Website Award 2012

After many hours of planning and coding we have built a brand new website for the FIRST Community!

We hope that our website will provide you with useful information about our team, FIRST, and much more!

Please refer to the 2012 FIRST Website Award and provide feedback for design content and anything else.

http://www.lahsrobotics.org - Our Website!

Thanks,
LAHS Robotics Team 114
Eagle Strike

Definitely nice job with the website.

Thank you! Do you think there is anything we could improve on? Especially after looking at the 2012 website award requirements?

I like the blog idea. Last year we won the website award so check out our website http://www.team696.com.

Cool! Thank you. Your website is very simply to navigate. I like the clear content statements. Do you think this is something that we should try to improve on? For example, on our “About” page? Or anything else?

Thanks in advance!

Overall this is a very nice website, with a lot of great ideas. Let me first say, your photography skills are fantastic, which really makes your portal effective. You meet alot of the basic requirements with the team number and location, etc. but your overall content leaves room for improvement. I would better highlight your sponsors on the home page. Additionally though I like the dark color scheme, the site has a tendancy to get lost in the black, as it lacks certain formatting to anchor the text. Also though easy to navigate in style, I would change your navigation order to make it more conducive to sending people to the pages they want to see (about your team).

It would be a good idea to add a photo of the current team, as well as some better information about what FIRST is (not just the awards information)

I do like your “About this website” page. the view statistics are a cool touch.

Hope that helps. I am not trying to rip it apart, I am just trying to give valuable advice, as I serve as a Website Judge for 15 regionals and the Championship event.

Very nice website! Your design is really easy to understand.
However, I do have some questions/suggestions.

Why is the home page different from the portal page? It is a bit confusing as I expect to return to the portal page when clicking “Home”.
For the portal page itself. Consider coding it to have a fixed width like the rest of the site. I have a high resolution screen and the scrolling function does not work. (Here’s a screenshot) Also, it would be nice to include the FIRST logo on the portal page.
Why is there a portal page?

Consider having adding an “About Us” link in the “About” dropdown menu. I really like your section about your team but people rarely click on the parent link in the menu.
Same thing goes for the “FIRST” and “Calendar” sections.

One thing that has worked in the past is making the parent links portals to the
children links in the dropdown menu. I see you already do that for your “Media” and “Reference” sections. It would be nice to apply it to all sections as a lot of mobile devices can’t use dropdown menus and giving them links to other sections will allow them to use your site.

You guys have great photos/content!
Perhaps, for your content, you could break your sections down. For example have a short paragraph with your main points and/or a bulleted list then have your longer paragraphs below.
When people browse the internet, they aren’t usually interested in long bodies of text. It is an immediate turn off. Instead, they like to skim information. So, by highlighting your main points, you can get your information across in a way that caters to the skimmers.

Thank you everyone for the positive feedback! I do have some comments / follow up questions.

@North Sailor:

I changed the menu to include “Sponsors.” Do you think this looks ok?

Can you be more specific as to how I can fix this problem? I wanted to create a more modern design that was different from other teams (hence the black), but I understand that it could be difficult to read. Any way to fix this? I also changed the “about” tab, do you think this is ok and is easily visible?

While our photo is at the bottom of the about page, I also added it to the home page. Do you think this looks ok or is it too crowded?

Thank you very much! Your input is greatly appreciated.

@elemental:

I understand that this can be confusing and even considered removing the CoverPage (/portal). To resolve this problem, I added a button on the bottom left of every page to go back to the “awesome coverpage.” Let me know if you think this will solve the issue. If not, what else do you think I could do?

I changed this. Let me know if this fixes it. For the Calendar, I am not too worried about that since few people go to it and the Master Calendar is for team members. However, if this still is an issue, feel free to let me know and I will be happy to change it.

Do you think that adding a dropdown menu on the home button do have a coverpage? I feel that this would get confusing. I can try having the parent linking on each page, but I feel that that removes the purpose of that page. Let me know what you think.

Also, I enabled a mobile version of the website, so feel free to check it out on a phone!

I completely agree. However, how do you think I could implement this? I use headers and try to break up content, but any specific suggetions would greatly help. Also, regarding larger resolutions, because I did a lot of custom coding, the coverpage is left justified to allow for more images, but I took those out to allow for the informational so I’m not sure how I would fix this. I know on smaller resolutions the website should scroll. Let me know what you think.

