MaritimeQuest 2020 Refit

After 15 years MaritimeQuest is about to undergo a refit. There will be noticeable changes in the appearance
of the site, but the basic structure will remain the same. It was decided to make these changes to make the
site more user friendly and to make the navigation easier and more visible to the viewer.
The first thing you will notice are the new Site Navigation buttons at the top of each page. The buttons replace the plain text links that have been there since the site opened. I have been told that people look for buttons on every website and app and that clicking on a bottom is now the norm. Since we are all now trained to look for buttons and not text links, this change should make people more aware of the various sections of the site which they may have overlooked before. I have removed some of the old links and added new ones which I will explain below.

(The original MaritimeQuest banner and Site Navigation system.)

First, the banner at the top of every page is now linked to the Front Page of the site. So the "Main Page"
text link was removed. The "Main Page" really should have been called the "Front Page" to begin with.

The "Database" link was also removed, the Database has been moved into the Miscellaneous section under
Database of Shipwrecks. There was no need to have a direct link to the database in the site navigation area.

The "Store" has been removed entirely from the site.

The "Site Sponsors" and "Guestbook" links have been replaced, but both are still linked on the Front Page
of the site in the right hand column.

(The new MaritimeQuest banner and site navigation system.)

The new Site Navigation system has 10 linked buttons which take you to the various areas of the site. These will be visible on every page of the site in the upcoming weeks. Note that when I was making the site template adjustments I learned that about 300 pages were not directly linked to the template I was using. This was caused by a technical error made by me in the early days of the site. Mostly due to my limited understanding of how the site program worked. These pages will have to be completely rebuilt one at a time. Unfortunately the program does not indicate to me exactly which pages are effected, so until I come across them they will not be visible on the site. The new buttons are designed to be more descriptive of where they will take you in the site. They are self explanatory, but I would like to point out the new arrangement.

The Vessel Type Index replaces the "Main Page" text link. The Alphabetical Index replaces the "Vessel Index" text link, but goes to the same page. The Miscellaneous Index stays the same as do the In The News, Recent Updates, Daily Event and Links buttons.

There are 3 new buttons in the Site Navigation system. A direct link to the Monuments and Memorials section called "Memorials Index" making it easier to find since it was previously just a link in the Miscellaneous section. The "Contact" button was added because so many people said they found it difficult to locate an email address for the webmaster. This will remedy that problem.

The third new button is for a new feature on the site, the Library. On this page you will find publications which will be useful for maritime research. There will be a combination of free and "donation required" (explained below) files. I hope that this will be a popular addition to the site.

The next new feature of the refit will be the "Vessel Navigation" buttons at the bottom of the pages. Again, this is to make the links more visible, give the various pages more exposure and provide a more user friendly experience for the viewer.

Above is what the pages have looked like since the site began. The text links at the bottom of the pages are the links to different pages directly related to the individual ship you are viewing. These links tend to be overlooked and therefore the visitor does not know there is more information available about each ship.

The new vessel navigation system which will be added to each page. No big changes here, just a new look to the page. The blank button will be used to fill in a cell that does not have a link and so the page will look symmetrical. Previously if there was no link to a page the text was still on the page, just without an active link. Some people found this frustrating since if they found the text and no link they thought there was just a broken link.

Changing the "Vessel Navigation" buttons will take a considerable length of time as each page must be done separately and can not be done in a batch like the Site Navigation buttons at the top of the pages. The site currently has just over 14,000 pages and that is a lot of editing. I will also be making changes to various index pages in the future just to make them more user friendly.

I should mention that the Front Page has been redesigned.

(The New MaritimeQuest Front Page.)

All the text links have been replaced with buttons which are more visible. The column on the left takes you to the various sections on the site. The column on the right takes you to pages that are not available in the site navigation area. There is also a beautiful new crest, which was created by my dear friend John Asmussen, just for the refit.

The biggest change will be the availability of high resolution files for a small donation. As previously mentioned, there will be "Donation Required" files available in the Library, there will also be a way to get a high resolution JPEG file for selected photos throughout the site. A small button will be placed under the bottom left side of any photo which will be available. The file will be of sufficient quality to have an 8"x10" (A4) size print made from it.

The donation will be just $5.00 and the file will be sent to your email address. Unfortunately it won't be an immediate transaction, the file will have to be sent by me and will not be automatically sent after you make the donation. While this is technically possible it is cost prohibitive and beyond my current capabilities to set this up at this time.

This has become necessary because as you know, everything in this world costs money and I can no longer finance the cost of the website out of my own pocket, the site must be able to sustain itself. The donation will help to keep the site on line and available for everyone to see. The high resolution file will be our gift to you for supporting the site.

As much as I dislike this change the only other option was to allow for pop up or "google" ads to be embedded in the site. You have all seen them on other sites and I find them extremely annoying and rather distasteful. I have never allowed such ads to be placed on the site, and I have no intention to allow them in the future. I do have a "Site Sponsors" page where a banner and link are added for a contribution, but this has not been successful over the years. I hope that all of you who have visited the site for years understand why this change is necessary and you continue to visit the site.

I am also considering some kind of social media presence, but have not made a decision on if this will happen or which platform would be used. It will not be facebook, could be twitter, but I am not sure what I would do with it or how it would look. If you have a suggestion feel free to clink on the new Contact button and send me an email.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I think I have covered everything.
-Michael W. Pocock May 8, 2020