Redevelopment of Scans Section

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Iain
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Redevelopment of Scans Section

Post by Iain »

As many of you regulars know. I have done very little with the site over the past few years. That's been down to a number of reasons, e.g. lack of motivation, seemingly insurmountable amount of work and lack of direction.

But yet the site is still popular (even if the forum isn't so much) and has even seen traffic increased over the past few months, probably due to Lemon64 reviews linking to the scans.

I have always felt somewhat guilty that I haven't been adding to the site regularly as there is so much more that could be done.

From reading the above text (but not the title!) you might be concerned that I'm about to announce the closing of the site but fear not!

I plan to redo some parts of the site but to break the work up into more manageable units and because it's the most popular part of the site and the easiest to make changes to and have it affect around 10,000 pages, I'm going to start with the scans section.

The scans are a great resource but the thing that is really lacking from them is any form of index or description of the pages, apart from the reviews.

Here's what I propose for the redeveloped version: Comments and suggestions are most welcome and strongly encouraged!


Redeveloped Magazine Scan Pages

1. The page will be graphically redesigned to tie it all together better. Positioning the additional features listed below might be tricky since the scans take up a lot of screen on their own. But I was thinking of having the description and comments on the right hand side.

2. A short (100 words?) description will be added to every page. This is to aid you guys searching for a scan of something specific and also to help Google index the page in a meaningful way. I propose these descriptions can be added (and maybe edited) by users as well as myself. Descriptions for reviews will be grabbed from the ZzapBible database automatically.

An example of a description (for issue 45, page 39):

"The first page of a feature on Robocop, the plot of the film is described here"

3. A group of tags or keywords will be associated with each page. This will make it easier for certain pages to be grouped together or found, e.g. to find all adverts for a certain game. Might have a tag cloud type thing in there as well.

4. User comments for each page. User can enter comments for every page and the most recent will be displayed, with a link to older ones. This adds a bit of housekeeping overhead but I've often been reading a scan and had some comment or thought that I'd have liked to share with others but couldn't be bothered writing a whole new message in the forum about it

5. A star rating. Users can vote on a page (how much they like it) and an average for all votes will be given, this could then be used for top ten pages etc.

6. Navigation from scan to scan will be improved, with maybe a bar of preview thumbnails available. It'll also be easy to jump to another issue and maybe give a list of related pages. e.g. you are looking at a review of Robocop and links are displayed to any adverts and features available.

Basically, I think I'm giving up on the idea that every review and feature etc. will be OCRed on the site and available as text so I'm putting the focus of the site on the scans and making them as useful as possible and straightforward to find what you want, but also to come across other interesting things as well.

Instead of doing my all or nothing usual development, I'm going to try and develop it in stages so the first iteration might not be great but at least I'll be getting something out there and I can improve it with each iteration.

I'd really appreciate feedback on the above and any other ideas you have related to the scans section.
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Mort
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Post by Mort »

Thanks Iain,
I would think Keywords might be very useful as you could do say Mercenary for the reviews and also adverts that appeared , it would make finding that elusive review easier :-)
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Post by Lloyd Mangram »

Still reading...could take a while.... :)
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andy vaisey
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Post by andy vaisey »

I love the idea of (3) and (6). Those would be really useful additions; I love it when sites cross link to other pages and/or other sites. It makes it so easy to acquire the information I need.
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Professor Brian Strain
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Post by Professor Brian Strain »

Keywords and tags sound like very good ideas to me.

Not too sure on the thumbnails though, may put a lot of strain on people with a slower connection...
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Iain
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Post by Iain »

Professor Brian Strain wrote: Not too sure on the thumbnails though, may put a lot of strain on people with a slower connection...
Well I was thinking of any being able to see / scroll to around 3 thumbnails either side of the current page.

e.g.

<- x x x X x x x ->
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Iain
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Post by Iain »

Well, I've created the database table for the pages, only contains blank space for every page from every issue at the moment but I thought you might be interested to know that issues 1 to 106 contained a total of 10,730 pages!! Although a few of them might be Home Computer inserts that Mort liked to scan as well! ;-)

Writing descriptions and tags for 10,000+ pages! That will be a job for US! :-D Although the reviews will be auto filled in, so that reduxes it by quite a bit.
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andy vaisey
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Post by andy vaisey »

Iain wrote:
Professor Brian Strain wrote: Not too sure on the thumbnails though, may put a lot of strain on people with a slower connection...
Well I was thinking of any being able to see / scroll to around 3 thumbnails either side of the current page.
e.g.<- x x x X x x x ->
Lots of porn sites do that and it's quite effective.

Erm, I didn't just say that... :oops: :wink:
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Iain
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Post by Iain »

;-)

Here's the plugin I'm thinking of using:

http://www.dynamicdrive.com/dynamicinde ... allery.htm#

For once I'm going to try not do everything from scratch myself (and then never finish!), so I'm utilising stuff out there already.
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andy vaisey
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Post by andy vaisey »

Looks nice!
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R. Prime
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Post by R. Prime »

nice one Iain,

sounds like a damn good plan. I'm sure there would be plenty of people who will find it useful, and plenty of people also who would like to help.

Let me know if you need help with the tagging
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Iain
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Post by Iain »

R. Prime wrote:nice one Iain,

sounds like a damn good plan. I'm sure there would be plenty of people who will find it useful, and plenty of people also who would like to help.

Let me know if you need help with the tagging
Oh worry not, there will be a lot of requests for help with the descriptions and tagging! :)
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Fab
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Post by Fab »

User comments could be per issue instead of (or in addition to) per page.

And it's time to bring forth my recurring request: putting all the Megatapes online.

The static per-issue pages, which look very outdated and are full of broken links, could be merged into the revamped scan section.
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Ant
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Post by Ant »

That's some great ideas there, Iain!

Definitely your best ideas of the lot are to break this up into managable chunks and to try not to do everything yourself.

Very much looking forward to seeing this progress!
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Iain
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Post by Iain »

Fab wrote:User comments could be per issue instead of (or in addition to) per page.
I was thinking of that, but having comments per page as well (remember the front cover will have comments for it, so they will be like general issue comments) would be good for talking about a specific article or ad etc.
Fab wrote: And it's time to bring forth my recurring request: putting all the Megatapes online.
I know this is your pet want, for many years in fairness and I have never forgotten it, but havn't doen anything to make it happen! :(
Fab wrote: The static per-issue pages, which look very outdated and are full of broken links, could be merged into the revamped scan section.
With the thumbnail images? What broken links, can you give me a link of an example? Thanks
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