Rolling Out a New Homepage

By Chris Dawahare, Operations Manager for BloodHorse.com 

Over the next few weeks, we will be rolling out a new BloodHorse.com homepage in several phases. Our intention is to test each new segment of the homepage until we get it right. When all is said and done, the BloodHorse.com homepage should be noticeably (but not substantially) different from what you are used to seeing.

Some changes will be obvious, others more subtle, but hopefully they will all be for the better. We invite you to use this blog space to critique the new design, offer up any suggestions that you may have, or to simply ask a question. The BloodHorse.com community will be involved throughout this process, and your commentary is invaluable to us.

In the first phase, there are two substantial changes:

Today's Headlines - We know that a lot of our readers only want to see the news when they come to BloodHorse.com. Time is at a premium these days, and we understand that some of you may want to stop by just to see the latest news. Taking that into consideration, we've created a new channel entitled "Today's Headlines" that will always be pinned at the very top of the homepage. Every story that gets posted on BloodHorse.com, no matter what the topic, will appear in this channel. 

We've also added two new boxes that will display some of the latest features that have been posted on the site. A feature could be anything - blog, video, poll, special report - that has recently been posted to the site but doesn't qualify as a news item. For example, if you're searching for the latest episode of And They're Off, this would be the place to find it.

Channel Order - Whenever we do a survey of BloodHorse.com readers, we often hear people say they don't like the fact our channel order is constantly changing. One day Racing may be featured at the top of the page, another day it may be Breeding, and so on. We certainly understand why this would be confusing to our readers. With the new homepage, the channel order will not change. Today's Headlines will always be at the top, followed by Racing, then Breeding, and so on. We may move some of the channels around during the redesign process based on your feedback, but once a final order is established, it will be in place for the long haul. We hope this change leads to a more consistent, and enjoyable, browsing experience for our readers.


Phase II is highlighted by redesigned Racing, Breeding, and Sales sections. Some of you may be seeing Phase II right now, while others will need to wait a few weeks (we randomly split our visitors into two groups). In this second phase, we've made it easier to access race results, entries, sire lists, and sale results. In addition, we've added an embedded video player on the homepage that provides quick and easy access to our race replays.

We welcome all feedback and look forward to hearing your thoughts.


 

41 Comments

Leave a Comment:

VIVIAN J. AUESTAD

I LIKE THINGS AS THEY ARE, BUT AM OPEN TO CHANGE IF IT'S IMPROVEMENT.  YOUR SITE IS THE SECOND ONE I OPEN AFTER GETTING YOUR E-MAIL MESSAGE IN THE MORNING!

15 Dec 2009 9:21 AM
PETAmediapoison

I love Bloodhorse, I check back all of the time for more updated news and articles.  I want you to succeed.

Would it be possible for more pieces on the actual horses now running, especially the up and coming stars?  Smaller, condensed stories that are easy to churn out and give us insight into more horses, and maybe even a sentence or two about their owners/trainers?  I am sick of politics, arguments (even my own).  The horses are what I want to know about.  The horses racing now.  Not the made up victims, saved from slaughter unwanted horses or adoption and unwanted horses agencies boasting of their "rescues" of said unwanted horses.  I don't want to read yet another hit piece on Steve Asmussen.  How about a piece on Asmussen's best two year old RACEHORSES instead.

The actual site format- headlines at the top is good.  More headlines, more mini bios on racehorses, added throughout the day even better.  Will unbeaten Conveyance run in the CashCall without us ever being introduced to him in print?  We need more Racehorses in Bloodhorse.

15 Dec 2009 4:31 PM
D Smith

I like the new format!  Easier to read through the high points of the news and has a much cleaner look.  I do agree with the previous blogger in that I would like for the news stories to be a priority on the horses themselves.  While learning about the connections is helpful, this whole thing exists because of the horses.  Maybe a spotlight on a different horse each day, from the up and coming two-year olds, to the more seasoned runners, and to the retirees, including the mares--not just the stallions/geldings.  But, overall, I like the new page!

16 Dec 2009 12:38 PM
Pasturelands

I thought my computer has a virus or is phishing itself.. until I checked that IT IS TRUE: a new look, eh??  wonderful!!

Now, bloodhorse looks like an e-newspaper-- very business-like.  NICE!!  At the end of a day's worth of racing and betting, what anybody needs is something silly to smile about-- the Comics page!!

BLOODHORSE should add HORSE CARTOON STRIPS in their site too.This Comic strip about horses, should go with the short stories and videos about race horses, which another blogger suggested.  They could put it under a new SECTION, for Horse Fans.

