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Welcome to new look James Allen on F1 site
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Posted By: James Allen  |  06 Jun 2014   |  6:13 pm GMT  |  126 comments

Welcome to the exciting new redesign of the James Allen on F1 website.

Listening to our large and engaged audience and looking at the demands for a leading F1 site over the next few years, we have made some changes in that we believe will move the site forward.

We already have 60% of our readers outside the UK, but we are opening the site up to a much larger international audience, thanks to the embedding of a built-in “Translate” facility from Google, allowing users to read posts in situ on the site in French, German, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese (Brazil).

The revised site has also been optimised for social media and there is a new section, “People are talking about” which shows what are the most engaging topics for the moment among users.

In the past two years we have enjoyed great success with the themed Innovation and Technology section on the site, with our partners Tata Communications. Last year three of the five most popular stories on the site were from this section.

Building on that success we are introducing a new Race Strategy section, in partnership with UBS. This will showcase the popular and well-established UBS Race Strategy Briefing and Report content as well as links to UBS’ F1 microsite.

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 13.11.56
There is also a News section, reached via the top navigation bar, with a digest of the latest news stories.

Please have an explore and give us your feedback in the comments section below.

The site looks different, but the goals of James Allen on F1.com remains the same – to help fans to get closer to the sport, to be the “go to” place on the web for insights into the sport and the best place for users to engage and interact in intelligent discussion about the sport they love, with a large and passionate fan community.

With over 100,000 comments left on the site in the last 12 months, we are very proud of our community.

Thanks for your continued support and your contributions to the comments section and elsewhere.

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1

James, the graphical look & feel of the redesign is nice, but I’m disappointed that you still don’t have even basic formatting options w/in the comments, such as push-a-button-for: bold, italics, quote or hyperlink.

Also think you’re really missing out on facilitating even greater user engagement by allowing us to ‘upvote’ our favorite reader comments.

Would really suggest the Guardian’s new (still in beta) site’s comment functionality as a great example of how these simple additions of functionality can create add-on value for the reader’s experience beyond your providing the best content possible.

Cheers,

JP

2

Good stuff…really nice job.

My one very minor suggestion would be the return of the countdown-to-the-next-race clock. I’m sure a lot of readers dismiss it as silly, but I like it as a reminder that something’s happening; it brings the reality of a looming deadline to the whole enterprise, and keeps a sense of urgency in the background of all that is reported or dicussed. And it’s always comforting to doublecheck that, yes, we have a race to see this weekend. Maybe the clock is still on the site, but it’s not on the home page where it used to be. Here’s one small vote for its return.

Thanks for everything, James.

3

It’s there on the home page.
Thanks

4

Oops, typo alert. Meant T2, bar to be moved left; not right. Red and dark gray: signature colors me things. 😀

5

I have been meaning to share my thoughts on the new design. Finally on to it now. The new site has a lot of potential. Of course, we were all used to the old site. It was very well designed, no doubt. One of the things we’re missing now is a hint of chunking and positive space. The old site had a good-sized site banner; good contrast between the main column and side panels. The negative space didn’t overwhelm the look of the site like it does now. One could easily navigate around the site due to color contrasts, and the red went well for a F1 site. Furthermore, the red had become synonymous with JA. It’s your brand color, Mr. Allen.

There’s just too much white around the overall contents of the site. Contents are positive space; surrounding space is negative space, unless a figure/ground optical illusion is desired. A good design is a balance between the two, where positive space does much of the talking.

The new banner is larger, but not necessarily a bad thing. I think most of us will agree that F1 sites usually show very small pictures of the cars, tracks or the environment of the races, along with the spectators. The banner on this news item is excellent (albeit too wide in contrast to the positive space beneath it). You get to see Montreal’s T1 from a very original and new point of view; that of the spectators. The bad thing about it is it’s static and large. I suppose flipping pictures, or even allowing the fans to make and share banners may be an idea worth exploring.

It seems to me the site was designed to show one major story at a time, which is fine. The first vertical element (black banner with JA on F1) is too large, covering 100 pixels or so. Add that with the banner below it with hyper-links, and that’s another 70/80 pixels. Too much space given to these two elements in my opinion. Typical screen resolution these days are between 1280 by 800 to 1920 by 1080. Mine’s 1366 by 768. The picture banner appears to have been coded with a percentage value to the right. Try minimizing your browsers and move the left bar of the window to the right, and you’ll notice the picture getting automatically cropped on the left. This was probably meant for browsers that are still using 1024 by 768 resolutions.

From the top element to the bottom of the picture banner, there’s 400-500 pixels. And, they’re static. From the top element to just about where the title of the main story appears is another 100+ pixels. That’s 3/4ths of the vertical space on your typical browser already covered, and the site hasn’t even begun. Most browsers will just about see these parts and a little of the main story in big bold typeface (good idea for a headline), but the associated picture is cut in half. This isn’t a good idea. We are all used to seeing a wide picture that has a hint of foreground, middle-ground, and background. I think one of the reasons some users aren’t comfortable with the layout is because of this. They’re not seeing as much they were used to on the previous site.

On to the grid now. Other than the top and bottom elements, there’s a great deal of white space on the left, which is completely unused. However, they may have done this to utilize this side of the site later on. Same goes for the right hand side. If nothing is going to be placed on either sides of the main body of the site, I would suggest shortening the picture banner, not leaving so much indentation on either side and saving about 300 pixels on the top. This should help people see the JA brand, hyper-links, F1 picture banner, the main story and its associated graphics.

The vertical elements will appear even shorter for people using plug-ins on their browsers. As far as the colors are concerned, well, it’s up to Mr. Allen’s vision. I think the signature JA red could still be used on either side of the main body where white is obstinately claiming territorial right on either side.

The comments section was well highlighted in the previous site with various use of gray. The new comments section is minimalistic, which is fine. It will take a little getting used to. Given a choice, I would go with the former design, but I can see a lot of new possibilities with this one as well. I hope my feedback was helpful.

6

Many thanks for the detailed feedback.

7

Well, its a longer conversation than can be had here on the comments section .. but you did ask!! 🙂

Mobile-first/Responsive web (that looks goid on mobile and pc) is where the web is going.

Regards,

8

Agreed. Thanks

9

Mobile!!!!

Has no one looked at the site on a phone for heavens sake? Is awful .. text too small, having to zoom in to read anything!

40% of web traffic is now mobile … Designing a responsive site is really easy nowadays … I don’t understand why your web team is getting it so wrong?

10

We are also working on a mobile site – one step at a time.

11

I have to say i liked the old site much more. It felt more personal and it was easy to find James articles and other news etc, now its to cluttery (if this is a word in english).

Its to much different things on one page, and i have given it a week to see if i can get used but no. My main purpose visiting this site is to read your articles James and to read the mosty informative and interesting comments and now i feel a bit lost in the new design.

12

Love the new site, well done

13

Congrats on the new look, modern and very elegant, makes the site feel moving forward

I assume a lot of hard work so give my best to the whole crew

As usual, some will like it, some won’t, but most will keep coming back because of the great info, regardless of the look

It will take some time for everybody to find it’s way around since most were used to navigate the old site already

Only observation from my end is maybe have poster’s names in colour or bold, like it shows on the replies, to identify them easily

I sometimes look for someone’s comments (like goferet) rather than go through the whole lot at once

Have not been able to post sooner because it tells me “I’m posting too fast, which of course is not true

14

like the new noses and exhaust notes in F1, this new website will take me a while to get used to and for it to seem normal.

I thought I would mention that I noticed a driver missing from the drivers standings on the home page. I expected to see Crashonado (MAL) at the bottom, but alas! there is only 19 drivers listed and good ol Pastor is not one of them.

A unique omission for what seems to be maybe a layout issue ?

15

That’s a shame as they provided a very good insight into the more commercial aspects of f1 – I particularly enjoyed the interviews with Zak Brown. Looking forward, I think the commercial strategy of F1 is sure to change and it would have been great to get Zak (and others) view on what they think the commercial landscape of F1 is going to look like 1, 5 and 10 years down the line.

16

James, when can we expect the next JA on F1 podcast?

17

No plans for one at present.

18

I take a while to get used and like things, but on my pc, my first (and second and third) impression is that the site seemed unfinished, big white gaps everywhere, so I was expecting some sort of progress and a backlash in the comments.

Given the overall good reception, I just have to give it more time.

