Does anyone else find the new site confusing? Has the number of posts increased, decreased or stayed the same since upgrade?
Love the concept but just harder to use.
Does anyone else find the new site confusing? Has the number of posts increased, decreased or stayed the same since upgrade?
Love the concept but just harder to use.
Thanks for feedback, without such nothing can be improved on or fixed. So keep it coming. I would ask where possible to try muster specifics to taper any feelings or impressions.
“It’s different, I’m not sure…I feel nauseous” is not going to gain much attention rhetorically speaking, need more tangible insights to produce results!
So I’d appreciate if you could even at leat hone in on Q1 here:
What exactly is confusing?
A: Probably, but yes and no - it’s very early days and it takes time to stabilise, especially from a site traffic point of view. It may be lower than normal initially for a range of reasons.
What is harder to see? Topics, Categories, interface elements (UI), fonts… etc. etc. there could be theme issues or real world bugs. So more detail.
I’ll add a note that the Categories are being re-worked to fit the structural organisation approach of this platform, that will take a bit more editorial time to make work.
OK. I’ll jump in. I’ve had this posting on hold for the last few days to see how the site UX stabilized…
An observation from someone who has been online since the glass teletype days of CompuServe in the 1980’s. The new bb package looks great on cell phones, looks good on tablets, and is completely unusable on desktop browsers. Which means that the bb is basically now only geared for social media type casual browsing and very short one liner hit and run comments with emojis. Which inevitable turns threads into Is!/Not!/Is!Not! ping pong matches.
Its the longer comments from very informed contributors that makes sites like this so sticky. For year after year. Making it look like yet another Dot Com social site ruins the readability of the informed comments and makes directed browsing a chore. The overarching design goal for UX / graphics designers for this style of online interaction and presentation is minimum necessary information displays so as to drive maximum page churn / click traffic. Hence the huge waste of screen space. Not sure if this is what you want for this site, long term
For me the two best sites over the last two decades for informed commentary and balancing traffic management and usability for long term high engagement users is the aviation site pprune and the tech business site theregister. Both make browsing the comment threads inviting and encourage the posting of informed comments. In the case of pprune by ultra aggressive pruning of comments to stop thread drift in high traffic threads.
Anyway, I understand why bb server software needs to be updated due to inevitable code rot but not sure if looking like yet another social media site as touted by crunchbase is the way to go. I know from a purely UX point of view this has been by far the most unpleasant thread positing to create in more than 10 years of posting here. A real chore. Actually uncomfortable to look at the screen, using both both light and dark themes, for more than a few minutes on a laptop. So purely a casual browsing UX experience. Not for any sustained interaction. Which had been the real value of this site in the past.
So maybe a UX experience more like a traditional bb UX might be more suitable than the current mobile focused social media site UX.
Yes, I think so. I have been reading the pin for quite some time. The new format is quite cumbersome. Also, I have noticed a lot less content being posted. Just my two cents!
@jmc I broadly agree with UX points from the aesthetic point of view but I also think it’s not that awful that it’s unusable on desktop, which is where I’m right now ( I felt same way in 2015 when I first used it now not so much now), it’s averaged better across devices and traffic is high on mobile as much as desktop for many years - Keep in mind we’re running on out of the box themes, and work will be done on that once other work is done running another upgrade first.
Historically, the iPhone hadn’t even appeared yet - 2006 is when the pin arrived and it had stayed in that posture up until last week. Tbh at some cost.
Personally I’m not a big fan of the content font sizing, spacing, leading and form.
Things like reliable emails out, responsive standards for mobile, handling embeds and other issues needed to be solved. A 10+ year old install of phpBB forum was wanting for many years and it’s latest siblings not incredible out of the box. Mobile readers were really under catered for. I know I’ve read and responded more using mobile in the last week than I had in previous months, maybe years!
It’s funny way back when we moved from phpBB 1 to 2, we mangled the CSS to keep the older my first HTML website look. No one really liked the phpBB2 theme (still the same) - this is when avatars moved to the right column and the text justified to the left. Perhaps there is a sense of that with the off centre alignment on desktop.
Naturally centred is better.
The upgrade made fix or address subtle things. Not sure yet. I know there is a switch between mobile/desktop layout but this might only be when on mobile devices.
As for emojis, they ain’t no smilies if ya follow. There is no Ninja! Like WTF!?
Can you qualify or define “cumbersome” in more detail - appreciated in advance thanks.
