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.
LoreGuard
 member, 631 posts
Fri 14 Apr 2017
at 01:37
Re: New site design
Any chance to see a variant of the beta site that would point at a read only copy of the current Rpol games. Or offer a game import like in one of your prior versions?

In general I have liked what I have seen.  I have tried flipping my device portrait vs lanscape comparing views and trying to contemplate what might make it better, which seems like there might be something but I haven't been able to put a finger on it yet.

One thing, which I assume just hasn't been touched yet was the formatting controlled under the edit boxes look like they need to be set up to wrap, based on available space so that it doesn't run the page size way right.  (Or might be a menu instead of formatting line if it gets smaller than a certain size.
jase
 admin, 3553 posts
 Cogito, ergo procuro.
 Carpe stultus!
Sun 16 Apr 2017
at 03:05
Re: New site design
In reply to LoreGuard (msg # 50):

No, but I can kind of do one better.  http://responsive.rpol.net is this site using the responsive design.  I've just posted this using http://responsive.rpol.net.

http://beta.rpol.net is an isolated testing area, you can do whatever you want there and it doesn't matter.  http://responsive.rpol.net is this site, so whatever you do will affect http://rpol.net.
nauthiz
 member, 516 posts
Sun 16 Apr 2017
at 05:15
Re: New site design
It's actually really helpful to be able to look at the same information presented in two different ways.

A few things that jump out immediately.

Is there a way currently to differentiate between a post topic you've read and one you haven't in a specific game/forum?  Not having the image cue to differentiate quickly is a bit disadvantageous in large forums like Community Chat.

Likewise, one of the things I didn't realize I used a lot until it's gone are the number of replies for a given post.  I think the way I most often use it is in the Advertisement forums to tell what's a new game/person looking for something vs an older one still searching/bumping.

In reference to an earlier comment, the image scaling works very very well now that I have a chance to see it in action.  There's a particular thread in one of my games that has several reference images of various sizes posted and always blows up the formatting when accessed on my phone.  The new code allows for a much easier time seeing not only the images but the text that goes along with them as well, so kudos on that.
byzantinex
 member, 94 posts
Sun 16 Apr 2017
at 13:28
Re: New site design
In reply to jase (msg # 51):

WOOOOOO HOOOOOO!!!!!!! :D :D :D

1) First / Last links don't work, they open at the top of the page.

2) Bottom link doesn't work.

3) Game Menu and Main Menu links in the footer would be really helpful to avoid having to scroll all the way to the top.

Bottom, line SO EXCITED!!! THANK YOU JASE!!!
pdboddy
 member, 522 posts
Sun 16 Apr 2017
at 15:03
Re: New site design
In reply to jase (msg # 51):

Ooh, this is nice. :)