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Thread: Readability

  1. #1
    Senior Member All-Star Badsmerf's Avatar
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    Readability

    Brock, I'm not a fan of the new format. I feel like the letters are too big, too close together and there isn't enough variation to make reading easy. I'm trying to be constructive and not just complaining.


    • The main page feels cluttered with too many things going on. I think a little more space between the tool bars and the rest of the page would help.
    • The forum index page is good
    • The blog index page is good
    • On the actual forum I feel like there isn't enough contract between thread tittles and authors or enough space between threads threads. They kinda run together.
    • I'm also not a fan of the new color scheme. The red and blue are hard on the eyes because they are very contrasting.


    That's all for now. Not sure if everyone feels this way, just wanted to give you some feedback Brock.
    Do or do not. There is no try.

  2. #2
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Thanks for the input. The lettering may seem a little too big but honestly, no one will ever be happy with letter sizing. The older folks tend to like the big lettering. Younger folks may not need it. On a desktop, the lettering may seem too big. On a tablet, it may seem too small.

    Making the site work on every device for every user is basically impossible. I have to make choices and go with whatever I feel looks the best and works for the most devices and screens.

    I'll take a look at the thread spacing. I noticed that last night but haven't addressed it yet. At some point, I will be looking at that and re-evaluating how the forums are spaced.

    We can't move stuff away from the toolbars. Advertisers are adamant about having a certain number of ads "above the fold" (what a user sees without scrolling). Again, that boiled down to some tough choices and while I'm not done addressing the issue entirely, it's going to take a lot more thought before I change anything on the front page because I don't have any really good solutions in mind for it yet.

    The red and blue bother you? Really? Because I tried to avoid using the red too much in the design, leaving basically the navigation to be red (and the occasional icon) and that's it. Given the brightness of the red and the fact that red is a warm color and therefore pops, I wanted to rely more on the blue to avoid the site looking garish while still looking like a Minnesota Twins website.

    One thing to remember about viewing a website is that you're not the only person looking at it. You might be using a 27" monitor on a desktop. The guy replying to you might be using a 7" Nexus tablet. Finding a sweetspot to make everyone happy involves many decisions that may not seem apparent upon first glance and, like almost every decision in life, it usually boils down to some kind of compromise.

  3. #3
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    I fixed the thread layout. Let me know what you think of the changes.

  4. #4
    Senior Member All-Star Badsmerf's Avatar
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    I like it a lot better. The colors of the envelopes looks kinda weird. The layout is much easier on the eyes.

    As for the red/blue. I'm not sure why it is hard to look at. Just seems too contrasting. I understand the desire to use the red and blue so I'm not sure how you can tweak it to make it better.
    Do or do not. There is no try.

  5. #5
    Senior Member All-Star Badsmerf's Avatar
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    Suggestion: the forum topic page TD icons would look great for thread topic icons. Not sure how you would incorporate the threads posted on, new items and things like that though. I liked the previous icons we had too.
    Do or do not. There is no try.

  6. #6
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Ugh. I hated those icons. I put them together in a rush and couldn't get rid of them quickly enough for my liking.

  7. #7
    Senior Member All-Star Badsmerf's Avatar
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    Maybe its just the orange the looks weird then. Surprised nobody else has cared enough to comment on this thread... maybe I'm too picky?
    Do or do not. There is no try.

  8. #8
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
    Maybe its just the orange the looks weird then. Surprised nobody else has cared enough to comment on this thread... maybe I'm too picky?
    I vacillated on the orange quite a bit. That is definitely something I'm open to change, I'm just not sure what color to use. Now, the "importance" of a thread is logically hierarchical. Grey is "null", orange is "hot", red is "new post superhot". I'm not really sure where to go from there.

  9. #9
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    I don't think you're too picky, badsmerf but several people commented on a different thread that Brock posted when the new site was unveiled so that may be why you're not seeing much response here. (Also the site has seemed curiously silent the last few days -- waiting to see if that changes as we get closer to the season).

    Overall, I like the new look but on the front page, there are a couple of things that bother me. One is the size of the facebook and twitter icons. Are they sponsors? If not, do those icons have to be so large? They just seem out of place for me. And actually seem to detract from the "advertisement" above them (which I probably wouldn't care for if I were a sponsor).

    The second thing (I'm a broken record on this) is the text over the avatars. I know this is a design decision and that you really like it, Brock, but it does seem cluttered to me (and makes legibility really hard in the IE browsers). I wish you would try it with the avatars to the side of the text and let readers give you feedback on what they prefer. Ultimately it is your decision but it just seems like the site would feel "cleaner" with the text to the side of the avatar.

    I'm a little puzzled on the size of lettering. I know Brock mentioned that bigger lettering is a design trend. As one of the "older folks", I'm just used to changing my zoom feature a lot to aid in reading. But the bigger lettering does seem to affect the relationship between all the items. It doesn't really bother me, I'm just not sure that it's a good design trend. But I also know that I typically look at TD on my laptop and that it may look a lot different on other devices.

    Thank for incorporating a little more space between the thread titles. It does help. And for all of the time you've put into this, Brock -- including all the time you've spent responding to people's suggestions.

  10. #10
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Brock,

    I just read your last post. I honestly didn't understand the "hot", "superhot" thing. Once you've made your decisions on colors, etc., maybe you could put together a little post on the features of the new design. (e.g. it took me a while to get that the arrow meant moved and I had no clue on the color meanings.)

  11. #11
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    The Twitter/Facebook icons are large to promote clicks. Social media is the easiest and best way to stay connected with a userbase and until now, our attempts to crack Facebook have been... lackluster, at best. We're slowly working to change that. Large icons to help sway users to follow/like us is just one step toward that goal without cluttering the page with a Facebook feed (which I generally despise on sites).

    I still need to work on the IE10 problem with the avatar opacity. I would have done it already but like I mentioned earlier, I don't have a copy of IE10 for testing yet. When I procure a laptop that will run it, I will make the change. Overall, the design on those is still somewhat up in the air. I'm not tied to the existing design but I have other priorities right now that push that particular element to the background.

    If you pick up a 7" tablet, you'll see why the current design trend is toward larger fonts.

    While you may be an advanced enough user to operate the zoom feature, as a designer I cannot assume that is the case with the vast majority of users (after all, 9% of our users are still clicking away under IE8, the worst browser with significant marketshare). I have to design for stock configurations as much as possible with the assumption that the average user will do nothing to make a site more or less readable in their browser settings.

    One year ago, our tablet traffic was 2-3%. Right now, it's a little over 10%. By the end of the year, I expect it to be 15% or better. And over 50% of tablets sold today are 8" or smaller while the biggest tablet sold in any quantity is just 10.6". A full 25% of our traffic now comes from tablets and phones. By this time next year, I expect that to be 33%. It's the fastest growing segment of the internet and those form factors have to go into any modern site design.

  12. #12
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB_Iowa View Post
    Brock,

    I just read your last post. I honestly didn't understand the "hot", "superhot" thing. Once you've made your decisions on colors, etc., maybe you could put together a little post on the features of the new design. (e.g. it took me a while to get that the arrow meant moved and I had no clue on the color meanings.)
    Part of the reason you find it confusing is because vBulletin's post hierarchy is ****ing obtuse. Don't feel bad. I had to look into the code and check every icon before I understood their meanings.

    Grey: no new posts.

    Orange: "hot post" with a specified number of replies/views (really, I don't even understand why this exists but to remove the code powering it would be... ungainly).

    Red: NEW POSTS! READ ME!

    Orange with an open envelope: "hot post" with new posts inside! (Really? Why is this even here? Why not red?)

    Then there are other variables such as the green arrow, which means you've posted in that thread.

    Really, the entire thing just makes me want to scream. Two colors would be fine with me. Read and unread. But to make that happen, I'd have to go change waaaaaay more code than I'd like to change, as every internal code change I make means more troubleshooting, more difficulty when updating software, etc.

  13. #13
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Whoa, you guys just got me thinking about this and I found where I can change the settings for "hot posts". I bumped them waaaaaaaay higher. Now the forum makes a lot more sense.

    Thanks for bringing this up because it never would have occurred to me to dig into the settings and find how to change it.

  14. #14
    Senior Member All-Star Badsmerf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brock Beauchamp View Post
    Part of the reason you find it confusing is because vBulletin's post hierarchy is ****ing obtuse. Don't feel bad. I had to look into the code and check every icon before I understood their meanings.

    Grey: no new posts.

    Orange: "hot post" with a specified number of replies/views (really, I don't even understand why this exists but to remove the code powering it would be... ungainly).

    Red: NEW POSTS! READ ME!

    Orange with an open envelope: "hot post" with new posts inside! (Really? Why is this even here? Why not red?)

    Then there are other variables such as the green arrow, which means you've posted in that thread.

