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posted by martyb on Saturday March 21 2020, @12:30PM   Printer-friendly
from the if-at-first-you-don't-succeed,-avoid-skydiving-or-making-immediate-changes-directly-to-live-systems dept.

[2020-03-21 15:06:00 UTC: Update 1:
(1) Reminder: this has so far been implemented only on our *development* server (; it has NOT yet been rolled out to this (the production) servers.
(2) The control (now a simple text link, no longer a button) no longer defaults to taking up a whole physical line immediately above the first comment.
(3) Please note that in certain corner-cases, it is possible that screen size limitations may cause an overflow onto the next line.
(4) And the control should now appear aligned-right in the story header. =)

[2020-03-21 15:42:00 UTC: Update 2: Fixed typo in the first of the above two links to our dev server. --martyb]

This is a follow-up to: Changing the Site UI to Making Long Stories Easier to Navigate -- Input Requested.

Wow! Thanks for all the positive feedback to the previous story! I knew the implementation was a bit rough around the edges, so I very much appreciate the positive, constructive feedback that was provided!

Based on your input -- primarily displeasure in having a single button take up a whole physical line -- I have modified the in-memory template on our development server to now provide a textual link in the story header right after the printer icon. It should only appear when viewing the story by itself; there should be no indication of this on the main page.

To repeat, this is only on our development server so far; it is not yest implemented on our production server (i.e. what you see here).

In short, should this get rolled out to production?

  1. Yes.
  2. Yes, with these suggested changes.
  3. No.

Please refer to the previous story (linked above) for test scenarios and reply with any issues you may find!


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  • (Score: 1) by AlwaysNever on Saturday March 21 2020, @04:58PM (4 children)

    by AlwaysNever (5817) on Saturday March 21 2020, @04:58PM (#973871)

    I didn't know you had posted a second story about this subject, so I replied to your post in the old story with this post, which I repost here for you to see:
    Hey, I see you have put a "[Skip to comment(s)]" text link in the header, at the right of the print icon in the article header.

    That is better than the button you had before, because it takes much less screen real state. I still think a small icon with a downwards pointing arrow would be better, because the text link "[Skip to comment(s)]" consumes reading attention from the user, when the user should focusing instead on pondering if the article Title and Summary are of interest to him, and therefore the user then should not be wasting his reading capability with distracting text about UI.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by maxwell demon on Saturday March 21 2020, @05:09PM (2 children)

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Saturday March 21 2020, @05:09PM (#973872) Journal

    Since it is the same in every story, you'll soon no longer consciously notice it. However for anyone who encounters it for the first time, the meaning of the arrow would not be clear.

    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 1) by AlwaysNever on Saturday March 21 2020, @05:37PM (1 child)

      by AlwaysNever (5817) on Saturday March 21 2020, @05:37PM (#973876)

      The mistery of the meaning of the arrow could easily be solved if the arrow icon has a whatever-it-is-called on-hovering yellow tip explaining what it does, and also by plain old bravery of just clicking on it and see what happens.

      • (Score: 2) by martyb on Sunday March 22 2020, @04:07PM

        by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2020, @04:07PM (#974158) Journal

        I would offer some reading material:

        The last of them makes for an excellent starting point. Back when the dot com boom was getting started, I was fortunate to work at a company that brought Jakob Nielsen [] in to give a seminar on good web design. That page is one of many there which provide recommendations on good designed based on actual test results in the real world.

        Maybe, just maybe, if it needs explaining, it is not intuitive.

        Wit is intellect, dancing.
  • (Score: 2) by martyb on Sunday March 22 2020, @03:20AM

    by martyb (76) Subscriber Badge on Sunday March 22 2020, @03:20AM (#974010) Journal

    I sense you are unaware of just how much is involved in implementing your suggestion.

    What I have done so far is temporary. It would disappear if the site crashed and was restarted. But, since the change is restricted to a single template, I can (and have) retained a copy of it as a local filer that be easily restored. Separately, there is the matter of getting this change into the formal build process. Again, because it is localized to a single template file, it should be relatively easy to add it to the build system. Note: That is not in my skillset, nor, for that matter, do I have the privs to do so; would require my making a pull request and The Mighty Buzzard merging it into the site code. Even then, I know in a gemeral way what needs to be done, but as they say, the devil is in the details.

    Adding an icon in another level of complexity. First, you DO NOT want me making the icon; my artistic skills are on a par with a crayon-wielding, five-year-old child. Then the icon is a separate file which must be put in a "known location"; said file must also be merged into the build process. Attendant to that, the icon needs to be correctly referenced in the template. Oh and that helpful alternate text which was suggested needs to be written and added. There's more, but that should give a taste of what is required. And for what benefit? Perhaps in the long run we may choose to do this, I am not entirely dismissing the possibility.

    On the other hand, I had the great fortune to be attend a course on human factors and good web design given by Dr. Jakob Nielson []. His article on Ten Usability Heuristics [] just scratches the surface. He actually investigates different designs and measures how effective they are in helping or hindering people. By comparison, there are loads of people who employ less-than-ideal practices for web design. Has not been updated in a while, but Web Pages that Suck [] is a classic collection of things to NOT DO on your web site! See, too, Mystery Meat Navigation []. And, for an example of how bad things can get (and maybe a good laugh at how absolutely garish it is, I offer the considerably toned-down: [].

    So, my whole point is that if there were a sufficient demand for it by the community, it *could* be done. OTOH, there are so many other things that need doing on this site, that I do not foresee your suggestion gaining much attention for a while. Let's run with the text only for a while as an experiment. We can revisit this in a month or two, or whenever TMB finishes his home remodeling.

    Wit is intellect, dancing.