nauthiz
 member, 513 posts
Sun 9 Apr 2017
at 06:41
Re: New site design
Had a chance to poke at the beta with some mobile devices.  As someone who interacts (reading and posting) with rpol the majority of the time via a mobile device, the orientation towards a more mobile friendly format is welcome.  While the site is fairly usable as is, there are some issues that crop up from time to time that hopefully the new format will solve.

From what exists so far, the beta is certainly a bit easier to use on mobile over the current design.  The scaling works fairly well and menus are fairly responsive.

There is one specific issue I ran into with the scaling that I did want to point out however.  Given that "How the main menu, game menu, thread view and compose screens look and work.  These are somewhat, but not completely, finished.", I don't know if it's a known issue.  So if it is, please feel free to ignore.

I took a few screenshots to demonstrate the issues, as I figured that would be easier than describing them.

The first two were on a tablet, using Amazon's Silk browser, at a resolution of 2560x1600.  A bit of overlap between the right side navigation menu and the text formatting tools in the message posting screen and in the post preview screen the same issue with the curly graphics.

http://i63.tinypic.com/692o02.jpg
http://i67.tinypic.com/11imwz6.jpg

The second trio were taken on a phone, using Microsoft's Edge browser, at a resolution of 1440 x 2560.

You can see the same issue with the same design elements in the post and post preview screen, but they're a bit more severe in terms of blocking other elements of the site.  The first shot shows the way the post message screen is initially presented.

http://i63.tinypic.com/11l4h03.jpg

The second two show the entirety once it has been pinched and zoomed out to show the elements that are initially off screen.

http://i63.tinypic.com/692o02.jpg
http://i67.tinypic.com/11imwz6.jpg


Generally the direction of the beta seems to be going in a positive direction, whether via desktop or mobile.  I think in the end it will be rather worthwhile.
Gaffer
 member, 1453 posts
 Ocoee FL
 40 yrs of RPGs
Sun 9 Apr 2017
at 13:04
Re: New site design
DarkLightHitomi:
...love about the current style is that poster info is on the side rather than injected between messages. It is one of the best things about the current design.

I will go ahead and add my voice on this issue. Especially as a GM, it's very helpful to be able to look over a previous post (or two) without a lot of scrolling.
Shannara
 moderator, 3720 posts
 Keep calm, drink more
 COFFEE!!!!
Sun 9 Apr 2017
at 14:28
Re: New site design
icosahedron152:
I don't like the way you now have to click on Your Games, Games you Watch, etc, to bring up sub-menus. Currently the Main Menu is just there, and I can see at a glance all of the games and forums I use, and whether there are any new posts. I would rather have them all on one page even if I have to scroll to read them. Scrolling is easier than clicking in and out of sub-menus on any device.


Definitely agree with this.  If there must be submenus, I'm a big fan of allowing them to be stickied open or closed with that setting saved.
pdboddy
 member, 521 posts
Sun 9 Apr 2017
at 14:47
Re: New site design
I have found a slight issue.

When you are in a game, and click on "Character Details", there seems to be an invisible layer that covers the menu buttons.  The "View Profile of:" dropdown menu overlaps the game's menu.  And you can only click the bottom three buttons in full, to click the others, you have to touch the very right edge of the buttons to click on them.

EDIT: Also, I cannot find the RTJ text anywhere in the game menu.  I can edit the RTJ text, but I see no link to it other than the GM menu.

This message was last edited by the user at 14:49, Sun 09 Apr 2017.

jase
 admin, 3550 posts
 Cogito, ergo procuro.
 Carpe stultus!
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 01:28
Re: New site design
Thanks all for your input.  It doesn't look like the same 50/50 split that voted on the recent poll frequent here!

