member, 4 posts
 D&d 5, Serenity
 South Africa, Cape Town
Fri 3 Mar 2017
at 13:05
User interface change poll.
Whatever changes are made, please keep RPoL standards-compliant and backwards compatible. Maybe coloring unread posts, and fixing the anchoring bugs. I really don't want to have to quit the game I'm playing here, which has my favorite DM ever and a great group of players.

I had to stop PBFing at RPGGeek because they changed the way their dice roller worked, and I couldn't use it anymore on my Opera mini browser on my phone. The BGG game pages' new design is also horrible: removing the customizability of the old design, reduced discoverability, reduced efficiency, lack of options for info-dense views, requiring more clicks by splitting information into separate page views, etc. - doing pretty much the opposite of almost everything Jakob Nielsen has found in his usability tests.

This message was last edited by the user at 13:20, Fri 03 Mar 2017.

 member, 132 posts
Sat 4 Mar 2017
at 00:27
User interface change poll.
I echo that. I'm forced to use older, ruggedized technology due to my work conditions, and there are many websites - especially more "up-to-date" websites that simply don't work due to not being backwards compatible on older equipment.

This UI question has been on my mind for a long time now, and I think that a few simple tweaks would streamline the experience a lot. I use the m.rpol version of this site on my stupid smatrphone, and it works just fine except there is a lot of info displayed that really is both redundant and unuseful.

My suggestion would be to switch a couple of columns and do away with redundant stuff, like "Author".

Currently, the main page lists games something like this:

Games You Own  |   GM   | Posts      Games you Play in & Peruse |   GM   | Posts
 Cool Game 1   | CoolGM |  1234       Almost as Cool Game       | RadGM  |   123
 Cool Game 2   | CoolGM |  1234       Almost as Cool Game II    | RadGM  |   456
 Cool Game 3   | CoolGM |  1234       Almost as Cool Game III   | RadGM  |   789

I would like to see the GM columns switched. What users want to see when they look at the front page is if there are new posts in their games or forums, or not. Move the less important info to the right so it's not hogging space on a small screen.

The other place where an easy fix could be made is on the Game Menu page which currently looks like this:

Topic                                 | Author | Replies | Latest Comment
 Notice: Current Chapter (group 1)    | CoolGM |   343   | 14:01, Fri 19 Aug 2016 by the author
 The Search (group 1)   [first|last]  | CoolGM |    42   | 05:51, Thu 21 Apr 2016 by CoolGM
 The Blade (group 1)   [first|last]   | CoolGM |   942   | 09:21, Wed 23 Jan 2014 by Drizzt
 The Beginning (group 1) [first|last] | CoolGM |   457   | 15:41, Mon 01 Oct 2010 by CoolGM

In almost every game, the "Author" column is the same, and even if not, is that really important information? Or AS important as the "Replies" or "Latest Comment" columns? I think this format is a holdover from days of old forum games, it's redundant information, and the Author column should be eliminated as well as the Replies column and have the Latest Comment column simply change color if there are unread posts, or use an icon or image or something as an indicator to save space.

These are just a couple of ideas that wouldn't be a total makeover of the site, shouldn't require more than swapping places with some code, or deleting some code perhaps, and would result in a lot of precious real estate on an old mobile user's screen. These are suggestions as to where to look to save space, but we should really consider what information we look at most, and what we really "need" when we look at the pages, and get rid of anything that's not really necessary.

My two Septiims...
 member, 724 posts
Sat 4 Mar 2017
at 05:17
User interface change poll.
I haven't heard of any proposed changes, so I'm assuming this poll is just hypothetical...

+1 for backwards compatibility, that's always a good idea.

Column order doesn't affect me one way or the other, but if it helps some folk, why not?

-1 for loss of data. I like to keep note of post counts and, as a GM, the time someone posted is frequently useful, sometimes even critical. Replacing this data with a colour change is NOT a good idea, IMO.
 moderator, 15292 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sat 4 Mar 2017
at 05:36
User interface change poll.
In reply to locojedi (msg # 2):

Another vote for backwards compatability (+1).

And another -1 for removing the post counts and "last comment" columns, which I find quite useful, both in games and in the public forums.

Also, there is already an icon to tell you when a thread has new/unread posts - it's the very first column on the page.

