Check something out for me: TR v2.0

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Check something out for me: TR v2.0

Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 8:52 am

This is in development, and we could use your help verifying browser compatibility, spotting bugs, etc.

http://trweb2.techreport.com/

Known issues include problems with indexing of some articles (the subheads and drop-down nav menus aren't quite right). Also, the "Systems" section is currently unpopulated.

Some things to try:

-Looking at the various section pages linked in the nav menu

-The "A/A" color theme switch icon to the right of the search field in the nav bar

-Clicking on a "More stories..." or "More features.." or tags link to go to the archives. There, you can multi-select content types and tags, as well as trying out the <echo>time machine</echo>.

-Paging through/around an article via the nav block at the page's end. Also check out the look of an article's last page.

-The improved search accessible via the field in the nav bar.

-Posting the comments. Let us know of any issues here.

FYI, we do have plans for a wider version of the page layout, including for forums, but it's not yet implemented.

Let me encourage you to step through the first few items of the list of things to try before pronouncing judgment on this stuff. The major changes here will inevitably require a period of adjustment for long-time readers, but once you see how it fits together, I think that helps. Thanks!
Last edited by Damage on Mon Aug 20, 2007 3:34 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:02 am

Confusing but beautiful :D I think, it will take some time for me, to get a grip.

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Last edited by Jigar on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:13 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:04 am

IMO latest news should be in place of Feature articles....vice verse,..
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:10 am

Please say it ain't so. I don't goto ShackNews anymore because I can't follow it. This looks so similar to their layout. I like TR cuz its easy to read and follow and is logical. Multiple columns with squished down widths = no go for me.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:14 am

Corrado wrote:Please say it ain't so. I don't goto ShackNews anymore because I can't follow it. This looks so similar to their layout. I like TR cuz its easy to read and follow and is logical. Multiple columns with squished down widths = no go for me.


Looks like we are doomed homie .. It's confusing and it will take sometime to get a grip..

My Vote .. I like the old one but found new one beautiful and fresh...
Last edited by Jigar on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:20 am

Looks like a retread of the Tom's Hardware Guide portal design. I don't like that design either.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:27 am

I don't think its that bad, but what I do find annoying is that the ads and price links take up a third of the main page.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:43 am

The TR System Guide logo is still beige when the theme is changed to blue. I still oppose the prominent Newegg sticker on the guide, as well; I qualify that as a bug in the design :(
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:47 am

Fighthouse wrote:I don't think its that bad, but what I do find annoying is that the ads and price links take up a third of the main page.
I like that, actually. All the ads are in one place now instead of scattered about the page. Makes for an overall cleaner look IMO.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:50 am

My first impression is that it look pretty "busy". Don't know if it is a good thing or not.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:51 am

Corrado wrote:Please say it ain't so. I don't goto ShackNews anymore because I can't follow it. This looks so similar to their layout. I like TR cuz its easy to read and follow and is logical. Multiple columns with squished down widths = no go for me.


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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:52 am

Even though there are some that aren't too fond of the layout, you have to consider that if the TR is to attract new readers, then they'll have to keep up with everyone else on the web. I know that it shouldn't matter, but I'm pretty sure that some will take a quick glance of the front page and see the basic layout that we have all grown to love, and dismiss it without considering the content. Eye candy is sadly a necessary evil.
Last edited by Dizik on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:54 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:52 am

I feel like the main page is too busy and cluttered -- I look at it and it takes a long while for me to find where anything is. I don't mean it takes a while because I'm used to the old one, either -- I don't have anything to anchor on to except for 1) the big fiery ad, and 2) the big picture of a hard drive. Neither of those convery any useful information. Ars Technica does this too, but gives you a few focal points with 1) the ad-free header, and 2) the differently-backgrounded news box.
And one of the reasons I like TR is the way it handles news on the main page, so I'll be the first of many to object to it getting sidelined.

Hmmm, are the comments supposed to be synced up between the two versions? Because the new page doesn't have any under the Black Box launch and only has 1 comment under the Bioshock demo newsitem.
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Re: Check something out for me

Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:57 am

Damage wrote:FYI, we do have plans for a wider version of the page layout, including for forums

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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:06 am

SNM wrote:And one of the reasons I like TR is the way it handles news on the main page, so I'll be the first of many to object to it getting sidelined.


