Finally! MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG got a new web design and layout, and tons of helpful features! Professional, intuitive, ergonomic, helpful. Summarized below:
- SSL Encryption
- Facebook Page
- Comment Subscriptions and Email Comments(!) and Facebook Comments
- Follow and Share buttons
- Donation Call-to-Action
- Your Personal Notebook
- Social Share inside Periodicals replaced!
We've been working on these improvements for four months now, at times day and night (4 hrs sleep). Most improvements need no explanation. A few do, for example what I can think of right now:
MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG now has a security certificate, and all traffic between you and this website gets encrypted before it is sent. This is called SSL, and you see it in your browser address line as https, instead of http.
SSL (Secure Socket Layer) is the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted connection between a web server and a browser. This encrypted connection ensures that all data transferred between web server and browser, and between browser and web server, remains private and integral in order to prevent eavesdropping and tampering. In a nutshell, SSL is the standard that defines how web connections get encrypted via HTTPS. It's the best way to protect user data and defend against identity theft.
We trust you appreciate major improvements like this. So you see, we've got green lights for everything. But how good is our green? Well, MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG apparently is now safer than BIG Amazon, see the photo story here.
MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG has always written clearly which link "opens in new window/tab" (as opposed to links that open in the same window/tab). Namely links where we believe you will appreciate not to lose the flow of reading on the page you are currently on. However, these days most mobile devices won't yet show you this "hover text" (also called "title text") - which, for your convenience, we've always been using extensively to give you further insight when you hover the cursor/finger over certain words. No ads, like others do, here pure information for further insight.
So now the new site design highlights "opens in new window/tab" links even clearer by
- showing you this: Expert Interviews with Reviews for links that will open a new window/tab
- and showing you this: Expert Interviews with Reviews for links that open in the same window/tab.
Related (links): If you wonder "Where are all the flags gone?" - Before, everyone was seeing the same flags, namely all flags. But now we've improved on this as well because, other than making everyone see how interconnected the world is (! certainly for the German Shepherd Dog), being in the USA there rarely is a point in getting the choice to buy an item say from Germany. Being in Canada there rarely is a point in getting the choice to buy an item say from France. You get the picture.
So, now if you visit us with an IP address from the USA then you won't see any flags at all - which however means that you no longer get the choice to buy dog items from other locales. If you visit us with an IP address from the UK then you get to see (only) the UK flag linked to amazon.co.uk. If you visit us with an IP address from India then you get to see (only) the INDIA flag linked to amazon.in. And so forth. You get the picture.
For our international visitors, the standard link to items at amazon.com will always remain visible (right before your country flag) so that you can still see the features of the recommended item. Frankly because often the same item will not be available in your locale, and so only if you first looked at the features of the recommended item (amazon.com has the best choice of dog products), you are able to choose the best alternative in your country. Many of our visitors have thanked us for this always-aiming-to-be-helpful approach. Whether you are thankful we shall see.
MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG - finally! - has a Facebook page (our third or fourth attempt, I lost count). And this time it's very different: GSD Lover and Periodical subscriber Krystal has created our facebook page and she's taking care of it: mygsd.org! Applause for Krystal from everyone: Three cheers for Krystal, yeah!
Krystal's secret (only for us here, don't tell anyone else yet): Krystal will soon have her own German Shepherd Dog website! And together we are stronger! Speaking of together: Krystal is also helping with things beyond facebook - and she is so fast that I can't keep up! Seems, new times lie ahead for MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG - and thus for you.
Comment Subscriptions and Email Comments(!) and Facebook Comments
Long awaited, now you can comment away ... by simply being logged into facebook (soon Google Plus too). AND: MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG now also has comment subscription facilities. While this particular "plugin" still needs some ironing, to get notified of follow-up comments works already well for you! Obviously it can only benefit those who comment at all.
Take note that you can now even comment by email! This is an exceptional feature: Let's say you just read our Periodical on Vaccinations and you love it. You find it crucially important to be reminded of it every so often (I do!). And so you subscribe to the Periodical's comments here. Say a week later someone posts a comment that her dog suffered vaccinosis after the recent vaccination "booster". You receive an email notification of her comment, and you want to chime in: Now you can simply hit the Reply button in your email client and comment away! Cool, eh?
Follow and Share buttons
Have you noticed? MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG now has cute Follow and Share buttons on the left and at the top. Lovely Krystal (managing the new facebook page, see 3 above, and now twitter too!) explained the difference to me, but I have forgotten. Somehow the buttons on the left are different from those at the top. Cute are both sets, I knew you would say that. Anyway, Krystal says you and other site visitors know the difference, and when to click which button. Well, that's enough then! Happily click away. Share your experience, your opinion, your dreams, and even your pants.
Finally, after so many years(!), we've been able to program a mega-smart donation box for you. Surely you've been desperately awaiting this one.
