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opinions on the new forum look  RSS feed

 
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John Wolfram wrote: Doing a review of the screen with the old design, about 92% of the area is devoted user content (green areas), while 8% is devoted to artistic fluff (sidebars, etc.). In the new design only 71% of the screen area is devoted to content.



There is a button that looks like an eyeball that will shrink the menu on the left. That might help some.

It is possible that as time passes we can come up with options for some folks to get a simpler view.

 
paul wheaton
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Bill Crim wrote:As someone who regularly reads the forums on a laptop, the abuse of the vertical display area is enormous. I can just barely see 2 forum posts.



Part of the vertical space is being consumed by stuff for this beta period.

Other than that, I agree with your analysis. I think there are things we can do to tighten this up. Devaka?

 
paul wheaton
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Bill Crim wrote:The more I look at the little Preview Icon on every thread, the less I like it. Threads without the preview pic look like they are missing something, and threads with the preview pic aren't enhanced.



The threads that don't have a preview pic: I think the lack of pic encourages people to add a pic to help draw attention to their new thread.


Also... It isn't a thumbnail image. It is the real full-sized image, just scaled down visually. You are still sending a full-size image to my computer. This would be bad for bandwidth costs.



I know that devaka is working on this today.

 
paul wheaton
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John Wolfram wrote:
If you made the left side menu hidden by default, and switched the black frame at the top to be scrollable, the page would be much better.



I'm going to make the executive decision to have the default be the way the default is now.

After all - that allows folks to jump to the rest of the site.
 
paul wheaton
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Dave Burton wrote:So far, I have been in the new system for about five-ten minutes. This is my first-off reaction: it seems a bit dim in the forum, aesthetically speaking.



Any chance you can take a screen cap and then modifiy it to show what you think is better?

 
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Michael Newby wrote:Just saw the beta site for the first time on my phone (Galaxy S5) and I have to say that I really really don't like it.



Are you looking at "the mobile view"? That should be the same as before.

 
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:I remember how horrified I was back in 1996 when the HotBot search engine came out... All those funky colors about gave me an epileptic fit. I believe that a large part of Google's success was that they chose a plain black and white format. No nonsense. No decorations. Just plain old easy to read black on white text.



I think it is possible that we can add some stuff so that different users can opt in for different views. Maybe shortly after the final new look and feel is released.
 
paul wheaton
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Matu Collins wrote:The beta view is really hard to use on my phone. The text smooshes together and space is wasted on the dark wood border. Too much going on, simpler is better.



Are you using "the mobile view" or the non-mobile view?
 
paul wheaton
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The general design was something that Alexander and I worked on back in 2012. It has been slowly getting further and further along since then.

Along the way, we hope that the new design will:

- use less overall bandwidth
- be easier to navigate
- be able to empahsize new things without manual intervention
- old forums will sorta fall away automatically
- we will be able to add thousands of new forums
- people will be able to customize the forum view to focus on the content they like
- make everything more media rich


Overall, the look I am shooting for is a bit of rusty, dusty steampunk-ish. A wood object with some old brass buttons and a view screen.
 
paul wheaton
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Nicole Alderman wrote: The permies tree icon, though, looks rather glaring, as it's background is white and square. It would be better if the background was the same so it blended in.



Yup - we have some changes in the works that should show up in a few days.



One other thing I noticed that I don't care for is how the new look changes the "date and time" that a post is made. Instead of saying, "Today 8:50:02 AM" it says, "9 hours ago." Or, instead of "7/26/2015 8:37:01 AM" it says "2 days ago." Or, worse yet, in place of "2/17/2013 6:19:43 PM" we have the horribly vague "2 years ago." I hate the rough estimates. I drives me nuts that facebook does this. I'd hate to see it happen here permanently, too!



That changed about a year ago. If you hover over it, it will tell you the details of the exact date and time.
 
paul wheaton
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Ron Helwig wrote:I've noticed that when opening pages from an email notification, I have to scroll back up a little to get to the actual start of the message its supposed to take me to. The amount I have to scroll is about the same as the top bar (Forums | search | etc).



