Wanted: Your ideas for the new F1 Fanatic

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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!

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

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  1. 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?

    1. 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.

      1. Yes, but it only works when it wants!

      2. where’s that option??? all i get when I click ‘Add new’ topic is three white boxes: topic title, post, and the tags box…

  2. 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.

    1. Numbered comments is on the list, guest articles are definitely staying, and the navigation is going to get a re-working.

  3. 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!

    1. 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. @ Xanathos

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

  5. 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 ;)

    1. 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”

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

    2. Saw THIS Just now! Wow!

    3. 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

      1. HounslowBusGarage
        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.

    4. 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. 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.

    1. But sometimes I face site loading problems. Sometimes error 300 or something like that.

      same here. its probably related to the number of hits

    2. Yes it is traffic related, but it’s also down to the site not being very well optimised. More on that here: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/forum/topic.php?id=814

  7. 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.

    1. 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. 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?

    1. ”Error 500″

      yeah, that error loves me too

    2. Yeah that’s the same as what Ninad’s described above.

  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!)

    1. 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. 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.

    1. 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

    2. 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?

      1. “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.

      2. 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.

    3. On a PC type CTRL+END.

  11. A like and dislike button!

    1. Like it, added to the list :-)

      1. A like and dislike kimi ;)

  12. AlonsoFollower
    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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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. 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. ;)

    1. 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.

      1. 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

    2. 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?

      1. 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. 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. 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.

  16. I think the site looks OK as it is but I’m sure there is room for improvement too…

    o I’m a fan of bright neon colours and the like so I’d prefer it if there were a few brighter colours around the screen to liven things up, but perhaps that would make the text more difficult to read?

    o I’m not a massive fan of the F1 Fanatic logo, it’s hardly a priority but I bet someone could come up with something a bit more snazzy

    oI sent a message the other day, I’m not sure if you got it, but it basically said add more forum topics to the main page because too many get left behind because they fall off the top 6 list and less people see them

    o Depending on how good your contacts are, it would be nice if you could occasionally get hold of an ex driver/ team employee/ reporter etc, and ask us beforehand to send in questions they could answer. (If F1 Fanatic managed an interview with Ari Vatanen I’m sure it’s capable of getting an ex driver, especially if they were publicising somnething!)

    1. With the forum box, what I’d rather do is have fewer topics in there but have a clearer link to the forum itself, where people can see a much bigger list of active discussions. Or perhaps some sort of scrolling list. But I’m keen to make the front page a bit less busy than it is at the moment.

      And I couldn’t agree more about getting more original content and interviews. It’s not easy (I do have a full-time job after all!) but I’ll see what I can do :-)

  17. Keep the 470×150 images : )

    1. I’m definitely going to keep the width on the articles around that size but I think the aspect ratio may have to change. Sorry!

  18. To be honest, I mostly read the updates over RSS, so I don’t even see the design. Doesn’t look tired to me, when I click through every once in a while, either. So… sorry, no suggestions from me! ;)

    1. That’s fine – I always have an eye on the RSS feed as a lot of people get content that way now.

      But it’s interesting to see I’ve now got almost as many Twitter followers as RSS subscribers.

  19. Great site Keith, thanks for the early updates on fuel loads, most of us read and post on this site are aware of points standings etc and know other sites that will accomdate. I enjoy the topics and debates as a true F1 fan would, like it just the way it is. Well done

  20. Any chance to be able to actually watch f1 on your site? I think many of your users would appreciate such an option, even if they had to pay for it. Imagine a liveblog with the actual race in the same popout window. Now that would be great.

    1. That would be fantastic but the legal obstacles would be gigantic! However I think there’s a lot of room for improvement with the live blogs.

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