All About Birds Blog

Advance Screening #1: New All About Birds Species Pages

By on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 - 14 Comments

demo_redtail

Aside from our all-nighters spent preparing the State of the Birds Report, another major project that’s been keeping us up late at night has been redesigning our All About Birds website. But the hard work by our Web team is drawing to a close, and we’re now barely more than two weeks away from launching the new site.

We started this blog as a place to talk about our website redesign. You helped us put together our top-200 list of birds and told us what you thought of an early “wireframe” version of our new species accounts. Now, here’s an advance look at the (nearly) finished product. It’s the front page of our species account for Red-tailed Hawk (thanks to all the Twitterers who voted on which species we should demo).

These new accounts feature four tabs that collect a wealth of ID information, life history details and cool facts, sounds, and video. We’re just showing you the ID information page today, but check back on Friday to see the Life History section.

Try out the photo tool: click through the images and read the field marks listed below each photo – then do the same to click through similar species over to the right. If you want a closer look, click on a photo and you’ll get a side-by-side comparison of larger images. You can even pop out a photo to save it on the screen while you click through more images.

Many of these photos come from our Birdshare flickr group. You’ll notice photo credits at the bottom of each photo annotation and, if applicable, a link back to the photographer’s flickr page. Our website redesign draws heavily on the generous contributions of our nearly 600 Birdshare members, and we are very grateful for their help. A site like this simply wouldn’t be possible without their help, and we thank each member.

So take a look around, and tell us what you think! (Note that although many of the links are live, the main navigation on the page is disabled for now.) The full site is coming April 16th, but keep an eye out for a few more advance screenings  between now and then. Thanks for following us.

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14 Comments

  1. Tom Auer says:

    Those range maps could use a little touching up.

    The colors are too heavy, the line color and weight clashes, and the continents and national boundaries would really benefit from some serious generalization. A light hillshade for terrain would look nice too.

  2. Hugh says:

    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for the feedback on maps. We do plan to upgrade our maps when we have the capability, but this time around we didn’t have the staff to wrangle all the necessary data and then redraw it onto a new base map for all 584 species in our database.

    In the meantime, however, you might enjoy clicking on the eBird link below the range map. That takes you to a map drawn using data submitted to our eBird program. You can choose times of year and years of data to see a species’ distribution from whatever time period you’re interested in. It’s a great tool and a great way to learn about what’s happening in bird movements and distribution now.

    Thanks again – Hugh

  3. Vicki says:

    The photos are exceptional.

    Can’t wait for the entire site to be operational.

  4. John says:

    This is a big improvement over the older All About Birds guide. I like the photo links for similar species.

  5. Matt says:

    The new design looks great. Organization is very appealing.

    My only feedback would be about contrast with the headers and tabs.

    1. The difference between the currently selected “Identification” and “Life History”/”Sound”/”Video” tabs is very subtle.

    2. The inline page headers, such as “Similar Species” and “Regional Differences” are also very subtle – similar font and color to existing page text. Maybe a darker grey/black would help? Basecamp has a similar design style, and black seem to give headers just enough punch over normal text ( http://www.basecamphq.com/tour ) .

    “Backyard Tips”, “Find This Bird”, might work well with the same treatment? Or a darker/richer/more-contrasty color – deep orange, green, ?

    Love the user contributed photos – it’s a huge step in the right direction. It really gets people involved and connected to the site. It also gives them a reason to get out birding!

    Case in point – 2 of my photos are in the ‘similar species’ list. As a result, I’m excited to get out birding again, and have forwarded the page link to a few friends.

    Great work!

    Matt.

  6. Jamal says:

    This is awesome. My favorite part is how the similar species’ pictures are displayed right beside the species being highlighted. Also the detailed descriptions below each picture is great. Keep up the good work.

  7. Hugh says:

    Hi Matt, Thanks for your comments on contrast in the headers and tabs. I’ve discussed them with our designer, Alex, and he’s taking a look at making them more distinct. As for the photos, we’re really excited and grateful to have such a huge supply of Birdshare photos to help illustrate birds. Keep an eye on the rest of the site when it launches – you’ll see a few more of your photos around.

    Actually, that brings up another point. At the moment, if we can’t tell what your real name is from your Flickr profile, we just credit your Flickr name (i.e., qmnonic) If you’d like to have your full name up there, just send me an e-mail and we’ll make the change. (Naturally, this applies to any Birdshare member.) Thanks again! – Hugh

  8. Hugh says:

    Hi Matt, Thanks for your comments on contrast in the headers and tabs. I’ve discussed them with our designer, Alex, and he’s taking a look at making them more distinct. As for the photos, we’re really excited and grateful to have such a huge supply of Birdshare photos to help illustrate birds. Keep an eye on the rest of the site when it launches – you’ll see a few more of your photos around.

    Actually, that brings up another point. At the moment, if we can’t tell what your real name is from your Flickr profile, we just credit your Flickr name (i.e., qmnonic) If you’d like to have your full name up there, just send me an e-mail and we’ll make the change. (Naturally, this applies to any Birdshare member.) Thanks again! – Hugh

  9. Birdfreak says:

    Awesome job!! I can’t wait till the official launch. Just make sure there are plenty of ways to link to the new All About Birds… this is an amazing resource that every birder must be made fully aware of.

    The photos are excellent as well and so long as it functions smoothly, this looks like it will be just what the birder ordered :)

    -Eddie

    • Hugh says:

      Hi Birdfreak – you bet. we’ll be forwarding links so that people can find the new versions of the pages they’re looking for. Thanks for the comment – Hugh

  10. Olort says:

    У нас в Дагестане за такие слова могут и камням изакидать :(

  11. Драйв says:

    Хорошая статья. Действительно было интересно почитать. Не часто такое и встречается та.Наверное стоит подписаться на ваше RSS

  12. Драйв says:

    Хорошая статья. Действительно было интересно почитать. Не часто такое и встречается та.Наверное стоит подписаться на ваше RSS

  13. Hugh says:

    Hi Birdfreak – you bet. we’ll be forwarding links so that people can find the new versions of the pages they’re looking for. Thanks for the comment – Hugh

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