8
   

Request for Timeline.

 
 
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:17 pm
@Craven de Kere,
Craven, i never experienced a horizontal scrolling issue with the old format, so i hope you'll excuse people like me unhappy with the amount of vertical scrolling now required.
0 Replies
 
Foxfyre
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:17 pm
What we're dealing with here for the most part, I think, is the nerdy, geeky, and even normal but highly skilled types actually thrive on all the technical stuff versus the rest of us barely skilled enough to turn on the computer and log in. We 'illiterates' will of course be more frustrated and at a disadvantage in making the site work for us. The old format was difficult enough for first time message board users or those used to the more traditional style, but could be learned with a fairly minimal amount of effort.

This one is going to be tougher for us, but I'm already beginning to do most things that I want to do. My philosophy is bow to the majority unless the boss overrules it. Smile

I do wonder, however, why my new Avatar shows up in my profile but the old one remains on the page?
0 Replies
 
roger
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:18 pm
@sozobe,
I'm not even sure I would call that a workaround. It's just a preference. A choice we didn't have before.

sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:19 pm
@roger,
True.

My point is that yitwail seems to think he can't do anything about it -- but he can. (Psst, yitwail, bottom of last page if you missed it.)
0 Replies
 
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:21 pm
@yitwail,
Sozobe, i tried that already, in Explorer and Firefox. it doesn't eliminate tons of white space below the one line. this mainly affects trivia game play, of course, so not likely to be a high priority item for improvement i fear. please try it on this url: http://able2know.org/topic/25287-2524#post-3362200 and see what i mean. if it *does* work, then i have some OS incompatibility so i apologize.
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:25 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Quote:
It's that tags have been used to replace the forums. I don't think this adds usability in the slightest. You didn't have to add an extra step to post in the politics forum - you just hit 'post.'


Then you should be happy, because there's actually fewer steps here.

On the old site, you used to have to find the politics forum in the list of forums, go to it, then click new topic to post in it.

Here, on almost any page of the site you can click "ask a question" or "start a discussion" and type in the "politics" tag.

1 step, this is actually easier.

Quote:
You didn't have to search through a long list of unalphabetized...


You had to go through the list of forums, which weren't alphabetized. But the real issue is there were fewer of them and we dedicated a whole page to displaying them. Here there are more and in less space.

But we'll make a page for them, hell we'll make a paginating list of them with autocomplete search. It will be much easier, but there will be the fundamental difference between 70ish forums and tens of thousands of tags.

We'll make it easier, but the solutions are not the specific recommendations I've seen (1 per line, alphabetizing) because those solutions don't address the various UI issues the suggesters aren't thinking about (for example, that there are many more tags than in the cloud so the limit is the real fundamental problem and that alphabetizing it would render it useless in days because editorial control is maintained through volume).

Quote:
But these things are subdued in my mind, because of the extra steps that it takes to do the exact same things I used to do!


What extra steps? You named one and you were wrong. If you aren't specific it's hard to tell if this is just initial distaste or actually a thought out UI professional's opinion like you claim.


Quote:
I've been involved in website creation and User Interface design for a few years, and I can tell you that a prime rule is to not make things more complicated then they used to be when you upgrade something. It just doesn't make any sense at all to do so.


I'd be happy to discuss usability with you, I am very passionate about it and without a shred of modesty I can say that I am very good at it.

I'm not finished here, but I still don't think your specific recommendations represent good usability.
Quote:

I really wonder - what is it you find 'easier to use?' What takes less clicks or scrolling then it used to?


The one thing you claimed took more clicks I showed you takes less. What else do you have? Specifics will help me more than a general "bad usability" complaint with recommendations that aren't good usability.
Quote:

It seems to me that nearly every operation here takes more time and effort then it used to..


Like?
Quote:

Also, some aspects of the new site aren't at all clear - what tag should this post have been given?


I would give it an "able2know" tag, but it really doesn't matter because as long as enough people get how to tag things and do it it will work out. Individuals don't need to tag things at all if they don't want to.

Quote:
I've been looking around for some of the 'primer' or other posts that have been made to introduce people to the new site, and they are hard to find! They should be easy to find!


Seems like you may be the only one having problems finding them, for days it seemed like people found nothing else. All the most viewed, most replied and most voted topics in the last few days were these threads you speak of, with very few exceptions.
Quote:

Tags are not a replacement for actual organization. They are a neat idea, and a useful tool; but they don't give the same experience as what we had before, and that is a loss to me in many ways.


Tags aren't replacement for "actual organization". They are organization. Now maybe you like the more simplistic box instead of the more powerful tag, but that's a fundamental difference of opinion that is not as simple as "better" or "worse". You are just stating your own preference as being the best and this is actually a hotly contested usability pattern with lots of real research one can use instead of just the personal opinion.

