113 said on 7th November 2009, 16:01

    hmmm… keep the font. keep the blue/green/white colours.

    my only real problem with this site is trying to make a poll when i create a forum topic. the button is either never there, or it just does nothing when I click it.

    and perhaps easier navigation around the forum?

    • mp4-19b said on 7th November 2009, 16:45

      Sato, you need to right-click on “Do You want members to vote on this topic” option. A separate window opens up, where you can type the question & put in the choices. Try it next time.

  2. Xanathos said on 7th November 2009, 16:18

    First comment: Your site is great, keep up the good work!

    Menu navigation could be a little bit easier, like selecting a driver and then getting a list of all the articles relating to that driver. This propably should be on the top of the site, no one is scrolling down to the bottom that often.
    Definetily keep the articles by guest writers or even have more of them! (Nothing against your articles, but you can’t do all the work alone)

    something I’m missing: You used to number the comments, if you’d introduce that again, it made orientation much easier.

  3. Wesley said on 7th November 2009, 16:21

    I would like to suggest two small things:

    Having driver and team points listed in a column on the homepage,like on F1Wolf’s site.I know there is a page for that but,it is good to have a quick reference.

    I liked when the comments were numbered also.There are ALOT more people here now and it is tedious to scroll down the list and find my avatar to see if anyone responded to my post.

    Thanks for all you do Keith!

    • steph90 said on 7th November 2009, 16:30

      I agree with Sato I love the colours and layout.
      But Wesley mentioned f1wolf’s site and they, during the season, show what engine number the drivers are on, gearbox stats and even qualifying between team mates and so forth. Perhaps you could try something similar?
      To be honest that is all I can really think of as the site prety much covers everything!

  4. Wesley said on 7th November 2009, 16:23

    @ Xanathos

    Ha!We were typing the same suggestion at the same time!

  5. mp4-19b said on 7th November 2009, 16:41

    1)I think an archive of all old articles sorted by date-month-year would be very helpful. I know there are some articles in the community section, but it lists only the top 100. We all would love to read the older articles.

    2)The topics in the forum sections are repetitive sometimes. For example there are at least 3 topics debating as to whether Button deserves the WDC or not.

    3)At present there are 6 items in “Articles in brief” section including this one. Is there a way to read the “older” articles in this section? Like in the forum?

    The layout and everything is just fine. I love the site the way it is :) Simple & brilliant.

    Live blog is bloody brilliant! And I really have to thank you for the efforts you’ve put Keith, especially the Japanese Gp weekend ;) Who can forget that Saturday morning ;)

    • Wesley said on 7th November 2009, 17:03

      mp4

      Regarding your ‘articles in brief’ question: when you click on articles in brief look at the bottom of the post,just above comments and there is a link to the side of “Read More”

      • mp4-19b said on 7th November 2009, 17:08

        Wow! Thanx for that Wesley! I’m really blind,thought I knew everything bout this site. Dunno who I missed that!

    • mp4-19b said on 7th November 2009, 17:11

      Saw THIS Just now! Wow!

    • steph90 said on 7th November 2009, 17:31

      I’m not sure what can be done about the forums, I always check if topic has been discussed before which is very easy to do with the tags.
      You are spot on about the live blog, it’s one of the things about f1 I’m missing most. It’s really outstanding :) :P

      • HounslowBusGarage said on 7th November 2009, 21:05

        It would be easier to spot if the topic had appeared earlier in the Forums if there were more than the last six shown. Maybe you show the titles, but to actually sconnect to the foruum posts you have to click through to another page where the latest twenty or thirty threads are shown.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th November 2009, 22:16

      Yeah the archives need a little sorting out. You might find this page useful:

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/credits-and-contacts/f1fanatic-archive/

  6. Ninad said on 7th November 2009, 16:45

    Site is very good, good analysis, articles and reports. I think layout is of site good enough.
    But sometimes I face site loading problems. Sometimes error 300 or something like that.

  7. Kimster said on 7th November 2009, 16:53

    I do not know if you would able to do this, but the big downfall of the website is the forums. So I would say we should change over to forums such as these ones: http://www.phpbb.com/

    Other than that no really much to add.

    • three4three said on 8th November 2009, 10:40

      Yep, agree the site is brilliant, I’ve visited it almost everyday since I discovered it, thanks very much Keith!
      I think the layout is neat but the forums could do with a little improvement. phpbb forums work very well.

  8. iceshiel said on 7th November 2009, 17:14

    I tend to get an error when I visit your website. Something like ”Error 500″. Not sure if other people experience the same error. Perhaps it can be worked on?