On the subject of posts. Traffic drops post migration, it’s that simple. For various reasons. It’s only beginning to move toward normal this week and it can take weeks or months to work out. That’s the reality. Compare that to the past when email was wonky for long periods. Users couldn’t even register to post let alone get alerts about threads! That really affects traffic over the long term I can tell you - desktop notifications are now a thing if you allow them.
So much operational uptime and functionality has been gained. It’s hard to fathom maybe as a user.
There are still users having log in issues, names or emails issues etc. etc. that will take time to work itself out and with assistance.
Users take time getting use to the look and feel, navigation etc. etc.
There is always a possibility that a new platform such as Discourse is so horrible and cumbersome that it kills the interaction dead.
If it’s just some sensitive theme (UX/UI) work and familiarisation time, neither of these thing seem impossible to address, help and resolve.
I’ve obviously been playing with the forum and content for longer - I don’t think it takes more than a week maybe two max to get comfortable.
If it is something so fundamentally uncanny that is the issue, then please let’s hear it.
If users want to help improve traffic, consider sharing content more often, consider generating content more often and I’d hope that more up to date backend makes that all the more possible.
I too am finding it very hard to get used to. I’m not a tablet or phone user for this website, I nearly always drop in from my work or home laptops. And on the laptop, the front page feels unstructured and a bit all over the place.
I feel I cannot follow the Latest Posts and so am not on here as regularly as I would have been previously.
But as you say, it takes time to get used to and the previous versions were aging.
On the front page:
Unless all users have avatars, the Users column that displays an ID of the most recent posters is unnecessary noise, as in it is a lot of colour that attracts the eye and gives little info in return.
Also it took me a while to realize the text which shows the time elapsed since the last post is a link to the last post in the thread.
A big plus, if you start writing a post on your desktop, get distracted and later login on your phone, your draft post is persisted. Fantastic !!!
I agree it looks/feels much better on a smaller screen, but I wouldn’t say it is unusable on a larger monitor.
Things that cannot be helped but should be noted ->
No consultation with users on the drastic design change. Users are what keep this site alive and to completely revamp everything without any input from at least the main contributors of the site was misguided and you risked a lot there.
Haven’t checked it on a phone/tablet but on a desktop/laptop so I’d echo the comments that it’s pretty unusable. Many times I felt nauseous scrolling this site now which is a damn shame. Dark theme helps somewhat compared.
Now rant over - onto things that could help ->
Proper borders to separate posts, the tiny little line going across between each post doesn’t cut it. Make it a strong border separating each post.
I would go further - 2 similar colours applied to post 1, post 2 and repeat from then on. These colours within the posts should be distinctive from the background of the site colour, again to show clearly each post as you scroll. This would help negate the feeling of looking at the same thing over and over as you scroll down.
Personally - not a fan of the unlimited scrolling and this sidebar on the right, I actually miss clicking from one page to the next, at least I had a sense of where things were - like oh that good link was on page 42/70. Now there is no feeling of connection of posts within a whole thread. Just one endless scroll.
Now I have to constantly scroll and the nauseous feeling you get from that puts me off and I don’t bother trying. Can this be an option to change back to? And set the amount of comments you can have per page? If users could pick what they wanted that would be ideal.
The reply feature is good at least
The latest posts section should be the strongest part of the site. Remove users, provides no real value. I’d prefer ->
Topic - Category - Replies - Views - Name Of Last User That Posted - Activity
Agreed and already ear marked for redesign or the chop.
It appears to be an early idea not well thought out still in the standard theme.
It didn’t take you that long
2 weeks, I think after 2 weeks fo using this platform, it begins to knit in the noodle.
I would estimate I’m 4/6 weeks in hands on and have really started to enjoy it once I had time to browse the content and experience some real interactions which is only since last week.
There are a ton of posts and topics I realise I had completely lost the run of, a bit shocking actually.
It’s the sum total of little things that make the difference, it’s a matter of experincing/discovering.
Click things. See what happens. Share the insight.
Like who reads manuals?
Someones got to take the risks so you can all enjoy the rewards.
Give it 2 weeks.
Week 1 = Cognative Disoanace overload.
Week 2 = Remorse, Nostalgia, all the emotions.
Week 3 = … I love this feature, and have you seen this one… and to think I was one of the nay sayers.
Rants are welcome. It’s what forums were made for!
When themes are the focus, a lot should be addressed.