Our donation box is 100% SAFE TO USE, see item 1 above: SSL Encryption and green lights from the testing lab. But not just that: OUR donation box even knows your preferred currency, and in many cases will be able to prefill your email address - and this is all that's needed for your donation. No time waste! Now that's magic.
Surprisingly, no one has donated yet, not even a penny. Please appreciate that this site cannot survive on posted dog HELP! requests. Who's gonna pay the bills to keep everything running, and to help YOU tomorrow when you request that? And believe it or not, you will feel better when you give back a bit, finally. You are a good person. You mean well for others. Like we do for you and for your dog.
Very much related to the above: To help this site to survive, we need ads. Advertisements, yes. And many, because so very very few people give back and pay forward a bit of what they are getting, see item 6 above.
If only you as the site user consciously take in the information that MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG offer, then you know that we instantly save you THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS in vet and trainer cost. And yet too many of our users stubbornly resist the donation call-to-action. Hence why we need ads. Many, many ads.
As site member, and even as mere commenter (whether free Periodical subscriber or not), your gravatar (globally recognized avatar) has always been displayed next to your username. That is, if you have a gravatar; very few of our audience have a gravatar, after all dog owners rarely are geeks. If you don't have a gravatar, nothing was displayed next to your username, but now you see a greeting-puppy avatar as default.
Further, every site member and every commenter now got an additional avatar that is specific to your usage of MYGERMANSHEPHERD.ORG. Each of these additional avatars clearly depicts how committed you are to benefit your dog:
Site-specific avatar of mosquitoes: exactly 1 comment, typically a Help! request
"I am a passing parasite: I pierce dogs and people, I suck their life blood, and I leave diseases behind. And so here I am to post ONE comment, and I request that you HELP ME! Yet, I won't come back to follow up on the solution that you have kindly already provided to solve my problem."
Dude, you cannot read eh? Even before you can submit your question you are shown clear instructions, one of which is: "Be polite, introduce yourself with what you found, not a help request". As nonprofit, we have no life blood left that you can suck. Imagine you have guests at home, and the first thing they say is: "I want your car, your house keys, and the cash under your mattress. Give me everything you have, NOW!" - How would you react?
I bet you'd kick their ass. And yet we don't, My German Shepherd only shows you his:
What would this world be without humor, right? Here we keep our humor even for the vacuum type.
Site-specific avatar of newbies: more than 1 comment
"I am a repeat visitor. I may have read a bit here, or may not. You offer here solutions to so many problems that I am lost."
Site-specific avatar of frequent visitors: more than 9 comments
"I have found here at least 9 solutions for what were my problems, or would have been my problems otherwise. Of course in every instance I have commented and shared my experience here to benefit others. Yet there is so much more to find here, and so I am still sniffing around."
That's good. Follow along to benefit your dog.
Site-specific avatar of permanents: more than 49 comments
"I realized I have arrived where I need to be, and so I settled down here."
You are a long-term Periodical subscriber, fine. A German Shepherd deserves a mature owner.
Site-specific avatar of supporting site members and engaged commenters: more than 99 comments
"I open all your emails and I can READ. I also know how to use search and how to apply your posted solutions to my dog. I share my own experience here with others. I am the best parent to my dog, and my dog deserves only the best, hence why I am here."
Right. And that's why My German Shepherd gives you "high-five"!
Like the gravatar and any other avatar you may have elsewhere, your avatar is visible to everyone, and here you can change it easily by doing more for your dog.
Find out more: Click to save vet cost, training cost, and your nerves!
Your Personal Notebook
The newest helpful feature is what we can call your personal notebook! I LOVE this one, and you may too: How often is it that we read something somewhere, and we'd love to note it down quickly to remind us later, or to tell a friend or colleague or relative. But we don't have a pen with us, and we can't waste time handwriting or typing it out, right?
Well, THIS IS FOR YOU: Simply highlight your favorite text like you would normally when you want to copy something. Unless your browser prevents it, immediately four buttons will pop up and with one click you can send the selected text to your own twitter or facebook or google+ or linkedin account. So now you can keep any worthy text for later to remind yourself or others! Because, you may not remember: Within just one day we forget 85% of what we've read. But now you can remind yourself by taking notes without even taking notes!
The call-to-action social share box is gone! (for now)
For years you were used to seeing inmidst a Periodical an invitation to share with your circle what we share with you. It looked like this:
That's gone, it got replaced with new social share buttons at fixed position on the left and at the top of the screen. Have you noticed?
As you will know, items that are permanently in the same place the human eyes soon overlook. Thus the new fixed-position social share icons will not be used as much, that's clear (similar to what's called "banner blindness"). However if you continue to share content helpful to your circle of dog owners like we share the helpful content with you, then there is no longer a need for the social share call-to-action inmidst the Periodicals.
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Those are the things that seem worth pointing out. When I remember something else I will add it here. Other things are happening in the backend, you can't see them in the frontend but you benefit nonetheless.