A few points of clarification;

  • Menu placement, drop down (or other) menus aren't done.  Especially on screens I've listed as not finished.  Some screens I haven't even touched, so things will overlap, run off the side or just be messy.
  • There's no submenu on the main menu.  There's links and anchors to games you own etc, but that's the same grouping that's currently here.  Possibly worded slightly but we're not at the stage where we need to worry about wording.
  • The links have shuffled around and are currently in their "I'll pop it here for now" location (or possibly forgotten entirely).
  • The changing "Private to" dropdown is the same as here -- if the list gets too long it changes from a standard HTML dropdown list to a CSS menu.  Replying to a thread can trim out a lot of extra information as it removes all invalid recipients (i.e. who can't see the group).  The CSS hasn't been updated so will be all weird.
  • The current test theme is based off the "white" theme from here (which is grey with some blue really).  So if you're using a different theme here then it'll obviously be different, more so if you're using a dark theme.
  • I won't be developing an app.  I see no point when we'll have a fully responsive website.


And some more verbose stuff;

I've seen "mobile first" mentioned a few times (ok, all over the place) with web design and I've seen it mean different things.  Design wise I take it to mean you figure out how you'll render it for mobiles and then adapt it for larger screens, and technically I've seen it referred to as having the design default to mobile layout and only adapt it to a larger screen when you know the web browser has a larger display.

I don't do either.  I find that a mobile view is, by its very nature, constrained so trying to design from there doesn't make sense.  Strictly speaking I design desktop first, but I like steelsmiter's "mobile also" mantra.  RPoL is currently a desktop first environment and I'm adapting from there, so I'm editing from what we've currently got.  To delete the whole lot makes little sense to me, so I'm definitely starting from a desktop-centric view.  But once that's done it's a case of figuring out how I want it to look on a mobile, not what the current view will let me do.  Then I consider if the current layout can be made to adapt down to the view I want, and if not then I reconsider what I want or figure out if I can make a compromise for either environment to make it work.

Thread views -- I'm pretty sure the way thread views adapt down has to stay the way it's currently planned.  Vertical width is the nemesis of small devices, so trying to cram the post information to the side strikes me as working directly against one of the inherit advantages of responsive design.

Have run out of time, hopefully I've addressed all issues.  Thanks again one and all!
steelsmiter
 member, 1708 posts
 AWE, BESM, Fate, Indies
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 01:51
Re: New site design
jase:
I like steelsmiter's "mobile also" mantra.

*bows* "I am not wuhthy!"
Mad Mick
 member, 889 posts
 Ain't sayin nothin
 Got nothin to say
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 10:58
Re: New site design
It would be nice to have an option to move the main menu to the left.  That's what I expect in sites, and it feels counter-intuitive to have the menu on the right.  It is out of the way of game threads, though, so maybe offer that option if possible.

The font sizes on the GM menu seem too small.  Maybe two columns?
swordchucks
 member, 1363 posts
Mon 10 Apr 2017
at 13:31
Re: New site design
To be blunt, I don't come to RPOL for the layout - I come for the functionality.  As long as the new design keeps all of the functionality I need and maybe even adds some more, I'll be happy with it.  Six months after the change, I'll probably have forgotten what the old design looked like.  That's probably true for the majority of users.

For usage, I mostly write from a PC, but read posts on mobile quite often.  The deal killer for mobile are features you have to hover your mouse over (which happens now with spoiler tags, but they're used relatively rarely).

Looking at a few test posts in the new system, I agree that menus on the right feel a little weird, but, then again, I use those buttons a whole lot less than I use the game menu so maybe that's alright.  I've gotten pretty used to the "three column" look where the important content is in the middle.  The only other thing I found odd is the way portraits are placed in posts feels... weird.  It's more disconnected from the rest of the info, kind of hanging out distantly on its own to the right of the text, when I look at it.

