We are about to launch the new version of the site. Most of the changes will be obvious to anyone who knew the previous version at all well but some changes may not be. The reasons why a new site has been developed are reported on History of the site.
The ‘look & feel’ of the site is perhaps the most obvious change. The previous site had the following look from which you will see that the layout of the Families Database page has not changed but that the other pages are quite different.
|Home Page||Lead Histories||Families Database (example)|
For reasons explained elsewhere (such as in the FAQs section), Stirnet Histories has been turned into a Blog which should make it easier to develop. The Research Area has been removed (though some of its content has been preserved elsewhere) so that ‘The Stirnet Project’ has been reduced to just The Stirnet Portal which we hope to develop into a major feature of the site. The Login & Registration systems have been combined & simplified with explanatory notes contained within the new system as well as on Membership FAQ. The Members Area has been renamed ‘My Account’ and simplified. The News section, that had previously been in the Members Area, is now available to all (as on this page). ‘Important documents’ has also been moved out of the Members Area and can now be found alongside items that had previously been in the Research Area within the Extra Content section of Stirnet Genealogy.
Moving around the site has been made easier.
– The navigation bars have been simplified with only the Families Database still providing a drop down menu. [The drop-down requires clear clicking-on, whereas the previous version had an element of hover-over, to make the site easier to use on tablets & smart phones.]
– There are fewer information pages than before but even more information is being provided. This is possible because of the use of ‘collapsibles’ & ‘tabs’ which keep information accessible but hidden away unless required.
We have changed the way that viewing of the Families Database is interrupted for non-Members (or Members who have not logged-in). We think that the way that it used to be done may have made it difficult for search engines to find the genie data and hope that the new way will not cause that problem.
We are keen to ensure that this verion of the site can be updated easily should there be changes to any of the major browsers. This has required us to avoid tampering with the central coding provided by WordPress and the plug-in programs so that updates to those programs can be taken out without problem. This has meant that, except for certain peripheral issues which we could tailor as we wanted, we have had to rely on the facilities offered by WordPress and the plug-ins. As mentioned in the Possible changes in the future note on History of the site, we have had to accept the following limitations. We hope that this will be only temporary.
– This site does not offer Members opportunity to renew existing subscriptions before they have expired. [We have partly compensated for this through offering ‘Recurring subscriptions’.]
– The site does not send people automated emails to remind them about the forthcoming expiry of their subscriptions. Peter will probably send reminder emails each month (or so) to Registered Users who have recently allowed their Memberships to expire (but he does not commit to do so).
The site now enables people to buy Recurring subscriptions i.e. subscriptions that are automatically renewed when they expire. They are explained on Membership FAQ which reports that, to obtain a Recurring subscription, a Member has to have an account with PayPal and give PayPal authority & means to pay the subscription when it becomes due.
We have extended the facility to pay for subscriptions by Bank transfer or Sterling cheque. It is now possible to use those methods of payment for all one-off subscriptions, even for those of just 14 days. Furthermore, we have abolished the £1 administration charge for payments by Bank Transfer. However, the £2 administration charge for payments by cheque remains. Please note that it is not possible to pay by transfer or cheque for subscriptions because, as mentioned just above, to pay for that type of subscription you have to appoint PayPal as your Paying Agent.