Personally I’ve been finding scrolling in general a nauseous experience throughout the web - My thinking is it’s a combo too much phone browsing overall and a life time of starting at flickering light but there is also PWM to consider.
OLED - PWM: It’s a real thing folks, seriously consider it before you purchase your next phone or tablet, or if you are finding you have suddenly developed eye strain issues with your phone or device.
Pulse-width modulation (PWM) in OLED displays
Pulse-Width Modulation, or PWM, is one of the ways display makers can use to adjust the display’s brightness. PWM is considered to be an easy (or cost-effective) way to control the brightness, but it has serious drawbacks, such as flicker that may cause eye strain and headaches. In this article we’ll discuss PWM and its effects on OLED displays. - https://www.oled-info.com/pulse-width-modulation-pwm-oled-displays
So I don’t like scrolling either much but I do think a bright white background is a huge part of the problem and some undiagnosed OWM issues for others. The dark theme also helps as you have noted.
Yet even on more static designs, you still have to scroll. Maybe take a break at every ad and see it as a next page.
In terms of orientation - I do think this is a matter of getting use to it but it’s not without similar conventions and notches to keep track - Maybe you have not noticed but on both mobile and desktop, there is a progression counter of posts I think it is, thought it was pages/sections but it’s posts.
Here is an image that illustrates the progression feedback on the desktop version (located in the top right).
You can also grab that and use it to scroll forward and back through the entire topic. Start to end. There is also a mobile version, it has a pop up where it is located on the bottom right of the mobile device and you can also scroll through previews of posts with a preview too.
It’s an incredibly fast way to navigate topics that have thousands of posts, spanning many many years without having to fight with next or hit a specific tiny page number.
Try it out!
Agreed. Already pinpointed in any initial theme work but all the elements you want are essentially there. Click on a topic title and it bring you straight to the first latest post or the last point you read.
@FreeFallin In fairness, it’s not dissimilar to the old phpBB latest - the same information is there.
You can click the Category, Replies, Views and Activity Column header to sort to your needs, latest first / oldest first, all you need to do is click!
You are immediately looking at the latest posts for everything in that section. See below a quick visual guide I made.
Drill into a sub category and same again.
Click a column header again it goes back to previous state.
Repeat ad nauseam.
I though some users might prefer setting their homepage to something like Categories (it also includes a Latest posts column),
This is why I wrote up this guide as it’s a feature buried in user profile settings.
This feature and similar are only available to registered users.
I have a slight feeling of a tunnel vision reading posts on this new platform.
The font/post area seems quite small 10.5cm and margins seem quite large. 8.5cm/11.2cm on my screen.
Could just be adjusting process.
I wish there was some kind of border between posts, they all just blur together in a thread, Im constantly looking to see whats new, whats a quote etc. Its hard work reading the board now.
I’ve switched to the dark theme, which is a bit better but another colour in between the white or black option might be needed.
Also, the margins left and right have large gaps, which seems unnecessary.
One endless scroll can be handy sometimes, but for longer threads I’d prefer different pages I can click through. Perhaps this could be made an option in settings, similar to the dark or light theme?
I’m glad I waited a few days to comment, as I don’t hate the new layout quite as much as I did. That said, I know another site that switched to the same software and lost all its users (though I think the extenuating circumstance was that they were all old codger investors who were used to certain tools on the old site).
My top three dislikes have already been mentioned: 1) the pointless users list against the posts on the “Latest” page, 2) the continuous scrolling and its control – I felt much more anchored with the paginated version, 3) gratuitous wastage of screen real estate.
My top likes are the use of Markdown, the context sensitive treatment of links in posts, possibly email notifications, and I’m sure there are other features I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting yet.
Bottom line – it’s a tool; if the site content is interesting enough it’ll be worth the effort to make it work.
P.S. After a couple of years of browser push notifications, the Pin just became the first site I’ve ever clicked the Allow Notifications button on
P.P.S. Did I mention I hate the emojis. The phpBB ones had a certain mischievous character about them.
Sorry hadn’t been on for a while and thank you for taking the feedback in the spirit it was given. Agree with the other users comments. Easier to navigate on the mobile. Allot of space on the desktop. Not sure if seeing the users that contributed to each discussion on the home page adds anything. Main thing I want from the home page is to see the lasts forums being discussed and then when I click on one seeing the latest comment in the particular forum. Once this is default i’m happy. Great site and thanks to all those who make it happen and contribute.
The reality is users on mobile devices (phones and tablets) are in the majority by sometimes a whole 10% - such users have been underserved for far too many many years.
