Ok, so, what's working about the new site:
* Basic introduction to the forest. Static information such as what, why and where we are, what you need to do to come and perform, volunteer, etc. Link to the bb.
* Lots of new items appearing on the front page, of all sorts of different types, keeping the site up to date and giving an impression of how much is going on at the forest.
* I think the links to new forest-related items on Google and YouTube are pretty cool, generally the idea of using the forest site as a hub to link to and aggregate forest-related stuff from elsewhere on the web is really great. Several projects within the forest and people who are friends of the forest have their own sites now, so we want to use the forest front page to prominently link to these sites and to aggregate new items from them, as well as posting our own items. I know Milk is working on this.
What doesn't work:
* The rest of it. Especially maintaining a complex hierarchy of many different pages, links and organisation. In my opinion, we should delete everything else!
* Drupal is a much more powerful and complicated system than we really need, making it difficult for people to get involved. Also by self-hosting our instance of Drupal we're making a lot of geek-work for ourselves. But, we're using it now.
What we need to do is to simplify. Keep (and improve) what works, get rid of the rest. Here's a mockup of how I think the website should go. It's very rough and incomplete but you get the idea. I'm afraid I don't have the time or the desire to dive into Drupal right now, I have a thesis to write and probably shouldn't have spent the hour it took to put together this mockup, but I hope it helps:http://theforestcafe.tumblr.com/
* Obviously the 'forest' at the top would be replaced with a big logo or banner of some sort.
* The theme is just the default tumblr theme and doesn't feel very forest, too slick. But it illustrates a few things: it's very simple and clear, it uses big text, big blocks of whitespace, and a small number of colours with big colour contrasts to present our content very clearly. It's the complete opposite of the drupal theme we have on forest.org right now.
* In the sidebar (not on its own page) we have the basic, static introductory information. Keep it brief, keep it within the little sidebar on the front page. (This is not really finished in the mockup.)
* In the middle we have a blog where all our items of different types appear. There is only one blog stream, one chronological stream of items. No multiple streams, multiple columns, tags, categories, hierarchies, etc. I posted a few items from theforest.org, forpub and tk t demonstrate.
* Items from forpub, the TK blog, our twitter feed and any other sites we want are automatically imported into this stream as links with descriptions.
* When we post something into the stream it can automatically update our accounts on facebook, twitter etc. with links.
* As well as text, we can post posters, photo galleries, videos and audio directly into this stream. There is not a separate 'visuals' page. The website is a visuals website.
* Structurally/navigationally it's extremely simple. We have the sidebar with the static info, and the blog with the dynamic items. Scroll down to browse through the history of items. That's it. There's a simple search bar that works: if you search for 'golden hour' it will show you all the posts we've made about the golden hour (all the golden hour posters we've posted, etc.)
It's super-easy and quick to post to this, whether you're posting text, images or video, easier than posting to the bb I'd say.
Over time, as content is added to this stream, it'll become a great textual/visual/audio archive of things that happened at the forest.
I've had it with you. If I had an image of a laser gun I would absolutely position it right here in my hand...
Ha! I have a real laser absolutely positioned in my hand!