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Give me your top BLOX sites

Nick 5 years ago in BLOX CMS updated by Christine Masters (Director of Product Management) 5 years ago 19
As the title of this post says give me what you consider the best BLOX sites. I'm interested in the sites you think have the best design taking news display, speed of loading, organization, etc.

The reason I ask this is because I'm always trying to improve my sites(we have three BLOX sites) and make them the best sites they can be. BLOX makes it so easy to add content and move it around the page but that also makes it easy to clutter the pages, especially the home page. With my site I try to balance information with simplicity. I would say the most annoying thing I have to deal with is balancing the right-rail with the main content. One seems to always be much longer than the other.

But I’d love for this to turn into a good discussion because we’re all using the same system, with a few differences here and there, and there are so many BLOX sites out there that it makes it hard to find the really standout ones. If you want to suggest your site, I guess feel free to do that. I’m my worst critic so it's hard for me to critique my own sites. None of the ones I'm suggesting here are my sites...

I like the design of this site:
http://www.visitingthesmokies.com

I don’t have any experience with the newer Flex sites but these are nice:
http://belvoireagleonline.com (I LOVE the left rail menu on this site)
http://www.taosnews.com
http://www.columbiamissourian.com

I recently found Richmond Times-Dispatch. I like how it gives you a good bit of information but doesn’t seem like info-overload. I’m not that fond of the bottom half of the home page.
http://www.richmond.com
Personally, I'm a fan of my own site: http://www.bozemandailychronicle.com

We make heavy use of schedules to alter the look and presentation of stories on the homepage depending on the day of the week and the time of day, trying to attract a morning crowd, hook people into deeper stories in the afternoon, and new stories at night.
I like it. Nice, clean design. Loads fast. Also like the Flex responsive layout. We're coming up on one year with Zen in October, so we're not ready to upgrade to Flex yet. That rail ad is kinda funny. That would never fly in my neck of the woods. I'm sure it gets a lot of click-throughs.
Hey Michael,

I heard that you've seen a good increase in page views since launching Flex? Do you have a sense as to the cause, other than just an increase in mobile-friendliness?
I have a feeling is has something to do with us also launching e-editions, which I think has inflated our pageviews some. (Not that I'm complaining.) Certainly, though there has been an increase in non-e-edition traffic too.
Mine is www.thebrunswicknews.com. And the sister sites are www.goldenislesmagazine.com and www.coastalillustrated.com. Let me know what you think.
Can't say I'm a fan of the font choices on the sites (Tahoma has never been a favorite of mine), but I do really like the look of the static background image on coastalillustrated.com.
It was the font that was assigned to my domain when they set it up. How do you change the font family?
It's just a CSS thing that can be changed in your site.css and (depending on if you use web fonts) other files... If you need help you can put in a support ticket and they will walk you through the process.

I will say, however, that it is harder to change fonts in our Zen system because it is older and has more things to target. But you could do, like, the headlines, or a few things like that.

We have a new front-end system call Flex where this would be much easier, but it would require a full redesign to move to it (worth it, though!). :)

We just updated to the FLEX templates and I'm really loving our new look.


-> http://thesouthern.com

+1

While I don't think the news-site design is anything special, http://www.fredericknewspost.com/ caught my attention because its a blox site with a custom member-center that built on the newscycle(mediaspan) api tying directly into circ-pro (note the member center is hosted seperately and is not blox but it feels pretty seemless)

Mike did you setup this member center integration?

Kevin,

No I did not but I'm in the planning stages of doing one. Sara Hardison is the director of online operations there. She was very helpfull but I don't want to post her email on a public forum without her permission. (call and get it)

So y'all are with Newscycle and you're doing the BLOX integration? Right now we're just having print subscribers call in to get a discounted online rate. We considered doing the integration but our circulation isn't big enough to warrant us paying the add-on cost. So will you not use the BLOX online subscription manager at all?

Nick, I feel your pain when it comes to one rail or column being longer than the other ... I would love to see a white space filler... some systematic way to detect if there is more than a predetermined amount of white space at the bottom of a column/region and if so stick in some pre determined "thing"... (content or ad something line an AP DNE)


It's something that would have to run client side because you need all third party includes to populate. So say I'm looking at region-front-primary and region-front-secondary as two columns they are followed by region-front-full. Using something like the jquery .height() to determine the height of each div and then at the bottom of each column have a 300x250 ad that displays if the height of that column is at least 270 pixels less than the height other column.


Bootstrap 4 is going to have flexbox built in to its grid. Perhaps TN will adopt BS4 and give us some better vertical column options.

We have been looking at BS4. It is quite a major change and I worry about sites with custom blocks/designs. But, I really don't want to lose support for the latest Bootstrap this early in Flex's life. Have you looked at it, Mike? The CSS classes are changing so drastically! http://v4-alpha.getbootstrap.com/migration/

I honestly haven't had time to delve into it yet. I'm looking for a holiday project though...