I am again (still) redesigning the web site to allow pages to load faster and not look as cluttered with all of the information I’m providing. This will hopefully provide a much nicer user experience when it comes to finding the information you are looking for. To that end, I am focusing on 2 areas at the moment and thought you would like a heads up as pages will be changing over the next few months.
1) I am rolling out a new social toolbar that you can see at the bottom of every page on the site. This toolbar will have the following buttons:
- Select Language: You can change the language on the fly.
- Share: Easily share the page to any social network, email it, print it, etc.
- Google +1: This is the equivalent of a Facebook like button.
- Tweet: You can tweet a comment about this page and a link on Twitter.
- Pin It! on Pinterest: This will post images of your choice from the current page to your Pinterest account.
- Facebook Like: This button will post to Facebook that you like/recommend this page.
- Online: Shows how many users are online, the pages they are on, and where they are in the world.
- Join Chat: You can now have a live chat with your friends on any of the following social networks: Facebook, Twitter, myspace, and Yahoo. The best part is you never have to leave AirportGuide.com.
2) The redesigned airport page, though pretty is loading so much information that it can take up to 15 seconds for a page to load. This is unacceptable. I am going to keep the same tabbed look but will be doing a ground-up redesign to load those pages within a couple of seconds. I think you will really like it when you see it.
That’s it for now and as always, I’m always open to suggestions on how to improve the site.
The redesign that I have been working on since the last update in August has been focused mainly on fixing little bugs I have run across over the last year. I still haven’t tackled the redesign of the detailed airport information page but that is definitely the next major update. That page is so complex and affects so many other areas of the site that I have to take the time to do it right or get it as close to perfect as I can get the first time through.
The one major enhancement I have made though has to do with updating fuel prices. On any detailed airport page you can scroll down to the FBO and fuel information. There you will see a bright green button to update any fuel prices. The process is now efficient, easy, and fast.
Let me ask a question of you. Is there anything you really like or dislike on the site right now? How is the navigation? Is it easy / difficult? Anything you feel should be on the site that you don’t see now? Is there too much information or not enough?
Please tell me so I can take these ideas into consideration as I keep enhancing it.
The first thing I would like to say is thanks for sticking with me. I haven’t communicated nearly enough but I have been working hard on the site. Unfortunately, I have not yet implemented a lot of what I’m planning to do. Work and family commitments have slowed this process down.
AIRPORT GUIDE ON YOUR SITE - At my own peril with the search engines, I have decided to redo my link structure to make it easier for you to add links to your favorite airport right on your web site. The new linking is http://AirportGuide.com/id/XXXX where XXXX is the ICAO, IATA, or FAA ID. You can read more about direct linking in the development blog.
BAD LINK FIX - I started working again on the site today and noticed that the video and Buy Now link for the LogTen Pro logbook for Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad was not working. I have fixed it now so you can try out the LogTen Pro links.
AIRPORT SEARCH UPDATE - I have updated the Airport Search Form search capabilities. This search is found in the top left area of the main content on most every screen. Anyway, the search is really cool now in that it will take any number of words or portions of words and perform an AND search on them. So what does this mean to you? In the past you could only search on a single word and use wild card characters on either end of the word to find something. Now you can type something like Angeles heli and find two records that contain both words in any combination of the ICAO ID, FAA ID, IATA ID, Name, City, State, Country, and Type.
You will also notice that the headers are links. Clicking on any of them will sort the list by that column. A column heading in green, like Country shown below, is the column sorted on.
|98CA||Everest & Jennings Helistop Nr 1||Los Angeles||California||United States||Heliport|
|8CL5||R I Ai Canoga Park B/2 Helistop||Los Angeles||California||United States||Heliport|
AIRMEN CERTIFICATED DATABASE - I just updated the airmen certificated database. It’s such a massive database that I have been letting it slide for the other items above. Well, it was time so have fun searching.
DETAILED AIRPORT PAGE - This is next on my list. I want to completely update the layout of the detailed airport pages. I have received feedback saying thanks for having all of the information in one place BUT I have also received feedback saying too much information. Here’s my take on this. All of the information is important but to different sets of people, therefore, the goal is to maintain all of the information but display it so it is right there but out of the way. You will see what I’m talking about when I get around to this page.
There are so many more items on my plate here that I don’t want to mention them for fear of my well-funded and well-staffed (at least 1 full time person) competitors implementing before me. Stay tuned as there is much coming……
If there is anything you would like to see or any changes to the site to make it easier to use, please tell me about it.
Happy flying and remember to keep the dirty side down,
I have been watching how people have been using this site and the questions they ask and have come to the conclusion that my redesign over the last 8 months has helped in some cases but hasn’t solved the simple problem of finding what you need quickly. AirportGuide.com has so much information and so many different ways to interact with it that it can be difficult at times to figure out the best approach to accomplish something.
That being said, I am continuing to refine the user interface to help you find what you want quickly. When the volcano blew up in Iceland last week, my traffic went through the roof because I had recently added worldwide airport delay pages. That idea came from an AirportGuide.com user.
Any of you can come up with a great idea that will show up on this site. If you have one, please let me know.
Anyway, it’s back to the redesign for me.
Well, after months of work, the new look and feel of Airport Guide has been deployed.* Please tell me what you think, good or bad.
I would like to point out a few new features to look for.
- At the top of every page you will see a pulsating red button. Click on it and a pull down window deploys with Airport Delay maps. I love this feature!
- You will notice a question mark in a small circle next to many titles and fields throughout the site. Just click on it for help and definitions on that section.
- All of the site navigation has been moved into a horizontal green bar with drop down menus. This should provide you a more friendly user experience when trying to find your way around the site.
- Speaking of navigation, I found that people coming to the site were not really sure where they should go since the site is now catering to both pilots and travelers. The site is now broken into six main areas:
- Pilot Information - This area encompasses the original Airport Guide where you can Browse Airports, perform an Airport Search (you can actually do this on every page now in the upper left of the page) and see detailed information about an airport such as runways, frequencies, approach plates, FBOs, etc. You can also search our Certificated Airmen, Navaids, and other databases (coming soon) and get Customs Forms to name a few.
- Pilot Resources - Here you can try out some great pilot logbooks, read the entire FARs and AIM, update FBO and fuel information, review NTSB Accident Reports, use Aviation Calulators, and read interesting aviation related white papers. There is more than I can list here but keep checking back as I will be constantly adding to this area. If you have any ideas for what you would like to see in this area please tell me.
* Note: The detailed airport pages are undergoing their own redesign and should be deployed within a week.