I've been working on PRO 8 features and I'm at a point where it's time to setup a site from which to work to pan out some of the various items I've been working on. But, I find myself at a crossroads with some concepts and am looking for some feedback.
Specifically, around the layout.
Right now we have two formats - forum and gallery:
Forum: - ExtremeFitness Photo Galleries
Gallery: Michael Pierce's Photo Gallery - Main Index
Now, each of these formats has its own benefits - the forum layout on my extremefitness.com website is a great example of a forum layout that blends well with my main forum, but allows me to have galleries sorted by subject. I am the only one who posts to this gallery and, honestly, I can't think of a better format for what I am doing there.
The Gallery layout works great in its own right - collects of photos (again, that I manage), but allows me to display the photos as more of a gallery for my friends and family.
But moving forward, what look does it take on? And to that, can another layout be supported or do I end up doing a redesign that eliminates both the forum and gallery layout in favor of something new? Supporting multiple formats comes at a cost - the templates are harder to follow and the code has a bunch of stuff that isn't always necessary depending on which layout you use.
I've been doing some proof of concepts for possible layouts at Adult Wide Screen Wallpapers
(this is a NSFW website!
) where the front page can be designated to show just all the recent uploads with deeper links to subcategories using the drop-down menu (similar to the old deviantart.com menu structure) OR, again using deviantart as an example, a menu structured down the left side without any indications of last photo uploads or even number of photos.
Another area you'll see some changes are on the showphoto page where I've changed the filmstrip preview to a scrolling window and removed some options to clean up the page. I'm adding more ajax interaction on here and will be even making the comment viewing paging work via ajax.
But I'm not here to talk about features; I'm more interested in a discussion about the interface itself. The vast majority of people use the forums layout; while we've done allot to add content boxes and give allot of flexibility on these page, but is this the right format going forward? Or is it simply that the gallery layout is the one that needs restructuring (considering is likely so infrequently used?)
I'm interested in hearing your ideas/suggestions regarding that actual layout (again, not a debate about features at this point).