On mobile, I actually like the shifted thread layout to do headers over posts.  It makes it easier to fit it on a small screen.  When I was looking at it, though, portraits aren't shown, though that might just be an option I'm missing somewhere.
jase
 admin, 3551 posts
 Cogito, ergo procuro.
 Carpe stultus!
Tue 11 Apr 2017
at 00:25
Re: New site design
I tried the menu on the left, it looked really lop sided and odd when viewing threads.  You'd have the menu, then the post information, and finally the actual post text all the way to the right.  With the menu on the right the post text is close to centralised.

swordchucks:
Six months after the change, I'll probably have forgotten what the old design looked like.  That's probably true for the majority of users.

I suspect you might be right.
Mad Mick
 member, 890 posts
 Ain't sayin nothin
 Got nothin to say
Tue 11 Apr 2017
at 03:21
Re: New site design
Ah, no worries, Jase.  I haven't seen too many sites that have a menu on the right, but I'll probably get used to it as swordchucks said.

I used to access RPOL on my iPod touch more.  I'd pull up the day's threads before I left for work and compose posts on the ride into the office, and do the same thing when leaving.  After about two years of 2-3 multiple paragraph posts a day, I stopped posting my iPod's screen and bought a Bluetooth keyboard for posting in coffee shops.  I still do that, but probably 80% of my posts are via desktop now, and 98% are with a full keyboard.

Now that Google Chrome has brought back the option to save posts to read offline, I read more posts using my iPod.

The biggest beef I have with the current site is the tendency to stretch out lines of text really far when large images are used in a thread.  The thread looks fine on desktop, but the words are too small on mobile.  It would be nice to have the images resized automatically on mobile to fit the width of the screen, but that may be beyond the scope of the new site.  Awesome!  It looks like this has changed, on desktop anyway for both desktop and mobile!  Thank you!  This is a huge improvement!

It's especially an issue when rereading old adventure threads.  Usually it's ok, but every now and then a large image forces the text to stretch too far across the screen.

This message was last edited by the user at 03:27, Tue 11 Apr 2017.

jase
 admin, 3552 posts
 Cogito, ergo procuro.
 Carpe stultus!
Tue 11 Apr 2017
at 05:15
Re: New site design
You've obviously picked up a little on what oversized images do, but there's actually more;

As you've seen image that's wider than the viewport will get shrunk down.  What's not there yet is that all images (it's an all or nothing option) will have a "lightbox" (see https://www.w3schools.com/howto/howto_js_lightbox.asp for an example).  That way shrunk images can easily be viewed in all their glory.

Additionally, tables will be constrained to the width of the message window.  Any wider and they'll scroll left-right.  Currently really wide tables make you scroll the page horizontally, going forward you'll only scroll the table.  No messing up the entire thread 'cos of one over-wide image or table.
nauthiz
 member, 515 posts
Tue 11 Apr 2017
at 05:57
Re: New site design
jase:
No messing up the entire thread 'cos of one over-wide image or table.


This is pretty much the thing that makes (in my experience) the experience of using the current design on mobile go from "a bit of work, but functional" to "totally broken" when encountered.

So it's awesome to hear it'll be done away with in the new design.
swordchucks
 member, 1365 posts
Tue 11 Apr 2017
at 15:28
Re: New site design
While I'm thinking about it...

My #1 wish for a site design tweak is to make the games listing on the front page more controllable or a single list.  With the current format, I tend to have exactly one game that slips into the right column with the forums and I miss posting in it all the time because I don't think to look over there when I'm looking for games to post in.

Letting me have all of my games in one list, or just to forcibly group my games together in blocks would make my experience a little better.  (I didn't check to see if the new design already addresses this or not, but since it's still influx, it's probably still a good idea to mention it.)
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1117 posts
Tue 11 Apr 2017
at 21:40
Re: New site design
I started this post last night and didn't get to post it. I think some of these points have been brought up but here it is anyway.

Mad Mick, I must disagree. The menus should not be on the side, especially not if they are treated as a frame. As a frame they rarely work, usually hiding stuff off screen or under the frame (makes d20pfsrd painful to use on a small mobile, lists and sidebars are always half hidden).

