For some time now we’ve known we had to rebuild the site, as the old one was getting less and less fit for purpose.
The main problem was that it was not easily usable on mobile devices. As more than half of all web searches are now conducted using such devices, we needed to do something about it.
It turned out that this was not a quick fix – we had to rebuild the site from the ground up. So we took the opportunity to carry out a complete redesign.
We have kept all the content – all the maps and articles – the same as in the previous website, but made the following changes to the design.
- It has been updated to provide a contemporary feel to the site. The old site was 10 years old, and looking it. Users of our site deserve to have an enjoyable experience, and giving them a fresh modern environment is one way to help them have this.
- The navigation has been completely overhauled. The new site uses a menu of options across the top of each page, in line with up-to-date practice, so that users can go to whichever section they wish from any page.
- These menu options make it much clearer than before that the Timemap of World History is both an Atlas and an Encyclopedia. In the old site, users who had come in via the map pages hadn’t been made clearly aware of the articles supporting them, and vice versa for users who came in on the articles pages.
- The home pages for both the Atlas and the Encyclopedia consist of lists of all the maps and articles in those sections, so that users can go directly to the resource they need.
- New features have been added to the map pages to allow users to jump around the atlas by going up and down levels, or to neighbouring countries and regions, or forward and backward in time, all much more easily than before.
- Pages in both the Atlas and the Encyclopedia have lists of related articles, which make it much easier for users to dig deeper into a topic.
A Premium service
We have also introduced a new premium service, which again we have been wanting to do for a long time but couldn’t (well, not easily, anyway) with our old site.
This will consist of resources which take over from where the free resources leave off. So, for example, we are currently putting up map sequences which fill the (rather large) gaps in the free map sequences, so that users will be able to follow step-by-step how regions change over time.
As time goes by we will be adding masses of new resources here; not just maps, but interactive diagrams, dynamic illustrations and so on.
There will also be a special area with extra resources for teachers, more interactive than those in the free area.
Please let us know what you think
It’s very important for us to know how our users feel about our site. If we don’t, we’re runny g blind when we come to improve it, which is a continual process. So please let us know what you think to our redesign, and (if you sign up) to our Premium service as well, by using the following email addresses:
Premium service: firstname.lastname@example.org