My nephew drew cartoons for the Preakness, and it still makes me smile when I see it on his wall.  One horse character I remember was SESAME STREET's Marshall GROVER-- he rides a wise-cracking horse that is SMARTER than his Master.  LOL.  It makes me laugh my *** off everytime.  A horse having an "argument" with his rider!!

Bloodhorse shuld ALSO be FOR HORSE-FANS, and not just for Horse-breeders or horse-business people.  Not everybody can OWN a horse afterall, but they can STILL adore horses, if given the chance.

Maybe they could even include short videos of MTB or Lookin At Lucky, while jogging or having dinner in their stalls.

21 Dec 2009 8:11 AM
Catherine

I like the new look so far, but I'd like for it to be uniform for the ENTIRE homepage (currently, "Headlines" is the only channel that looks different). Also, I'd like to see more about international racing. Blood-Horse has gotten better about their international coverage over the course of 2009, but I think there could be even more improvement. Maybe create an "International" channel for those of us who want more than just American racing?

21 Dec 2009 11:43 PM
anthony

Sounds to me like you're just returning to what you had before you switched to the current design.  Your content made BH worth visiting, but the design you've had for the past few years has been awful.  It's back to the future--and it's about time!

22 Dec 2009 10:30 AM
Daunice

Read this, then went back & clicked on the more headline news section - like how the stories are listed and I can go back to what I may have not have had time to read or missed.

04 Jan 2010 11:43 AM
Rachel

I like the old page ...the new font is awful.

Best wishes to new site.

04 Jan 2010 2:09 PM
Rick Needham - TrackMaster

A visit your site daily for "Racing News," - often incorporating it into my columns to accompany my analysis of NYRA and Southern California racing. You have a GREAT site!

04 Jan 2010 3:05 PM
Karen Barry

I like your web site, change is most always good. Bloodhorse has always been my favorite TB racing magazine. Unfortunately I did not renew my subscription because I don't have the room to "store" the publications and I didn't want to have to throw them away. I tried the electronic version and liked it but found it to be "expensive" for the electronic version, as most publications (including your competitor) offer the electronic version only at a significant discount. Most people, as I am, are trying to go green as much as possible I would think that this would be a priority. I would resubscribe immediately if there was a discount for the electronic version only. Until then the web site will have to suffice. Regardless, thank you very much for a fine publication.

04 Jan 2010 3:50 PM
adcook102

I would like to see a more in depth and current international news page.  Stories and photo's from Australia, South America, Dubai, Japan and Hong Kong are too infrequent.  I know Bloodhorse is supposed to cover racing in North America but it is such a global game these days. Your readers deserve more.  I shouldn't have to go to Racing Post and ozhorse.com to get info on the Dubai Carnival.

04 Jan 2010 4:21 PM
Teaser

Bloodhorse is my favorite racing site and the first one I go to each day because I love the layout. Please don't change anything!

04 Jan 2010 5:52 PM
bowlofflowers

Cna't say that I dislike the new Font.  Won't mind not having to scroll down past the 'videos' section for the news cause when you have seen them once you may not want to revisit.  Although if I saved stories electronically before will I still be able to access them?  I would hope so,  but there is all this show of connecting to the net when I try to pull something back up.

04 Jan 2010 6:46 PM
Dreamsinger

I like the design very much so far, but I am having a technical issue. MSIE 8 seems to think that bloodhorse.com is "downloading files to my computer". In fact, the first time I went there this evening, IE8 asked me if I wanted to "save" the "file." What is different, that would trigger such a message?

04 Jan 2010 7:15 PM
cdawahare@bloodhorse.com

Thanks for the information, Dreamsinger. I'm not sure what's causing the problem but we will certainly look into it.

04 Jan 2010 9:39 PM
txhorsefan

From what I can tell so far, the changes will be easy enough to negotiate around the page.  I consider myself a big fan of this site, but I do agree with some of the earlier posters, that is information on the horses that I come here for.  Well, and of course, to see what Steve Haskin has written lately!

04 Jan 2010 9:41 PM
LAZMANNICK

Dreamsinger:

I am having a similar problem.  When I am on a blog, if I go to the home logo at the top of the page it asks me the same thing.

04 Jan 2010 11:04 PM
Mom

Love the sight so much I subscribed to the magazine! Love to be able to watch videos of the stakes races and to have them in a box so I don't have to open every article for the link - easy relaxation at the end of the day. I also enjoy the links to the retirement orgs, etc. Add my agreement to the prior commenter that more articles about the horses and fewer about politics would be great.

