While performing an inventory of plugins used, I discovered that the plugin I was using to display “Recent Exhibits” in the left navigation bar had not been updated in several years. I have replaced it with another plugin that seems to be being maintained. The appearance is slightly different, but the functionality is the same. If you experience any problems because of this change, please let me know in the comments below, or use the Contact the Curator form.
I have made a couple of minor changes to the Harvey Mercheum website, based on some reading I have been doing on website accessibility and CSS. The first change is that I have added a dashed red outline around the element that has focus. Users who navigate websites using keyboards or equivalent can now see what pressing enter will activate. You can see this change for yourself by pressing tab two or three times until “Home” in the menu bar becomes outlined. Previously no indication of focus was available.
The other change is that I have added a thin black outline around the text in the menu bar and sidebars. While color contrast checking tools do not consider this an improvement to legibility, I think it looks better.
If you have any comments on these changes, or any suggestions for additional improvements, please let me know in the comments below, or use the Contact the Curator form.
Early last month, I talked about how I wanted this website to look. I was talking about the background image, and how much of it should show behind the actual content portion of the page. What I did not talk about was this actual content portion, and how I further divided the amount of space available into two sidebars: one left, one right, with the content in the middle.
Rewriting my shortcodes reminded me of something I have been meaning to do for a while. I have demoted “item type” from a custom taxonomy to a custom field. What this means to you is that the “Browse Collection By” tree in the left navigation bar no longer has entries for “Item Types”.
Anyone who thinks they can set up a WordPress website and forget about it is fooling themselves. Case in point: when I first started designing the Harvey Mercheum website, I knew that I wanted to store what I now refer to as the “interpretive information” about the exhibits as fields in the WordPress MySQL database, not just as plain text. I accomplished this using custom fields and custom taxonomies.
First technical change for the Harvey Mercheum website for its fifth year of operation! I typically work on and view the Harvey Mercheum website in an Internet browser on a Windows computer. This used to mean a screen resolution of 1280 x 1024, which resulted in the screen looking like this:
Every WordPress website should use some sort of image optimization plugin. For a long time, the Harvey Mercheum website used EWWW Image Optimizer. After an update, it began logging errors in a file named php_errorlog. Then I read this article about image compression plugins, and EWWW did not perform very well. I decided to try reSmush.it. The good news is it claims to have saved me 139MB in disk space, and the errors have stopped. The bad news is it stripped all of the EXIF data from the images, which I had worked very hard to make sure was there. I am not sure how I feel about this, and what I am going to do moving forward, I just wanted to make note of this fact. Do any of you ever look at the EXIF data on images? Let me know in the comments below!