Even when such side menus work (like when the framed page is truly a single column with a clean design), or when using a desktop, it makes the page look busy and messy.

When it isn't a frame, then once you scroll below the menus, you get a busy center column with blank space on the sides.

One of the great things about the current design is that it is truly limited to two column (the post info on left, and message on right), but also that there is no side frame.

Jase has, in the current look, managed to avoid making the pages look overly busy, thus maintaining readability. This stems from the combination of minimizing the stuff between messages, the fact that plenty of "white space" exists throughout, and particularly in the appropriate places, and finally, the simplicity of stacking vertically.

Even two column us hard to get the readability right, though the current design managed it quite well, mostly because the left column is mostly whitespace and has no primary content and the difference in color separates the two well. Also, zooming in to look at only one column at a time is possible.

Looking more like the popular styles is a bad thing. I can see how such styles sound nice, especially in trying to pack the maximum amount of stuff on screen at once, but that doesn't make those styles work well for the one reading them.
byzantinex
 member, 93 posts
Tue 11 Apr 2017
at 21:42
Re: New site design
Jase, I know you've got a life and job and everything (priories man?! :D j/k) and I know these projects don't have fixed timelines, but do you have any concept of a delivery date for the responsive site design? Are you thinking a few months? 6 months? A year?

This message was last edited by the user at 21:43, Tue 11 Apr 2017.

DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1118 posts
Wed 12 Apr 2017
at 04:18
Re: New site design
swordchucks:
To be blunt, I don't come to RPOL for the layout - I come for the functionality.
 ...


Interesting. I'm the opposite actually. I come to rpol for the readability, which is primarily about layout. And if you think about it, I come here to read, so reading should be easy. *

Rpol has a clean look that is easy to read, has a dark theme which is easier on the eyes, and one of very few cases where two columns can actually be better than one and does it well.

Nearly all forums I see are cramped and pack in lots of stuff where it shouldn't be and all around are confusing to read and painful to sort through especially three column sites (which seem to be a semi-standard of sorts), hence, I avoid them when I can. In fact, only rpol and one other site are clean and easy enough to read that I actually spend time for fun rather than research or work.

Would be nice if rpol used square brackets instead of angle brackets, but as that is mostly a keyboard issue (square brackets are easier to get to, or equally difficult to get to, as angle brackets on all android keyboards I've used), I don't know how common that is all around.


* PS. I can get around any functionality issues, but not so for readability.

This message was last edited by the user at 04:20, Wed 12 Apr 2017.

Sir Swindle
 member, 195 posts
Wed 12 Apr 2017
at 12:51
Re: New site design
I'm with Hitomi,

This is my primary RP site because there are no flashy bits and it looks enough like a spread sheet that I'm fine keeping it on screen at work.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15325 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Wed 12 Apr 2017
at 13:10
Re: New site design
DarkLightHitomi:
Would be nice if rpol used square brackets instead of angle brackets, but as that is mostly a keyboard issue (square brackets are easier to get to, or equally difficult to get to, as angle brackets on all android keyboards I've used), I don't know how common that is all around.

There was once an rPoll on that very topic.  The results were:

Angled brackets, like HTML -- <b>bold</b>   62.1% - (235 Votes)
Whatever!!                                  28.5% - (108 Votes)
Square brackets, like UBBC -- [b]bold[/b]    9.2% - (35 Votes)


So that's what we have.
swordchucks
 member, 1367 posts
Wed 12 Apr 2017
at 13:51
Re: New site design
DarkLightHitomi:
I'm the opposite actually. I come to rpol for the readability, which is primarily about layout.

I'm definitely not saying that readability isn't a factor (and generally consider it an aspect of functionality since that's the basic function of the site), but the thing that sets RPOL apart from a forum or pretty much anything else out there is the functionality.

I also consider being able to do your own robust themes to be a part of functionality.

