For those of you visiting the site and looking for items on the sidebar that have seemingly walked off from their former spots, I have some news for you. Before I went to bed, which would be as I type this at around five in the morning, I re-arranged and consolidated the sidebar to prioritize the information that I felt was important to convey at the top of the screen, while moving that information which I deemed either entirely useless in general (which I took off altogether), or useful, but not necessarily something that belonged in their current position.
Basically, the box on the right sidebar below the Menu that said "DRaysBay" is now gone, its contents have either been removed altogether or relocated. My reason for doing this was generally because that block, which is an original one of this site, was more general. It was for sites that didn't really maintain their sidebar too much and wanted just one space to put a little information. We have moved past that, we have many blocks with a lot of information, and this block became more and more like a space-filler. Thus, it is now gone. The staff contacts, as you can see, are especially vital and were retained, the links at the bottom were moved to the 'Links' section, the 40 Man Roster Dropdown is now in the Offseason Tracker, while the Technorati thing, the "Recent Posts", the HTML tips, and the rotating baseball have been eliminated.
The Technorati function hasn't been functioning properly for a long time, and often carried useless repetitive links. Besides, most of the information accessed there can be seen by clicking the Site Meter icon at the bottom of the screen. The HTML tips were linked to off of another SBN site, and it didn't quite convey all the information I wanted to, so I will be creating a new one for this site later this week. The Recent Posts was somewhat practical, however it seems pretty simple to me that if you want to see "Recent Posts" you check the main page right next to that block containing the posts. Also, it never quite formatted in the way I wanted it to, always going on two lines, and yes, I am that OCD about site sidebar design. As for the rotating baseball, well that was a useless space-filler.
As for the other blocks, the feeds have been moved to the top of the right sidebar, as I wanted that emphasized, with the Offseason Tracker coming in below that. The Diaries, one of the things I felt got slighted under the old format, are now under the staff box on the right sidebar. Again, since this is a community, community involvement should be emphasized. What makes the SBN platform the best is the fact that blog readers aren't just relegated to posting comments, but can post their own "blogs within a blog", and putting that feature under an ever-growing Offseason Tracker didn't do it justice. Remaining on the left sidebar is the Featured Articles, below the Tracker, while the News Feed has switched sides and is under that, as a way of trying to even out the sidebar length, though because this site has possibly the most links of any SBN blog, that still takes up a lot of space. I am working to try and create a bulleted point system for our links that work like the SportsBlogs link below the News Feed on the left sidebar, so that not every link is showing all at once and space can be conserved. But as for now, this is how it stands. The 'Who's Online', which I put in just for kicks, is below the SBN links.
I hope everyone likes the new format, I really tried to make this as user-friendly as possible, trying to emphasize the important stuff while cutting out the useless crap. If anyone had a feature of the old sidebar that they enjoyed and would like to see this return, I suspect if anything it will be the 'Recent Posts' box, please do indicate so in the comments, and I will be more than willing to acquiesced to your request. Further, if anyone has any suggestions for future items on the sidebar, or on the site in general, tell us that as well-either in the comments or by emailing one of us. I saved every feature that was taken away in one form or another, so I can easily restore things should this be requested.
This isn't the last of the site features that you will see modified and/or rolled out over the coming weeks. Although I will be out of the country next month, I do have a vague idea of a few site-related things that I want to do, and once I formalize my ideas, I ask for input. Again though, we want our loyal readers to be part of this process, so your input is very much appreciated. Thanks for your continued support, and GO RAYS!