Over the last few months we have been debating about potential improvements to our Joomla template club from both a user and developer perspective (that's us) and I'm relieved to say that we have come to a decision and have started to roll out some of the changes.
We pride ourselves on the level of support we provide via our support forum and ticket system and the quality of the support is one of the things that people remark upon the most - the other being our beautiful joomla templates of course. But in the last few months the load that support represents to our daily workflow has been steadily increasing and we have found ourselves having to draw a line in the sand over what we will and wont offer in terms of customisation requests.
I've been meaning to implement a better way of browsing our Joomla templates for almost a year now and I'm slowly eating away at the todo list and have just released a simple categorisation system which should help you to quickly find the Joomla template you need for your projects.
You can see the list of categories in a popup overlay on the Joomla templates page by clicking on the "View templates by category link". The new landing pages are just simple Joomla content pages but have an instance of our microblog module serving up specific content. The result is kind of like a manual tagging system and while it took a bit of configuring it allows me to create related or deeper groupings of content without resorting to another content extension. All of the pages that get delivered from those links are default Joomla content.
For those that are interested see the overview of how to use microblog to do this below.
It's more than a year since we last dropped a new design on the main Joomlabamboo site and while i had planned to do this a few weeks from now I caught the realign bug and so have spent the last few days implementing the new design as well as some new content.
Last time we rebooted it took considerably longer than three days as we were shifting from Joomla 1.0 to Joomla 1.5 but it's amazing what you can learn in a year from building templates. The design itself has sort of been on the back burner - just simmering away and getting looked at every few weeks - until last week when I finally got some inspiration I felt I could act on.
One of the main things I wanted to do was to reign in a lot of the odd styles that existed between our various support areas. The beauty of Joomla is that you can do a lot with 3rd party extensions in terms of functionality but if you aren't careful you can lose the design cohesion that all in one solutions. So for me the solution was to effectively have two template designs and divide them on the site between "product display" and "customer support".
It has been sometime since I last redesigned the Joomlabamboo site and for at least the last six months I've been itching to get in and do it again. Back in December I deployed the new template for our knowledgebase area and while I have some grand plans for a complete revisioning of the whole JB site I thought I would spend an hour or two and push the knowledge base template onto the blog and give it a tiny twist.
In the past I've really wanted to keep each area of the site within a uniform design but more and more I'm noticing companies that have a completely new design for the various areas of their site. I think if it's done well then it can make for quite an eclectic experience for the user and really help to personalise the different focusses that a site may have.
Back in December I announced a change in our pricing structure for our Joomla template club - a change that I have let slide for almost 10 months now. So given that the Australian dollar is almost at parity with the US Dollar and that I first gave warning of the change in December I thought it only right that I implement the change now.
The good news is that you still have a week to sign up under the old prices as the new structure wont take effect until Friday 15th October and then renewing members will get a discount on any renewal anyway.
I've pasted the amended price structure below but the current prices will still apply for the next seven days.
A few weeks ago I created a dedicated twitter account where I post updates for templates, extensions and notify the followers of new blog posts or developments here at Joomlabamboo. It's a good way of keeping track of whats happening here at Joomlabamboo and also of staying on top of the latest Joomla template and extension releases.
In general I keep the main Joomlabamboo twitter account for my own personal web design tweets plus as a way of keeping in contact with the wider Joomla community; while the JB Activity account is a pure technical update stream. So if you want to keep on top of what we are offering you can follow the JB Activity account otherwise if you are less inclined to use twitter you can always grab the rss feed of that account and plug it into your favourite RSS Reader.
One of the things I love about a good icon is that they illicit an almost visceral response - on some occasions in the past Ive seen an amazing icon and spontaneously felt like eating it. I think good design should really hit us at that level - sure there are intellectual and technical motivators for a design but truly good design tends to go beneath that - hitting us at an unconscious, intuitive and non-intellectual level.
Hopefully you will want to eat some of the icons that you see below.
I've been meaning to implement coupons for current and renewing members for sometime now and yesterday I released two new coupons for current and expired members to use for our Joomla template club. If you have a current membership you can use the coupon "jbrenewal" to get 20% off the renewal or if your subscription has expired you can save 10% off the renewal by using "jbrenewal2".
We will be rolling out a new price structure that we hinted at around the start of the year in the next few weeks and these renewing discounts will be factored into the new price structure. In the meantime you can enjoy the savings by using the coupons when you renew your subscription to the club.
As a part of the gradual re-alignment of the main Joomlabamboo site I've updated the styling for the quicklinks drop panel. The panel is really a simple way to display all of the key links and areas on the site and its certainly a feature that I use personally on the site.
I've got plans to create a blog post highlighting how to go about creating a drop panel like this using jQuery but for the time being Im keen to hear from you if there are any other areas on the site that should get some attention in the panel. Im sure the design might change slightly over the coming weeks but for the time being we are goign to stick our heads down and push on with the July template release.
As a part of the recent changes to the site as described in the realignment post the RSS feed for the site has been moved to a dedicated account at Feedburner. You can now hook up the Joomlabamboo blog and get your feed via this url and view it via your favourite RSS reader. This is a dedicated feed for the blog and is the best place to pick up on our joomla template releases, joomla tips and other design related musings.
You can get the feed via the rss icon underneath the twitter icon the top right of the screen.
Some of you may have noticed some changes in the overall site design here at Joomlabamboo, and while I have a few incomplete mockups for a total reconstruction laying around for the site, I've decided to give the site a little spruce up rather than a total reconstruction. It's more of a realignment rather than a redesign with just some minor tweaks to the colour scheme and general layout but I thought it worth acquainting you with the changes. I think the end result is a much sharper and crisper site design, which will hopefully translate into better usability.
Some of the changes aren't 100% locked in or confirmed and the quicklinks panel needs a little fleshing out but these things can wait until after we release the Newstream Joomla template in a matter of a week or two. So if you are keen to see whats new then check out the info after the break.