DarkLightHitomi:
Would be nice if rpol used square brackets instead of angle brackets, but as that is mostly a keyboard issue (square brackets are easier to get to, or equally difficult to get to, as angle brackets on all android keyboards I've used), I don't know how common that is all around.

You can use square brackets for most tags, but being able to use them for colours would definitely be nice.

The problem with rPoll results is that it's limited to the people that a) notice the poll and b) answer the poll.  I'd rather see both work, to be honest, since what's easy for me will vary by input device (my bluetooth keyboard is a real avacado about making it hard to do certain special characters).
Skald
 moderator, 767 posts
 Whatever it is,
 I'm against it
Wed 12 Apr 2017
at 14:09
Re: New site design
swordchucks:
The problem with rPoll results is that it's limited to the people that a) notice the poll and b) answer the poll.

H'mmm - not really.  I'm comfortable assuming a) that those who saw it and chose not to answer would fall into the "don't care either way" category, and b) the preferences of those who didn't see it would be distributed in roughly the same proportions as those who did vote.

Not comfortable assuming that those who didn't vote for whatever reason actually preferred the least popular option.  Not that I've got anything against square brackets. <grins>

But back to the question at hand ... I do very much agree with DarkLightHitomi that many websites try to cram too much in to one screen which results in utter confusion as the eye traverses it.  That white space (or whatever colour space that your particular colour scheme allows) is very important for readability.  On reflection, that's probably why the new look did appeal to me - while there might be less visible threads in the viewing area at one time, the overall look is less cluttered, easier to read and definitely feels right.

Most of the tweaks, I think, are to do with making sure information we rely on (group number, tags) is a) there (ie not gone missing) and b) where we might expect it to best sit.  :>
swordchucks
 member, 1368 posts
Wed 12 Apr 2017
at 15:46
Re: New site design
Skald:
Not comfortable assuming that those who didn't vote for whatever reason actually preferred the least popular option.

I didn't mean to imply that.  And... I was going to say some other stuff, but I went and looked at that poll and have the best reason not to bank on it: it's old.  14 years old.  A child born the day that poll closed is going to be in high school next year.  It largely predates phone-posting as a concept and if it's a question we need an answer to, then the poll should be redone.

As for the rest... I agree that keeping a clean, simple layout (or, at least, adding enough customization options that one can easily get a clean, simple layout) is the way to go aesthetically.  Functionality is still my #1, though.
locojedi
 member, 137 posts
Wed 12 Apr 2017
at 16:54
Re: New site design
Will the Wikis be integrated into the site now, or still remain sort of a separate beast?
Vinny
 member, 564 posts
Thu 13 Apr 2017
at 10:28
Re: New site design
Obviously would be nice if we never had to change but I agree with the necessity and have no real problems with the new interface. Thanks for putting the work in jase :)
Skald
 moderator, 768 posts
 Whatever it is,
 I'm against it
Thu 13 Apr 2017
at 13:20
Re: New site design
Something else interesting with the polls ... I had a look at the two on age demographics and crunched some numbers:

The first one was in 2003 and had a split ~76% under 30 and ~24% over 30, while at the time of the second one (let's assume 2013 cos that's a nice round decade later vs the obviously wrong date that is showing on it for some reason) that split was ~60% under 30 and ~36% over 30 (the remaining % were not specified).

Which means we have an aging RPoL population (hey, it's not the years, it's the mileage) and the site needs to cater to them ... while we obviously also need to attract new blood and the site needs to cater to them ... <grrrins>

That's obviously simplistic (more over 30's may have joined the site than the number of under 30's have left ... or there's fewer joining now but everyone who's still here is now 10 years older), but it shows the difficulty in trying to design to make everyone happy across generational gaps.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1119 posts
Thu 13 Apr 2017
at 21:55
Re: New site design
Where do we find polls anyway?

I agree that a 14 year old poll has likely lost considerable accuracy. Still, making both brackets work would be the ultimate solution.

I also noticed that instead of lines, colored bars are used. I think the lines are better, especially on a small screen.