Minor Updates to Ka’anapali Dreamin’ and Future Plans

I haven’t made a lot of changes to Ka’anapali Dreamin’ recently, with all the work I’ve been doing on Kris Nelson Photography and kris.nelson taking most of my spare development time.

I did make some minor tweeks this morning, however, by rearranging and updating the home page just a little. I added a preview of the daily Is It Maui? game in the upper right hand corner to add a little bit more “above the fold” and also added an update to the top story on the page. The next step there is to add a quick goal setting in Google Analytics to see how effective that change will be in getting more visits to that page on the site.

Nothing terribly large as you can tell. I am toying with a few more drastic changes with the site that I’m sure I’ll stop putting off someday and jump on. The first has to do with the homepage again, and consolidating the “Site Sections” content area into a rotating and/or tabbed display to show one at a time and add a little animation to jazz it up a little. I’d also like to work on getting more of the recent blog updates on the home page, too, besides just the list of posts on the sidebar.

The other change I’m considering, and will make eventually, is updating the site template. Whether it’s a full redesign or just an expansion, I don’t know yet. What I do know is that the current site design is using a fixed width layout assuming an 800px screen resolution. With monitors being much larger than they used to, and with less than 5% of my visitors having a resolution of 800×600 (thanks to Google Analytics again for that number), it’s time to add a little bit more breathing room and expand it to a layout that is based on a 1024px screen resolution (35% of the site’s visitors, in case you were curious).

I currently use Dreamweaver CS3 and their support for templates, so that should help with updating the 100+ pages on the site, which doesn’t included the blog posts. Unfortunately, I do have 10 different page templates to accommodate different page layouts, so there’s some work there and maybe the chance to consolidate a little bit. Then, its a matter of retesting all those pages and making sure I don’t have float issues or things like that (plus, I never really did a regression test once Chrome came out to see how my site works there).

After I update the layout, then I get to play with those extra 200px!!! I have plans to expand the Maui Island Guide map section, which seems a little cramped at 800px right now, and then work on building out a map and details section just for the Road to Hana (with all my geotagged photos and stuff). I really need to go back and clean up the Photo Gallery as well, adding a better layout and using more of the Flickr API integration and probably more user interaction like I did with kris.nelson using script.aculo.us. Also, maybe some Google Map integration like I did on the Ka’anapali Beachwalk Photo Tour. And then, there’s the videos, but I won’t go there right now.

So as you can see, I have my sights set pretty high on the next set of enhancements for Ka’anapali Dreamin’, and it’s really just a matter of finding time to get it all done. It’s going to be a lot of work, and I’m sure I’ll need a nice, relaxing vacation afterwards. Hmm, I wonder where I’d go…

In any case, that’s where I’m at with this site. If you have any thoughts or comments, please share. I’m always interested in what others have to say and try to accommodate what my sites’ visitors are looking for. After all, that’s the point, right?

About Kris

Programming since age 14, professional software engineer Kris Nelson practices his life motto of "Never stop learning" by developing websites and Apps around his passions, while staying current with trends in technology and social media.