Great job. I encourage you to keep going. New things can be daunting at times, but I know you can do it!
There are several things that are important to any journal website that wishes growth and self-sustenance. They are: submit, subscribe, read, search, notifications, and contact.
An author that comes to a website wants their submission to the journal to be as easy as possible. A reader wants to know how to pay so they can read all the awesome content in the journal. A visitor wants to search to see if a journal has published research they need. Anyone interested in the journal wants to get updates so they signup for the newsletter. And finally, we all need a way to contact the journal. However you design it, those things are key.
For design, please keep in mind OJS installation that publishes multiple journals. I think we should really visualize the homepage to better work for single and multi-journal websites.
Here are a few ideas I would like to see, and hope you will consider.
I believe we have see the homepage as a connecting hub that is purposeful designed to take you inside an OJS website. The whole point of the homepage is to help users discover the wonderful content published in the journal.
If we are to see the homepage as a condensed view of an OJS-powered website, we have to change the workflow for it to work differently. For example, a homepage could show snippets of articles (list of articles from all journals published on the website. The journal manager should be able to designate the journal she/he wishes to flash content from or OJS can automatically build a homepage based on the activity of the website (sort of like AI).
A homepage can contain the following: links to new articles from all journals or a selected journal, links to new issues (points to newly published issues without a table of content), journal announcement, subscription box (a sort of quick way to make it super easy for users to subscribe), submission box (ways for authors to submit a paper), list of selected past issues, call for papers, editors profiles, search box, newsletter, and more. It is all about condensation, bringing the contents of an OJS-run website to readers.
Images are great since they can really change the look of a website, but they have to be optimized so that it does not affect loading time. I think colors are even better to use, but a mix of optimized images and colors can bring a homepage to life and make it interactive.
For all the great work that OJS does, we should set out a page for credit. We can list software used, and recognize the people who are instrumental in the journal. The OJS logo does not need to appear everywhere on the website because the focus should be on the journals.
It would be great to include the words past issues when the Archive link is presented. It takes sometime for people to know that archive is really just past issues.
That is it for now.