The new look for the FFN webpage is impressive and professional in my opinion. The one drawback that I don't like, and the sole purpose for my personal involvement here on the FFN is the discussions between firefighters and the fact that the new format buries the discussions.

To gain access to the most recent discussions, you have to click onto the homepage, scroll down to latest discussions, and then, when a new page finishes downloading, you have to scroll down again to find the latest discussions. That's a lot of clicking and inconvenience compared to the "old" way that required only opening the FFN webpage. 

Watching the evolution of the FFN site, the number of user generated discussions went from ten (10) to five (5). Now, the "Latest Discussions" are totally controlled by the FFN, verses being the actual latest discussions. So... the meat and potatoes of the site, what we share, is difficult to access. 

I don't understand why there was so much hype for the new format, only to find out that the key ingredient for the site, "firefighters", were being pushed further and further back into the site. Do you think this is cool? I don't. That's my personal opinion.

Plus I hate having to click the computer key board any more times than necessary sometimes...

CBz

UPDATE: The good news is that you can click this link to see and use the more familiar, simpler, user friendly website. 
    
                 http://my.firefighternation.com/


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Mike

Thanks for the feedback. Forums are an important part of the site and keeping them flowing into the home page -- and keeping the "MyFFN" site completely "as is" for the more frequent visitors, was certainly one of the many challenges we faced since adding all the new content features requires a different platform and the 'existing' Ning-powered social/professional network doesn't offer a lot of integration options unfortunately.

We'll be watching closely and will see if any patterns emerge and react accordingly. You can slso get to the forums quickly via the MyFFN tab on the new site as well as come directly to http://my.firefighternation.com for everything as it was. The only main thing we'll be moving "off" of my.firefighternation.com is the news .. so you'll no longer see "news" riding along with the forum content which we think will be a big plus.

We'll also be featuring discussions more regularly, and those topics will appear right in the new drop down navigation of the new site. Stay tuned for even more improvements coming up!


On your 'controlling and editorialized' note, that's not really what is going on. While we will determine what forums are "featured" that show up in the nav, the forums that show up on the main home page are automatically pulled from a feed of the forums based on latest activity -- there is a slight delay, and we'll be watching it. But that specifically is a limitation in the inability for the 'social' site to adequately feed into the new platform and exceptionally limited ways to tie users to both systems. We'll continue to work through those as we see how users navigate the new site, including adding member activity streams, lists of current hot forums and more.

Again, forums are a very important part of the site and represent about 1/5 the total viewed/utilized content each month. Our goal with moving news and other content into a more robust platform should result in more users, more training/education content and hopefully that translates into more members of the MyFFN component including the forums. Time will tell!


Thanks
Dave
Founder
FirefighterNation.com
Sorry gang. not much we can do about the format of the social network piece for now but it's on the radar as the platform's design flexibility improves. We're working through it ... the Ning platform just has not evolved enough to be a fully functional web site that today's content demands. The majority of new traffic coming to the site is looking for education, news and other unique content the new site will be able to deliver far more easily and dynamically than the social network. But again, hopefully the end result here is increased growth in MyFFN as a platform -- not less. New membership has been stagnant and bit, so if anything, it should only help.
Also sorry to anyone else who replies, will be back online in a few hours ... headed to the Harrisburg Fire Expo .. if you're going to be there stop by and enter for a chance to win $3,000 in prizes in our Fire Passport event!
Also just to clarify, we are going to roll in more design elements in the coming weeks to bridge the navigation and design differences as much as the Ning platform will allow.
You know how the fire service is reluctant to change. I really thought I had clicked on the wrong bookmark, or had been re-directed.

It will take some playing with, for sure.
Again, one of the things that I love about the FFN. You don't have to hold back your opinions. Dave, the founder of our site, and I say "our" because we are the ones who support Dave and make the site happen, has always been willing to listen and make changes and modifications where necessary.

I look forward to seeing the news component removed from the social component, and hopefully, using the above mentioned to be link, the user can see more than five forum discussions, maybe even ten like it was a few years back.

CBz
FFN Member
Do I like it? No not really. Does it really matter? Well actually that answer is no, I am a free user. Here is my two cents though. You see, when this site first started up, I came over from sites that were exactly what this site has morphed into. FFN was all about forums, (direct contact with others) and had very little ads, no news stories, etc. That is why most of the original clientele probably came to this site to begin with. But with anything good, the guy(s) who started this site, came accross someone else and they made it "bigger and better". That comes to my conclusion that it has been officially "commericialized". Now it has lots of advertisements that generate money, thus more ad space on every page than forums, homepage used to have 12 threads, then went to 5, (disliked that) and then news happened to come along with changes, probably because the new backers. Personally and this is just my opinion, but this site went from a mom/pop community forum called FirefighterNation to looking exactly like all the other magazine based websites. I can see why the new membership numbers got stagnant, the competition on delivering news is dime a dozen today, and burying the foundation for which FFN was built upon might be the reason. Someone will probably note this and start up the old version under a different name. I believe Facebook was started twice...
One of the members posted a forum thread inviting the FFN membership to join his Firefighter Facebook page... Your caution and words aren't too far from being reality.

The good news is that you can click this link to see and use the more familiar, simpler, user friendly website.

http://my.firefighternation.com
Yes and important to note we will indeed be adding more social content to the main myffn page including more discussion threads and bumping up member blogs and such....look for those adjustments in the coming week.

facebook is the reason less people join niche social networks the days....it definitely impacted the flow of solely ffn members the last few years. Our goal is to blend the best of the entire fire web ... Content, community. Blogs, facebook .... Which we think as you see the growth and expansion of features will set the bar on what is useful to everyone.
Yep...bookmark that...its not going anywhere.
The New Look is certainly smart but..... It took my a while of scrolling around just to find where to log in. 99% of web site you log in at the top left (as in the 'Old Look" now it's half way down the home page.

Once logged in it seems pretty much back to the old layout.
Andy

Thanks for the tip, we added a link at the top of the right column on the new site to let folks login quicker to MyFFN.

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