I think this has been resolved in spades with this migration.
However, it might be the case desktop users typically create the more in-depth content, being the majority creators of original topics and posts but they too have gained a lot of better features and functionality to represent their posts better IMHO and ability to access proficiently on a mobile device also.
While there is some speculation on my part here based on users comments, traffic stats (tbh it’s not entirely clear without doing a survey), but at least now the vast bulk of users can read the content on the same level is a win-win.
Further, the ability to create content and really join in on a mobile device has been made a lot easier. So whatever the assumed ratio is, it may rebalance for the better.
It’s all up for grabs!
It’s imagined that it is also easier to keep track if on the move, for e.g. commuting by bus, train, plane or as the PITA back seat driver (you might be a bit more quiet now) i.e. across multiple devices on the go.
Not merely those endeutured to career cubicle of daily productivity possession.
It doesn’t other than it contributes to lots of moaning.
Ok, I’ve read up on the genesis of this thing - It appears the idea behind it came from the core dev of this platform and was intended to give a visual display of activity and users involved in a topic, with the idea being to potentially encourage other users to jump in based on perceived activity, reputation of contributors etc. etc.
An interesting idea, that perhaps shouldn’t have gotten past the walk to the watercooler stage … or it should have at least been conceptualised visually in a more developed form, it’s somewhat like an attempt to replicate a HOT topic feedback. Yes totally ill conceived, it should be consigned to dust-bin at this point or more configurable out of the box but we don’t build the base deployment.
It’s usually gone in a lot of customisations.
I’ve never seen an argument to keep it yet and many I assume ignore it.
Click (you see): Oldest NEW unread post/comment, which could be located:
You do not see last/latest comment in a topic, click Pg Down or whatever the equivalent is on your OS.
Anything posted here given in assistance that is technically inaccurate, mea culpa. It’s still new to all and I’m sure someone will update any factual inaccuracies.
(Dark Theme activated)
Topics that you are involved in, will have the badge for any new posts since you last read it. I was up to date so your post was the 1 new post in that topic. You probably saw a higher number if you were away for longer.
You also get notifications to your profile badge at the top left and you can turn on push notification to your desktop. Like ps200306 menitoned, it’s not a feature I use elsewhere but I do so now for the pin.
I think it’s clear this is more functionally important and most logically useful.
Using read last post the old way was often more a symptom of the bad layout or a quick way to get to the end of the thread, but you kind of missed the oversight of how much you were pushing past in terms of posts. It encouraged bad habits, like going to end and rolling/reading back to try catch up.
Seeing X pages-of-post was not very informative.
Now you see instantly how many posts are new in a topic you’ve been involved in.
If you see only 3 new posts, sure you might give that a quick read first, if you see 337, hmmm you might leave that one for later! Visually it’s fast feedback.
For the topics you have not read at all or been involved in will display as bolder or more pronounced.
Topics that you have gotten to the end of entirely are more ghosted back by colour and/or boldness, it’s Theme dependant see below how it looks in dark & light theme. It will also vary per browser.
Additionally, if you are busty writing a long post like this and other users are banging’ out gold and you navigate back to the latest page in an open tab (no refresh) you’ll see an alert at the top of the latest list that will indicat X numbers of new posts and a click here message, that when you click will update the latest list before your eyes without a notification.
(Dark Theme activated)
Finally - If you choose the “UNREAD” menu option, all the topics will appear strong in visual weighting and I think also have a badge of post counter left to read to end of topic.
Give it 2 weeks!
Hope this helps.
This site, like other blogs that attract well informed comment, has to compete with twitter for both readership and contributions. It is the longer more thoughtful posts and discussions that make it worth the bother of visiting. It is effort to post something thoughtful, often people won’t bother - because, well, why bother!
Every incremental increase in inconvenience is going to make it more likely people won’t bother. There’s always twitter.
I know it is very irritating when you construct something impressive from one perspective, and people don’t like it, but I have to say I am very close to just not bothering to even visit the sight after the redesign. I agree with other comments that it is close to unusable on a pc.
Here I am working away on desktop, I hit reply, I start typing… (I hide the post-preview because sometimes I want the post/edior centred if I’m not in full screen for the longer posts)
On a point of information - there has been no aesthetic redesign other than by virtue of the migration to a new platform and using the standard themes with some small customization. Further tweaks are being worked on in the background to try and address some of the basic aesthetic feedback