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Fantastic Facts and How to Find Them – Big Site Updates part 1

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Fantastic Facts and How to Find Them – Big Site Updates part 1

A few weeks ago, we did a huge update to the site. The list of changes and improvements is long, but basically they fall into three categories: Navigation, Timelines, and Lists. We’ll be continually updating and enhancing each of these things over the coming months.

All the site navigation has been updated and improved — keep reading and you’ll find out more about that below. But just as exciting is that the timelines are finally here! Ever since we went live last November, we’ve been struggling with the whole timeline problem. Well, that problem is finally solved, and the results are, well, amazing. And we’re not done. The timelines will just keep getting better and better. I’ll talk a lot more on that in another post. We also added a whole new category of entries called Lists. Each one of these new improvements will get its own blog post in the next few days. But for today, let’s start with the navigation.

Here’s what the new navigation bar looks like at the top of each page:

Starting from the left,  the Lexicon menu provides access to some of the core documents of the website — the terms of use, privacy policy, and credits for all the people who have worked so hard on the site over the past two decades. Very importantly, this menu also links you to the support and feedback pages. Please check out the support page and consider helping keep the Lexicon ad-free.

Moving along the top navigation bar, the next set of links gives you access to the various categories of information found on the Lexicon. Each one of these menus has a link to a landing page with a TON of links and connections within that category (that’s what the “more” at the bottom of each menu links to). Landing pages have A-to-Z search tools, links to essays and other resources, as well as extensive lists of the most often searched-for things in those categories. If there are things you’d like to see added to one of those pages, use the comments at the bottom or the feedback link on the Lexicon menu to let us know.

Here are a few special highlights of the new navigation that you might want to check out.

The Places landing page includes links into the Atlas of the Wizarding World. Almost all the maps from the old Lexicon have been moved over, dressed up, annotated, and posted on the new site, all under the heading of the Atlas. You can access the Atlas from the Places menu or use the  icon on each of the Atlas map pages to see a full listing. A few maps didn’t make the journey over to the new site because they were simply too outdated or, more often, they weren’t particularly useful or interesting, and not worth my taking the time to recreate them on the new site. Maybe at some point I’ll revisit them, but for now they’ll stay in my Gringotts vault.

The Magic landing page has separate A-to-Z tools for Potions, Spells, and Incantations. This landing page combines quite a few separate “encyclopedias” from the old site, including the Potions Encyclopedia, the Encyclopedia of Spells, the Guide to Magical Items and Devices, and the Herbology Encyclopedia of magical plants.

The Events menu links you to the Master Timeline and all the exciting new specialized timelines (we’ll talk about this a lot more in the next post).

The Sources menu used to be called Canon, but now we’ve expanded it with the new Sources landing page to include all the sources and canon of various levels which provide information for the Lexicon. There are currently two Sources pages (the other is linked on the Lexicon menu and contains a bit more explanatory text) but we’ll be combining them soon into one master list of sources with explanations. Personally, I loved the canon search tool that Nick, our Web Wizard, created for the old navigation, so he included it on the landing page for Sources.

Finally there is a new menu item called Lists. Go ahead and explore that on your own for now. I’ll be writing a blog post about it very soon to help you discover just what cool treasures can be found there.

The search tool is still there as well, of course, and you can always use that to delve deeply into the thousands of entries in the Lexicon. The search tool is still a work in progress, however. We know that it’s still hard to find specific entries with it, but that will be fixed. I’ll talk more about that in an upcoming blog as well.

One more thing: many pages now have a Table of Contents to help you find what you’re looking for more quickly. Every page doesn’t have (or need) this feature, but for those that do, it’s a great help for users. Just like everything else, we’re still improving the table of contents feature and hopefully soon those will show even more information, such as linking down to things like etymologies, timelines, categories, and commentary. On some of the longer pages, those sections require a LOT of scrolling to get to, so much so that I wonder if some people even realize that they’re there.

These new menus, landing pages, and tables of contents will make finding things on the Lexicon a lot easier. Try them out! Explore and discover! If you have suggestions or recommendations, by all means use that feedback link or the comments on each page to let me know. We’re always working to improve the site and user feedback is a huge help for us.

 

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