  9. To begin Keith, I come here for your content, which is leaps and bounds above everyone else’s. Your analysis continually astounds me as to it’s depth, but when reading into the analysis, the graphs always tend to frustrate me. Possibly a second “graphics” page associated with you fantastic graphs so we can see an entire post’s graphs at much larger sizes. I know I miss a lot of nuance with images that are 500-600pixels, but if we could get to a page where they were 800-900 wide and include 3 full graphs stacked vertically, rather than having to click, go back, click.
    For a standard wordpress setup, I think the theme works well, you can play with color and layout all day, and end up right back where you are, wouldn’t bother me a bit either way,, (again, I’m here for the great content).
    In terms of the forum and other bits,, here’s where I fail,, I had no idea! (plus I’m as anti forum as you can get, they never seem to work too well, whereas comments and facebook areas seem more fluid and alive (but I know, some people swear by forums,, sadly I’m not one of them).
    Keep up the amazing writing! Thanks!!
    Maybe an F1 fanatic T-shirt or sticker (wouldn’t mind one on my helmet!)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th November 2009, 22:19

      There’s going to be a bit of a refresh of the design elements including the logo, and after that I’m finally going to get some merchandise done. It’s been on my ‘to-do’ list for 12 months at least! But the blue-green colour scheme probably won’t change much.

  10. sumedh said on 7th November 2009, 17:34

    I have not used the forums much, so will comment only on the website changes, I would like to have.

    1. Keep using the extra wide photos, for me thats one of the key differentiators of this blog. You had mentioned that finding such photos is a bit painful, but trust me, its worth the effort

    2. I think the upper array of options:

    * Home
    * F1 video
    * F1 live
    * F1 information
    * F1 2009 season
    * F1 2010 Season
    * F1 Pictures
    * About/Contact
    * Community

    are hardly used. Instead of keeping them, I suggest you change some of them and replace them with
    1) A drop down menu of latest articles (full)
    2) A drop down menu of latest articles (brief)
    3) A link to the “official program guide for XXXX Grand Prix” which you started using couple of races ago.
    4) Current championship standings
    5) F1 wallpapers/photos

    This way, a new user can find all the new stuff straight away.

    The bottom panel of “2009 F1 grand Prix”, “drivers”, “teams” can be moved to the right hand side below the “F1 Fanatic’s top videos and books” section. This way I can research about a driver easily.

    And most importantly Have a CLICK TO REPLY option right after the article ends. I hate to have to scroll down to the very end of the comments section to have to post something.

    And has been stated by many above me, the Error 500 thing.

    • Ned Flanders said on 7th November 2009, 19:00

      Blimey, I thought I was lazy! All you have to do is click on the arrow to take you down, it’s hardly running a marathon! But I suppose that would still be an improvement

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th November 2009, 22:21

      You had mentioned that finding such photos is a bit painful, but trust me, its worth the effort

      Not as painful as hosting them! That’s partly what some of the technical changes are aimed at improving.

      I understand your complaint about where the ‘reply’ button is, but my concern is that if it’s at the top of the comments people will just add a comment without reading them. I’m concerned it might diminish the quality of discussion, particularly contributions from people who are new to the site. What do you think?

      • Wesley said on 7th November 2009, 23:31

        “I understand your complaint about where the ‘reply’ button is, but my concern is that if it’s at the top of the comments people will just add a comment without reading them. I’m concerned it might diminish the quality of discussion, particularly contributions from people who are new to the site. What do you think?”

        Totally agree.Can’t have a one sided conversation.

      • Yes, I agree too. This will encourage people to just write something without thinking or paying attention. Nothing is more frustrating than having to deal with someone who has obviously paid no attention to the conversation at hand. I think keeping the reply button at the bottom of all comments is best.

    • Patrickl said on 9th November 2009, 8:58

      On a PC type CTRL+END.

  11. striay said on 7th November 2009, 17:44

    A like and dislike button!

  12. AlonsoFollower said on 7th November 2009, 17:46

    Keith, I’m aesthetically handicapped in general, but I’d say that I keep coming here for the content and (sometimes) for the discussion that is generated, not for the design.

    The design is ok as far as I can tell. The only thing that you could improve is with the older article videos. More often than not, when you want to watch something that is, say, more than a year old, you find that the video has been remoevd.

    Otherwise I find your current desing quite good and don’t see any point in you spending time or money to “fix” what is essentially not broken. The design may or may not win you some first time visitors, but ultimately the content will.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th November 2009, 22:23

      The design is ok as far as I can tell. The only thing that you could improve is with the older article videos. More often than not, when you want to watch something that is, say, more than a year old, you find that the video has been remoevd.

      Yeah I’m afraid that’s down to FOM really, not much I can do :-(

      The design may or may not win you some first time visitors, but ultimately the content will.

      I agree – this is much more about functionality than design.

      • verstappen said on 8th November 2009, 20:57

        maybe you could add a feature like:

        ‘if video on the link has been removed, click here to post fresh link of the same event’

        (and yes, then you – or maybe one of the mods – has to check if the link is proper and replace the original)

  13. Maksutov said on 7th November 2009, 18:00

    1) Make password protected replies. Where the user not only requires to supply the email address but also the password in order to post a comment or a reply. Also make the replies numbered as well as dated.

