Proposed Navigation Changes for the CoA Website

The SCA’s heraldry website is a critical resource for the armorists, onomasticians, and administrators that staff the College, and for the members of the populace who want to develop names and armory for their own personae.

However, the site’s organization and navigation haven’t been substantially updated in more than a decade, and a number of weaknesses have become apparent in the course of the site’s heavy usage:

  • Very few of the most-visited pages are accessible directly from the home page.
  • Some of the navigation links are confusing, such as “Links” (which leads you to the contact information for the College’s senior staff) and “Jobs” (which describes senior roles and links to articles that are useful for certain staff positions).
  • Some tools are referenced and linked to with no explanation, like Oscar and some of the other registration-related tools.

As a way of starting to brainstorm possible steps to address those issues, I set up a prototype website using a mirror of the CoA website and then reorganized things in a way that makes more sense to me.

  • I created a top-level section titled “the College” which gathers together all of the contact details, job descriptions, sovereign history, and other “about us” content.
  • Another new section titled “Registration” is home to all of the submission information, SENA and other rules, the O&A, LoARs, and OSCAR. 
  • I promoted the various topic areas that were tucked under “Articles” to the top-level, listing them separately on the main navigation and home page.

I’m currently noodling on how to label and organize things on the article pages so that we can add more material while making it clear what’s locally hosted versus offsite, what’s authoritative versus not, which items are recent versus decades old, etc.

Obviously none of this is set in stone, and perhaps other folks will come up with a better way of organizing this information — but hopefully this will at least be thought-provoking, and maybe some of these changes will even make it into a future update to the live College website.

You can explore the prototype at coa-navigation.digitalherald.org and compare it to the existing heraldry.sca.org website.

If you have feedback about any of this, or ideas for further improvement, please let me know!

[Update, April 3:] I’ve made another round of updates to this prototype:

  • The main name articles page now contains a link to the combined name-source search tool from morsulus.org
  • Similarly, the “registration” page now includes a link to a LoAR search widget:
  • I’ve started filling out the page of “protocol” articles with additional sources, including off-site links to videos and articles, plus some relevant items from KWHSS proceedings:
  • I’ve also added a bunch of additional links to the armory articles page, and continued working on recategorizing and labelling things, although there’s clearly still a long way to go.
  • I also rebuilt the Kingdom contact page, including removing a bunch of old links that no longer worked, and adding new links to resources the various colleges are currently using.

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