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bit-tech 2017 refresh feedback: General site and forum feedback

Discussion in 'Feedback & Suggestions' started by Dogbert666, 27 Jun 2017.

  1. Byron C

    Byron C Over-reacting and over-analysing since 1982

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    Harry likes this.
  2. MLyons

    MLyons 70% Dev, 30% Doge. DevDoge Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    1) I'll look into this
    2) Should be fixed later today assuming nothing major comes up
    3) Ill play around with this a little bit to see what fonts and sizes we could use to make it easier to read things. I'm just glad we got rid of the New Times Roman
    4) Should be fixed later today, we've got someone designing a new style for the page that should eliminate a lot of the odd viewing issues. Ill make some temp changes throughout the day when i have time but a lot will happen when that style is designed. Including a night theme.

    The article repetition is being looked into as i type this. For the general layout of the main site i'm not 100% sure when that will be done. On the retina abuse front. Its being worked on now as a permanent solution but i may also have a temp fix i can do in the mean time.
     
  3. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    Haven't read ALL previous posts, so these are probably duplicate comments:

    1. 2002 called - it wants its front page back.

      A cluttered, non-responsive ad-fest. It looks dreadful. The number, size and positioning of ads makes it look a far less established site desperately scrambling to cover it's hosting costs - are things that bad? I estimate that 40% of UI real estate covers ads.

      As for the actual BT content, columns are too narrow, fonts are too small, the fluff-to-content ratio is high.

      I'd go far as suing/sacking/shooting the people who signed off on this.

    2. Forums - cleaner overall, but too much grey-on-grey - god help our astigmatically challenged members.

      I wasn't a fan of the introduction of post categories (e.g. Lol/rant/motors/films/other etc) back in the day, but if we must have them, make them distinct. Colour-coding the category itself is a minimum. And there need to to be much greater contrast for the text.

      But not to be all negative, there are some nice new touches and the situation is very redeemable.
     
    Last edited: 28 Jun 2017
  4. MLyons

    MLyons 70% Dev, 30% Doge. DevDoge Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    "ad-fest", no. 40%?, again no. The font issue is being looked into at the moment and a change should be public soon. the responsiveness as a whole is also being looked into."I'd go far as suing/sacking/shooting the people who signed off on this.", There's no need to talk like that. Grey-on-grey is being worked on and is being looked at by mods live while it gets changed. "Colour-coding the category" that's good idea and would make it consistent with the main site. Ill look into this in a bit. text is also being tweaked along with the background.
     
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  5. alpha112

    alpha112 Minimodder

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    I want to start with saying that it looks like a lot of work has gone in to this, and the site was in desperate need of a refresh. Also that I'm sure you've had a lot of legacy systems to work with, and I know how bad that can be; I've done a *lot* of Web development so I really do know how bad it can be.

    However, the new site looks like it was designed and built by a second year Computer Science intern (I teach them, so I know what they produce: it works but I wouldn't wish it on a prod environment). It's not the work of a professional, or at least not one that should be working unsupervised. Here is why I think that:
    • Your colours are off and mismatched. There's no consistent colour scheme, especially on the forums. I'm guessing there's a bit-tech purple in the brand guidelines, but looking at the site it would be hard to tell what that is.
    • You've bought into a proprietary forum system. It's probably great now but the only reason phpBB worked for so long before was that it is open source. If the company goes away or ups their prices you'll be screwed. And new features will be hard to implement.
    • The design makes me feel physically unwell. The main site is way too cramped (use some white space and cut out some of the unnecessary content!) and the forum is similar. There's something about the clashing colours that does not work.
    • The spacing around almost every element and the positioning of a lot of them is slightly off, or at least has no consistency.
    • The use of flat colour and shading is random.
    • The contrast ratio of a lot of the colours is nowhere near WCAG guidelines.
    • The UX is odd, especially some of the animations. Animations are good when they add functionality and tell a story, but here they're designed to look nice, fail at that and make the site less usable.
    • Hover effects are horrible on touch devices.
    • There is way too much unnecessary info on the front page of the forums. Why do we need to know those stats? Or at least why are they on the front page as a key feature?
    • All the old forum links are now dead. You might want to work out a way to relink everyone's bookmarks.
    • The downtime. I appreciate migration took longer than expected, but that's the kind of downtime that I'd be seeking a major discount/legal action for. I guess you might be, or Scan/Asus/MSI/advertisers may be.
    • I get an error when I click "View this in the forums" on articles.
    • Scrolling the main site is really janky, forums are fine though.
    • Read/unread in the forums is really unclear, the small icon is hard to notice.
    I could probably go on, but I'll leave it there. It's probably a little harsh, but I take this stuff seriously because it's my business. I hate seeing things like this done badly. IMO most of this should have been worked out in the dev environment, and the rest by hiring competent developers, designers and UX people.

    Edit: also, the alignment of the tags/titles makes it impossible to scan down a forum and read the titles. The old forum had the tags in a separate column so the start of each title was aligned down the page.
     
  6. alpha112

    alpha112 Minimodder

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    I also agree with all this. Especially the sacking part.
     
  7. Byron C

    Byron C Over-reacting and over-analysing since 1982

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    .... Ouch! :D

    Just one thing though:

    Previously the bit-tech forums used vBulletin, not phpBB. So they haven't gone from an open-source system to a closed commercial product; they've gone from a horribly outdated and insecure legacy version of a closed commercial system to a different, and more modern/up to date, closed commercial system.

    I think the most important thing right now is getting any errors/bugs fixed. The design side of things can be fixed later, but if there are nasty critical bugs lurking around then they absolutely have to be the priority.
     
  8. alpha112

    alpha112 Minimodder

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    Sorry, that's my mistake.
     
