Saturday, March 22, 2008

The New Maya Paradise

The Maya Paradise web site is undergoing a major facelift and modernization. The site has been running for nearly 11 years with the same look and feel that was created in 1997. Back then there was no "broadband", everyone connected over dialup at 33 or 56 kbps. The design goal was to get as much content and visuals on the screen as possible while keeping the amount of data to an absolute minimum. Page load time was the most important thing. Pages that took longer than a few seconds to load over dialup were a no-no or visitors would surf away someplace else. Back in 1997, most computers had displays that were 640 by 480. "Power users" had 800x600. A handful with deep pockets might have 1024x768 but that was rare. The site was designed to function at 640 and was optimized for 800 across, under the assumption that most people would eventually upgrade to 800x600. Today 1024 across is minimum on most machines. Displays of 1280 and 1600 across are not uncommon, even on notebook computers.

All of the above adds up to the need for a complete revamp of the Maya Paradise site. The sections that draw 98 percent of the traffic have already been upgraded and new features added. The new design is immune to further advances in technology and should look okay well into the future. New features have been and are being added, and Maya Paradise is taking a whole new marketing approach. New content and new sections are in progress. The main index page has been completely redesigned. The forums are again in operation with a brand new approach that uses very tight spam filtering and new rules for participants. Those will be expanded more as times goes on. A new photo gallery is under construction as well as a means for posting news stories and current events of interest to locals and travelers (this blog right here).

For the past 16 months, Maya Paradise had been sort of "adrift without a rudder". The reason for that is a technical one having to do with Time-Warner / Road Runner having a routing problem that prevented me and anyone else in my region from reaching a good portion of the Internet, including the Maya Paradise server. The routing problem still exists and they seem unable or unwilling to fix it. But I have developed my own workaround and have regained control of the site.

I invite you once again to enjoy and participate on the Maya Paradise web site.

Felipe / Phil