Saturday, 18 November 2017

New Corgi Catalogue and Stock sections and 15% off for a while.

The new home page

The Web police have been nagging me for some time to make my sites 'responsive'. They say pages are expected to detect what sort of device they're being viewed on and adapt the page layout to suit a range of different screen dimensions, catering for huge wide monitors and TVs, often initially thin vertical smartphone screens that might switch to horizontal from time to time and, the squarer screens of tablets.

When you have thousands of pages, change isn't the simplest job in the world and I resisted for a long time, as I was actually quite happy with the design of the old one. A few months ago, however, I did change the front page and a few more associated with new items arriving and hoped that would be all that was necessary. Recently, however, the software that I used for the old site has been struggling to manage all the pages. Just adding a new model or correcting errors could take several hours and that's on a very fast computer too. Serif seem to have given up on web design software and have issued no new versions of the product I used, nor any support in future, so I set out to see what else I could use.

I had written elsewhere about how Google really ought to help us create these new styles of sites if they were going to penalise us for staying with the old types. When I looked at what used to be a rather plain and tedious Google Sites product I realised that it had been thoroughly revised and, indeed, appeared to represent a way in which I could proceed.

So, with no local software whatsoever, I have built the 'Catalogue' section with their pretty smart product. This should feature an image of each model and its main variations, with links to photo albums where I have had an example.

The Catalogue

There is a Google Search facility built in too and that works wonderfully well. I don't quote prices in this Catalogue section but there is a sheet on the Stock page where you can see what prices I am selling various items for with an indication of condition. I know some colleagues have been using the old site as a quick check on what something might sell for but, because so much depends on condition, and whether there's an original box, for instance, and I do quote rather high prices for several items I am quite keen to keep in a collection, they are not terribly useful when viewing something in an entirely different condition. Toymart do a pretty good job in that respect, although they are not always as up-to-date as they might be.

I couldn't see a way to incorporate a store on the new Google site creator, though, so have put all the Stock into a Tictail site which is pleasantly clean, simple to maintain and free. My old site store facility was also part of the Serif system and never was able to handle different postage rates so I usually finished up dealing direct with people there instead, with envelopes of dollars, euros or Swiss francs floating around! The new one is much more professional-looking.

Stock and on-line store

Not quite everything has been transferred there yet but that job will be complete in a week or so. That was another problem with the old site. Because pages were useful both as a reference page and for sales, if something got sold I wouldn't delete the page, just the 'Add to Basket' button. But it wasn't as obvious as it might have been that I didn't have that model any more and the number of links to alternative items was getting most confusing. I think there were 27 different Morris Mini Minors at the last count and links to each needed to be on every 226 page. Now if something sells it will automatically get removed from the Stock site and I can now simply make changes to the other places needed if they sell elsewhere, like on Ebay.

The very first page remains a complex piece of code that I need some local software to edit but I am hoping that it will seldom need much done and that can be done with Dreamweaver or any basic html editor as and when required. Everything else can be edited from anywhere and on almost any device.

I shall miss the old pages with the full screen backgrounds of interesting models but not the chaotic periods of updating. The old site will still be there. I don't see any reason to delete it but parts will gradually get dated and it will all go eventually. I will probably make a nice slide show of models to replace it. That'll be nice, and another challenge to create efficiently!

I understand that if you buy something from the Tictail store the code TTCORGITOYS will get you a 15% discount. That's quite an attractive offer so feel free to use it. I believe it can be applied to any store they run too. I guess it won't last forever. It doesn't affect what I receive either, which is why I am delighted to be able to tell you about it.

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