Blog : AROnline v4.0 is go… your feedback needed

Keith Adams


It’s been a long time coming, but AROnline‘s next step is now with us – and we’re dusting off the final tweaks. It’s the most fundamental change in the site’s make-up since its first redesign in 2002 – and the reason for moving from the simple left-hand menu to a multi-layered top menu is simply down to the sheer growth in content.

Basically, with approaching 6000 stories within, and a full 14GB of information and images, navigating around here was approaching impossible, with much of the content buried so deep that people weren’t aware it was there. So, at least this way, with the top menu, I hope that people will be able to grab hold of more of the stories, and maybe discover something they didn’t know before.

What I need to hear from you guys now is what you think of it, what I can do to make AROnline even better, and what further tweaks can be made to make it a little more familiar. There’s still a list of things to do, so please bear with me over the next few days – but, if you want to offer your opinions and suggestions, stick them in the comments below, and I’ll answer as best I can. The new look is the work of Richard Kilpatrick, and it’s been a labour of love for both of us – let’s hope you’ll continue to enjoy it going forward.

Looking forward to hearing from you!

Keith Adams


  1. On an android phone there is no way to access the main part of the site …the “the cars” bit.
    I think this is a major omission it used to work fine. I would think that access on android tablets and phones would be a basic requirement

      • Alex obvious once you know, but I thought the point of the internet was its dumb downess? Could home not be called The Cars?

        • Keith, sorry – should have put the comments here then. It did show you as online though…
          The Menu in question hides behind a ‘home’ on a black field. Once you move to a page other than the homepage, it reads much more instructive ‘navigate to’.

  2. Nope found it! But I had to dig, obvious enough, but your casual reader might casually leave if things are none too obvious though. I am old and crochety though (and probably target audience).

  3. Desktop works fine I have not had the chance to check on my Android phone, but the site looks impressive, and it’s a job well done.

  4. Overall it is impressive indeed, but there are lots of things that need looking at:

    1. As mentioned above, the mobile menu needs to look like a menu, ideally with text showing “Menu” or “Navigation” or similar wording.

    2. The desktop menu should indicate where there are different levels of submenus, possibly by adding arrows to indicate them.

    3. The menu structure seems to be rather confusing, for example with car model histories spread across three main sections.

    4. Where there are multi-page car sections, it would be more helpful if there were numbered links to each page instead of links that just indicate “Next page” and “Previous page”.

    5. The slideshow of featured pages does not properly resize to fit the screen width on a phone. On my phone it is double the width of the rest of the page (Android phone). Some of the in-article images seem to have the same problem (possibly just the ones with captions).

  5. I DETEST ‘hover and drop down’ links.. on slow connections like I have at work, they don’t respond quickly enough, and as others have said, are pretty much impossible to use on ‘phones..
    The look is ok, but I would recommend making the links ‘click and drop’..

  6. On the Home page, if I click on the items under ‘Latest Stories” the link doesn’t do anything or take me anywhere, even though the heading changes colour as though it should be a live link.

    • Ah, you click on it, and it opens the main story panel to the left – you have to click that. I’ll look into seeing if we can remove that extra click from the process, especially if it’s not clear!

  7. Got it now but pressing “home” when on the home page already is not obvious at all…yes make it “the cars” or menu or something. ..much more prominent. I’m also missing “the competition” too.
    love the content though !

  8. Yes, the links under Latest Stories do not do anything! Looks good otherwise though. Where are the lists of cars? Are they all now under Marques and Reviews?

  9. Clicking in a story under Latest Stories doesn’t load the page – it just brings it to the fore in the scrolling stories to the left. (Using Firefox)

  10. Looks good improved access to content. Works for me on PC and android tablet. On PC the background on the right shows as black with blue lines, gives the impressions of motion blurring or freeze framing.

  11. I like the overall appearance and the way stories are now previewed, but it took me a little bit of experimentation before I could get a story to open.

  12. My first reactions to it:

    – Clicking on the Latest Stories section does nothing and it feels like the site is broken. I know this has been commented on already and, in my view, just making the click display the story on the left is an unsuitable approach. It isn’t how most sites work. Users expect to click through to the story in that heading

    – too much vertical scrolling as the content is spaced out more than usual. The “Other Recent posts” section could be dropped and the stories but in the other categories.

    – “Car Reviews” as a menu item undersells the site. It makes it look like just another car review site whereas the strength of ARO is the histories. Something like “The Cars” would work or possibly “Histories”.

  13. Keith,

    Finding the new format very easy to adapt to but only once managed to log in successfully – keeps saying “page not found”.

  14. Excellent improvement
    Much easier to navigate, far tidier to read the home page.
    ARO just got better

  15. I visit this site only every few weeks and today (my first visit for a while) took me by surprise. On Win8 with IE11 I get black panels on each side of the main content. No amount of clicking brings anything up in them.

  16. That irritating and confusing double-click thing is still on the home page. I wonder how many people have given up trying to get anywhere with it?

    • You tell me. Have you given up with it? Did you work out what to do?

      It’s different, but I don’t think it’s irritating and confusing – but I’m sure if there’s a mass exodus, it can be changed.

  17. Great! It works fine on the Q10 BlackBerry in the mobile environment. I found “The Cars” in No time flat!
    I’ll be taking a better look on the desktop at home later.

  18. Well, I have persevered , but I find it awful . What on earth was wrong with the layout of the old site ? It was easy to navigate and intuitive to use. It seems significant to me that the amount of traffic since the change has diminished radically , and I can only conclude that others are having the same feelings about it

  19. This would suggest otherwise.

    I take your point that you don’t like it, but I’m not sure where you extrapolate the traffic figures from. The main reason for the change was so that more people would see the content that was previously hidden. And who possibly really would have an objection to that?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.