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posted by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @03:00PM   Printer-friendly
from the putting-our-heads-together-from-a-distance-seems-like-it-should-be-easy-but-it's-MMMMMMMMMMMMMM-not! dept.

[20200320_184315 UTC: Update: Made the dept. line longer to better demonstrate space [un]availability.--martyb]

[20200320_202305 UTC: Update: Added topics: "/dev/random", "Code", "Software", and "Answers" topics to better illustrate their use of space in a story. --martyb]

[20200321_175412 UTC: Update: superseded by: Skip to comment(s) -- Second Try --martyb]

First: Please accept my best wishes to everyone during SARS-CoV-2 / COVID-19 / Coronavirus pandemic. Please take all necessary precautions to keep yourself and those around you safe!

Second: I should not have been surprised, but I must confess my admiration at how the SoylentNews community came together in support of each other in response to SoylentNews Community -- How has SAR-CoV-2 (Coronavirus) / COVID-19 Affected You? As of my writing this, there are over 300 comments! community++ This is what I had hoped for when SoylentNews started over six years (Wow!) ago, and so validates my giving of my time to this site!

Third: (and the focus of this story) our virus roundup stories are... long. An AC posted a comment: thanks to eds:

Thanks editors for pulling together this summary. SN for the win!

One comment--it is kind of long to scroll down through, to get to the comments. Perhaps next time some of the longer stories could be put inside the spoiler tag?"

This was quickly acted on by a member of staff, but that was not universally embraced as a "Good Idea". Both Soylentils, to my eye, had good points. If I am visiting an active story again, I have already read the story (both the "Intro Copy" and the "Extended Copy"). Why should I have to scroll through a wall-of-text to get to the comments? The suggestion of using <spoiler>...</spoiler> to bracket the contents of each of the merged stories seemed like a reasonable suggestion. But, when you have a hammer... Right idea, but maybe not quite the right tool.

Aside: If I am reading a review of, say, a movie, then a spoiler is an appropriate way to hide plot details from those who have not yet seen the movie. That is not the situation here. Why hide details of a story about the pandemic? Hmm. A good first try, perhaps, but it looks like we need something different in this case.

Idea: what if there were, say, a button at the top of the story that I could click and be brought immediately to the comment section of a story? Hey! I can do that!

Acknowledgements: At this point, I hereby express my sincere thanks to AndyTheAbsurd for constructing some CSS which allowed the conditional display of a button, and to FatPhil for his testing efforts. Thanks guys!

Read on past the break for details on the implementation and a request for assistance before I attempt to roll it out to production.

So, I hacked up something that I hope addressed the initial concern: "kind of long to scroll down through". I'll be the first to admit the implementation is crude. We can go for pretty later. (The perfect is the enemy of good enough, right?) I think the ideal would be to have a separate nexus for virus-related stories. That way we would not feel compelled to gather a bunch of story submissions into a single story. We could process each submission independently and release each on its own. Unfortunately, there is much more to it than just adding an entry to the site DB.

It has been implemented on our development server: and I hereby solicit feedback from the community on how well it works. It was implemented with one addition to an in-memory copy of a single site template (dispStory;misc;default).

For the curious, see Original and Updated Versions of Template: "dispStory;misc;default" ("Skip to Comment(s)" button), but do be aware that rehash replaced tabs with spaces, so what you see is NOT an exact copy of the sources.

Now what? Feedback! This is your site. I am well aware there are Soylentils who have a much better grasp of HTML and CSS than I do, and am hereby soliciting supportive feedback.

Test scenarios:

  1. Does the "Skip to comment(s)" Button not appear on the main page?
  2. Does the "Skip to comment(s)" Button appear on the story page?
  3. Does it work?
  4. Is the appearance consistent across all of the available themes?
    1. Site Default
    2. BadA55
    3. Chillax
    4. Grayscale
    5. Black IcIcle
    6. Night Mode
    7. NV
    9. SoylentNews
    10. Vomit
    11. VT100
    12. VT220
  5. Is the layout consistent other homepage settings?
    [] Simple Design
    Simplifies the design of Dev.SN to strip away some of the excesses of the UI.
    [] Low Bandwidth
    Reduces the size of pages for people with slower network connections
    [] No Icons
    Disable topic icon images on stories.
  6. Which of the preceding homepage settings would be better served with just a simple anchor?

    <a href="@acomments">Skip to Comment(s)</a>

  7. Other, what did I miss?

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  • (Score: 2) by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @08:45PM (1 child)

    by martyb (76) on Friday March 20 2020, @08:45PM (#973613) Journal

    Now I've seen what you did at the dev server, and honestly, I don't like it as it is. There's lot of grey empty space to the right of the “posted/by” and dept. line, but instead of using that, you add the skip button below, centered with nothing but wasted space left and right. This also gives the button far more prominence than justified by its functionality.

    I would suggest to place the button right-justified in the grey area, or alternatively right-justified to the right of the "xy writes" line. But don't move that line (and consequently, everything below it) lower because of the button.

    One thing I particularly like about this site's design is that it doesn't waste much space. The skip button as currently implemented on dev goes directly against that.

    First off, thanks for the thoughtful, constructive feedback!

    Yes, I do not terribly like the amount of vertical space it takes up. There are, unfortunately, some complications I could foresee that I was trying to address ahead of time.

    Please reload the story on our development server. See that I updated it with a longer "dept." line? Most of the themes for this site present the "dept." text in a proportional-spaced typeface. Examples:

    3. From the twenty-seven-character-long dept.

    I took a quick look at your profile and notice you have neither "[] Simple Design" nor "[] Low Bandwidth" turned on. I could, maybe, potentially use those settings as a toggle. If either of those are set, replace the current button and location with a simple anchor instead.

    One other thing to consider is the amount of "screen real estate" that is available on different displays. My home system is connected to a UHD TV that my little lappy can drive at a maximum of 2200x1200. So, even when things are getting near their max size, there is still lots of room. Accessing the site on my smart phone is an entirely different matter. There, I have Full HD (1920x1280) which, in portrait mode gives me (1280x1920). That puts quite the squeeze on places where I could sneak in a button without having things overflow and force the use of another physical line of text on the screen.

    There was something else, but it escapes me at the moment, so I'll just post this for now.

    Again, and I seriously mean this: thanks so much for the feedback! I apologize if I come off sounding like I am trying to shoot down your ideas. I spent too much time doing software test and it is all too easy for me to dive down into the details!

    Wit is intellect, dancing.
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  • (Score: 2) by martyb on Friday March 20 2020, @08:48PM

    by martyb (76) on Friday March 20 2020, @08:48PM (#973615) Journal
    Bah! Preview, I meant to click Preview!!!!
    Wit is intellect, dancing.