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Notice Anything Different?

JP Patch has a new look this morning.

Good morning, JP. We've just updated Jamaica Plain Patch to reflect feedback we've gotten from you, our users, since we launched in October 2010.

We want to offer you the most user-friendly, engaging experience we can. With that in mind, we've made some improvements like a better-organized navigation bar, an easier-to-read Editor's Picks section featuring the most important news of the day, and a Community Feed that combines all the great content JP Patch has to offer. 

We'd love to know what you think, of course, so please post your comments below or in our GetSatisfaction community (link: http://satisfaction.patch.com/patch/products/patch_new_patch_homepage). Let us know what we're doing right and what could use some improving.

As editor, I'm getting used to the new look myself. I'm confident the new site organization will help JP Patch meet our goal of making your life in JP easier.

c.madison November 30, 2011 at 11:34 AM
I like the new look! Thanks! C. Madison
c.madison November 30, 2011 at 11:36 AM
I like the new look! Streamlined and clear!! Great Job! Thanks! C. Madison
Chris Helms (Editor) November 30, 2011 at 11:46 AM
Thanks, Carolyn. I'm learning more about it as the day goes on. For instance, I think community announcements (like scholarship winners, etc.) will have more prominence in this new layout.
Jane Zerby November 30, 2011 at 12:11 PM
I love the navigation bar - makes it all so much more user-friendly.
Scott November 30, 2011 at 01:46 PM
Waaaaaay too busy
James November 30, 2011 at 02:26 PM
Hey, look! It's a big stack of boxes! The first thing you learn not to do when laying out a page!
Matt November 30, 2011 at 03:16 PM
I think the look is updated and that's great... I noticed a lot of changes over the past year with the interface (including the full-screen background of grass, which thankfully is gone). I like the new color palate and the more contemporary feel overall. The homepage is a bit busy and long... it scrolls a lot. I know any new layout will take some getting used to, but I liked seeing the comments, most recent news stories, and a handful of events all in one view. This morning when I viewed the homepage it was very event-heavy... and all the events were on top. Now there are more news items on top and a huge chunk of events in the middle, then more news on the bottom. I think news should be featured moreso than events overall - i think a smaller bulleted list of events would be better than a huge box. Also, why do the boxes move when you load the page? This seems to indicate some sort of interactivity that isn't there - we can't sort or move boxes, can we?
Chris Helms (Editor) November 30, 2011 at 03:31 PM
Hi Matt, thanks for the thoughtful critique. The boxes move because the site constantly pushes the freshest content toward the top -- whether that content is a reader's blog post, a news article, an event listing or an announcement that, say, someone got a scholarship. And no, readers don't have a way to sort the boxes. As editor, I can promote items higher in the mix. In general, I'm striving not to be too controlling and let the site flow naturally. It's an experiment!
Derryl November 30, 2011 at 03:47 PM
From a layout standpoint, it's attractive but not well organized. Pushing the new stuff to the top makes sense for daily readers; but, mixing news and events, the new and the old, makes this less readable for new readers or for people who don't read Patch regularly. For my eye, it's neat but too much work to find something easily.
Maura November 30, 2011 at 06:08 PM
I agree with Derryl. It's hard to find something specific and doesn't flow well for those who don't read daily (or more so.) I would prefer a more robust "recent comments" section as well.
Chris Helms (Editor) November 30, 2011 at 08:54 PM
Thanks, everyone. Maura, that's something we've been hearing at all the test sites nationwide. The "recent comments" offer a direct way into the latest conversations on the site.
Matt November 30, 2011 at 09:38 PM
Makes sense. I was speaking from how I use the site - looking at news/blogs more than events. Are the changes made here the same for all Patch sites or do they operate independently re: design?
Chris Helms (Editor) November 30, 2011 at 09:50 PM
JP Patch is one of the 18 Patches nationwide that is testing this homepage concept. If the engineers can make it really sing, it could be used on all Patches. I expect some tweaks, perhaps big ones. Thanks for the feedback!
Chris November 30, 2011 at 10:03 PM
I work with website owners to test and benchmark their sites for a living. I'd like to think of that as a qualification, but what in fact I've learned is it's possible for someone's first impression to be off relative to what works for them over time and for my own opinion to be nothing more than, well, one person's opinion. That said, my sense is Derryl and Maura hit it on the head--the homepage layout and content management algorithm don't fit with the use cases for ths site--the stated logic for them is not user-centric. For me, the recent comments are now harder to find and there are less of them. Events are scattered around the page. It sounds like whether people use the homepage for events, discussions or news they're likely not happy right now. I appreciate the trial run. But my guess is back to the drawing board.
Chris Helms (Editor) December 01, 2011 at 01:56 PM
Thanks everyone. And good news: Thanks to popular demand, the "most recent comments" box (with actual comments) is back. It's in the middle of the homepage, just a bit below the fold.
James December 01, 2011 at 02:49 PM
Ah, yes. The middle of the page, below the fold, where the eye is drawn like a magnet! Also, it's already moved to the left. And it's still only two comments long, which was really a large part of the complaints. The layout of this page was one of the best things about it. It was intuitive and presented information efficiently. This new thing's ugly, hard to scan, and a nightmare when it comes to finding what you're looking for. But at least it has room for an enormous Bank of America ad at the top!

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