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  9. MLyons

    MLyons 70% Dev, 30% Doge. DevDoge Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    I understand some people have issues with the designs but can we stop with this whole sick thing. A simple "its a pain to read would of been fine".
     
  10. Zak33

    Zak33 Staff Staff Administrator

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    Hello lovely people :)

    I'm new to bit-tech but not new to the business, and I'd like to thank you for your genuine feedback, the good ...the bad.... the butt ugly and the dig in the ribs.

    Here's what we've done -

    Small devoted team, varying skill sets working hard on utterly new systems, with a great enthusiasm to get it all right, as quickly as viable but without everyone running and jumping off a cliff.
    New website back end, needing to bring a new forum suite in, which we need to learn and invest huge hours into....and we will.

    the main tools are coffee, helpful banter and us all agreeing on making it a friendly shiny place WHICH... ain't perfect right now but which we will polish and tweak, hone and improve, craft, shape and mould (add any others in you want)

    SO FAR no blood
    SO FAR lots of sweat
    SO FAR minimal tears, but a few too many swear words and even a few arm punches

    We'll keep at it, and make it better and better.

    We've migrated the entire site, the platform we publish from, the forum ....and where the coffee machine plugs in. Frankly, for a team this size, its been like dragging a JCB uphill. Luckily it's a very good, in-house JCB and we will use it to get better.
     
    Last edited: 28 Jun 2017
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  11. Arboreal

    Arboreal Keeper of the Electric Currants

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    Great to have B-T back, the shakes have now subsided.
    Thanks for putting the Forum link on the front page back in today.

    It is too white, but vastly better than the old site and I can certainly l've with it and I'm sure things will evolve and the niggles ironed out.

    Thanks for all the hard work guys, it must have been quite a week
     
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  12. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    I apologise - you are correct. I glanced the extraneous mobo images either side of the narrow, fixed content area, and thought they were ads, but they were not. They were, in fact, more extraneous clutter.... designed to pad out a 850px, fixed width design for the <89% of visitors who have a greater resolution/typical browser width than the new content area.

    [​IMG]

    The red areas are adverts, and I guesstimate at maybe 15% of the content area. Add in the background images, the wastefully-large footer with its 'Popular Companies' section (WTF?), and you are well-beyond 40%.

    With so many links/headings/images on the one page, but with so little supporting content, the page has limited use in terms of SEO, and it is positively jarring to look at. Your average non-invested visitor isn't going to find their eye caught in all that clutter, and isn't going to bother wading through to see if there might be something interesting.

    Of course, you need ads for ad revenue, and images can be pleasing/informative to the viewer, and advertising other content on the site helps such that this entry page isn't always also an exit page.The thing to remember is that you need to find a balance between these and actual content.

    Sensitive much? Don't take this as a personal attack. Of course, I don't really think those involved should be sued/shot/sacked, but I think you need to face the fact that approach taken was a huge mistake. For a serious, established, technical website in 2017, I think you've wasted an opportunity and even taken a step backwards.
     
  13. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    I appreciate that, having grafted to get this published (and whilst perfectly happy to receive constructive criticism), it can be hurtful to see all these slings and arrows... and I know we are prone to being melodramatic in our feedback..

    However, don't dismiss the sickness comments out of hand. The front page will genuinely make for uncomfortable reading for most people. I image people being physically sick will be mercifully rare, but I'm certain you will have boosted sales of paracetamol and spectacles. Yes, I'm being flippant, but the message is real.
     
  14. Zak33

    Zak33 Staff Staff Administrator

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    I quite like flippant tbh..... Sorry you're feeling seasick though. Don't worry, we're not super sensitive.. well.. I'm not anyway.

    the white is a tad bright for me too, but I shall bring my classic 80's REAL GLASS raybans' in tomorrow until we've worked out the best look/.. I shall BE Don Johnson :)
     
  15. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Which is absolutely nothing new. I mean, have you ever looked at the bit-tech website full screen before?

    Here, have a shot of the new homepage overlaid on a Wayback Machine capture of the homepage from earlier this month (which lacks adverts, but is otherwise exactly as it looked back then) as they both rendered on a 1200p monitor:

    bittech.jpg
    See how the site has always been in a stupid strip down the middle with motherboards or adverts down the side? That's not new, that; that's bit-tech. Yes, it's a poor design - but not one you should suddenly be noticing now.

    Point of fact: the new frontpage is a mere 93 pixels thinner than the old design, but a shift away from the older three-column layout to a two-column layout with both the features and the news in the same place means that the main section of the site is actually 152 pixels wider.

    Checkmate, atheists.
     
  16. Mojo

    Mojo Multimodder

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    I don't like that sign-off... You've asked for feedback. Most of which is constructive as well.
     
  17. Zak33

    Zak33 Staff Staff Administrator

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    Hi Gareth :)

    I'm new here.

    Shall I not argue with you then ;-)

    Z
     
  18. Gareth Halfacree

    Gareth Halfacree WIIGII! Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    I haven't asked for anything. I wasn't involved in the redesign - I'm just here to write the news, and am posting as Just Another Forum User.

    As for "checkmate, atheists," that's a reference to a well-known meme. I would have thought the fact that nobody was discussing religion was enough of a clue that it was a joke, but apparently not. I apologise for being unclear in my meaning; I shall endeavour to add a smiley in future to make my jokes more obvious.
     
  19. cjmUK

    cjmUK Old git.

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    Yeah, you got me. If NASA redesigned the Mars Rover, but still mixed up metric & imperial measurements, it would be bad form to raise it again, given that you already mentioned it first time around.

    As I said in a previous post, it was an opportunity missed.
     
  20. Strudul

    Strudul ~

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    Can we bring back colour coding to forum prefixes? (For example in the marketplace it was Red = For Sale, Grey = Sold, Brown = Wanted etc)
     

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