    2) Design: Get rid of some of the white background on the sides of the page and add a more neutral colour. Something relating to the F1 Fanatic logo colours maybe, light grayish – it just breaks up a bit of the white and does not make the page tiresome to read, and also focuses the reader to look into the article. Also your F1 fanatic logo could use a bit of a tweak – eg. make the “F1″ part italic, bold and a larger font size (to be more fancy you could also add some cool graphics on those two letters “F1“). Also remove that “add” that sits right inside the logo because that add makes the site look cheap. Put the add underneath the logo, if not then put the logo underneath the add. And maybe try to group the adds in one place on bottom right hand side?

    Trying to stick with colours that match is good. If you use blue and white and gray – then green doesn’t really go there :), but if you like green then fine.

    To me, the headline topics should be dark blue not light blue, and when they are read turn them into lighter gray colours.

    3) We need a direct button that takes us to older articles, eg. where you have “Articles in Brief” and “Articles in full” they should be classified in dates there, and right underneath those put a link “Past” or “Previous” so they can be scrolled in those windows. Also, you only display the latest 6 articles in those two windows, where as it would be better to display the latest 15 or 20 articles. It makes it much easier for the user to search the most recent articles onto which they posted a comment or a reply.

    4) This last comment brings another point, it would be nice to setup a system where the user is alerted when a reply is posted onto their comments – something like what youtube does…

    thats all for now. ;)

    • mp4-19b said on 7th November 2009, 18:09

      Get rid of some of the white background on the sides of the page and add a more neutral colour. Something relating to the F1 Fanatic logo colours maybe, light grayish – it just breaks up a bit of the white and does not make the page tiresome to read, and also focuses the reader to look into the article

      Yeah. I have to agree on the white background thing. I’ve spent most of the last 3 years hanging around this site. And I’m proud to say that I’ve developed “Dark Circles” around my eyes :P & now wear spectacles. My ophthalmologist says that I should reduce my time on F1F!! I said NO!!

      Probably a “BLACK” background will put an end to my eye woes.

      • Maksutov said on 8th November 2009, 13:23

        My ophthalmologist says that I should reduce my time on F1F!! I said NO!! Probably a “BLACK” background will put an end to my eye woes.

        lol

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 7th November 2009, 22:29

      Wow lots of interesting suggestions from Matsukov…

      I’m not sure what the benefit of having password protected commenting would be. Yes, it would help reduce spam but that’s not a huge problem right now and it would discourage people from leaving comments.

      remove that “add” that sits right inside the logo because that add makes the site look cheap.

      Is this the banner ad at the top-right or the ‘Ads by Google’ line underneath the F1 Fanatic logo and the menu?

      Placing ads is always tricky because I need to strike a balance between generating revenue and not having a site that looks ‘cheap’.

      That said, I am looking at offering the facility to make voluntary contributions. If that were enough to cover the costs of running the site then the perhaps ads could be scrapped entirely.

      On point three I am looking at something similar to this.

      And I like point four, that’s on the list too. You do know you can subscribe to all comments on a post already, right?

      • Maksutov said on 8th November 2009, 15:08

        I’m not sure what the benefit of having password protected commenting would be. Yes, it would help reduce spam but that’s not a huge problem right now and it would discourage people from leaving comments.

        yeah np, but not long ago we had some spams, as you saw on the forum, where somebody managed to reply using our username’s but i think we managed to sort that out using the avatar for now…

        Is this the banner ad at the top-right or the ‘Ads by Google’ line underneath the F1 Fanatic logo and the menu?

        Yeah it is the banner ad on the top right:

        http://www.marksandspencer.com/International-Delivery/b/183243031?extid=meint

        To me that ad “M&S” makes a part of the website logo, in that it sits effectively inside the logo on right side of it, im not sure if that was intended. I guess it is a little trivial, but positioning the ad somewhere else would make the site look more “neat” :)

        Regarding contributions im sure that many would help in that matter including me, if its financial the question is how to distribute that, since personally i dont trust credit card transactions. Running the site or looking after it in some way im sure there would be volunteers for that..

  14. vettelfan said on 7th November 2009, 18:08

    Firstly the site is very good as it is Keith. So, it is hard to find anything to change. However, I agree with some of the above suggestions:
    * Drivers/Constructors table on the main page – you could also add a countdown to the next race as I have seen a lot of F1 sites with these.
    * Maybe change the links at the top of the page (F1 Video, F1 Live etc.) to drop-down menus to make navigation easier.
    That’s about it. I like the colour scheme how it is so I hope you keep it the same :)

  15. Daniel said on 7th November 2009, 18:42

    I Think A Much Cleaner Back Ground, Maybe A New Background Colour, But You Defo Have To Keep The Name Colour.
    Also Drivers/Constructors Tables Visible On Main Page, With Previous Results Of Last Race & Countdown Till The Next Race.

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