Slugger: the ‘we can rebuild him’ brief (1)

A few weeks back I mentioned that we were looking to overhaul Slugger. It gave rise to some very useful suggestions on what might be useful to you. We’re almost in a position to finalise the design brief, but I wanted to share them with you first. Feel free to add or criticise. Details on the reputation management system and other bits and pieces to follow…The new Slugger Design – issues:

Move over from Expression Engine to WordPress:

Features: (it goes without saying that ‘fix things that don’t work properly’ on the current site should be part of the spec.
– The new site should have all of the key functionality of the old one.
– It should have a main linear set of posts – in date & time order. These posts should now be ‘taggable’ acording to geographic relevance (NI, RoI, Scot, Wales, England, UK – and it should be extensible to allow for expansion) to allow for the development of regional / national homepages. There should also be a Culture, Arts and Books tag as well. The advice to the contributors should be that this can encompass everything that isn’t really ‘politics’ (along with anything that is politics, but also has an arts / culture / books crossover).
– The site carries advertising – the design should involve a negotiation with existing advertisers on what design integration works best for them so that it doesn’t look as messy
– It should also have a prominent place on the homepage for a regular ‘featured post’ – some of Slugger’s main contributors often write something fairly weighty, and we’d like to give it a longer ‘currency’
– It needs a prominent search facility and an easy-to-navigate set of tags and categories (accessing Slugger’s back-issues is a nightmare at the moment)
– Any retrospective auto-indexing would be very welcome – ‘associated posts’ is often a very good way of consolidating an issue from the mass of content on the site
– Contributors to have their own page under a ‘contributors’ tab (optional photo, Editable Amazon reading list, etc)
– Daily / weekly / monthly indexes (calendar) to navigate posts
– It should also have a prominent place on the homepage for a commissioned essay (like the ‘featured post’)
– We’d like a ‘Slugger TV’ box prominently on the homepage, along with an option to have a podcast section for audio
– We’d like some incoming RSS panels for Google Reader (or other collaborative tagging purposes) so that we can have more ‘best of the blogs’ that is collaboratively managed
– A ‘highest rated posts’ and a ‘most visited’ part of the sidebar (or perhaps a separate page?
– Because the page has a high volume of content, we’d like to decide which elements of the site load first if possible? This is particularly important for mobile users (how about http://m.sluggerotoole.com ?
– Comments should allow for more HTML than they do currently

Please note, the more complex the design, the greater the cost (and less likely we can meet demands). But let us have your thoughts…

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty