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Beta testing web site layout


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#1 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 09 August 2009 - 05:51 PM

Dear all,

We are in need of some individuals willing to beta test some style / design changes for the main Monachos.net web site that are currently in development.

To be clear: this is for testing how pages on the main site display; content of the forum will come later.

I'd be very grateful for any willing to take part: it simply involves exploring the new layout in your browser (whatever that may be), and letting us know of any display problems, quirks, etc.

Please PM me if you are interested, and ensure that you provide me with your e-mail address in your PM.

INXC, Fr Dcn Matthew

#2 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 12 August 2009 - 10:29 PM

Dear all,

My thanks to the many people who replied indicating they would be willing to beta test the work on the new site styling. However, rather than reply to each individually, we've come to a point where we are able to offer a public beta test, so any one can take part without having to sign up.

Click here to beta test to the new site styling, and for information on the new style work.

I would be very grateful for as many people to take part as possible: it requires no technical experience or know-how: all that is required is to switch to the beta style and explore the site, to see if any problems occur on your computer. If they do, reporting them can help us identify problems that occur in browsers / connections / platforms that we cannot test in-house.

Fuller details on the link above. A reminder that this is testing the styling for the main Monachos.net web site, not the forum itself.

Any and all discussion in this thread please.

With thanks, INXC, Fr Dcn Matthew

#3 Paul Cowan

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 01:19 AM

I am using IE 7. I will admit my computer has crashed this past week, so is not up to snuff, but I have noticed a few things.

1) the youtube picture inserts in posts is not there (something I appreciate BTW)
2) in the beta mode, there is a 4 inch space on the right side of my screen. I use a 17 inch monitor but have it configured over the oversize.
3) I don't care for the scroll bar within the scroll bar. One for the page as a whole and the inset for the thread.
4) in the main pages, there is a 3/4 inch buffer on the left and right of the text box and a 1/2 inch buffer from the header to the text box
5) The header seems aweful big in that it takes up a good 3 inches of the top of my screen taking away from the readable area unless I scroll the whole screen down rahter than just the text.
6) the footer where it has copyright and contact info is also very large almost 2 full inches tall.
7) Patristic Quotes takes me to the Monachos wiki page and I lost the header.
8) under Patristics Radio Broadcasts. I get an (x box) where a graphic might be.

I love the drop down icon box choices. I love the new layout. I am still trying to figure out the default 1,2,3 options under Special Color schemes. Version 2 just clicked me back to the old style site. But I just tried to reproduce it and it did not do it. hummm.

I like the default color scheme, but don't see much differnece between Version 2 and 3 other than the 3/4 inch side bars on either side of the text box. One has sandscript and the other is white. Keep up the great work Fr. Dcn!!!!!

Paul

#4 Demetrios Galanidis

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 04:36 AM

Operates very well, and renders nicely, with Firefox 3.0 under Linux.

#5 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 13 August 2009 - 08:36 AM

Dear Paul,

Thank you for your notes. A few responses:

1) the youtube picture inserts in posts is not there (something I appreciate BTW)


This is perhaps a forum issue, but doesn't have anything to do with the beta testing (which doesn't involve the forum).

2) in the beta mode, there is a 4 inch space on the right side of my screen. I use a 17 inch monitor but have it configured over the oversize.

This certainly shouldn't be happening: and when I test it in Firefox and Safari, it doesn't. The pages in beta mode should re-size to fill the whole of your screen, and the margins on both right and left should be only about 25 pixels (ca. one centimetre).

Are you able to post or send me a screen shot of this problem? (ensuring that you are looking at a page in the new beta styling where this problem occurs, that is not a forum page, since, as noted on the beta notice, forum pages will not yet display properly in the new styling.)

3) I don't care for the scroll bar within the scroll bar. One for the page as a whole and the inset for the thread.

This again has to do with the forum, which is noted on the beta page as not yet being ready for display in the beta context. Please disregard any and all issues of displaying the forum in the new styling context for the time being.

4) in the main pages, there is a 3/4 inch buffer on the left and right of the text box and a 1/2 inch buffer from the header to the text box

The margins (i.e. the parchment background) between the sides of the window to the main content pane, and from the header to the content pane, are indeed of different proportions. We're trying to find the balance that we like best. Do let me know if you have thoughts on these.

5) The header seems aweful big in that it takes up a good 3 inches of the top of my screen taking away from the readable area unless I scroll the whole screen down rahter than just the text.
6) the footer where it has copyright and contact info is also very large almost 2 full inches tall.

This certainly sounds like a problem - and it shouldn't be happening. On all displays to which I have access, the footer is only ca. 1.5 centimetres in height (just enough to take in the three lines of text, plus a small buffer); and the header shouldn't be as large as you are describing it. This might be an IE7 issue for us to look into. Might you be able to post a screen shot?

7) Patristic Quotes takes me to the Monachos wiki page and I lost the header.

This is correct: as in the current design, the Quotes area is a separate wiki with its own design. We will likely integrate this visually at some point in the future.

8) under Patristics Radio Broadcasts. I get an (x box) where a graphic might be.

This is odd: I cannot re-create it on my browsers. Please try hard-refreshing the page and let us know if it continues.

I love the drop down icon box choices. I love the new layout. I am still trying to figure out the default 1,2,3 options under Special Color schemes. Version 2 just clicked me back to the old style site. But I just tried to reproduce it and it did not do it. hummm.

I like the default color scheme, but don't see much differnece between Version 2 and 3 other than the 3/4 inch side bars on either side of the text box. One has sandscript and the other is white.

I'm glad you like the overall layout. As to the variable colour schemes: we're only beginning to test these: currently version 1 (default) and version 2 are largely the same -- only the background is different (parchment in the default style; a manuscript border in version 2). The 'Low Resolution' version is quite different, however, being plain with no backgrounds and a low-resolution header, for users with slow connections, etc.

The idea is that in due course we can have a small selection of different styles that display in different ways.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#6 Michael Astley

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Posted 14 August 2009 - 06:48 PM

I'd like to thank you for all of the work on this. I have just switched and haven't explored it in great depth but my first impressions are that it is much, much cleaner. My Asperger mind likes order and clean lines. Too many concentric shapes, boxes within boxes, and sections on non-square text that isn't enclosed in some sort of box really grates on me and actually affects my mood. The new design takes care of all of these things very nicely and it is very easy on the eye.

I may come back with more observations later.

#7 David Hawthorne

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 01:31 AM

I was impressed right away with the clean site look which aesthetically is a great feel even over the old one. And I like the drop down menus a lot too. I am on Firefox 3 and had no problems at all. Will post more as I explore- thanks for all your hard work to improve this great site!

#8 Paul Cowan

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Posted 15 August 2009 - 02:02 AM

SOrry Fr. Dcn. I am having a dickens of a time with my computer. I can't seem to make the print screen key work. With all the IT guys registered on this forum, too bad none of them live near me. I'ld even pay top dollar.

I did do a hard refresh and still get the xbox on the radio page.

#9 Andrew D. Morrell

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Posted 18 August 2009 - 03:40 AM

Using the latest version of Firefox.

Overall a clean looking change. I have enjoyed the simplicity and effectiveness of the present Monachos site. If there are technical and administrative reasons for the change that make site management easier and better, bravo. Otherwise... ?

"Special Features" and "New Newest materials" are not visible top right in the default view screen size. One click moves "Special..." down and hard left, another click puts "New..." next over to the right.

When zoomed in two clicks and looking at the drop downs, I find that seeing the page content behind the transparent background (Patristics/Patristics main) is distracting. The content happens to be "Special..." and "New...".

In my case, I'm always zoomed in a couple of clicks in Firefox or IE. My old eyes prefer bolder "i"s.