Btw, which calendar are they talking about? I don’t see any.

Didn’t try it in mobile yet.

(I’ve been told by the site that I’m “posting comments too quickly”?)

19

James change is good, I will need time to adjust. First observation, it’s too bright. Maybe you should tone down the lights????

20

I never cared for these updated blog sites. I never understood the change. Why fix what isn’t broken? The new home page is extremely cluttered. I have stopped reading some blogs because they changed to these layouts. I don’t need to know what the hot topics are according to everyone else. I would rather sort through and read the articles as they were posted. The site looks aesthetically pleasing but just doesn’t seem as functional as the old layout was. I love the content, but I prefer the older style. Ill be directing my bookmark to http://jaonf1.wpengine.com/news/ instead in order to get the layout I prefer.

21

Hmmm, in common with many “new improved ” sites I’m not too sure why it is better. The first problem for me is just finding the news stories, not very clear. And while it bright and air it is a bit chaotic and easy to miss things. Sorry to be negative because I really enjoy this site. Maybe that is because I can’t be bothered trying to read stuff on a tiny smart phone screen where all web pages seem to be dotted about and you have to scroll from side to side to try and see all the content. It’s just easier to wait ’till I get home and use the PC.

22

James, I like everything about the upgrade! I don’t agree that it’s too white at all, and I love that I can see if there’s a new story without having to scroll down the way I used to.

However, and I’ve long hesitated to say this, I think some of your stories contain spelling, grammar, and editing mistakes that reduce the sense of professionalism. I can’t imagine having to meet your deadlines but sometimes the writing quality is a bit more ‘Marussia’ than ‘Mercedes’.

Anyway, it’s the only site worth checking every single day.

23

Thanks

We’re taking on board all the feedback. Some great comments

Much appreciate the passion and enthusiasm of the readership

24

Love the new format, especially on the phone. One suggestion, “next story/previous story” links at the bottom of each article would save a lot of scrolling and back button usage. Thanks for making the best better.

25

James, I want to report a couple of problems:

1. There was the problem for many people with Caps Lock, but It looks to be solved now. Thank you

2. I wanted to post a comment yesterday and I was constantly given an error message that I need to slow down as I post comments too fast, whereas this was my first comment. I saw people reporting the same problem too, so it is not just me. Even now, I wanted to post this comment and got the same message.

3. I no longer get eMail notifications when people respond to my comments which was the case with the previous verison

26

Ok thanks, we will get onto that

27

The new site looks great James. Very sleek, well done.

28

Thanks James. Great update. I trust we, the F1 fans, who regard you and your opinion so highly, can still remain engaged with you? I don’t know how you manage a very busy programme as a journalist and yet remain engaged with us? This is one of your great attributes which I appreciate very much. On none of the other sites do we have access to Martin Brundle or David Coutlhard like we have to you. Thank you.

29

My honest critisism:

The site feels all over the place, it feels like the site has no structure, i see the top story with dark grey on each side but then underneath “more from JA on F1” there is nothing on the edges and again underneath some light grey edging in the race strategy. It feels incomplete, like something hasn’t loaded properly.

The white background does not work.

Love the championship and calendar at the bottom, but the bright red bar at the bottom on a white background? i pulling out my sunglasses

It will take a while to adjust, the old site was simple and that was why it worked. This new site is over the top, there is too much going on. Maybe a grey background will make it feel more structured.

30

James excellent site, best on the web.

31

Love the look…….But how do i get to the f1 tweets section.

that was a big reason too to visit the site. Hope you haven’t removed it

32

It is still at the same URL – http://connect.jamesallenonf1.com

33

Hi James,

trying to post yet again – first time got a warning from wordpress I have to slow down?,

second time my comment hit moderation because of, assuming, one link I presented.

Anyway, long time reader enjoying reading you – thanks for that Mr. Allen.

As for new design – kill it. It’s downright awful – reminding me of a failed Windows 8 UI.

There’s too much wasted space, plus it’s too bright.

“Reply” and “Comment” boxes are hideous.

If you want to make this a “place on the web for insights into the sport and the best place for users

to engage and interact in intelligent discussion about the sport they love”,

you’ll have to redesign comments section.

Take a look at slashdot (if presented with beta page, go to classic) and their comments system. Perhaps a similar approach is possible?

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