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Handling a large number of media files

If you want to publish a large number of media files on your website it's worth
stopping for a minute to think about the best way.

Challenge:

  • Having very many files on one page causes the regular media listing to be very long and confusing
  • Splitting the media files up to many pages may result in a very long menu

Contents of this article:

  1. Format options to shrink the media listing to a minimum
  2. Making subcategories
  3. Example how to structure the chapters of the New Testament


Format options to shrink the media listing to a minimum

One way to overcome the challenge is to display the media listing in a more compact format. So the visitor of your site gets an overview more quickly because there are not as many gaps between the items this means he has to scoll less.
Our website builder system offers two possibilites to change the appearance of the media listing to a more compact one.

1. Choose a theme with a "compact media listing"

Advantages:
- easy to achieve

Disadvantages:
- less flexible, this setting effects all pages
- it is not available together with every theme

How to do this:
- go to "Website setup" -> "Site themes"
- choose a theme where "compact media listing" is found in the lable

Example screenshot:

2. Introduce a very compact media listing by using a custom CSS-file

Advantages:
- very flexible, you can define to use this style per page
- it is even more compact than the theme choices in number 1

Disadvantages:
- you need the interaction of your Implementation Manager to setup this

How to do this:
- determine the page(s) to receive the "very compact media listing"
- ask your Implementation Manager to do the setup for this/these page(s)

Example screenshot:


Making subcategories

Another way to solve the problem of having too many of media files on a single page is to spread them to several pages.

Doing that please pay attention to the following points

1. Maybe the structure of your menu is effected:

original structure:
Category1 (MenuTab) --> Subcategory1 (Page) with 100 itmes

changed structure:
Subcategory1 (MenuTab) --> Subcategory1.1 (Page) with 20 items
Subcategory1 (MenuTab) --> Subcategory1.2 (Page) with 20 items
Subcategory1 (MenuTab) --> Subcategory1.3 (Page) with 20 items
Subcategory1 (MenuTab) --> Subcategory1.4 (Page) with 20 items
Subcategory1 (MenuTab) --> Subcategory1.5 (Page) with 20 items

not possible:
Category1 (MenuTab) --> Subcategory1 (Page) --> Subcategory1.1 (Page) with 20 item

2. Avoid to many pages with very few media items on it

To spread your files across several pages you will follow a rule.
Please ensure that your rule doesn't result in pages with very few media items on it.

It is known that the human eye can catch 6-8 items at once. Having that in mind it is good to invent a rule that splits up your media items into a maximum of 8 subpages.


Example of structuring the chapters of the New Testament

To illustrate I give an example here:

Task:

Given are 260 audio files containing all chapters of the New Testament.
The visitor should have the chance to get an overview very quickly.
We want to address both
- visitors who are familiar with the Bible and just want an efficient way to listen or download the material.
- and visitors who are new to Scripture. Therefore some descriptive text should be provided.

Considerations:

  • I don't want to confront the visitor with a overwhelming number of 260 files on a single page right in the beginning. This would discourage inexperienced vistors from being engaged with the content at all.
  • So I think of a good rule to spread the 260 files to more than one page. Splitting them by book is not ideal because 27 subcategories are too much and there are several book which have less than 5 chapters. That is too little. So I decide on making a subcategory for each "large book" and combine "small books" to categories with an appropriate title.
    Here are my categories:
    • "Gospel of Matthew" - 28 Chapters
    • "Gospel of Mark" - 16 Chapters
    • "Gospel of Luke" - 24 Chapters
    • "Gospel of John" - 21 Chapters
    • "Acts of the apostels" - 28 Chapters
    • "Paul's letter to the Romans" - 16 Chapters
    • "Paul's letters to the Corinthians" - 29 Chapters
    • "Paul's letters to Timothy" - 10 Chapters
    • "Other letters of Paul" - 32 Chapters
    • "Letters of Peter" - 8 Chapters
    • "Other letters" - 26 Chapters
    • "Revelation" - 22 Chapters
  • All pages get a descriptive text to motivate the inexperienced vistor to go on reading and listening.
  • Every page gets a link to an overview page with all media to access at once and to download the whole New Testament as a ZIP-archive - This is to serve the experienced vistor. To make this site easy to navigate I use the "very compact media listing"

Implementation:

I implemented that for "Letters of Peter" on this helpsite with FCBH-audio files.