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NOW you can help Dark Matter evolve - Problems?

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posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 07:45 AM
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Originally posted by jsobecky
[I remember specifically references to other sites that use the "dark matter" theme when this idea was presented to the ATS community. I believe it was SO that said it; I could be wrong, but I know it was at least an admin level person.

There was never any mention of "other sites" using anything called "dark matter" since I coined the term myself to designate the ATS redesign.

I've managed the design and/or redesign of several dozen websites over the years... some you know, some are long gone. Each time there's been a redesign, there has been a vocal minority that dislikes any change... it's a natural resistance to seeing something with which you're familiar alter it's structure.

There are countless online/computer usability and heuristic studies that indicate light text on a dark background is the best combination for the eyes/brain. The primary reason is that you're looking at the text from an emitted light medium (monitor) rather than a reflected light medium (paper)... less light is less strain... less strain is better focus on the words... better focus on the words is better comprehension... etc.

However... there are somewhat conflicting studies that show the brain has possible learned to better recognize black text on a light background... no matter what the medium. But these same studies also end up finding that our brain scans white text on black faster than anything else. Go figure.



Now I want to "Find Posts" for myself or another member.

It displays as dark-on-dark, unreadable text. I must go up and switch preferences from dark to light (or vice-vera; who knows how that really works?) to be able to see the results. Do-able? Yes. Easy, or user-friendly? Absolutely not.

I don't see this happening. Can you provide a screen shot? If you recall, someone else had a similar problem, and it ended up being their browser not accepting the site style sheet for some reason. They cleared their cache and all was well after that. Browsers do get constipated from time to time.





Newspapers don't do it because of the larger ink requirements

Sorry, but I don't believe that for a second.

Huh? You don't realize that a dark-background newspaper would increase the cost of ink usage AND ink smudging on reader's hands?



Why? Why was it necessary to have a "custom" look? Accepting that it was necessary, or desirable, it was a very poor choice, imo.

Because we're a leader and not a follower.

Back when this started, I indicated that our popularity was bringing more people to ATS than ever before, and that many of our new users had no previous experience with discussion boards (most people don't). Hour home page abandonment percentages were rising as a result (the number of people who visit the home page, then never click through to any other page). It had surpassed 50% of all new visitors. It was clear that something needed to be done... and with the rise of user-generated-content and Web 2.0, we needed to define ourselves a more as a content-driven social network (a content network), and less as a tired old board.

After the redesign, especially the home page, the abandonment number immediately dropped to less than 20% and is currently hovering around 16%... pages viewed per visit rose by about 40%... new visitors rose by about 30%.... spectacularly effective redesign by all measures.

Soon we hope to be spending an effort promoting ATS "in the real world" beyond the typical stomping grounds of people habitually interested in "alternative" topics. If they were to land on the previous version of ATS, it was clear they'd be confused and unsure of what to do next.


This is not to say I'm currently please with all aspects of the redesign. I continue to delve into site path analysis, button clickage (yes, there is such a study), feature usage, and related things. In fact... there is some increasing data that seems to indicate the overall cleaner look seen by non-members is more effective for long-term navigation and usage than what members see (log out to see what I mean).


Also, it seems time to reveal the results of our survey filled out by 523 ATS members...

1) Now that the ATS "DarkMatter" redesign is complete, what is your general impression with the new look and feel of ATS? (80% positive)
The best website I've seen! --- 178 (34.03%)
Very good, but it could be better. --- 243 (46.46%)
Average, lots are worse, and lots are better. --- 53 (10.13%)
Pretty bad, fix it soon. --- 16 (3.06%)

2) Do you use the "light" or "dark" setting to read threads? (2/3 dark)
Dark version --- 302 (64.74%)
Light version --- 178 (34.03%)
(The actual site database numbers are showing 77% dark)

3) What is your favorite feature of the redesign?
The new forum icons --- 71 (13.58%)
The new forum groups --- 38 (7.27%)
The new ways to look at popular posts and new posts --- 83 (15.87%)
The Anonymous Board --- 17 (3.25%)
The Dark colored background --- 69 (13.19%)
The improved advanced search --- 32 (6.12%)
All of it! --- 157 (30.02%)

4) What is your least favorite feature of the redesign?
-no opinion- --- 214 (40.92%)
The new forum icons --- 31 (5.93%)
The new forum groups --- 21 (4.02%)
The new ways to look at popular posts and new posts --- 53 (10.13%)
The Anonymous Board --- 91 (17.40%)
The Dark colored background --- 78 (14.91%)
The improved advanced search --- 21 (4.02%)
All of it! --- 14 (2.68%)

5) How is the overall performance of ATS for you?
Blazing fast, fastest site I visit --- 129 (24.67%)
Very fast, some are faster --- 261 (49.90%)
Average --- 111 (21.22%)
Very slow, most sites are faster --- 13 (2.49%)




And I suggest that you learn to accept constructive criticism.

I suggest you learn how to improve the way you attempt to give it.
("boondoggle" is not an effective adjective in the context of "constructive" criticism, nor is it supported by the data :p )




posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 11:24 AM
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Tremendous work you do SO, really appreciate


Non the less allow me a feature request, concerning the find page function (I have no display problems:-)

Like previous suggested in this -or the other- DM-thread, an interactive function in the "Who's On" register on the bottom of the MyATS page, would be cool


Would work like this: If you click a name it will take you to that specific members recent posts page, like if you had clicked "find post". That way you would be able to keep track of any given member logged on.

