Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Overview of the Changes at Pacific Northwest Portal

The following blog post describes and details all of the changes we made to the new Pacific Northwest Portal Version 3.0, organized in several categories:

Overall Site Improvements
  • We've totally redesigned the Pacific Northwest Portal header bar, introducing new graphics, a new link bar, and a cleaner interface. The details:
    1. New Title Graphic. The new header bar includes a beautiful new title graphic designed by the Portal's web team featuring the Portal name in a new font. It's cleaner, softer, and conveys a higher standard of quality for our website.
    2. New Link Bar. Our new link bar system is one of our most innovative improvements. We listened specifically to your feedback and suggestions, and we were told the existing link system was confusing because it was stacked in two rows and it was hard to read in dark colors. Well, we've fixed that. The new link system is all in white, and when you mouse over a link, it changes color from blue to green.
    3. Reorganization. Our readers also told us to get rid of the URL on our header bar and make it cleaner. That's just what we've done. The clock has moved right above the new link bar and a new Welcome message was added.
  • More Reliable Feeds. Many of the RSS feeds on our site have suffered from display problems that cause them not to load. We believe we've laid this problem to rest at last. Feeds will be much more reliable and should always load, especially in Internet Explorer. We're still working out a couple remaining issues with keeping the feeds updated, but bear with us.
  • Autorefresh. If you stay on a Portal page with dynamic content (such as RSS feeds) for longer than ten minutes, the page will automatically refresh so you can see the latest information. No more stagnant pages!

The Front Page
  • New Syndicate Member. The Pacific Northwest Portal front page includes a new syndicate member from Idaho - The Political Game, which takes the place of Our Purple Mountains' Majesty. We made this change because the Political Game is a new, exciting blog that's posted to more frequently.
  • WashBlog Moves to Front Page. WashBlog, an original member of the Expanded Washington group, is moving to our front page. WashBlog is being promoted because it's an outstanding blog that covers not just national issues, but local ones as well, with a fresh and unique perspective. WashBlog trades places with Pacific Views, which has moved to the Expanded Washington page.
  • Directory Access Links. At the bottom of the front page, you'll find a white bar with easy access to all of our directories, so you can get to where you want to go faster.

New Syndicate Members on the Expanded Washington & Oregon Pages
    New Syndicate Members. A total of seven new blogs are joining the Expanded Washington and Oregon sections. From Washington, we're pleased to announce the inclusion of Progressive Majority Washington, BlatherWatch, CoolAqua, and Blue Washington. From Oregon, we're pleased to announce the inclusion of The American Street, Economist's View, and Radical Noesis.
  • A Whole New Look. The Expanded sections have been completely redesigned. Above the feeds you'll find a new state bar with an image of the state, as well as common facts and a newswire with the latest news from the state. The columns have also been reorganized and given an equal width.
  • Newsflash Feature. Also on the state bar is our new newsflash feature - a news ticker that brings you the latest headlines and events. Washington and Oregon each have their own newsflash ticker.

Blogs & Websites Directory Improvements
  • Directory Overhauled. The new directory sports a new introduction and quick links to the other directories. Plus the page has been reorganized, with the under the hood changes that make it load more quickly and more reliably.
  • New Blogs. You'll notice the new syndicate member blogs have moved up to the syndicate column in their respective states. But we've also added thirty six new blogs, bringing our grand total to 156 blogs. The Portal community just got a whole lot bigger!

New Pages.
  • Democratic Party Directory. Our first new page is the brand new Democratic Party directory. It contains links to every Democratic Party organization that we know exists. It's organized by state and then broken down into counties, legislative districts (WA only) congressional districts, and Young Democrats chapter.
  • Start Page Utility. We're rolling out a new page containing a utility that allows you to easily set Pacific Northwest Portal as your browser's "start" page - the page you see when you first boot up your browser.

Other Pages
  • About Us. The About page has an updated site map and history and has been filled in with all the latest information.
  • Contact Us. We're introducing an improved feedback form, more user comments, and an expanded Knowledge Base to troubleshoot difficulties viewing the site.
  • Highlights. The Highlights page has been reorganized. Every highlight now contains a description so you can learn more without leaving the page. We're also introducing The Northwest's Latest 10, a new feature on the right side of the page that lets you see the latest ten posts from our thirty syndicate members.
  • Northwest Media. We added a new introduction to the page with links to the other directories and made the page easier to use and navigate.
  • Toolkit. The improved Toolkit page boasts a new stock ticker that tells you how the markets are doing (Dow Jones Industrial Average, Nasdaq, S&P 500). It also has a new RSS feed for labor news bringing you headlines from the Washington State Labor Council's Reports Today feature. And we changed the Portland traffic camera to one that's closer to downtown.

So there you have it. Those are all the changes that comprise True Blue - the new Pacific Northwest Portal Version 3.0. Why not take a look yourself?

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