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An Introduction to the New Daily Grail

Welcome one and all, to the latest incarnation of the Daily Grail – sorry if we startled you! Let’s introduce you to the new digs.

First off, in case anyone is havingΒ serious problems, please note you can reach us direct through the ‘Contact’ form in the navigation menu (beneath the logo), or via messaging our Twitter account or our Facebook account. Log-in problems, navigation problems, whatever – we’re here to help. This was a major changeover – we migrated from Drupal to WordPress, and had to move over 10,000 posts and 90,000 user accounts – and while things seem to have gone superbly, I’m sure there’s a number of things that still need our attention.

Secondly: we couldn’t have done this changeover without the support of our Patreon backers, so massive thanks to you all! But we could still use more supporters to make the site even better, so please take this redesign as an opportunity to jump on board – you can contribute as little as $1/month and make a real difference to an independent website that tries to do right by its readers.

Thirdly: the site is now much more mobile device-friendly – so don’t be afraid to visit us using devices other than your desktop computer!

Okay, about the new design (as it stands right now – things may be tweaked/moved over time):

Nav bar

To begin, at the top of all pages, just beneath our new logo (thanks @Isoban!), you’ll find the nav bar with quick links on the left to ‘Home’ (links to the Front Page), ‘Categories’ (a drop-down of our post categories that will take you direct to a ‘category page’ that lists all the posts in one particular category), ‘Features’ (another drop-down that has links to the various types of features posted on the site), and ‘Contact'(links to a contact form to send an email to us).

On the right of the nav bar, working left to right, you’ll find icons that link to our social media accounts (G+, Twitter and Facebook respectively). There’s then an icon for user account, from which you can – depending on your status – create a new account if you don’t already have one; or log-in to an account you already have (old Daily Grail accounts should work fine still); or access your Profile if you’re already logged in. The magnifying glass icon allows you to search through our massive back catalogue of posts for a particular word or topic. And the lightning bolt will show you the popular content on the site over different periods of time.

Front page

The front page of the new site is similar (though not exactly the same) in layout to the old Daily Grail.

At the top of the page you’ll find the most recent feature articles.

Below that you’ll find lists of the recent posts on the site – on the left, recent articles, and on the right, the five most recent news briefs posted. We previously tried to fit full stories on the front page (the most recent article, and the most recent news briefs), and while that was convenient there were also a number of drawbacks (page got too full, especially on mobile devices; hard to gauge amount of interest in individual stories as they may have been read on the front page; etc.). So instead we’ve opted more for a ‘summary’ that shows you everything posted recently nice and clear, which you can reach with just one click. We might still change that in future if a different presentation is better for users, but we’ll see how this goes first!

Then below that I’ve put an ‘Editor’s Picks’ section, just to direct readers to really interesting articles we’ve posted in the past that have slipped away from the front page summaries of recent articles, but deserve a look.

More things will still probably be added below that as I work out the best things to include, and how to implement them: stuff like recent comments on the site, links to our favourite websites, news feeds from other sites etc.

Individual pages

Not a lot to tell here, it’s your fairly standard article on the left, sidebar on the right. Again, we’ll be tweaking the sidebar a bit to try and find the most useful widgets to include there.

(An explanatory note: WordPress uses a feature image on each post, but a not-insignificant number of our posts on Drupal either had no image, or a very small image. As such, you will sometimes come across the placeholder image of our logo, as seen at the top of this post (used when there was no image on the original post); or you might come across a very pixelated image (small images got magnified during migration). If you come across any posts where this bothers you, please do contact us and we’ll fix the problem ASAP.)

Directly below the article you’ll find buttons for sharing our articles on social media or via email (please do so if you find any of our content worth sharing, as word-of-mouth is a huge help for us to grow our audience!); then an ‘author box’ letting you know about the person who posted the article; a ‘Related Posts’ slider that will suggest some other interesting posts from the Grail related to the one you just read; and then the comments section. Currently you need to be a member of the site to post; I am still learning WordPress though and so may implement other ways of posting comments (e.g. via social media accounts) if it can be done gracefully.

(Also, another explanatory note: you may find some broken code in old comments that mention “[quote]” – this is another artifact of the migration process that we are working on removing, so please bear with us until we get that done.)

User account

WordPress has a lot less user options than we had on the old Daily Grail site via Drupal (though this keeps things much simpler for us moving forward!). But you can still fill in some personal information via your profile, which you can access by clicking the user icon in the top nav bar.

Currently the only way to add an avatar is to sign up for a Gravatar account. Personally, I think WordPress are a bit pushy here, there should be an easy option to upload an image locally to the Grail, but instead they want you to sign up to one of their subsidiary services. On the up side, it does give you a one-stop place to host an avatar that can be used on any WordPress site you might visit on the web…which is a lot! In any case, if you don’t want to sign up for a Gravatar account, hang in there – I might be able to implement a simpler solution at some point.

Okay, I think that’s a fairly succinct guide to the 2017 incarnation of The Daily Grail. Feel free to let us know what you think of the new site either in the comments below, via the Contact link at the top of the page, or via our social media. Enjoy!

Mobile menu - fractal