Tweaking the VSN Website Plus Hidden Galleries

VSN Vamp Stamp News Website Screen Capture

I’ve been doing a little tweaking on VSN’s website recently. My goal has been to try and make it less wordy (something that is always a challenge for me!) and to get rid of anything outdated. Mostly that means deleting a sentence or a paragraph here or there and maybe combining some page content to get a leaner website. There is a running list of website changes on the Contact/Updates page of the site, but there is one change that I wanted to point out to you which involves the Galleries.

For many years, the VSN website has had two sets of Galleries, a public group of galleries and a private Readers’ group of galleries. While both groups of galleries are still up on the website, I’ve removed the links to them from the website navigation bar. If you have bookmarked the gallery links in the past, your bookmarks will still work. Think of them as hidden galleries that only long-time VSN readers or readers of this blog will know about! (Note: The public galleries require no username and password. The Readers’ galleries username and password is found at the end of the Snow & Ice Stamping Techniques eArticle. They are case sensitive.)

2018 Update: The galleries page formatting has simply gotten too outdated, so they have been removed.

Why did I hide these galleries? Well, for one thing, while I used to add to them each month when VSN was in publication, I haven’t added anything new to the galleries in the past two years. Also, when I first set up the gallery many years ago, I used a design that worked with something called frames. It was the hot thing in web design at the time and let you set up a gallery where the reader could click on a small thumbnail picture on one frame area of the screen to pull up a larger version of the picture with some description text below it in another frame area of the screen.

Unfortunately, framed pages have gone out of favor for various reasons, among which is that they don’t work well with search engines like Google or Bing. (The search can result in just bringing up the contents a single frame rather than the entire web page and its connection to the website, leaving the searcher wondering what they are looking at.) These framed pages can also look pretty bad on small screens and with so many people using tablets and smart phones these days, that’s not a good thing to display to site visitors. So in recent years, I’ve set things up so that the galleries are pretty much hidden from search engines, although I had left them on the site navigation.

Now, I could redesign the galleries, but I can’t begin to describe how much work that would be and I’d honestly rather devote my time to something new rather than to rearranging something from years ago. I don’t really feel comfortable navigating people to the outdated looking galleries from the website. But I also don’t want to cut off your access if you want to go back and look at things there, so this is my compromise.

If you already have the galleries bookmarked, your links should still work. If you’ve misplaced the links (or relied on the navigation links on the site), then you’ll still find a link to those pages at the end of the Snow & Ice eArticle. See? It really is a hidden set of galleries that you are clever enough to know about! (You will also find a link to email me there too if you need that!)

As well as stamped artwork from about 2008 through mid-2012, you’ll find various templates to accompany some VSN print articles from that period and some Online Extra articles. There are four of these in the Readers’ Gallery on “PhotoShop Elements Workspace Basics” that those of you who have PhotoShop Elements but have never used it might find useful. They use PhotoShop Elements 9 (and the current version is 12) but after purchasing several of the yearly new versions of this software over the years, I have found that they usually tweak the interface a little and add a flashy feature or two, but it usually works basically the same way from version to version. Anyway, because these quick little extra pdf articles don’t use the newest version of the software, I am not going to move them to the eArticles page, but they are still in the Readers’ Gallery (and still free) if you want to check them out.

I’m always interested in your opinions and feedback on this kind of thing. If you have a suggestion or comment about the website and/or this blog, please feel welcome to post a comment below. I’d also be interested in how you use the website and if there is anything else you’d like to see on the site.

Good wishes,
Nancie, VSN

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