In Christ,
Andrew

#10 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 01:30 PM

The lay out of the new Forum is very good. It has a clarity to it that I really appreciate.

One bug however that several posters report is that cyrillic font no longer properly appears on the Forum. Instead what appears is a series of identical question marks ?? ??? ???. For some unknown reason though this problem only appears once the post is made to the public Forum. On the Reply to Thread pane the cyrillic letters appear with no problem.

I don't know if this problem is actually connected to the switch to the new style site or not. But the problem only began to appear a couple of weeks ago at about the same time as beta testing began.

In Christ- Fr Raphael

#11 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 01:48 PM

Dear Father Raphael, and others who have reported this issue:

Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Yes, the problem with the display of Cyrillic at the moment has been caused by the new encoding of pages required by the system upgrade. I've noted this, and added it to the listing of known bugs in the beta styling.

Please note that this is a temporary issue. The Cyrillic materials are still there, and once we have fixed the encoding, they will appear properly again (i.e. they have not been lost in those posts that contained them). I'll let you know as soon as we've remedied this.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#12 Fr Raphael Vereshack

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 01:51 PM

Thank you!

Also, since one question that 'leave feedback' asks is about speed: the speed of pages loading is somewhat slower- but not a lot- than in the old version.

#13 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 01:55 PM

Dear Fr Raphael, you wrote:

Also, since one question that 'leave feedback' asks is about speed: the speed of pages loading is somewhat slower- but not a lot- than in the old version.


Many thanks for this note. I'll be grateful to know if this is a continued observation, or one that disappears after you've used the new site layout a bit.

The new design uses all new graphics, which means nothing will be present in your browser's cache and it will need to download them all anew. This will slow the page-load time on initial visits, as it downloads the new graphics; however, your browser should cache these, so that they load more quickly in subsequent visits (as surely it had done with the old site styling on your computer).

So, my hope is that you'll find things speed back up.

However, that said, the new graphics are larger, so we're continuing to tweak them. For example, the parchment background image is currently larger than we would like it; we're looking for a way to decrease its file size without it lessening the quality and overlay.

So, watch this space.

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#14 Rick H.

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 02:49 PM

However, that said, the new graphics are larger, so we're continuing to tweak them. For example, the parchment background image is currently larger than we would like it; we're looking for a way to decrease its file size without it lessening the quality and overlay.




I like the new look, but possibly due to the larger graphics everthing is spread out so much that it takes three times the scrolling to move down the pages that it used to take. For me this means that I have to move my mouse down to the bottom of the pad then bring it back up two more times and drag it down to work my way through the page. So I like the new look very much, but this aspect is very unappealing.

#15 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 03:14 PM

Dear all,

There was once an article written by the famous Swedish theologian, Gustav Wingren (who wrote a seminal text on St Irenaeus of Lyons), entitled 'Jesus Spoke Swedish'. That text came to mind this afternoon when we discovered that the recent problems with Cyrillic fonts displaying improperly in the forum has (surprisingly) stemmed from the server setting, as default text encoding in its databases, utf-Swedish (!).

I believe the issue with Cyrillic font display has now been corrected.

Please note: messages posted during the last fortnight, whilst we were beginning beta testing, were encoded improperly and Cyrillic characters converted to ???s. These will remain incorrect now that the encoding is fixed; however, all new posts containing Cyrillic font should display properly, as should those older posts containing Cyrillic text that were posted prior to the recent beta testing.

Спаси Боже!

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#16 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 03:24 PM

Well, on my Mac, of course, everything looks great. However, on my work PC...

Well generally speaking, it looks as good as it can on a PC using Explorer v6, with the notable exception of the Profiles. All the text blocks are pushed over to the right side of the window in a linear fashion, there are no columns. While I certainly appreciate the recommendation that appears atop the window to use a different, more current browser, with this computer I don't have the option of loading my own software and get what I get, and what I get is ugly.