    Really, the entire thing just makes me want to scream. Two colors would be fine with me. Read and unread. But to make that happen, I'd have to go change waaaaaay more code than I'd like to change, as every internal code change I make means more troubleshooting, more difficulty when updating software, etc.
    That sounds like a pain in the buns.
    Do or do not. There is no try.

  15. #15
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Brock,

    Thanks for your responses. I just want to be clear on why I keep bringing up the text over avatars question.

    It is NOT just that I find it cluttered in IE10. I find it cluttered in Chrome and FF, too. Again, maybe that's just my tired eyes. And maybe it doesn't bother anyone else. But to me, it looks like a "mistake" even though I know it was your conscious choice. Even in Chrome or FF where it is easier to read, it just looks like something is screwed up. (I've even thought about whether it would look less screwed up if the avatar was centered. I don't think that would help all that much but at least the box would look symmetrical that way).

    I don't know if anyone else has that reaction although when i showed it to a few people, they also thought something was wrong (in Chrome). But maybe this is a generational split thing.

    I'll get used to it but I do have to wonder if it doesn't contribute to people's feel about the front page being "cluttered". (Not the prime reason but a factor).

    Thanks for your rationale on the FB and Twitter icons. I find them annoyingly large but then I despise FB and am only a Twitter voyeur and I do understand your need to drive traffic.

    And thanks for the info on the meaning of the post icons. Since I don't post on that many blogs, I didn't realize that this was actually a feature found on other sites as well. And I do really like the little green arrows to indicate where I've posted.

    Thanks again for all your work.

  16. #16
    Senior Member All-Star SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
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    For whatever reason the page is still messed up half the time on my iphone. Also the facebook and twitter icons are a little large for my taste and I don't think those really induce clicks as much as they just make people learn to avoid the right rail, not a fan of gigantic avatars either, but that is just me.

  17. #17
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    I understand its probably down on your list of tweaks Brock but I'm with smerf 100% on the new red and blue. Maybe the way they contrast with the background, or something. A tiny bit painful too look at IMO.

  18. #18
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
    For whatever reason the page is still messed up half the time on my iphone. Also the facebook and twitter icons are a little large for my taste and I don't think those really induce clicks as much as they just make people learn to avoid the right rail, not a fan of gigantic avatars either, but that is just me.
    Dave, are you using the mobile theme or the full site theme?

    If it's the full theme, I'd recommend clearing your browser cache. There are bound to be some leftover caching goodies from the old templates that could screw up the new site.

  19. #19
    Twins News Team All-Star PseudoSABR's Avatar
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    Hey Brock, I dig you guys, I've turned off adblock, and I'm still getting like 1/2 of my possible viewing space. I suppose there's some column of ads to the right, but it's just some wasted white space for now. And even then, the site seems restricted by two to four inches of unnecessary bounds; I'm not sure if it's my browser (chrome), this site literally only uses sixty percent of my monitor width (and I'm a classic at 4:3), which is annoying for any thread with a good deal of text. It's like I have this narrow eight to ten inch area within which threads can be read, which just seems silly, as large as all monitors are.

    I'm happy see your ads, but with reboot, I get the option of less posts per page (30 max v 50 max), and seemingly I get less text per horizontal line (I ain't got the data for that!). All and all, it makes it more work for me to participate. And I'm one of the willing ones...

  20. #20
    Owner MVP Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PseudoSABR View Post
    Hey Brock, I dig you guys, I've turned off adblock, and I'm still getting like 1/2 of my possible viewing space. I suppose there's some column of ads to the right, but it's just some wasted white space for now. And even then, the site seems restricted by two to four inches of unnecessary bounds; I'm not sure if it's my browser (chrome), this site literally only uses sixty percent of my monitor width (and I'm a classic at 4:3), which is annoying for any thread with a good deal of text. It's like I have this narrow eight to ten inch area within which threads can be read, which just seems silly, as large as all monitors are.

    I'm happy see your ads, but with reboot, I get the option of less posts per page (30 max v 50 max), and seemingly I get less text per horizontal line (I ain't got the data for that!). All and all, it makes it more work for me to participate. And I'm one of the willing ones...
    If you see a white block next to the forums, clear your browser cache. After you do that, you'll see that large white space next to the forums disappear.

    Also, check your browser zoom level. If you're on a 4:3 monitor, this site should be consuming no less than 80-90% of your screen.

    And I bumped the forum posts per page back to 40. I didn't intend to cut that down.

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