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1 Charles Johnson  Jun 14, 2015 1:29:23pm

I appreciate the feedback - but it’s hardly rushing into anything. The current design has essentially been unchanged for more than 10 years.

There are some good reasons behind this redesign. For one thing, it lets you quickly see more articles on a single page, and get to a comment section without scrolling down. I think this will tend to keep older comment threads alive a bit longer, instead of everyone moving to the top thread as soon as it’s posted.

It also means you can see at a glance which threads are the most active.

And there’s a very good pragmatic reason to redesign too — Google has been rating “blog-like” sites lower in their search results, and it’s going to get even worse in the future. They favor sites that have “magazine” or “newspaper” style front pages, instead of a blog-style long scrolling list of full posts. This is just the way it is; and I can’t ignore it when LGF starts slipping down off the first page of Google results.

Another factor: I’m personally getting tired of the current look. It’s been a long time since I made a real change in the design, and it seems pretty stale and old-school to me now — cluttered and not very clean, and not very easy to get to the important stuff quickly.

2 SteveMcGaziBolaGate  Jun 14, 2015 1:55:20pm

re: #1 Charles Johnson

Thanks. It’s interesting to get a look at the decision process. Sometimes at school, my classmates were really bored because there would be no bloody emergencies at the ER, but I liked that because it gave me an opportunity to see how the wheels turned. Well, that’s my inner geek coming out anyway. That’s what I appreciate about your response.

3 blueraven  Jun 14, 2015 2:27:02pm

I appreciate that Charles is asking for feedback. He doesnt have to do that. It is his “house” so to speak and he can arrange it as he feels necessary, or just because he feels like it.

A few years ago as a president of an online org. I took it upon myself to get us a new website. Talk about a nightmare…design by board members! Every. single. little. decision. was a major bruhaha.

I finally had to draw a line and go with the web developers best advice and my own judgement.

In the end they were all happy, but boy did I learn a thing or two!

4 Eclectic Cyborg  Jun 14, 2015 2:40:12pm

Charles, any idea why Google has changed the way they rank sites like that?

5 Charles Johnson  Jun 14, 2015 4:54:22pm

re: #4 Eclectic Cyborg

Google never explains anything to lowly peons of the web.

6 Bubblehead II  Jun 14, 2015 5:00:42pm

Well for my two bits worth, I like the current format. But, in order to survive, you must evolve. Therefore, I, as a user will evolve and survive. Do I like it it? no. But I will evolve.

7 CuriousLurker  Jun 14, 2015 5:18:20pm

re: #3 blueraven

Design by committee is the worst. We wont touch that crap any more—give us a point person—in writing— to be in charge of relaying decisions/approvals and let him/her deal with the committee. If you don’t, then you either end up with a project that takes two or three (or more) times longer to complete than it should, or you end up with massive scope creep and lose $$. Ugh.

8 CuriousLurker  Jun 14, 2015 6:21:56pm

re: #5 Charles Johnson

I’m just going to address functionality, since I know this is only a rough preliminary design/layout.

Regarding subscribing to threads, I know we can subscribe to “all comments” on threads, which works fine for Pages, but it isn’t very practical for front page articles which regularly run into hundreds of comments. Some people are get such a shitload of emails every day (my boss gets literally hundreds), that they may not want to deal with more. WRT the Pages, I often find myself writing down the number of comments showing in the sidebar so I’ll know to check the page if it changes and I haven’t subscribed to “all comments”—a “last comment” timestamp there might also be helpful.

I would like to see a list of recent comments. You already have it in the left sidebar, but it only gives the nic and the article title, which, no offense, strikes me as fairly useless—in fact, I don’t think I’ve ever actually used it in the 5+ years I’ve been here. Maybe you could repurpose the code you’re using when hovering over the comments button on the new test page so that hovering over the nic would show a comment’s snippet & timestamp with a link to that comment’s location in the thread.

Gah, it’s always difficult to describe this stuff in writing.

Oh, one other thing: I like the way you have a green border around the latest front page article (which I realize may just be a temporary). Maybe whatever you finally decide on could also be used to visually indicate new comments? A timestamp & username of the last comment, like what we have now?

In the user profile box we get when we click on an avatar, it would be nice to see when the person’s last comment was (and a link to it) so we know if someone’s MIA and needs to be checked on. It would also be good if there was like an alphabetical user directory or (something similar) that we could refer to without having to click on a person’s avatar or type in the URL to the old /user/username page. Half the time I can’t remember the precise spelling of their nic, especially if they change nics often.* What’s their nic now? what was it originally? which one do I need to type in to find them? Does it have an underscore, a space, no spaces??

*Gives VB, Sergey & a couple of others the side eye

Anyway, that’s just my stream-of-consciousness brainstorming. Are you sorry you asked yet? LOL

If I think of anything else I’ll let you know.

9 CleverToad  Jun 14, 2015 9:26:15pm

Commented last night on the first draft presented. The new version is easier to decipher: current thread prominent, a little easier to trace the trail back through the previous threads. Thanks.

10 A Cranky One  Jun 16, 2015 7:57:12am

In my mind, the focus of this site is a little different than many. When I peruse news sites, my attention is on the articles and not on the comments. Conversely, I’m interested in the LGF articles but it’s the comments where I spend the bulk of my time. I don’t think I’m alone in this and many of the suggestions being made seem to support that idea.

So any changes that make it easier to keep up with the conversations would be a plus. This would include ways to see when a thread is still active and how recently the last comment was made.

When Charles mentions keeping older comment threads active via the change, I’m a little concerned that it will mean moving around a lot more between articles to keep track of the various conversations. Already, when a new thread is posted I find myself switching between the new thread and the previous thread to keep up with new comments. Spy mode makes this a tad easier but has some disadvantages.

I think the proposed layout is fine and it will be an easy adjustment. But the focus seems to be on the articles and not on the comments. Any features that make it easier to keep up with active threads and conversations would be appreciated.

11 FemNaziBitch  Jun 16, 2015 10:49:05am

re: #1 Charles Johnson

I appreciate the feedback - but it’s hardly rushing into anything. The current design has essentially been unchanged for more than 10 years.

There are some good reasons behind this redesign. For one thing, it lets you quickly see more articles on a single page, and get to a comment section without scrolling down. I think this will tend to keep older comment threads alive a bit longer, instead of everyone moving to the top thread as soon as it’s posted.

It also means you can see at a glance which threads are the most active.

And there’s a very good pragmatic reason to redesign too — Google has been rating “blog-like” sites lower in their search results, and it’s going to get even worse in the future. They favor sites that have “magazine” or “newspaper” style front pages, instead of a blog-style long scrolling list of full posts. This is just the way it is; and I can’t ignore it when LGF starts slipping down off the first page of Google results.

Another factor: I’m personally getting tired of the current look. It’s been a long time since I made a real change in the design, and it seems pretty stale and old-school to me now — cluttered and not very clean, and not very easy to get to the important stuff quickly.

After Spock got in touch with his feelings, I don’t know if I can handle a drastic change in the LGF homepage. I kinda depend on it to be familiar—with my morning coffee.

*sigh*


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