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Lexicon redesign coming!

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We have been hinting on and off of projects we are working on behind the scenes here at the Lexicon, and we’re ready to tell you of the smaller project: the redesign of the look and organization of the Lexicon!

It is a difficult task that has fostered a lively debate amongst the staff: how do you preserve the friendly funkiness of the Lexicon while improving findability and providing a more consistent look. We’d like to know what you think! Apologies in advance to our vision impaired readers. We’re sorry, but at this stage we’re just publishing JPGs of the redesign. We promise that the new pages will function much better for folks who visit the Lexicon via screen readers and browsers like JAWS.

The first image is what the encyclopedia pages will probably look like:

First of all, note the lovely new banner! The artist is Camilla Engelby. Camilla, your design was just the “kiss” the new look needed!

Second of all, notice the new navigation on the left. In the redesign we are doing away with the main division of Muggle World /Wizarding World and organizing instead by the type of resource and how close it is to canon. Are the category names clear? Think of parts of the Lex you visit often — can you figure out quickly how to get there? Let us know.

The third thing to notice on this image is the content on main part of the page. This is a proposal for a type of page (a “gateway” or “jumping off” place) you would get when you click on the left on “Magic” in the “Encyclopedias” section, listing all the encyclopedias and related pages. Are the explanations for the sections clear or too short?

The fourth change is in the “global navigation” just under the banner. Some of the links — like “Essays” — have been moved to the left hand navigation so the list at the top is now completely of pages that explain the Lexicon (such as a key to our abbreviations).

Here is what an Encyclopedia page will look like:

We hope this is easier to read. There are fewer font sizes and colors on the page.

And here is what a “destination” page would look like:

Again, we hope the page’s structure and navigation are clearer and the text easier to read.

For the geeks in the room, we’ll be using table-free HTML combined with CSS and server-side includes for better site management. At 1,000 pages and counting, the biggest advantage to this new design will be the flexibility we will gain when we can update headers and navigation site-wide in an instant. With the current structure, every time a link on the banner changes (like when the QQQ/Scoop’s was renamed Accio Quote) every single page had to be modified and re-uploaded (yikes!).

We’d especially like to hear from our readers from non-English speaking countries. Are the categories understandable? Are there Americanisms we didn’t notice? We fully appreciate that we have an international readership.

Timetable: we hope to have most of the site changed over before Book 7. We are still working on creating the “gateway pages” and new artwork; once those are finished we will start converting the Lexicon section by section.

CSS and navigation by Lisa Bunker, Clint Hagen and John Kearns
Banner by Camilla Engelby
Navigation images and icons by Lisa Bunker
As for the other project we’re working on? OMG just you wait.

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