Thank you both very much.

Cheers,

PiManIII
Los Altos Robotics Team 114

All your improvements are awesome. It is amazing how very little can improve the content so much. The home page looks better, and the sponsors page is exactly what FIRST is looking for.

As far as the anchoring of text, this is a difficult issue. There are many ways you can do it, one of which is the addition of borders (which I personally hate, because it looks really old (like late 90’s)) Alternatively, you can use subtle gradients. When I say subtle, I mean SUBTLE, none of that orange to blue stuff. You could create small heading images to help break up your sections of content on a page rather than just using bold or underline.

Another thing you could do which could help is to create a backrgound on the sides, which could be the off black from your headers. It would make the page limits stand out a little better, anchoring the eyes (sort of saying, “LOOK HERE”)

Think about this as a way to show off your specific team image. Though professional is good, I doubt that the color black sufficiently describes your team (a team which appears to use blue in its uniform, etc.)

@North Sailor:

Awesome! Thank you very much for your input - it is greatly appreciated. I agree that we should add some sort of blue hue as that is our team color. I tried to do this a bit with the footer line (in which I subtly put the number pi).

I do have a few questions about this color difference:

  1. Should I make the borders more blueish? If so, I’m not sure how this would look.

  2. How should I change the body-text background? I feel that I should not go lighter as the text is white, and blue might be hard on the eye.

  3. I understand that the hue difference should be very minimal, so should I just try to make the body text background a little bit brighter?

I may experiment with these options in a little while, but I definitely like the idea.

Thanks again!

Definitely play around with it. When you see something you like, you will know. A place to start is to think about using an off-black (charcoal type color) instead of black. even though it is lighter, it is actually easier on the eyes than white on black or vica versa.

Since your idea was to create a darker website, which is cool, i would not make the text background blue, but perhaps the background background around the text could be. Play with it, you mainly just want the page to look more split up than one solid color everywhere.

also, i noticed you have like three different logos. perhaps you should consolodate these to one or two on the website, in order to create a more consistant team identity.

Thank you! I will try to work on the sidebar colors. Also, we have one main logo, but many other sketches and ideas. I think I should just keep all of our logos on the “Logo” post.

Also, what do you think of having a page where other teams can ask us questions?

http://www.lahsrobotics.org/portal/reference/ask-us-a-question/

Several teams have asked questions on posts etc., and I figured it may be easier to make on central area. I just dont think this would be visible.

Team 359 has 2 new 8th graders working on our site this year.
Granted, they used an old template from last year, but we still have a lot of new info and skills that they needed to learn in the fall to get up to speed.
http://www.waialuarobotics.com.

Team 368, Team Kika Mana has a great site as well. I havent had a chance to look at it in detail, but looks pretty good from what I skimmed through.
They also won best website at CMP in 2007.
http://www.mckinleyrobotics.org.

I like team 368’s website, and it reminds me of the AdamBots (FRC team 245, the 2011 national best website winner) website. (http://www.adambots.com/)

Oh wow! There are some similarities! I’m actually kind of honored to provide inspiration. I always appreciated 368’s website and viewed it for inspiration back in 2008 when I was designing/creating my first website for the team.

Just a few brief tips for the Team 114:

  • Looks like you have fairly good content, which is great! This is usually the biggest problem, so you’re off to a great start.
  • Add more color to your layout. This is something I had the most difficulty with, but you can reflect your team colors/identity without being obnoxious or hindering the layout.
  • Have more structure and layout to your content. For example, you might make the section titles on the “About Us” page larger, rather than just bolded and underlined. Also, there seems to be some out-of-place, extra spacing in areas of that page as well.
  • On the FIRST page, do you have permission to use those videos? I imagine they’ve got some legal constraints in terms of use–you may be violating copyright.

I hope that helps! If you have any questions, let me know, I’d be happy to help.

Mahalo for pointing this out. This will be rectified immediately.

Your use of the word ‘some’ is quite generous. Please accept our apologies for this incident.

Thank you very much! I made many of those changes, it does look better! I will try making the header backgrounds an opaque blue color to try to get more team color in there!

Regarding the FIRST videos, they are from Youtube, and all credits are given to them. This should be fine as this is done in many places. Please let me know if you think otherwise.

Thanks!