On the list of stuff to be mended.
 
paul wheaton
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Willy Walker wrote:
Also consider a mobile version, please! most of my reading is from a mobile device.



We've had a mobile version for many years now. You have not seen it?
 
paul wheaton
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Len Ovens wrote:
Not sure why the message compose screen is so different, maybe not updated yet?



Not updated yet.

 
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paul wheaton wrote:

Michael Newby wrote:
...Kind of messes with the "flow" of the page...



Please help me to understand this better.


My thoughts are that if a person comes to a forum or to the main forum page, they would be most interested in our most popular stuff. So that is what appears on the left most column, the most popular stuff of all time. The second column would reflect the top stuff this month - so it might include stuff that they have heard about recently. Then the "most recent" column is the stuff that our regulars will probably be the most focused on.



It's not the order of the columns but the fact that each column is a different overall length on the page.
 
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Yes, sure thing! Here are two pictures comparing the new and old forum looks.

The biggest difference I find between the new and old forum looks is that the New Forum Look has a much darker background color than the Old Forum Look.

I honestly couldn't care that much about how the forum looks and feels as long as I have the Recent Topics and Zero Replies buttons somewhere easy to find. Those are the two features I use the most. After using the New Forum Look for several days now, I'm fine. I know where everything is now, and the change in the background of the forum is normal, now that I have become accustomed to it.

I did the first, second, and third reaction thing to share my thoughts and reactions at specific times of adaptation to change.

To me, I found the background color change and the color scheme changes to be the biggest to adapt to. This is mostly because I'm a visual/hands-on/interactive learner and am more responsive to imagery. Other people may or may not react differently depending on the type of people they are and what they respond to.
New-Look.jpg
[Thumbnail for New-Look.jpg]
The New Forum Look
Old-Look.jpg
[Thumbnail for Old-Look.jpg]
The Old Forum Look
 
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SO MUCH BETTER!

I haven't read all the comments, but I know some people are not pleased. For some of those of us who understand that aesthetics is important to visual communication we thank you and bless you for making something that you can look at and easily decipher and understand clearly and easily. Thank you.

Screen efficiency is not only percent of screen filled with text info. Thought am sure that for hardcore coders this is enough.

Let the debate continue.

Seth
 
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Thru no fault of ya'll I have to deal with adds popping up, skipping my screen around. Other forums have each post in a thread numbered, this helps me to find where I was before my malware tells me I have malware and they recommend that I purchase their product to get rid of their malware. Grr!! I also found this option useful before this difficulty arose.

Hovering to find out the date of a post, takes more than 10 seconds. Perhaps this is a quirk of my own computer, but it is information that I find useful to have available at a glance. If possible, please change it back.

As noted by another, a button for reaching the oldest unread post would be appreciated.

Bottom line, I will adjust to whatever changes ya'll make as I love the content of your forums. Thanks for providing the venue for my continuing education.
 
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On the positive side, I find the graphics quite cute and in keeping with the main website. Personally, I prefer uncluttered websites, and especially in forums, the cleaner the better.

Two important points to consider

1. I'm sure that many users would like to see an option for adjusting text size.

2. Folk not living in the USA, or other leading parts of the digital world, that have to endure very slow internet speeds at exorbitant costs. Graphics heavy pages take too long to load and use up extra data, compleatly unnecessary in a forum page.

Kind regards 😊
 
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Rafael Pareja wrote:
1. I'm sure that many users would like to see an option for adjusting text size.


Control + or - works in most browsers.


2. Folk not living in the USA, or other leading parts of the digital world, that have to endure very slow internet speeds at exorbitant costs. Graphics heavy pages take too long to load and use up extra data, compleatly unnecessary in a forum page.

Kind regards 😊



I can believe that Again,because this would be true of any website, making a change in the browser would be best. It is not as easy to find in Firefox etc. as it used to be, but it is still possible to turn images off. Note that doing so may have unexpected side effects... like less advertising...
 