There are inherent tradeoffs in the information architecture change, and they simply aren't as simple as you see it. If you'd like, I can point you toward more information about this.
sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:26 pm
@yitwail,
OK, I understand what you mean. (I think -- I wouldn't call it "tons" of white space, maybe 1.5 inches on my monitor.) I can't say that bothers me in the least, though. You have to scroll anyway, right?

Ah well. Thanks for clarifying.
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:33 pm
@yitwail,
No no, I get you. You are talking about something different than she is.

The old site had a default minimum as well, but it was a lot smaller. Now on the new site it is bigger but I'm not as convinced as you that it's worse.

For example, I spent hours toying with it, and had specific reasons for the height. And making those one word posts look so bare was actually a plus in some ways. One word posts are often not as useful as larger ones and I thought it would help maintain the more mature culture we already have.

Our posts are, on average, MUCH longer than the average poster and that kind of decision was made with much in mind about how to find the perfect balances of culture we have and want to maintain and usability.

Now the thing is, I changed the default behavior after launch, as it proved less ideal than I had hoped and the factors that went into this decision have changed.

But it's not a simple careless thing I did, and while I don't think it's perfect (seriously guys, the design is very very raw, and we launched without any moderators having even seen the mod tools to give you an idea of the bootstrapping nature of this effort) I have put a lot more thought into it than just "too much white".

I'm happy to hear opinions, and here I think you are right and the min height should be at least 50 pixels smaller. But I agonize over individual pixel differences and it's hard to explain to an individual user unless they too try to look at the bigger picture.
mushypancakes
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:36 pm
@sozobe,
"I just personally enjoy that part of it -- figuring things out -- and I think too many people are willing to jump to "this sucks" before they've figured things out."

That pretty much nails the distinction between a lot of people here: those that seem to enjoy putting the learning and work in to post here, and the rest (such as me) that don't have much patience so I can be on a forum.

Call it laziness or negativity, which is fair in its amounts, but really - it's a forum. There are various levels of commitment to this forum, and I've noticed those who have been around for EVER it seems (talk of Abuzz, whatever that was before my time) and have a sort of very long term investment in it...even having met people here, going to the meetings, knowing who and what Craven is all about (to me he is the magic maker behind the curtain most of the time - but thanks for your work Craven!).

So I think a lot of us honestly take this place for granted in the way one might of something you've come to know as reliable, and things somehow always get done...but it's not us doing the nuts n' bolts, and we aren't interested.

I just needed to get this out there, because it's frustrating to somehow get called down simply because a person is here for other reasons than contributing to New Information system or whatever it is called.

If it's required to understand the inner workings of the technology in order to be here, that is a real thumbs down.

- - - -One last thing. It's good to know this is development stage and still in flux. Looking forward to once the place has "settled down" into its actual form. Having it in its more polished form will for SURE make it more rewarding to put the time in to navigate and learn with more energy. ---

Yes. I hate the fluid tag structure, doesn't matter how much it will be improved. That's just a matter of some people thinking and organizing in different ways in their own heads; and now it will be catering to a different crowd a bit more. IF there ever is an option for doing it differently (doubt) as a custom thing, I'd be first on board.
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:36 pm
@Craven de Kere,
I should also add that we had some pretty nifty features built for navigating threads that didn't make the pre-launch cut that you may find very useful.

But in the mean time here's one you guys haven't found that did slip by (still not finished):

Access Keys.

For example, you can use keyboard shortcuts to paginate and don't need to click anything. P is previous and N is next right now.

So for example, in Firefox on Windows it's Shift+Alt+P or N and you can page through grids and threads.

You'll see a lot more usability from me, I promise. This is one of the things I'm best at.
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:37 pm
@sozobe,
no, not tons, but it doesn't affect just trivia. letty's topic, WA2K, has lots of posts containing not much more than url's to youtube clips, all though i think contributors are trying to put several url's in one post, rather than a separate post for each as a workaround. anyway, try this for example, and i think you'll see a fair amount of added whitespace: http://able2know.org/topic/40045-2026#post-3360585

in general, any topic with lots of short replies entails much more scrolling than before, but that's my subjective user impression. if it can't be fixed, then so be it, but if it's easy to fix, that would *really* make this user happy (and a few others too, i think, but i can't conduct a poll on it, can i?)
0 Replies
 
Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:40 pm
@Craven de Kere,
Bah, I forgot that since I made that Firefox has been shipping with defaulting the P combination I posted to launching Windows Media Player. An example of why it's unfinished. But in any case, that there's stuff like access keys that we plan to nail indicates the level of usability we are going to strive for.
0 Replies
 
Cycloptichorn
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:41 pm
@Craven de Kere,
Craven,

Please don't confuse constructive criticism with some sort of attack. I know that the launch is rocky and that things are still under construction.