Just so you know.

Herman the less-than-lovin' it" Pooh

#17 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 03:25 PM

Dear Rick, you wrote:

I like the new look, but possibly due to the larger graphics everthing is spread out so much that it takes three times the scrolling to move down the pages that it used to take. For me this means that I have to move my mouse down to the bottom of the pad then bring it back up two more times and drag it down to work my way through the page. So I like the new look very much, but this aspect is very unappealing.


Thank you for your note. Fine-tuning the layout is part of an ongoing process, so all notes and comments on this are warmly welcomed.

The header design on the new layout does mean that the actual content for forum pages (i.e. the text of the first post on a page) is lowered by about 1.5 cm over the past style; however, the overall width of the column in which forum content is displayed is substantially wider, since the left-hand menu of the old styling is no longer there -- so in actual fact, pages should require less scrolling in the new styling, not more. And we thought that the increased header area height would not be a major issue, since most forum links go directly to the place in a thread where new materials begin, rather than the top of the page; so in that context the header height will have no bearing on the actual experience of the page.

The actual spacing of items on the page has not been increased; so page heights should not increase (since there is no more space between items on a page than there was before).

Perhaps you could give me some specifics on the specific areas where you perceive an increased need for scrolling?

INXC, Dcn Matthew

#18 Rick H.

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 03:53 PM

Perhaps you could give me some specifics on the specific areas where you perceive an increased need for scrolling?



It seems like this is the case on every page for me. For example I just clicked on the thread "What is a hypocondriac-type to do?" to double check my original thoughts on this. This thread has only three posts. Normally, I can "click and hold" on my "sliding button" on the right of the screen and "drag" a three post thread down all at once very quickly. But, now even with this I still have to drag the "button" all the way down to the bottom of the screen (and my mouse pad), and then go back up and do this two more times in order to view these three posts.

I'm sorry if my lack of computer language is making this more complicated than it needs to be, but hopefully this makes sense.


It seems to me like there is more white space on the pages and things are spread out more than before. When I attempt to cut and paste an example of this on this reply it doesn't reflect how it looks on my screen. But, I will compose an example of what is just above the box I am typing in now in order to show you what I mean:



You are

replying to [white space] Beta testing web site layout

thread:



Your

post title [location of box to enter post title]

(optional):

#19 Father David Moser

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 04:16 PM

It seems like this is the case on every page for me.

It seems to me like there is more white space on the pages and things are spread out more than before.


I've gotta agee with Rick here. The column width seems the same but the white space at top and bottom seems to be much greater, which means I have to scroll down even to read the first post on the page. It seems like I have to scroll a lot more than before. Unlike Rick I don't use a mouse for this, but I use the scroll buttons on my keyboard.

One thing that may add to this perception is the lack of any kind of boundary around the individual posts themselves - the only thing that indicates that you go from one post to another is the text of the header and footers (but there are no color or graphic indications that you are moving from one post to the next.

I also miss the quote boxes. Having just the italics to set off quotes is not really as effective to my eye.

A couple of unrelated things:

I think that I noticed a broken link on the Community page - you cannot use the link on the top bar to go back to the "main" page.

The quotes from the Father's page still does not give any kind of a quote - it just says that the quote is changed daily or whatever but no quote of any kind is given.

Fr David

#20 M.C. Steenberg

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 05:27 PM

Dear Father David,

I rather fear you might need to re-load your browser's cache, since you clearly aren't seeing things as they should be: there should be the usual borders around posts, quotes, etc. Indeed, the forum is essentially identical to its old styling, just 'wrapped' in the new page layout.

If you are using Firefox, press SHIFT+CTRL+R to hard-reload a page (i.e. force the cache to re-load all elements), or CTRL+F5 in Internet Explorer. Do the post borders, etc., now appear for you?

i'll look further into the spacing issue.

INXC, Dcn Matthew




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