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Dec 10 2012

Feedback on the new layout

Those of you who browse from the main page will probably have noticed that Freethoughblogs (including this page) has a new layout. What may be apparent to you, but not to me, is how that has changed functionality with commenting, or the readability, or any number of other factors that affect how you use the site.

If there’s anything missing, inaccessible, or otherwise seriously problematic about the new format, please let me know in the comments or by e-mail. You can also tell me stuff like “silver is stupid” or “the new logo is for dorks” or “I like the old site better”, but please rest assured that I am ignoring you, because I can’t change that stuff.

27 comments

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  1. 1
    jackal

    Generally, the new format is fine, but I don’t like the center alignment of the post headings on the main page. If you’re gonna use bullets, the items should be left-aligned.

  2. 2
    jaketoadie

    The only problem I have with it is the previous/next post links being at the top of the post. I would prefer they be at the bottom of the post, if not in both positions.

  3. 3
    zekehoskin

    I really miss the links to previous/next posts that used to appear between the body and the comments. And I am not a fan of the way that, if you try to post a comment and aren’t logged in, you get a curt error screen *WITH NO LINK TO LOGIN*, and your comment is discarded.

  4. 4
    zekehoskin

    Okay, my bad, jaketoadie found the links. My timing sucked.

  5. 5
    Loqi

    A log in link around the comment box would be nice. I had to do a search to find it on this page. On the FTB Recent | FTB Active panel, I’d prefer it if FTB Recent were the default. It helps me keep up to date on the smaller blogs around FTB without having to check all of them constantly. I’m usually browsing on my phone, and extra clicks on slower mobile devices are expensive from a user experience perspective.

  6. 6
    Crommunist

    I have forwarded this and all previous recommendations on to the FTB tech folks, who are (as one might expect) struggling mightily to work out the bugs. Please keep the suggestions coming.

  7. 7
    TxSkeptic

    I second the issue with the previous/next links. I click these links after reading the post, not before. Having them at the top also, can be useful when skipping over a post, but you don’t really want us doing that, eh?

    Also, can you please restore them to a larger font and a more noticeable color? Older eyes would appreciate it.

    And oh yes, a convenient log-in link! Or better yet, have it prompt you to log-in when you hit submit instead of accusing you of being an imposter.

  8. 8
    LeftSidePositive

    Definitely add next and previous article links at the end, too. That way, when you finish reading an article, the links to the next one are right there!!!

  9. 9
    Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden

    The FtB active/Recent box should really default to “FtB Recent”.

    Far more people want to know what’s knew from the Bloggers than what’s new from the commenters. Yes, I and others take active part in discussions and would like to see what’s recently important, but there’s a larger group of people that aren’t commenting.

    Plus, it’s annoying to me personally. Really active threads stay really active – I can check those 1/day to see if I missed an important conversations. But new blog posts easily disappear without notice by the time 24 hours roll by.

  10. 10
    Martha

    Seconding those above who prefer the next/previous links at the bottom of the post. Thanks to jaketoadie for pointing out that they’re actually there at the top– I’d missed that.

    Also seconding those who prefer the default “FtB Recent.”

    Thanks for soliciting comments about this, Ian.

  11. 11
    joshfreeman

    What is the possibility of adding a comment voting system? Has this been discussed before (either here or on another FTB blog)? Maybe a “Smart” button and/or a “Funny” button? Friendly Atheist has one and the top “Best” comments are always extremely insightful in my opinion.

  12. 12
    Crommunist

    Not a bad suggestion, but not one that I see getting implemented any time soon to be totally honest. Right now we are trying to grapple with getting the basic functionality back. Once we’ve dealt with the glitches, I’ll run this idea up the flagpole and see who salutes it.

  13. 13
    jenny6833a

    Larger type on the home page is good, but it’s now too large.

    Someone did an inspired job of hiding the login box. Once logged in, off we go to a garbage page from which I (so far) must exit FtB, then re-enter.

    Tags and attributes should be above the reply box, not below it.

    And it would be ever so nice to have a blinking cursor … ooops, as I write this one magically appeared.

  14. 14
    Pierce R. Butler

    Agreed that the active/recent posts list in the sidebar should default to “recent” (or be user-settable) – and there should be (many) more than half a dozen items shown there.

    How about a link to a page on introductory FTB-compatible HTML below the comment box, as well as the short/incomplete list of options shown?

    And the dark gray color scheme isn’t quite creepy enough – maybe a brief audio clip of maniacal laughter and screaming should play with the loading of each page, to complete the effect?

  15. 15
    LeftSidePositive

    YES TO THIS!!!

    (I thought I was the only one annoyed by the default-active!)

  16. 16
    LeftSidePositive

    I’m fine with the center alignment, but center-align+bullets is an abomination! Pick one or the other. I don’t care which, but not both.

  17. 17
    (e)m

    San Serif fonts are harder to read.

  18. 18
    leftwingfox

    Agreed on this.

    Aside from that my only major quibble is the centered text on the homepage.

  19. 19
    Joe

    I agree with this. They could also be a bit bigger and further away from the ad bar, as I’m having to be pretty careful not to accidently get a free psychic reading.

  20. 20
    ahcuah

    I still hate the fixed width–it’s too large. I read FtB with a window about 1050 pixels wide.

    Also, in addition to the date of each posting, a time sure would be nice. (If I check in again later in the day, it helps me determine if I’ve seen that entry before.)

  21. 21
    John-Henry Beck

    I thought those links had gone away entirely. It was Joe’s post that had me triple-check and found them. I’d been overlooking them as part of the banner ad block.
    So, yes, the next/previous post links need help.

  22. 22
    fwtbc

    There are accessibility issues with the reply link in comments. If you’re using a screen reader, which I am, the reply link appears before the comment. It’s then rather annoying to navigate backwards to find it once I’ve listened to the comment should I want to reply, especially for larger comments.

    If you’re able to just abandon threaded/nested comments and move to chronological comments, there’ll be a lot of grateful people.

  23. 23
    Crommunist

    Is there a consensus around moving from nested comments to ordered comments? It’s really easily fixed, and makes no difference to me.

  24. 24
    fwtbc

    Ed asked this question on his blog a while ago and the concensus was an overwhelming preference for unnested.

    http://freethoughtblogs.com/dispatches/2012/08/10/nested-comments-yes-or-no/

    The main reason given for hating threaded comments is that it’s too hard to catch up on a comment thread as you’ve got to scan through the whole thread to find new comments, which is annoying for 20 comments and fucking torture for 200.

  25. 25
    Crommunist

    And just like that, threaded comments are toast.

    If you’ll allow me to ramblingly indulge in a bit of blog nostalgia, the reason why I had nested comments in the first place is because when this blog caught it’s wind, I was averaging maybe 5-6 comments per post. And since all of my commenting happens on the back end of the site, I’ve never had to wrangle with the threading.

    Anyway, it’s done now.

  26. 26
    fwtbc

    And the people rejoiced!

    Thank you!

  27. 27
    742

    this is an odd one: since new layout, sometimes when i click on links i get a new tab opened to ‘liberty online university’ though this could just be someone fucking with me on my end

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