You wrote:
Quote:


I have to disagree with the implication that without a timeline there is no real commitment to fixing things. It just means there's less resources to dedicate to trying to predict the future and communicate it. Right now, the visibility I have for example is:

I estimate we have another few weeks to tackle the various bugs and tweaks we need to make that we already committed to (much of which are things that bother you, even if you don't know it yet). Then our big priority is restoring private messaging. I estimate that will take at most a few weeks.


Dude, that is a timeline. It shows that there is understanding of some of the issues which have been raised by long-time users and a willingness to address those issues. I don't need you to write 'we'll have everything solved by Nov. 1st,' or anything like that; it's enough to say 'we're working on it.'

And, since you asked:

Quote:

I think you are being unfairly sarcastic, and I think you know that this is a loaded question. Of course no such decision was made, but if you give me specific examples of the extra work I'll be happy to tell you why it's that way now and if it is likely to change in the short term.


Okay -

- BBcode should be automatically on or at least given an option to be automatically on. I know that you have discussed changing this, I'm just making a list of stuff that takes more work then it used to.

- I used to be able to post politics topics without HAVING to add tags. Now I have to add them if anyone is to see them. This is an extra step.

- In order to do orderly nested quotes, it takes 5 steps where it used to take 1. I know opinions differ on the usefulness of this but the fact remains that it is a feature which was removed.

- In order to reply to the thread, I have to scroll to the top. Extra scrolling time = less time spent reading and writing.

- I can only see 8 topics at a time, I used to be able to see 20 or more. Extra scrolling time = less time spent reading and writing.

- Only 20 topics per page means I have to change pages constantly to see the newer stuff which has been posted. Extra clicks don't help the usability of the site.

- Lack of topic review in the 'posting' screen (other then the one you are replying to) is a definite feature loss, I know this has been discussed before in other threads so I won't go deeper into it.

- Avatars are too small to see and aren't accurately reflected on the user info screen. I have to click through to see what anyone's picture actually is and that's an extra annoying step.

- Navigation buttons should exist at both the top and bottom of the screen, or float in the manner of the side buttons. Every extra scroll or click required is wasted time and it's really not that difficult to replicate link buttons at the bottoms of pages.

And these are just the things I can think of off of the top of my head. There are many other issues which I know I have already seen you address that I have not listed here, as well.

I think part of my frustration comes from the lack of warning about the site changing. Now, I know that you had many topics on the upcoming change and that it was discussed in length; I didn't see any of those topics because I never visit any other forum besides 'politics.' Why was there not a general email sent out to the user list warning of the upcoming changes? It would have made those of use who weren't aware that the change is coming a lot more prepared, rather then just logging on one day to find our PM's inaccessible and our search ability gone. I regularly link to A2K posts in many of the other places I visit on the web and every one of those links seems to be dead now, which I gotta tell you really really sucks.

It seems that in an effort to address certain problems that users have, you have created a whole new set of problems for other users, and we are now concerned about it. I understand your position; it is analogous to a cabinet-maker, working very hard on a new piece of furniture, only to be told that the new designs have significant problems that didn't exist in the old design. I'm sure it's frustrating to hear the criticism. But please take it as constructive. I'm not an ultimatum guy, I'm not looking to leave, and I'm certainly not trying to pin you down to specific dates to deal with requests which you may or may not feel are worth putting the time and money into fixing. I mostly want to hear the words,

we're working on it!

That's confidence-inspiring. Not knowing whether or not the issues will ever be fixed, or whether you even consider people's issues to be important, is not confidence-inspiring. It would be nice if you had a thread entitled 'things we are working on' and one entitled 'things that aren't going to change.' Not knowing which items fall under which list is frustrating for us users.

Cycloptichorn
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:41 pm
@Craven de Kere,
CdK wrote:
I'm happy to hear opinions, and here I think you are right and the min height should be at least 50 pixels smaller. But I agonize over individual pixel differences and it's hard to explain to an individual user unless they too try to look at the bigger picture.

i'm right? super. so there's a chance of an adjustment then? something roughly midway between the old & new a2k would be a huge enhancement for me. Wink on the other hand, i recognize the conundrum: if the default gets smaller, then more of the "medium length posts" need scrolling. Confused now, if this could be a user option, it could be the best of both worlds.
sozobe
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:47 pm
@mushypancakes,
yitwail wrote:
That pretty much nails the distinction between a lot of people here: those that seem to enjoy putting the learning and work in to post here, and the rest (such as me) that don't have much patience so I can be on a forum.


Sure, I get that. It's just, the old A2K had to be learned too, didn't it? It was similar to other phpbb forums so perhaps people who came to A2K from other, similar forums didn't have the same sort of learning curve. But for people who came there from Abuzz, or for whom A2K was their first forum experience, it was itself Very Different and Scarily Difficult.

