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Open Member Testing: ATS.5/3 Final Release Candidate

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posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:15 AM
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By now everyone should have received a private message with the username/password that enables access to the Final Release Candidate version of the new ATS.5/3.

This is the fourth round of user testing (first being staff-only, second being invited beta-testers, and third being an open-beta test to all members) and is intended to accomplish the following:

1) final testing of the site UX (user experience) on a wider variety of user scenarios

2) final refinement of of the color scheme of the two UI (user interface) options

3) establish an understanding of the new interface/structure for a less jarring cut-over

4) begin the offered opportunity for a member collaboration on new smilies


This open test is not intended as an opportunity to offer significant alterations to the UI/UX in any way. Months of work, preceded by months of research, and that preceded by months of analysis of existing "upgrades" to so-called discussion board frameworks (XenForo being the best of a lackluster bunch).



The Primary Goal

What you are testing is not "change for the sake of change." Two massively important factors have been the driving force behind such a significant re-think of what a discussion board platform should be.

1) While the number of in-bound new users (roughly 85% of all daily traffic) has remained relatively flat, the user-engagement (content/thread pages viewed) has been falling off for months.

2) Across the Internet, nearly all discussion boards are experiencing a very similar phenomena. The decline in engagement is seen everywhere, even in large long-established video game forums.

The reason, is relatively simple: the audience has changed. The percentage of people comfortable with the rigid/tight discussion board format is decreasing, while the percentage of people accustomed to the more open sensibilities of contemporary flat design is increasing. It's a clearly quantified (and has been) fact of life for online operators.


Our mandate at AboveTopSecret.com, for more than ten years, has been to create and maintain a venue that showcases the quality content created by our members. A big part of that mandate has been consistent attention to search engine optimization. Another big part has been the delicate balance of advertising to provide the revenue needed to support big traffic, our own advertising, and growth. But the biggest part of that balance has always been finding ways to push the boundaries of a discussion board platform so that new users have the best possible chance to discover your content.

Right now, discovery is falling. Action is needed.

So every decision from font-size to color to mobile responsiveness has been from the vantage point of "what best highlights the content." The content is first. The content is second. And the content is third.



I'm not saying your input isn't important

That's why this is the third time we've opened the development site up to members. But if we didn't place a high priority on ensuring your content is both discovered and lingered-over, all we'd be doing is talking amongst ourselves and no one would have encountered the long-list of content that you created, that became important on thousands of other websites and hundreds of news sources.

This IS for you.







edit on 31-8-2013 by SkepticOverlord because: (no reason given)

edit on 31-8-2013 by SkepticOverlord because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:22 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Thank you for the Hard Work and Devotion that you have put into this Site Mr. Overlord.

The new 5/3 is FANTASTIC .. ..



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:25 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


For some reason I can't find the website.. I clocked the link and it just opens the regular site. I see the login information, but have no place to type it. I have been known to be really silly when it comes to making things work..



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:26 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Can't log in...

Incorrect username or password...

Edit: never mind I got it
edit on 31-8-2013 by Akragon because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:26 AM
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reply to post by Dustytoad
 


For any page, anywhere on ATS, simply replace the "www" with "53" in the URL in your browser's address bar.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:26 AM
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The link I got in the PM takes me to the regular ATS home page.

I can't get into the new one.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:26 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Just want to say thanks, I noticed all the hoopla earlier today and I think most folks appreciate the effort.

I am sure that the constructive criticism is welcome and helpful but, some of it seemed a bit "entitled" if I can use that word.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:27 AM
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Had to log out to login in and username/password incorrect.

Really like the new format and am anxious to particpate.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:30 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Fix that U2U.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:30 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Ahh thank you that was all I needed. I was missing the new look

I know earlier I was having a terrible time of getting the new topics page to not be 404ed, but havn't found any other issues so far. Gotta go explore more buttons..


"For any page, anywhere on ATS, simply replace the "www" with "53" in the URL in your browser's address bar."


edit on 8/31/2013 by dustytoad because: (no reason given)



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:31 AM
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FortAnthem
The link I got in the PM takes me to the regular ATS home page.

The links in the private message should work now.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:32 AM
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At first I didn't really like it, but after about 5-10 minutes I really started liking it. The only thing now is the smileys


Also, if you press Ctrl - it will make the text smaller, it really looks nice with the fonts a couple sizes smaller.. try it out guys



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:32 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Still no ribbon?




posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:32 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


Didn't work for me. Got the username and password box but it blanks out and come up again.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:33 AM
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Akragon
Still no ribbon?

Everything you need is in the drop-down menu of the persistent top-menu.



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:35 AM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord

Akragon
Still no ribbon?

Everything you need is in the drop-down menu of the persistent top-menu.


I take it silver and gold boarders are gone too?




posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:35 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


OK, I'm in.

S.O, hoping you can answer the following as it will help us out immensely on the BTS - Avatar Creations thread

1. avatar dimensions and kbs size
2. animated .gif kbs size.
3. Signature dimensions and kbs size.
4. Mini profile background kbs size - please confirm dimensions of 200 pixels x 540 pixels.

Other than that, the new look is great - love it!



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:35 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


One of my posts in this thread has a section for adding stars and one does not. The post I edited no longer has a place for stars. Is this supposed to be?



posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:37 AM
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reply to post by dustytoad
 


Ye can't give yourself stars...

they only appear on other peoples posts




posted on Aug, 31 2013 @ 12:37 AM
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reply to post by SkepticOverlord
 


I really like that persistent menu. It's a lot more functional, and convenient, than the disappearing ribbon.

The site's new look is quite the sight!




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