Rafael Pareja
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Thank you so much Len for your response. although very helpful for computer users, your solution doesn't address the problem for iOS and Android users (tablets and phones). I should have been more specific in my original message.
 
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I like the new look, but could you keep the buttons on the left so they are on the screen all the time? I do bounce around a lot and it is a pain to scroll back up to find the buttons.
(just lazy on my part, I guess. )
 
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paul wheaton wrote:

Bill Crim wrote:As someone who regularly reads the forums on a laptop, the abuse of the vertical display area is enormous. I can just barely see 2 forum posts.



Part of the vertical space is being consumed by stuff for this beta period.

Other than that, I agree with your analysis. I think there are things we can do to tighten this up. Devaka?


I think we have queued up something about this in general. It has a lot to do with the menu bar too.
 
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I have to say, I was indescribably happy before the change...and I'll probably be happy later, too. But, I'm old... change is annoying. I am however amused and grateful how many things you get down around here.

I'm not bothered that the "old look" is simple and easy to navigate around. I can get used to a new look, but I always ask myself, What's all the fuss about?

A truly happy person.
 
Dave Burton
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Dennis Barrow wrote:I like the new look, but could you keep the buttons on the left so they are on the screen all the time? I do bounce around a lot and it is a pain to scroll back up to find the buttons.
(just lazy on my part, I guess. )



Here's how:

The buttons on the left stay active EVERYWHERE (except for on the PRIMARY FORUMS PAGE which is on OLD VIEW regardless of settings) so long as you do not DE-activate the VIEW BUTTON (i.e. looks like an eyeball).

In the first image, you can see the POSTING BOARD which includes the HOME BUTTON (indicated by the green arrow and looks like a house and links to the Permies Home Page), the PRIMARY FORUMS BUTTON (indicated by the blue rectangle and looks like a hamburger and links to the PRIMARY FORUMS PAGE), and the VIEW BUTTON (indicated by the yellow circle and reveals the "buttons on the left" as you call them when ACTIVE).

In the second image, you can see the VIEW BUTTON has been activated because the "buttons on the left" are shown (outlined in a pink box).

The third image displays the PRIMARY FORUMS PAGE.

As long as you DO NOT touch the VIEW BUTTON ever again, after you have turned it on, it will remain active regardless of which device you are on. Even after logging out, your preference for the VIEW BUTTON to be ACTIVE will be saved and stay on when you come back online. Just touch it once, and you can be lazy as long as you like!!!

P.S. The Universal Welcome will be overhauled once the New View becomes fully established as the only view.
Posting-Board.jpg
[Thumbnail for Posting-Board.jpg]
Posting Board with VIEW BUTTON DE-activated
View-Button-Active.jpg
[Thumbnail for View-Button-Active.jpg]
VIEW BUTTON ACTIVATED
Primary-Forums-Page.jpg
[Thumbnail for Primary-Forums-Page.jpg]
This is the Primary Forums Page in OLD VIEW
 
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The top menu that takes up so much screen height all the time can easily be modified to be normally hidden, and come into view instantly when you mouse to the top of the screen, only disappearing when you mouse off of it.
Just add this to the stylesheet (styles.css):

.tmenu.fixed {height: 1px; overflow: hidden;}
.tmenu.fixed:hover { height: auto;}

It can also be fancied up to slide gracefully down and up instead of instantly switching.
 
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(Was asked to put this in the right forum)

Wow. Gotta say that the beta view is pretty bad IMHO.
That's a lot of background noise going on there. Doesn't help readability for me in the slightest.

All the space down the lefthand side, coupled with the below the like signatures that can be quite large leads to a lot of scrolling to read posts.

Also the thread layout, being the same as the old one, makes it hard to follow the conversation. I would have thought this would be a thing to improve in the upgrade. Maybe using something like geeklists on the boardgamegeek site. One header with conversations under that header, a new header for a different but related to the OP's topic.
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/178180/what-are-best-gateway-games-and-what-category

Edit: For instance Evans ant village thread would have benefited from this type of layout, with the ability to be able to just subscribe to his updates.