In reply to icosahedron152 (msg # 3):

Nope, not hypothetical, the poll is actually there. :)  /rpoll.cgi
 admin, 3537 posts
 Cogito, ergo procuro.
 Carpe stultus!
Sat 4 Mar 2017
at 08:16
User interface change poll.
I think we're getting ahead of ourselves here and running the risk of spreading FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt).

RPoL is about as standards complaint as I can get it (or be bothered with when standards get in the way of plain ol' usability).  Nowhere have I even hinted at the possibility of the idea of the possibility of suggesting that will change.

As for old browsers, as long as your using something released since 2011 then you'll be fine, but again I don't think that's really changed.  That does leave IE8 and older out, but I unfortunately cannot hamstring RPoL for the sake of 0.1% of visitors.  That said, that only really affects the responsive design for tablets and mobile phones, and IE8 is pretty much exclusive to Windows XP -- so moot point.  Even then you make sure these things fall back (degrade) gracefully, not blow up in the user's face.

I appreciate that members can be passionate about the site and concerned about change, but negative assumptions don't do anyone a favour.  Nor does judging me by someone else's actions.
 member, 566 posts
 Creator of HeroForge
Sat 4 Mar 2017
at 08:48
User interface change poll.
One point I'd like clarified: Is all of this proposing an alternate version of the site specifically for mobile devices, or are we talking about a site-wide change that would affect everyone?

I could see a more compact version for m.rpol.net, but still leave the original site unchanged.
 admin, 3538 posts
 Cogito, ergo procuro.
 Carpe stultus!
Sat 4 Mar 2017
at 09:10
User interface change poll.
Site wide.  Mobile sites aren't hip anymore.  They're also a pain to maintain when done properly (unlike the current lazy m.rpol.net that I've done) as it means you have a completely separate site to code and maintain.

A responsive site, for sample, theoretically could render the two main menu tables one after the other (rather than side by side) and theoretically could change the message reading screen so that the poster information was above the body text rather than to the left.  People visiting on a large screen would see the usual side-by-side layout, those on smaller would see the content adapt to the narrower width.

It can also reduce the padding/whitespace on mobile phones (when screen real estate is a premium) or increase the font size so it's easier to read.  Basically you design it so that when things start to get squished or too small, the site adapts and automatically changes to a better layout for the smaller screen.

At the risk of spreading mass hysteria, you can see these two utterly random and purely illustrative pages adapt if you resize your browser window to a fairly small width;

 member, 1115 posts
Mon 6 Mar 2017
at 15:15
User interface change poll.
There is a lot that I really like about the current style of rpol. It is cleaner, easier to read (usually, the darkred text color doesn't work in dark themes for example), and much easier to focus on thread messages rather than bloat content (which tends to turn thread reading into hunting for what is or is not the next post in most forums.).

The number one thing for me, is the need to scroll side-to-side to read messages.

I don't mind however, scrolling to the left or right if I could see the whole of the actual message at once (at a good zoom level), as I'm usually navigating either the message posters, or a message's content, not both at once. This means I don't need to see both at once, and keeping the two, side-by-side really helps as it prevents the poster data and time-stamp from interfering with reading messages.

A good way to do that is to make the thread page one and a half screens across (when the screen is small), so moving left, the poster and timestamp can be navigated quickly, with enough of the messages to keep up, while moving right gets the poster and timestamp info out of the way, focusing the whole screen on just the message content.

Perhaps including a user setting for text size would also be beneficial.

If you do squish into a single column, (a less optimal solution in my opinion), swap out thread title for poster name and time stamp, then add a second line beneath that for the poster's flavor text, then a third line for the "post modification info," with the second and third line being visible only when used. This basically turns the meta data into a "page break" between messages, yet consolidates all together so any metadata together actually belongs to the same message (instead of seeing "last modifed" for one message immediately followed by a line, a name, and a timestamp for an entirely different message altogether.)

I also like post counts when viewing a list of threads.

Of course, despite my 3.5 inch screen, the game menus and main menus are fine. (the dice roller menu could use a makeover, but I don't think that mobile vs desktop matters in that case.)

I'll admit that there several screens and menus I never use, so there may be some in need of change I just don't know about.

This message was last edited by the user at 15:22, Mon 06 Mar 2017.