05 Jan 2010 12:11 AM
Jim P

I come to Blood Horse everyday. My favorite parts include the videos, blogs, photo galleries, and that New Jersey guy that writes a lot. Just make 'em visible.

As far as people needing to get to parts of the site faster -- it's always been faster than a mag or a newspaper. Relax.

I will say, however, there is a heck of a lot of information on the site and it took me awhile to learn how to read it. Combining it with google alerts works well.

Just tell me who's gonna win the Derby, that all I need to know.

05 Jan 2010 2:40 AM
Jim P

I too would like to see more on international racing. It's hard work to identify emerging 3 year olds around the globe. I got lucky with Zarkava and even an idiot can follow a foal of Urban Sea. I'd rather know more about them than the Prince or the Prime Minister.

Also, when I looked at your stallion directory I was not able to click back on to any other headline. It kept asking me to "find" or "save". I had to use the cursor.

05 Jan 2010 2:50 AM
Perry

I am Having trouble about 50% of the time to get Bloodhorse to load and it want some times as my homepage telling me it can't download.  It has happened on diffrent computers.  However, I love the set up of the website.

05 Jan 2010 9:06 AM
Sarah

I have always loved Blood-Horse and Bloodhorse.com, and love keeping up with all the racing news. The content is awesome, and there is so much that I know the staff has to keep up on. You all do a great job. Of course, I am a bit biased, I used to work there. The first impression I got from the site is: too many moving parts above the fold. The ad at the top, the little one to the left, one on the right, and the Subscribe fly-in. And I only saw two headlines until I scrolled, but there was a big blank white space which doesn't draw me in as much as seeing more headlines closer up (above the fold). But I do like the organization of the content, love seeing all the photos. And the variety of info. on the homepage is great...from the editorial, to podcasts and videos, etc. Keep up the great work.

05 Jan 2010 9:16 AM
Sammi P

Jim P that is what is mine is doing to, except I can only get here 1/5 times. Then the whole internet closes out because it can't find BloodHorse.com.

05 Jan 2010 10:34 AM
cdawahare@bloodhorse.com

For those having trouble accessing the site or getting the "download message", we're aware of the problem and are working to fix it.

From what we can tell, the issues are actually unrelated to the recent changes to the homepage. We're trying to get the issues resolved as soon as possible.

For those of you experiencing trouble, what browser are you using?

05 Jan 2010 11:18 AM
Somethingroyal

So far I like the new changes.

05 Jan 2010 11:33 AM
Somethingroyal

cdawahre,

I use Internet Explorer 8 and I have been having problems accessing the new home page. The whole internet closes out because it can't find BloodHorse.com.

05 Jan 2010 12:30 PM
adcook102

Also having occasional trouble.  I am using internet explorer.

How about having a video section with Grade 1 races from around the globe.  Every time a Grade 1 race is run anywhere in the world, you guys should have a video library that you can access to watch that race the next day.  I am currently using Youtube to watch international replays but it would be more conveinient to watch them on Bloodhorse.com

05 Jan 2010 12:36 PM
Mimi G

Looking forward to the inprovements.  What I have a hard time finding is a central list of upcoming races, air times and channels.  I may see a blurb on Bloodhorse about so and so in an upcoming race and then I can't find any info on how to watch the race.  Tivo can only help so much.  I'll search a track's website but rarely can I find what I'm looking for to set my tivo.  I would think that an industry that wants fans would make it a little easier for the fan to find races to watch and follow events.  I'm not sure if this is something you can address or not.  Thanks.  

05 Jan 2010 2:21 PM
cdawahare@bloodhorse.com

Mimi G,

Our entries page will display upcoming stakes entries for the next seven days: www.bloodhorse.com/.../stakes-entries

This might help a little. If you just want a schedule and aren't interested in the actual entries, I would suggest our Stakes calendar:

www.bloodhorse.com/.../upcoming-stakes

Unfortunately, we do not receive TV information from the Jockey Club when they send over the Entries feed, so we can't include that information at this time.

05 Jan 2010 2:34 PM
Swapsfan

Although I got right to this blog from the e-mail, I too am having trouble "downloading". Browser is IE and I hope you don't restrict it to one version because I don't have the very very latest either at work or home.  I enjoy reading TBH at lunchtime.

05 Jan 2010 2:41 PM
Sammi P

I'm using Windows Internet Explorer

05 Jan 2010 3:01 PM
cdawahare@bloodhorse.com

For Karen Berry and anyone else interested in our digital edition, we are currently offering a special $39 annual subscription. For information, please check out the link below:

subscribe.bloodhorse.com/.../tbh_ee.aspx

05 Jan 2010 4:09 PM
Laura R

Just a suggestion - Wouldn't it be logical to put the Racing and Handicapping info next to each other instead of having racing near the top and handicapping at the bottom?