The buttons on the page look like they come from some 90's clip art. The text on them has that funny backwards highlight shadow thing going on, which makes things unclear.

I'm not particularly bothered by the looks of websites. Usability and information density is what matters most to me, and any change in a site is disorientating, and therefore annoying in the short-term, but this look, I have to say I find quite off-putting.

I'd also like to say that it doesn't matter too much whether current users do or do not like the direction the beta is going in, it matters if it is changes your bounce rate. So until things are up and running, or you spend a small fortune on a focus group (yeah right) I guess no-one knows until it goes live.

I don't like knocking other people's work, but we all want feedback, right?
 
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I like it. The earthy look suits the general ethos of the forums. I haven't tried a whole lot but everything I did try worked just fine.
 
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Len Ovens wrote:

Dominik Riva wrote:
It looks old, like pages I designed 10 years ago.





I have been told the tk/tcl stuff I still sometimes use, looks old. So I was quite surprised when the latest version of a tool I use quite a bit looks like it uses tk for it's buttons etc. It uses qt which is actively developed and concidered some of the latest stuff out there. Great for designing crossplatform software.

As with womens clothing, GUI styles seem to go in cycles. The current trend in computers is towards people who are able to use a computer only if it is an appliance... like their phone or microwave or fridge. There are expected to be only 3 to 5 applications in use ever. Many of the new "styles" in SW look old to me too.



I didn't meant the kind of old that comes back. I was referring to my lack of skills back when I started. I had more decoration on my buttons then text so they where a big waste of space on my first website.

Now that I found the eye button, there is less waste of screen space but the switch makes the page jump which is visual "noise".
May be it would be better to have them as a drop-down or horizontal bar at the top?

My suspicion is that the forum makes it hard to go with a mobile first layout. So if a different layout and style is coming for the mobile version. I have one more suggestion for a dark mobile theme as amoled displays use less energy if they have to glow less bright.
 
Sue Rine
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Dave, I think Dennis means...can the side bar buttons travel down the page as one scrolls down so that they can be accessed no matter where on the page one is....is that correct, Dennis?
 
Dave Burton
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Sorry about that if I miss interpreted the comment. Anyhow, here is a simple enough solution, in my opinion, that does not require any coding- just a tad bit of knowledge of the part of the user.

In FireFox, Chrome, Safari, and most web browsers, there are two keyboard shortcuts to jump to the top and bottom of webpages.

The HOME KEY which literally is on many keyboards with the word "home" on it. If you press that button while actively on a web browser's page, it will take you to the top of the web page which will get you to the "buttons on the left" easily enough without the hassle of scrolling.

The END KEY which is right beneath the HOME KEY, in most cases, will take you to the very end of a web page.

If you are using a compressed keyboard (e.g. like a wireless keyboard), try these key combinations:
fn + left key = Home
fn + right key = End
fn + up key = Page Up
fn + down key = Page Down

Ta-da! I hope this solves the issue! Or at the very least, I hope it was relatively useful!

P.S. Here's a little more:
Beside the HOME and END Keys are the PAGE UP and PAGE DOWN Keys which do just that.

P.P.S. Actually answering the question: No, the "buttons on the left" do not hover or float on the web page, as far I can tell.

P.P.P.S. Here the link to the Beta Main Forum Page's discussion if any users wish to view for easy access. And please try to keep all discussion of the NEW FORUM VIEW/LOOK in this thread. Thank you!
 
Sue Rine
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That was useful information, thank you Dave. Funny, I didn't even know I needed to know that!

Just tried and it works...brilliant
 
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I don't like all the pictures on the home page taking up space and making it harder to find the section I'm interested in on this visit. The rest just seem like I'll need to get used to it. Yet it seems some of these changes may have forgotten us old folks who don't have all the computer savvy (like what is an "fn" key?) What seems "simple" to you may not be intuitive for me.

And, I also did not know about a mobile format. Where it that, how do I get there, etc. I simply gave up trying to be here from my Android except to listen to podcasts.
 
Dave Burton
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I don't know why mobile view on a mobile phone is not working for you.

