Hafa adai and Happy New Year! I’m excited to be able to introduce the new guamreelife.com website design to welcome in the new year. I finally decided to jump aboard the WordPress train, found a theme I’m happy with, and discovered some incredible plug-ins that will be of great help. Most of the content that was available on the former version of guamreeflife.com is available here, but hopefully you will agree that the site is more modern in appearance and more responsive. For those who prefer to use the old version, you can find it here, although note that I will no longer be updating it.
The biggest change is the way the Species ID images are presented. Users of the former site know that the Species ID section was comprised of hundreds of individual web pages, each of which was loaded with dozens – and occasionally hundreds – of images. With the previous design I had to create each page manually and use an HTML editor to insert any new images, but with a WordPress plug-in called WP autoAlbums I just need to upload images to the site and a series of nested galleries is automatically created. The use of the plug-in also makes it much easier to add new images, and will likely allow more frequent updates to the site.
A couple drawbacks to the new Species ID section is that it can take a few seconds for the plug-in to generate thumbnails from the full-sized images I’ve uploaded. I also haven’t figured out a way to display information, such as total number of species and a list of species not pictured, for each taxonomic level. I can improve the image load times by using separate thumbnail images once I find the time to generate them, but I’m not yet sure about how to address the other, relatively minor, issue.
The Reef Tour section has also been changed, with a move from a meticulously-constructed interactive image map (that was a pain to update) to a Google Map displaying satellite imagery. The Google Map allows end-users to zoom in and out as they wish, and when you click on a site marker you are then provided a link to a gallery of images from that site. The galleries are generated by the WP autoAlbums plug-in, which means it will be relatively easy for me to finally add new sites and new images for existing sites.
Well, enough introduction…go check it out for yourself!