Maybe there should be "News" on the nav bar, and it can be the default view, where it's just a big page full of news: top news, then news laid out by section (CPU, GPU, Mobo, etc.).
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:07 am

Hey, I don't know if you gerbils saw it, but there's a related items list sandwiched between two ads on the 'Comments" page for the articles. That's pretty slick

Well, I didn't see any problems in Firefox. I'll keep poking around. I do like it, but I'll need to get used to it. Everything is a easier to read. For some reason dark text on a light background just works better for me. If there's one thing I'd change is how you've laid out the 'Top News Stories'. I'd like to see it presented the same way as the 'Featured Articles'. I could see some people never clicking on the links in the 'Top News Stories' section. Also, it does feel a bit tight. I don't know what to suggest here. Maybe I just need a bigger monitor. :wink:

I'm glad you're sticking with the traditional TR colors. I don't know how I'd feel if you got too far away from tradition.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:10 am

I understand that the point is to get technical feedback. So far I haven't been able to break anything, but I haven't tried very hard.

But I really dislike the look. Not because of the arrangement of things on the screen, but because of the amount of content presented. The front page now provides much less information -- there is no news content except the titles, and the article summaries don't even go as far as the "Read on" links we're all used to.

Even the category views don't really help, as they show excerpts from news but not the whole articles.

(I also dislike that I can't quickly see the newest articles, blog posts and comments without scrolling like I can with the current layout, but this is just a quibble. And, this is a personal annoyance, but I HATE fixed-width layouts. I can fix both of these issues myself with Stylish and custom css)

Basically, the new layout is less useful to me as a portal site. I have to decide to read about graphics cards today, for instance, rather than just seeing, and reading, the entirely of a news post or the intro to an article about a new GPU. If it were implemented as-is, I would not stop reading TR, but it would probably stop being my homepage.

The new layout is not necessarily bad, it's just that the current layout, from my perspective, is second-to-none.
Last edited by Swampangel on Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Check something out for me

Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:12 am

Can't break anything yet...
Last edited by FireGryphon on Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:13 am

It looks quite fine to me.

The A/A works wonderfully in Firefox. I'm looking at this from work and everything appears to be working in order.

I haven't tried posting a comment so I don't know how that is working.

The only confusing thing is, if you don't know to click the Tech Report Banner, there is no other way I can see to get back to the main page. Is there an option somwhere on the page I am not seeing where you can go "Home"?
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:20 am

SNM, none of the dev site's content will update with the main site's. This is a test server only right now.

lex, you do have to click the logo to get to the main page. That's a pretty common convention these days, and TR has used that as one option since forever. Hopefully you can make the adjustment.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:23 am

I personally like the layout as it is, and I'm sure I'll like it more when the wider layout is implemented. But, as an observation, I thought that I'd throw this out there: I don't know why, but when I look at the section headers (Top News Stories, Feature Articles, etc.) I keep thinking that I can move them around via AJAX. Perhaps if AJAX were implemented, people would be less inclined to criticize the layout since they would be able to (to a degree) customize the layout themselves.

Just a thought.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:44 am

I'll try to keep most of my opinions to myself for the moment. For reference, I'm using Firefox 2.0.0.6.

Posting comments seems to be working fine, although as SNM noticed they don't seem to be synced between the two pages. Editing isn't working properly, however. At the top of the 'edit comment' window it gives me "Access denied for user ''@'localhost' to database 'jazz'", and when I try to post the edit it tells me I can't post comments to the article.

The search function seems a bit easier and more convenient, but It really should have some way to filter results.

The forums are kinda screwy. If I visit them on the new site, I'm logged out on the current site, and vice versa. Also, trying to switch them to the subSilver theme changes the forums back to the current site.

That's what I've got for now, I'll see what happens with IE7, and maybe even Safari just for kicks.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 10:53 am

MixedPower wrote:Editing isn't working properly, however. At the top of the 'edit comment' window it gives me "Access denied for user ''@'localhost' to database 'jazz'", and when I try to post the edit it tells me I can't post comments to the article.

