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Logging out: the Dark Side of ATS

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posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 12:56 PM
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Lately I've found myself getting in the habbit of emailing or facebooking a lot of people interesting links from around the net regarding alternative topics and such, something I'm sure many other ATS'ers are also getting up to.

And one such place that I want to link to fairly often is ATS, but recently I was shocked to hear from a good friend of mine that he never reads all the ATS links I send him, something I was quite shocked to hear. Why is this?

I got at my computer the other night and after clearing my cache, cookies etc. I found myself logged out of ATS and began to explore the site a bit as a visitor. I was shocked! I could not read a single thread before closing it in frustration. The site is so clumsy and balky that I couldn't focus on the marginalized text way over in the left corner next to the barrage of advertisements and 'Hot Topics' lists taking up almost half the screen! The text itself is so big it feels as though I'm reading a page of headlines.

I then emailed my father and asked him to comment on a link I had mailed him a short while ago, and to my surprise he had also not read it because ATS apparently "looks like spyware"!

I do not mean to bash our site, I've just been shocked, as a fairly long time member who has never read a thread without having been logged on, to see how different and daunting the site can be.

I understand that one of the reasons for this may be an effort to encourage people join, and thus view the site in all it's easy-on-the-eyes html glory, but many people just want to read an interesting article and subsequent discussion without having to register.

Does anyone else share this gripe? Is there any way that the site can be made a little more accessible to the non-member?




posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 01:05 PM
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You can please some of the people some of the time...

The current version of content presented to guests (or those not logged in) has been an ongoing evolution, that began with several contact form complaints received months ago regarding the previous version of the non-member layout.

Over time, a few things have happened...

1) More people are reading more pages... our total visits have improved, and the number of pages people read per visit have increased.

2) More people are clicking the right-side links to additional content. Related to the first point, those links have exposed more people to more ATS content than anything else we've done.

3) A complete lack of contact form complaints about site layout seen by guests. We used to get 2 or 3 a week, since the new design, there has been none.

4) Favorable response from prospective interesting advertisers... those who would place ads on ATS prefer the new layout.


We're constantly looking at improvements, and one of the "concerns" has been our preference for a dark background which does immediately give some people an initial impression that isn't really accurate.



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 02:15 PM
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[post deleted]



[edit on 7-8-2008 by Badge01]



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 02:36 PM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


I find the dark background very appealing actually and rather unintimidating.

I also understand the reason for the Hot Topics links etc. but I still think there is space wasteage taking place. And I'm sure it completely depends on whom you are trying to attract, and it seems as though, as you say, many people are being attracted to the site through exposure as visitors.

But to me what should count is readability, and if you compare the site with something like Time magazine for example, or an academic journal, the ATS page does not look like something that wants to be read, especially not by someone unfamiliar with internet discussion boards.

Obviously you've put a lot of time and effort into refining the image and goals of the site, so I'm sure you've already thoroughly thought through what I'm saying here. You say that more people are clicking on those links and reading more pages these days, one reason for this may simply be the addition of the Digg button, rather than the page itself. As someone who avidly uses the Stumble toobar to seek for juicy internetses, I really enjoy a clear and neat presentation of text, if text is the thrust of the page I find myself on.

But granted that the page may be as you please, I've highlighted some areas on the page in red that I think waste space without providing any of the benefits you have described.



About 5% of the page width is taken up by the blank spaces between the boxes, spaces which may be redundent.

The other thing that is taking up a bunch of space is the reply counters on the Hot Topics boxes. Perhaps they are necessary, but they do take up a bunch of space.


Upon further review I think the thing which disturbs me the most is the text size, the actual post reply boxes are fairly similar in size to the boxes when logged in, and its just the larger font which makes the space seem a lot smaller.

Edit: The other thing which I find puts me off is that the text is not centered on the page, when logged on its bang in the middle of the page with crispy 12pt font begging me to read it. Squashed against the left wall is rather less aesthetically pleasing.

[edit on 7-8-2008 by The_Modulus]



posted on Aug, 7 2008 @ 07:37 PM
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I prefer the dark background. If others are "concerned" about that then I would suggest having some kind of option to change the color schema.

Black is my favorite color.

-Euclid



posted on Aug, 8 2008 @ 04:27 PM
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Yes, I have often read ATS without logging in at other computers than my own. Its an undescriblable layout.. It just doesn't feel right. I understand the reason why they want to keep it in its current version, but I think we should adapt the members page layout and include member info?

I don't know the reason's behind not putting the member area that is usally on the left, but hidden to vistors, I think that might gain more information on the type of person that is posting.. such as the amount of points, knowing whether the person is new or is a long-standing member..

Might make it a bit more interesting?



posted on Aug, 8 2008 @ 04:50 PM
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I agree. A good buddy of mine told me about this site several times.. I checked out a link or 2 and told him.. dewd.. stop sending me that site...

If I want to see adds.. Ill flip through the yellow pages..

he told me that 'members' get less ads

honestly.. if he wouldnt have told me that.. I woulnt be here today.. :-D

I would suggest shutting down some of the ads.. bet.. what can ya do..

gotta pay for the mansion somehow.. :-D



[edit on 8/8/2008 by KATSUO]



posted on Aug, 8 2008 @ 05:06 PM
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I forgot my password not too long ago and rather than create a new one, I thought I would just check a couple of threads I was following. ( my computer usually just keeps me logged in so I haven't seen the visitor page since way back ever) so anyway, I found it so uncomfortable that I dug through my stuff and found my password rather than continue on the visitor site.
But if it works best for the owners that is what matters. I have no stock and won't forget my password again, so no more problem for me.
Oh, and if S.O. is interested in my demographics for some reason, I am not tech, nor computer savvy. I judge sites by "how easy on the eyes" they look and I stay away from sites that look like if I click on something it will attach some cookie, brownie, or whatever baked good is bad or annoying for my computer. Porn sites have the look of everything bad for my computer for an example.
I obviously don't have a suggestion to improve anything, I just thought I would add my 2 cents. Great site once you join. I'm happy.



posted on Aug, 8 2008 @ 05:07 PM
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At my last job, I would peruse the site without logging in. Yes it was ugly, full of ads and pretty difficult to use, but I just adjusted to it.

