This is a continuation from this thread.
Here is the latest results from the latest top & side navigational trials
As you can see, there have been many improvements of main content pages (comparing Jan '09 with Mar '09). This is comparing the "new navigators" with the "really new navigators". Clearly, we don't need to return to the new navigators — ever. So the "really new navigators" represent a massive step forward in usability and layout. The search function has been used astronomically, which is brilliant because it is a fantastic search engine.
It would be foolish if not deceitful to give you that data alone. We must compare the "really new navigators" with the "old navigators": TI|BD_analytics_nov08_mar09.pdf (comparing Nov '08 with Mar '09).
A majority of main content pages have had a large increase in page-views — a good sign, I assure you! But the forum activity has dropped significantly by 50% (by about 1,000). This may appear to make little sense because the forum link in the really new navigators is in the same place (and more prominent, in fact) as it was with the old navigators. I can explain this with two explanations:
- November is simply a very popular time for community forums. As we don't have the Google Analytics data from prior to September '08, it is hard to confirm this;
- Because I changed the location of the Forum link, people were unable to find the TI|BD forum, and didn't bother to find it. New visitors were also unable to find it, and the forum activity dropped significantly.
Honestly, I think the second explanation is the truth. Since I placed the "Site Navigation" links in the sidebar, the forum has gained popularity and is growing again. But I believe that I single-handedly reduced the forum activity dramatically, and for that I give my deepest apologies to the community. I'm sorry.
The positive in all of this mucking around? I genuinely feel that these trials and research has given us good scope on what draws our audience's attention, and has granted us the knowledge to work around that. Don't get me wrong — I still regret the damage I did — I'm just saying that it wasn't completely in vain.
Personally I'm quite satisfied with the current navigational system — I think it's great.
WHAT DOES THE COMMUNITY THINK?
Or more to the point, what would they like to see changed. Please take into consideration the conclusions drawn from the statistical research (that the sidebar receives a LOT more views than the top bar). It would also be worth commenting if you are also content with how it is, so that we can get an idea of who likes compared with who doesn't.