Textise will make all webpages you view as text and hyperlink only.

If you want to view the mobile version of a website on a desktop, please try changing your browser's user agent.
 
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paul wheaton wrote:

Matu Collins wrote:The beta view is really hard to use on my phone. The text smooshes together and space is wasted on the dark wood border. Too much going on, simpler is better.



Are you using "the mobile view" or the non-mobile view?



The mobile view works well enough for reading the forums but for posting, the non mobile view is much more useful. For example, I needed to switch in order to use the "quote" function for this post.
 
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Just noticed the "beta view" thing....

While message threads themselves seem all right (if visually a bit noisy), the list of threads came up as a crowd of iconized blobs like small advertising banners, and was completely unusable. Promptly switched back to the old look and all was fine again.

It ain't broke. Don't fix it.
 
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I generally like it. A few comments:

I'm fine with with the one-level breadcrumb, but it is too small and hard to find/click. There seems to be plenty of space around it to make it bigger--at least the hit area. The breadcrumb is my usual way to exit a forum page. I wonder how it would be if the breadcrumb were moved up to the menu at top (so it doesn't scroll away). That menu takes 2 lines on my laptop anyway, so there is plenty of room there (at least on my laptop's screen width). Update: Ooo, I just noticed the breadcrumb now shows all the forums the post is in. That is really great. I hated on the old site to hit the breadcrumb and go to a forum that was not what I expected.

On the forum view, in the little boxes for each thread, the [ latest reply 1, 2, 3 < ... <8, 9, 10 ] is way too small: It is hard to see and harder to click. I'm always going to the first page when I really wanted the last one. Maybe some easier way to go to the last page would help. I only occasionally need to go to a page other than the first or last. But last is my most common choice and it is difficult.

I often open several threads in different Chrome tabs (ADHD??). Several times, it seemed the buttons stopped working on a tab--cured by page reload. I think this always happened after I modified a view parameter (like hitting the "eyeball" button), but I'm not sure. I definitely want multiple tabs to work. It could have been just user error, though.

I like the darker background behind the text. Big areas of white background are hard on my old, migraine-prone eyes, especially at night.

I did not find the eyeball-to-hide-the-left-panel nor the hover-over-vague-date until those features were pointed out in this thread.

Thanks for the work on the site. Paul's vision post above sounds really great: "add thousands of new forums" Wow!
 
Kerry Rodgers
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(not sure this is the right thread, but here goes...)

On the mobile site:

The notification emails come with a link to the new post (e.g. forums/posts/list/12345#6789), but on my iPhone, the #6789 part doesn't work. It always goes to the TOP of the page. It will be on the right page of the thread, but not scrolled to the post. This is annoying on the phone, because it is pretty hard to scroll down a long ways without hitting anything else. The anchor works fine on desktop browsers, both in beta and old view.

I read email in the GMail app on iOS 8.4. The click behavior is the same on the embedded GMail browser, or if I paste the link into Safari. Same behavior clicking on the link in the iOS Mail app. When I arrive in Safari, I notice that something has rewritten the URL in the browser address bar to the /t/1234/labs/thread-title form. Maybe that's the problem?

Or am I doing something wrong?
 
steward
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The quote feature doesn't seem to be working on the beta site... Instead of quoting the text it displays the underlying BB-code...
 
Mother Tree
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Joseph Lofthouse wrote:The quote feature doesn't seem to be working on the beta site... Instead of quoting the text it displays the underlying BB-code...



It seems to be working for me.

When you post, check the 'disable BB code in this message' box is unchecked.
 
Joseph Lofthouse
steward
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It seems to be working properly now...

Burra Maluca wrote:

Joseph Lofthouse wrote:The quote feature doesn't seem to be working on the beta site... Instead of quoting the text it displays the underlying BB-code...



It seems to be working for me.

When you post, check the 'disable BB code in this message' box is unchecked.



Check out this thread for a whole bunch of exposed BB Code:

http://www.permies.com/t/49907/food-preservation/canning-boiling-possibly-deadly#401374
 
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