As we head into our 11th year here at PatsFans.com, there have certainly been a lot of changes since I originally put the site together.
The original goal behind PatsFans.com was to try and give my fellow fans a fun place to talk football, as well as make the site a place to get information and read different comments, opinions, etc. The design has evolved and after speaking to quite a few people over the last several months, I realized that it was time to make some changes.
One of things that people had mentioned was that they didn’t visit the front page as much because the forum seemed to be the place to get most of, if not all of, the information they needed. I even found myself somewhat guilty of the same thing, as if it’s being reported, it would end up there after someone noticed it. So I decided to look at things and try and put together something that even I would also find useful in trying to get the most information on what’s going on with this football team. I figured it made sense to try and bring as much information together as possible, and you’ll see things begin to pick up here with our updates again – including the daily headlines post which will resume tomorrow morning.
So after sitting down and doing some experimenting, I thought it was time to put together a new front page that could give people the quickest and easiest way to get all their New England Patriots information – all in one place.
This morning I released the new changes, and hopefully people like what they see:
A new PatsFans.com front page went live this morning, with some big design improvements that hopefully fans will find useful including all the latest news and more.
One of the first changes I made was an update to the design, which has been lightened up and now is closer to the layout and scheme of the message board (See the above screenshot). The old layout on the gray background was a big drab, and it was beyond cluttered. It also contained little information and had very little relevant to what people were looking for (myself included). There was also an issue with how it rendered in Firefox and Safari, which has been corrected. There is also a mobile version in the works.
If you take a look you’ll notice that one of the things I added (which has been running for over a month in preparation for this) is a newsfeed, which gathers all the latest news links to all the local media news. I’ve included Mike Reiss’ blog from ESPN Boston, The Boston Herald’s “Rap Sheet”, The Boston Globe’s “Extra Points”, Christopher Price’s “It is What It is” blog from WEEI, NESN’s Patriots blog which includes some great stuff from Jeff Howe, and Comcast Sports New England’s Patriots updates which features Tom Curran’s entries. There will be more to come, and we’ll likely include other fan sources as well. You can certainly pass along any other relevant sources of information.
All of these links are archived, and can also be found on a new page I just added, that lets you go back and find older headlines.
The newsfeed is currently located within the front page header, and is updated in real-time, again – about every 5-minutes. So you’ll see the rotating headlines there at the top of PatsFans.com – just to the right of our logo: (see photo:)
Real time news links that show the four most recent headlines.
Then just underneath the main window is where the block is located, which has all of the current headlines listed in the order posted. I’ve also included the ability to select whatever source you’d like to check for recent headlines by simply mousing over the tab. To view the entire archive, you can just click the link at the bottom, which will take you to the archive page:
All the most popular local news sources on the Patriots are included in this newsfeed block.
When you click on the link at the bottom, it takes you to the news archive page (pictured above) which contains over 600 recent news headline links from all the top media sources here in New England.
This page I think fans will hopefully find pretty helpful, as I’ve found about quite a few stories this way recently much quicker than I would find normally.
All the latest New England Patriots podcast links can also be found on the new front page, and like the newsfeed area, are also archived.
The next thing I added was a block to all the Patriots podcasts that had feeds available. Included are our friends behind the “PatsCast” podcast, Mike Dessault of PatsPropaganda.com & Eric Frenz’s podcast, and all of the Patriots.com podcasts (see photo right).
Again, there’s also an archive page available to go back and find older broadcasts. I’m still in the process of finding others, so as I mentioned feel free to pass along anything I may have missed.
Scrolling down you’ll find the second headlines area, which will be updated with more current stories, headlines, etc. However below that, is a new block which features recent messageboard discussion in both the Main Patriots forum, as well as the draft forum. I also included a direct link to register, along with a link to contact me in the event users have questions regarding their account, etc.:
But now fans can stop on the front page, get all the latest news, headlines, catch up on what’s being talked about, and get all the up to date New England Patriots relevant info all in one place. Thanks to everyone who contributed thoughts, suggestions, and opinions. I took all of it into consideration and hopefully everyone likes the finished product.
However, keep them coming. This site is here for all of you who utilize it, so I always want to keep improving it and look forward to any further ideas that you’d like to pass along.