Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ideas wanted for reorganising Euro Crime website

When I started Euro Crime, the core information I wanted to relay was authors plus their titles in order - a UK version of the lamented bookbrowser site and the award-winning Stop You're Killing Me Site - with a British and European focus and which listed all books that had been published by an author irrespective of where they had been published. For example, with the advent of the bookdepository website with free postage (to anywhere), fans outside of the UK no longer have to wait for UK books to be published in their country of residence.

Bookbrowser used to link to reviews, which I thought a good idea and when I started Euro Crime I only had myself as a reviewer so I approached Barbara F who owns the reviewingtheevidence (RTE) review site and was granted permission to link to their reviews as well. (There's now a stable of reviewers for EC but we continue to link to RTE's reviews.)

On Euro Crime, the Books link takes you to authors and their bibliographies. On an author's bibliography page, there is a link to the author's website (if available) plus links to any reviews written by Euro Crime or RTE.

The Reviews page is a summary of all the reviews written by Euro Crime reviewers. This is updated weekly with the new ones at the top of the page, this year's below that and then the rest are listed further down the page under 'review archive'.

The Authors page is a straight list of all the author's websites that I've come across.

Another useful by-product of the database is the New Releases page which lists what's coming out in the next year or so.

The other pages, I update when I get time: awards, news, events, shops, discussions and links.

What I'm looking for is advice and tips on how site visitors can find the information they require more easily. I think I need to rename and reorder the list on the sidebar but does something more fundamental need to be done?


Anonymous said...

I wonder if it is worth thinking about merging the reviews onto one page? Maybe the links to the Euro Crime reviews could be a different colour?

It sounds to me as if it is mainly a navigational issue - maybe a "how to use this site" page that essentially repeats this post, giving people a bit more detail as you've done here.

I think it might be neater to have all the links in one place (author, reviews, biblios and link to their homepage) but this is probably a lot of work and also I cant picture how it could work or look. I'll think about it and maybe we can talk on Sunday about it?

Glenn Harper said...

It's hard to imagine any better resource than the Euro Crime website as it is, and also hard for me to imagine dealing with reorganizing such a bulk of valuable material. The only suggestion I might make (and this comes from a print magazine editor, so take it with a grain of salt) is putting the reviews up front, on the first page--as a "magazine," with links to the other sections of the site to the side. But that's really a choice of "style," or approach to web-publishing, and the content of Euro Crime is the most important thing--content that's easily accessible now, with no changes.
From an appreciative and frequent visitor,

LauraRoot said...

I think that it would help if the News was changed to something like "Crime Fiction in the news and newspaper reviews" and Reviews was changed to Blogsphere Reviews. (Not that exact wording necessarily but along those lines).

kimbofo said...

Euro Crime is an amazing site -- and one I frequent often, especially if I've just acquired a crime novel and want to find out more about it.

I do, think, however that you need a search facility of some kind -- there's loads of free widgets out there that would do the job for you.

Also, I concur with Glenn's** idea about putting the reviews up front, with all the other "sections" in a menu bar (at the side or up the top). This is because you post a lot of reviews on a frequent basis, so the "splash page" will change frequently and give regular visitors a chance to see how often you update -- in other words, there's plenty of fresh content every time you come back.

This way, you could also save yourself a bit of a job because there'd be no need to keep updating the "site progress" page -- every time you post a review is progress. I hope that makes sense.

** Like Glenn, I'm a magazine editor too, so maybe we are both biased in this regard ? ;-)

Anonymous said...

I'm a magazine editor too, so it is great that we are all so keen on Euro Crime, Karen - shows how good your skills in that regard are ;-)

Philip said...

Many years ago, I edited an academic journal of history, which gives me absolutely no expertise in this area whatsoever. :-) The very expert eyes of Maxine, Glenn and Kimbofo find nuances that would escape me. But what I can say is that it says much about you, Karen, that you should be thinking of how to improve Euro Crime, surely the most generous blog on the internet, the sine qua non of my crime fiction reading, source of a good half of the authors and/or titles I add to my various lists. I probably would have a suggestion or two if I had any trouble navigating my way around, one thing that matters a great deal to a researcher in any context, but I haven't because I don't. And on the rare occasions when I suspect something must be in here but I can't find it, there is always that 'search blog' thingy, something I'd much like to see on more blog sites.

marco said...

I'll second (third?) the idea of putting the reviews upfront,and add my praise for the site-I check the new reviews every week.
Btw,I looked up your Amazon list of forthcoming Italian novels -I recommend this little gem that should be available in November