Site Updates

We've Made Some Changes - Find Out What's New

If you're not reading this through an RSS feed you'll likely notice we've made some changes to the site today. We've tweaked the way the site looks, implemented some new functionality and added some new sections. Unfortunately, we've also adopted some annoying bugs so some things might be a bit wonky for the next few days. We have a list of known issues and are working on fixing them but feel free to leave a comment below to let us know of any problems you encounter on the site.

Bugs aside, we're excited about the changes. Here's a run down of what we've just unveiled:

The Artist Gallery

One of the initiatives we've spent a lot of time and effort on is something we're calling the Artist Gallery. It's a place on the site we'll be showcasing many of the talented Toronto-based emerging artists living and working amongst us. By the end of this week we'll have profiles of 50 artists on the site - and we've collaborated with Sam Javanrouh, Rannie Turingan and Istoica to bring you fun, original photos of each of them.

You can navigate around the Artist Gallery by artist name, medium (painting, photography etc.), or by popularity. Just click the Recommend This button at the bottom of your favourite artist's page and this will make their popularity score go up. You can also read a short bio of each artist and view samples of their work.

But we're not done. We know we've only scratched the surface when it comes to the local arts scene, so drop us a line if you'd like to suggest any artists we should add to the Gallery.

A Toronto Neighbourhoods Page

We've long had specific pages on the site that provide info about neighbourhoods in the city. Our Kensington Market and Financial District pages would be two examples. But now we have created a page that, hopefully, makes it easier to become familiar with neighbourhoods you might not know as much about as well as access all the individual neighbourhood pages.

New Navigation Structure

In an effort to continue to improve the usability of the site and make it easier to access the content you're looking for, we've updated our navigation structure. Part of this is visual - we've added larger buttons and more easily accessible sub-pages that you can find by rolling your mouse over any of the main buttons. But we've also added breadcrumbs below the navigation so when you're on a page deep into the site you can more easily see where that fits within the greater site structure.

Additional navigation changes have been made to the bottom of the page where we're now housing useful links to things like our Twitter and Facebook applications.

New Comment Functionality

You should notice some changes to the comment section of the site that will hopefully make it easier to participate in and track conversations. We've now added a Comment RSS feed for each post so you can get future comments on a specific post via RSS rather than check back to see if anything is new. Or if you prefer email, you can continue to subscribe to any comment thread and receive updates sent to your email address.

We've also made it easier to sort comments. Previously you could only view comments from oldest to newest, but now you have the option to quickly sort the comment thread in the reverse order and view the latest comments first.

Finally, we've made it easier to reply to another commenter. You no longer need to type in that person's name. Just click on the Reply link next to their comment and a message that you're replying to them will appear with your comment.

Easier to Share and Email Content

We've removed the Tools button below each post and replaced it with a green button called Share This. This button makes it super easy to share any of the posts on blogTO with your friends by posting them to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Digg or one of the numerous other social media sites. It also includes a form where you can email the post to a friend, so now you no longer need to enter the annoying Captcha code we used to have in the old email form.

Easier to Track Comments Across the Site

Unless you had subscribed to receive email updates or waded randomly through the site, it was pretty challenging to find out who was posting comments where. To address this, we've now added a "Recent Comments" tool on the right hand side of the page that shows the most recent comments added to the site. You can click on any of the comments here and go directly to the conversation.

More Changes to Come

What we've unveiled today is just the start of many changes we'll be making to the site. Over the next couple of months we'll be rolling out some more new functionality as well as some other updates. Stay tuned!

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