Melbourne Made - Loved their Categories and dividing up the Home page with articles
based on dates in chronologically descending order.
Melbourne Muse - Their Site Map is really cool. Must remember to add this in our site too. Their competitor analysis was also very well done.
Open Book Melbourne - This site has most optimally cashed in on the benefits of social media, word of mouth for its advertising, marketing and for building its online community of faithful followers. In fact they even had proof of the pudding, which in online terms is not in the eating, but more in the “commenting”! A reader posted an interesting comment on one of their articles asking them to review a bookshop called “Rendezvous” and they’ve done it!! Awesome. This is surely an example about how the online community can help with resources, ideas for articles, etc. User generated content at work! Branding for the site is still a work in progress.
All of them seem to be hyper local though. We’ve had the hyper local vs global debate before. Do we want our site to cater to a general global audience, because our site is about simplifying “global” environmental issues? Or do we want to drill further down into the simplification and relevance aspect and make the issues relevant to people from a specific geographical locale? Would this aid in the getting sponsorship and increasing the commercial potential of the site; in online community building (which in turn can be used to attract funding, staff, etc) by connecting relevant news items, educational courses and events etc - that are specific to Australia, and then further specific to the states, towns, cities, suburbs?
We seem to work on improving the social media aspect of the site. Social Media will help us build online communities, increase the marketing and commercialising potential for the site and generally get noticed in the web world. Twitter, Facebook, Delicious seem to be the way to go for all that.
We will also need to insert Google Analytics into the site and start analysing traffic patterns, etc. We are also still analysing usage patterns of our primary and secondary audience. We need to include web accessibility standards in order to make our site accessible to readers with disabilities, etc. This is an important market segment that we do not wish to overlook. But it’s a pity that we’ve done exactly what Tom Hughes-Croucher, the author of Opera Web Standards Curriculum has critiqued in the What is Accessibility article:
Most discussions of accessibility first talk about disability. This implies that people with a disability deserve special treatment. This isn’t what accessibility is about—it’s actually a symptom of the way people have traditionally built buildings, web sites, and pretty much everything else in fact. When you build things with the assumption that everyone is the same as you, then they will always be wrong for some other people. People assume accessibility is about helping people with disabilities because retrofitted accessibility is very obvious in our societies. For example, a lot of buildings that started life with only steps have suddenly sprouted cheap ugly ramps. However, accessibility has long been a feature of military design. Why? because it is often critical for survival—at high g-forces jet fighter pilots can’t do the same things they can do on the ground. If aircraft designers didn’t take the needs of pilots in both high and low gravity environments into account then there would be a lot more plane crashes.
In terms of content, we are busy uploading more “What Is” articles, tips, cheat sheet terms, intra and inter linking, etc. Meanwhile, I remembered this really cool ad that seems to explain exactly what our site hopes to do - to bring environmental issues, down to earth, explained in relation to everyday, practical applications and implications...