The search function seems a bit easier and more convenient, but It really should have some way to filter results.

The forums are kinda screwy. If I visit them on the new site, I'm logged out on the current site, and vice versa. Also, trying to switch them to the subSilver theme changes the forums back to the current site.


The editing problem is something we need to address. Thanks for finding it! The others are just artifacts of this being on a development server. The forum login problem will go away once we're in production.

As for search, this *is* an improvement over what we've had, but it's not our final destination on search. We'll improve it more, with filtering if possible, down the road.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:05 am

I can adjust . . no problem there . . . just really used to hitting "main" in the selection bar on the previous site and jumping to the home page . . tis all.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:09 am

All I can say is that the new design is quite a departure from the old. I'll have to play with this one some more before I pass judgement.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:15 am

First impression: Too busy.

With that said, provide a means to cookie to the old format for us old-timers or some level of self-customization. I only care to see the latest articles on first glance to see what is new with no seizure-inducing flashing. Too much clutter == too much time/brainpower to check, so I wont tend to check. While the page is attractive for bringing in new members, it is unattractive for retaining older members.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:18 am

I feel like content is lacking on the front page. The "shortbread" posts are not going to get any traffic the way they are laid out there.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:18 am

Overall layout: It's ok.

Too many ads pushed to the top, or maybe to many animated ads I should say. Glad to hear the full screen (Wide) format will happen, as it's too much info crushed together. I like the category buttons. I like the colors, and edge graphics. I think with a little css you can add those things to the existing format, and have a win-win layout. BUT, that's just my opinion.

I'll see if I can find any new things to break.
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:19 am

liquidsquid wrote:First impression: Too busy.

With that said, provide a means to cookie to the old format for us old-timers or some level of self-customization. I only care to see the latest articles on first glance to see what is new with no seizure-inducing flashing. Too much clutter == too much time/brainpower to check, so I wont tend to check. While the page is attractive for bringing in new members, it is unattractive for retaining older members.


Like i said ..
Jigar2Speed5095 wrote:IMO latest news should be in place of Feature articles....vice verse,..
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Postposted on Mon Aug 20, 2007 11:19 am

Guys:

I suppose we should share some of the rationale for the design changes. Probably should have done that before dropping the link in here. We did have some very clear goals in mind as we approached this project, many of which involved correcting some very key weaknesses of our current layout. Those include:

-A failure to properly highlight our feature article content. The way we presented things worked OK for daily readers, but failed almost everyone else. A big review would nearly disappear from the front page after 24-48 hours. You'd think we were primarily a news site if you didn't know better by the looks of the site now, but the vast majority of our traffic comes from the heart of our publication: the reviews and other feature articles. We had to expose those articles better.

-A serious image problem. You may have been comfortable with our old look, going on ~6 years in its basic current form, but it didn't present a clean, solid, professional look for new readers coming in from Google or /. or other sources. It had a dated and amateurish vibe that became a real business obstacle for us. A great many people, for various reasons, can't or won't evaluate us on the quality of our articles alone. We have to serve new and potential readers better in order for our articles to reach the audience we think they deserve.

-Navigation difficulties. The current site's layout is very minimalist, with just a text list of article titles in the reviews archive and an utter train wreck in the news archives. Not much is particularly easy to find. Once you've played with the sections and archives in the new site, I think you'll find it's a big improvement on this front.

-Failure to capitalize. TR is a great resource as a publication, but we haven't presented our content in a way that pulls in potential readers and shows them lots of related, relevant info on each page--even if we have it somewhere in the bowels of the news archive or what have you. We've struggled as a business at times when we really shouldn't have to, IMO. We need to rectify that to ensure our future.

Obviously, these problems are not big issues for people who read the site every day, maybe multiple times per day, but our audience (and potential audience) is much larger than that.

With that said, more than one of us on staff who use our own past articles as reference have already begun using the new site to locate things. I think that says a lot, and once you're more familiar with it, you may be surprised to find yourself agreeing with me.

Please do keep the feedback coming. We will listen and, if really necessary, make adjustments to our approach. Just try to keep in mind that we have a lot of considerations to weigh.
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