I think that there is sometimes a kneejerk resistance to change that is a little different from how difficult it actually is to learn to use this site. If you took two people who hadn't used forums before, of equal intelligence and with the same experiences, and plonked one down in front of the old A2K and one in front of the new A2K, I'm not sure I buy that the old one would be so much easier. Yes, the vast majority of the people who are here used the old one, and so have to adjust. And adjustments are always difficult.

And I don't want to disregard that utterly -- this site has some functional problems still (I mentioned the two that bother me most), and of course it's an adjustment. I get that and am happy to help (if I can) with adjustments.

The more peevish/ accusatory stuff has been getting on my nerves a bit though.
mushypancakes
 
  3  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:51 pm
@sozobe,

"The more peevish/ accusatory stuff has been getting on my nerves a bit though."

That is totally fair and understandable. !

And thanks for your reply. I do agree with you.

Seems we all need to get our say in and have our little venting going on. Promise I'm done my whining now. lol.

Learn, learn, learn..resistance is futile! hehe. It might actually come in handy to be exposed to some of this stuff.

anyways. Going to relax and let the magic makers do their thing for now.
Cycloptichorn
 
  3  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 02:57 pm
@Craven de Kere,
Craven,

Quote:


Then you should be happy, because there's actually fewer steps here.

On the old site, you used to have to find the politics forum in the list of forums, go to it, then click new topic to post in it.

Here, on almost any page of the site you can click "ask a question" or "start a discussion" and type in the "politics" tag.

1 step, this is actually easier.


Untrue. I directly linked to the A2K politics forum every single time, for years. I haven't seen the front page of the old A2K in forever, I don't even think I could tell you what it looked like. Just clicked my bookmark.

And I can still do that. I still link directly to the politics forum just by updating the bookmark. That part is perfectly cool. But in order to post, I have to type in the 'politics' tag or it won't end up where I want it to! It IS an extra step. You re-wrote my complaint, but didn't actually address the extra step that I have to take.

I also want to make this next comment respectful, but represent how I feel about it -

[quote[

What extra steps? You named one and you were wrong. [/quote]

I most certainly was not 'wrong.' It takes me more steps to do what I wrote about then it used to. I know this because I counted the steps on both sites that it took to make a new post. And when you make comments like this, you are coming off as a jerk. These concerns I am raising are real, they are not spurious and they are not empty bitching just because things are now different. For you to casually disregard them in this fashion, to simply pronounce me 'wrong,' isn't really confidence inspiring.

Quote:

Seems like you may be the only one having problems finding them, for days it seemed like people found nothing else. All the most viewed, most replied and most voted topics in the last few days were these threads you speak of, with very few exceptions.


Well, what is happening is a failure of the topic list design is being exposed. I sort by 'new posts' only, because I could really care less what other people think is or is not popular. I find the whole thumbs up/down concept to be a time-waster, for what it REALLY does is ensure that those posts which are the most contentious are the ones on top; those of us who like to post in esoteric topics will find ourselves increasingly isolated, as less and less new users will ever even SEE those posts. It in time will serve to dumb down a2k. And I know that it pisses people off, for as much as you would like to pretend that there is no emotional attachment to seeing a bunch of thumbs down on one's post, there most certainly is, and people don't like that.

I did end up putting Able2know as a tag; but what if I hadn't known to do that? Is it really clear that this is the right thing to do? If I didn't know to hit the A2K tag on the left - that is, assuming I'm patient enough to find it - would I find these posts and topics? I'm not sure.

Cycloptichorn
yitwail
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 03:02 pm
@yitwail,
Craven: just as an afterthought to my earlier post, how bout reducing the extra whitespace only if the user specifies Expand all Posts? that recreates the old a2k behavior, which i can live with happily. (it's what Sozobe told me to do initially, thinking the whitespace would vanish)
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 03:04 pm
@yitwail,
Also, I wanted to add -

My resolution is set at 1280x800; this is hardly a 'high resolution.' It's a typical resolution for laptops and newer LCD screens.

Cycloptichorn
0 Replies
 
CalamityJane
 
  2  
Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2008 03:05 pm
Why shouldn't people voice their opinion here? They're frustrated and they're
trying to find out if certain concerns they have are going to be fixed. It's
not necessarily accusatory, it's just them voicing and venting their frustration.

I believe it was Foxfyre who said that most of us just want to use the site
in the most user friendly way available. Right now it is not that way - period!

If you're trying to discredit legitimate concerns with being peeved about it, then more users will just leave a2k without even saying a word.

I can find my way around the site, can tag my subjects of interest and
make it more user friendly to me, however, if the majority of people here
have problems maneuvering around then one should realize that not
everyone is as computer savvy as the ones who work with it on a daily
basis.

This new site is certainly the Ferrari of all boards, however, the majority
is still sitting in a family SUV, and it probably will stay that way.
0 Replies
 
 

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