Another thing I thought about includes yet another feature which could be handy.

First let me say the new Single Post function in the find post search is a very helpful improvement especially in long threads. That has lead me to think of a similar feature for the individual threads.

First we would have to have a menu of the single posts in a thread... with author, timestamp and possibly (my last suggestion) with some indication of size in bytes or prefereable in words.

Have a menu of the single posts in a thread. Possibly called from Forum List. One-click a thread and get the menu of single post like described above. Double-click and go direct to thread, page options of course single click.

But I think the post size indication could be really swell, it would give you a feel of any thread and also where the substance is. You know sometimes it can be a pain in.. ### to find a specific post in a long thread. You got member name and what it's about and have an idea how long it was... and then you have to scroll pages up and down.

Such a listed menu of each thread would be an enormous advantage


Please give it a thought



posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 11:34 AM
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Originally posted by khunmoon
If you click a name it will take you to that specific members recent posts page, like if you had clicked "find post". That way you would be able to keep track of any given member logged on.

Have you tried clicking on a member's name in the mini-profile next to posts?


Having this feature added to the list of "who's on now" would massively increase the weight (file size) of the page. A quick look at the number of members on right now translates to an added 20k of weight... or about 360 megabytes a day with an average of 18,000 hits on the site home.


And while the other idea is also interesting, there are added concerns over page weight and code-overhead.

Don't forget that while there are many features that would be interesting to add to ATS, the reality is that we're a massively busy board (one of the top 20 most visited boards) and many additions end up have a processor "cost".



posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 12:21 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Have you tried clicking on a member's name in the mini-profile next to posts?

Yes, I use that alot, but it only shows the authored threads, not posts the member replied to other thread. So even if you remember his name, you cannot find it, unless he also launched the thread.


Having this feature added to the list of "who's on now" would massively increase the weight (file size) of the page. A quick look at the number of members on right now translates to an added 20k of weight... or about 360 megabytes a day with an average of 18,000 hits on the site home.


And while the other idea is also interesting, there are added concerns over page weight and code-overhead.

Don't forget that while there are many features that would be interesting to add to ATS, the reality is that we're a massively busy board (one of the top 20 most visited boards) and many additions end up have a processor "cost".

Well, thought so.

But someday soon, when processor costs have hit the floor and you 've grown really big and rich, you hire a bunch of techs and script kids and get it done.


Looking forward


Thanks for your answer anyway, SO, appreciate



posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 12:28 PM
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SO,

Well, first of all, thank you for the time you took to respond. Very much appreciated.

And the analysis you presented supports your decision to re-design. No question. Sometims decisons need to be made before we are confident of the outcome. It's a gamble, and if this one paid off for ATS, I'm all for it, and I applaud you for your guts and ingenuity.

I cannot, however, agree with studies that show the effects of background color on eyestrain. Count me among the dissenters. No study has ever had 100% approval, as far as I know. But I accept it, because the benefits outweigh the alternative. That, and the fact that this is a privately owned board.


[edit on 2-2-2007 by jsobecky]



posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 06:56 PM
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I have one complaint. Er um I mean suggestion...

I love the Dark matter theme if you couldn't tell from some of my avatars, but how come the ATS logo is still a bland brownish grey?

Props for the new "above Politics" logo though. Way cool!



posted on Feb, 2 2007 @ 09:51 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Originally posted by khunmoon
If you click a name it will take you to that specific members recent posts page, like if you had clicked "find post". That way you would be able to keep track of any given member logged on.

Have you tried clicking on a member's name in the mini-profile next to posts?



Yeah, but it still doesn't work properly. Try posting a new thread in the Fragile Earth forum and then click the member's name.

Nada! Doesn't pull a single one.



posted on Feb, 3 2007 @ 12:50 AM
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To clear a confussion, allow me to quote myself.


Originally posted by khunmoon

Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
Have you tried clicking on a member's name in the mini-profile next to posts?


Yes, I use that alot, but it only shows the authored threads, not posts the member replied to other thread. So even if you remember his name, you cannot find it, unless he also launched the thread.

Sorry, I mistook your answer for the name in the avatar ...those damn eyes, I've changed to dark setting, you see.


No, sorry for not reading it correct. But to the list accessed from "find post", I would like put forward a wish, that should be less power costly and more easy to comply with.

In the list you get the most recent 20 post and the option "next 20". If you are searching for post 200 posts behind and have to click through 10 pages.

Couldn't we have a page number option like in the forum's list of threads? 1,2,3,4, >>

Or still better, have say 100 posts to scroll on a page, but maybe it will conflict with page weight.

Like it is for me now, having a slow connection, I have to wait 5-10 sec to load a page in "find posts".

Thank you for listnin', SO.


[edit on 3-2-2007 by khunmoon]



posted on Feb, 10 2007 @ 12:24 AM
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SkepticOverlord,

Can you make the "yes or no" lettering in the MYATS edit menu more legible?

www.abovetopsecret.com...

The grey background color #A0A0A0 is hard to see with a grey font color #B0B0B0.



Thanks...



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