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Introducing The Temperate Zone

The Temperate Zone - this system within a system is designed to be infinitely expandable and intuitive to use.

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MDC team

Feb 2, 2018

Our new site design has at its core a unique feature The Temperate Zone. A research facility for students and teachers focussed on the Temperate Zone's marine life.
This system within a system is designed to be infinitely expandable and intuitive to use.
The site was created with the benefit of a team including PhD qualified researcher Dr Steven Gration who refined the concept of themes and researched specific content eg Dunes Natures Way of Defending Coast. MDC resident marine biologist Jacinta provided excellent guidance and perspectives on the sea creatures inhabiting the Temperate Zone.
An iterative development style ensures 'discoveries' can be incorporated into the site even on launch day and beyond. All stakeholders contributions can be added efficiently with this flexible approach to development.
Graphics and concepts were provided by JP Media with the development, games and coding provided by Gold Coast Login. Read on for some technical details of the new system and demonstrations of some presentation features.

" The Temperate Zone research material is unique to Australia.
— Tim Hoile, director MDC

The Core System

The new site uses the latest version of a software system that has a very large team of excellent developers. Having experience with this system allows faster development time using tested components. Hence as a developer I explore that system and further refine it for the MDC site. However, this comes with a knowledge of previous versions and a technique that layers a new site on top of an old site - replacing parts of the front end system but only minor changes to the back-end

Exciting ways to present information

This approach means versions are layered on top of each other - future improvements to the back-end can replace one component not the whole system. This system approach goes all the way to the server set-up, database, security and emails. It simply means a discovery or improvement can be added to any site that has this back-end.

Optimised Code

The code is optimised on a page by page basis - systems like Word Press do not do this - they often load everything on every page making them very slow.

Temperate Zone

The Temperate Zone section is designed to be a separate stand-alone section (in fact this could be moved to any site if necessary with minimal changes). It uses icons for recognition with a Masonry style to break up objects into different sizes yet maintain a clear message. Search function is designed to allow people to find things quickly and intuitively. We have incorporated Google Maps v3 that uses clustering combined with Fancybox, Panoramas and completely replaces the Flash dependent Trail.

Fancybox v3 is used creating beautiful pop-up boxes, video, images, pdfs (that display as pop-ups). eg Read more about the MDC

We have adapted this site to use Fancybox for slide shows even from the home page if a news items has a slide show.

Audio can be played in browser native devices - instead of Flash.

Game developed in Snap SVG meaning it can play on any device.

Vector graphics used for pdfs so that images scale well.

Video

All videos are played from Vimeo or YouTube these are not downloads from the site and do not incur download fees.

Design Framework

The Framework Bootstrap 4 - produces device adaptive styles (items look good on various screen sizes automatically) eg mobile phones

Validation - User Feedback

Validation - our own form validating system is combined with styles that give a user realistic feedback rather than 'you have an error'.
We can state things like your date needs to be before 2019 - so the user can quickly enter information. The Booking System displays a calendar with available dates.

Future Changes

Other Changes and improvements -:

  • The colour scheme is changeable from one location
  • Once the site is complete we can further optimise it by removing style code we do not use

Innovative use of Images

These 4 images of the Amazing Cuttle Fish which can be used in 5 different ways utilising the power of the back-end of the site-:

1 As a slide show click camera image at top of page (even on home page)
2 As a Cuttle Fish Presentation
3 As a single image in a news article as per the top of the page
4 As an item in a Quiz
5 As an Animated Gif below

Cuttlefish presentation

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