But I also had been sending ATS links to non-member friends and they didn't seem to like the looks of the site either. One person I sent a link to saw the whole first section of the page as nothing but advertisements and thought I had emailed him something suspicious so he closed it out and never went back. I had to explain to him that he needed to scroll the page down to see the actual content of the site but I don't think he ever gave it a second chance.

Considering the importance of first impressions, I would like to request that the site be modified to be more visitor-friendly. You can always attract more flies with honey.



posted on Aug, 8 2008 @ 05:16 PM
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Considering the importance of first impressions


I know.. that just goes to show how much some people NEED the conspiracy
:-D

or de-bunking there of.. ;-p



posted on Aug, 9 2008 @ 09:30 PM
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Originally posted by euclid
I prefer the dark background. If others are "concerned" about that then I would suggest having some kind of option to change the color schema.

Black is my favorite color.

-Euclid

That option exists, top left corner it says "go light", click on that and the black is mostly gone



posted on Aug, 9 2008 @ 11:49 PM
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After reading on ATS for about a year as a visitor, never commenting, just reading the diverse and very interesting topics, I felt special when I signed up as a member and saw the 'real' ATS! That special feeling is for members only!!! LOL!



posted on Aug, 9 2008 @ 11:53 PM
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and i thought this was going to be about something serious,

how disappointing



posted on Aug, 12 2008 @ 07:23 AM
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Is there no one else who thinks that academic presentation is important in the slightest? Does no one else think the non-members site can be improved? No update SO?



posted on Aug, 12 2008 @ 08:16 AM
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reply to post by The_Modulus
 


There have been some subtle modifications to the non-member thread layout over the past few days. But the difficult balance of "how we'd like it to look" and "how many ads it needs to show" is currently a tough juggling act. While we could certainly "survive" with a lower number of ads, our aspirations for a broader audience through multiple media sources require capital, and right now, the ads are the only source. We're on the cusp of improved ads from higher-quality advertisers, and we've repeatedly indicate that when that happens, there will be fewer ads.

But that being said... still... the current layout for non-members is delivering more pages viewed by non-members than when members and non-members saw the same layout.



posted on Aug, 12 2008 @ 10:09 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


The black layout is the ants pants Bill! It really adds to the atmosphere, attitude and general ambiance of the site. Personally - I love it! May we always have a black option!

To the Op, I would imagine more space reserved for advertisements in the non member layout is quite acceptable/understandable. I makes sense on a number of levels!

For one, it's a nice incentive to join, knowing that you won't be subjected to as much advertising matter, and secondly, ATS is business so it makes a good portion of it's money from things like advertisement. That way, the website can afford to keep running for all us spoiled members!

We'd notice more if ATS wasn't here!

IRM



posted on Aug, 12 2008 @ 10:13 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

But that being said... still... the current layout for non-members is delivering more pages viewed by non-members than when members and non-members saw the same layout.


Not necessarily related. Traffic has been going up in general has it not?

Dark sites generally look sketchier than sites in lighter colors. Just a general rule of thumb. Take a look at any top tier site. (CNN, Drudge, NYT...)



posted on Aug, 12 2008 @ 10:23 AM
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Originally posted by Mainer
Traffic has been going up in general has it not?

Yes, but before the current non-member layout, we were averaging something like 4.2 pages viewed for each non-member visiting ATS. With the new layout, it's getting very close to 6 (5.83) pages viewed per non-member visit. That's a very significant difference.



posted on Aug, 12 2008 @ 01:01 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Originally posted by Mainer
Traffic has been going up in general has it not?

Yes, but before the current non-member layout, we were averaging something like 4.2 pages viewed for each non-member visiting ATS. With the new layout, it's getting very close to 6 (5.83) pages viewed per non-member visit. That's a very significant difference.

New layout??????? What new layout????
When did we get a new layout????



posted on Aug, 12 2008 @ 01:31 PM
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The sight is awesome looking just like the brochure but the ads are a bit of a turn off. I got turned on to ATS from one of the brochures but surprisingly THAT didn't advertise anything! Well other than ATS itself

I question your business acumen as I figure you either have money growing on trees OR you are a genius because it was the content of the featured threads in the brochure that got me to get involved. I always knew what it looked like to members as the screenshots of the many featured posts were of those obviously done from a members vantage point.

I didn't know the place had so much more than just church oriented stuff till I went to the site itself for the first time. Ill say it worked though I imagine it's a targeted audience kind of thing then. I have an office with a waiting room where I furnish the magazines and had to keep a close eye on the ATS mini mags I had collected because people were always stealing them or commenting on what the latest was being talked about at ATS after reading them. You can tell a lot about a person by the things they would bring up in conversation after they read one of them but I would have to agree with res ipsa that I doubt I would have ever signed up had I not already known from the mailer what It looked like inside.







[edit on 12-8-2008 by XIDIXIDIX]

[edit on 12-8-2008 by XIDIXIDIX]

[edit on 12-8-2008 by XIDIXIDIX]



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