Thanks,

Laura R.

05 Jan 2010 8:03 PM
sherpa

I love Bloodhorse.com (and feel like it's Christmas every week when I find a magazine in my snail-mail box, too!) and have never had any problems navigating the site.  I use Firefox exclusively, btw.

I was startled a couple of evenings ago when clicking on the homepage link and was prompted to select a "region" for news.  I managed to work my way out of it, but please be advised I don't WANT "regional" headlines!  There is no thoroughbred racing in my state, so I'm not married to a track and  happily watch ALL the race videos and have favorites everywhere.  

To wit, I do want to compliment you on the presentation of race videos.  When there's an accompanying article, I can click on the embedded hyperlink and get results, order of finish and even pedigree/auction info for the runners.  I review all or most of that information and then sit back to watch the race (usually full-screen) with a clear idea of how it will unfold. LOVE this feature - so much better than the plain video at DRF or TT.

My one issue is that sometimes I would like to answer the invitation to send email comments on a given video and can't do it because I don't use Microsoft email.  Bummer!

I do agree that it would be swell to have feature articles on individual horses.  I'd love to know how Mine That Bird is doing during his down-time (maybe a "day in the life" video?).  I want to know as much as possible about Zenyatta's second career.  It would be great to know more of Blame's background besides a few short quotes from owner/trainer/jockey in an article after he's won yet another race.  Very exciting horse, Blame!  And, of course, anything and everything you can dig up about Cloudy's Knight.  Just to name a few... ;-)

And when it comes to Triple Crown season, let's have an in-depth look at EVERY horse who will be running, not just the favorites.  (It would save you all lots of time dashing around looking for stories AFTER the long-shot wins the Derby! LOL)

05 Jan 2010 8:25 PM
sherpa

uh, just remembered another thing that would add to the race video experience.  If you could add color-coded post positions to the "order of finish" section, it would be very helpful.

05 Jan 2010 8:29 PM
equusart

Very nice changes. I also like the suggestions to include more horse coverage. The list on the left helps with quick navigation to other areas that are not visible in the initial window. I stop by almost daily and BH is my main connection to the racing world since I no longer work at a track or live near racing. I enjoy the news but also love the pics, the commentaries, the videos - great work! - Thanks

06 Jan 2010 12:33 AM
RhondaH

The changes look great so far.  I for one would like it easier to find the blog stable.  It used to be on the left but now you have to click on a correct page to find them. Thanks

06 Jan 2010 12:49 PM
s lee

Hi -

I use Safari or Firefox, depending on which computer I'm on, and I'm not getting the messages the IE folks are getting.

The new font is ok, but on smaller laptop screens I've had to blow up the viewing size.

I like the new plan for bloodhorse.com and my only recommendations are likely to draw fire.  "Blood-horse" is broadly defined as "thoroughbred", not just as racehorses, though it's often used that way.  The World Equestrian Games are coming to the US this fall, for the first time ever:

www.alltechfeigames.com

and there will be a LOT of thoroughbreds competing as well as many other breeds.  This is a unique showcase for equestrian events in this country, whatever your breed or chosen riding styles, so how about some articles on the events thoroughbreds will be involved in?  You could help drum up interest in the Games.  You could do the same thing in years when the Summer Olympics are taking place.

And please keep up (or expand!) coverage of steeplechase racing.  There have been more articles in the last 2 years, I think, and this aspect of racing is fun and entertaining too!

07 Jan 2010 1:47 PM
lobieb

Either I can't find it or you have eliminated the stats for horses, jockeys, trainers and owners.  Are you going to have it back as I always look at it.  If it is here where are they.  Thanks

10 Jan 2010 9:27 AM
cdawahare@bloodhorse.com

lobieb,

The Leaders Lists are in the same place they've always been. You can access them by clicking on "RACING" from the main vertical navigation. Once you're on the racing page, just scroll down until you see "LEADERS".

Here is the direct link in case you want to bookmark it:

www.bloodhorse.com/.../2010

10 Jan 2010 6:49 PM
sweet terchi

Thanks for the info. I sometimes have problems getting on BH (WIE), and since time is a issue, I just give up. I thought my computer was giving out, but I didn't have a problem anywhere else. I only try once in a while, sometimes I'm lucky, sometimes not. Hopefully things will settle into a groove, and I will be "back in the saddle" again! :)

11 Jan 2010 10:45 AM

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