BB Upgrades

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BB Upgrades

Postby BigJon@Work » Fri Mar 24, 2006 2:41 pm

I like most of the upgrades Chris, but I have a few quibbles and some requests. I’ve been trained in software usability and the upgrade fails on a few items.

Likes:
New buttons with text. Much clearer!
More readable default text font
Redone categories
Is it my imagination or is everything working faster?

Dislikes
Gridlines removed - This makes it harder to acquire the information you are looking for quickly as the subjects tend to run together. Bring back the grids or alternate colors for adjacent threads and forums just like posts alternate color

Color scheme for unread vs. read – I’m not sure who designed your color scheme on the site, but since the last upgrade there has always been a contrast problem between read and unread links and it has gotten worse with this upgrade. A fundamental usability criteria for websites it that there be a very clear and obvious contrast between read and unread links. For instant the difference between the read and unread musical note just installed today is only few shade of gray. For people with visual disabilities, this is likely to not be understood at all. And for the rest of us, it doesn’t stand out. To do it right there should be a shape change and a wide color change between read and unread. Anther problem is the link color is only a few shades off the brown background color, reducing readability. The contrast between read and unread colors for the individual threads is too low too. And having multiple colors for the thread icon is confusing. In most forums color stays the same but shape changes for hot threads. That is much more intuitive.

Width – Why is the BB so narrow? For instance it forces the description of musical note onto 6 lines and forces the other forums off my screen so I have to scroll down. I recognize that this isn’t true for everyone’s screen setups, but we usually design for 600 x 800 screens as a starting point and try to avoid scrolling on the front page.

Requests
Are there any options for jumping right to the first unread post from the forum page? I generally open each forum with indicated with new posts. Then I open each thread with new posts, and then I click on the jump arrow to get to the new post. Most forum software I’m familiar with will allow you to jump to the new post from the forum page without having to open the thread first. This would be similar to how the “Today’s active Topics” page works
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby piqaboo » Fri Mar 24, 2006 3:04 pm

Buttons - yeah!
The Debate Team - yeah! (I like that way of handling us.)
Read / unread contrast - I cant see it.

Background color - coffee with cream. Yum!!!!!
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby Sarge » Mon Mar 27, 2006 9:56 am

My name is Mike... aka "Computer Mike". I'm the resident I.T. Geek for Marlin Broadcasting. Aside from a myriad of tasks to complete I was asked to give the Beethoven forums a facelift.

Let me try to tackle some of your comments, and maybe even gather your input.

Forum Size & Dimensions
I did not design the Beethoven site. Nor did I have an opportunity to give input into the forums being put inside an iFrame built inside the site). My personal preference for forums is to allow full page display. Monitor Resolutions 800x600 are almost phased out with new hardware. The "NEW" standard resolution is now 1024x768 and higher. Regardless of your screen resolution the current site design is fixed width, not percentage. It should appear the same size for everyone. Depending in your Operating System settings, you may have your font set larger for viewing. Check your browser under the "VIEW" menu at the top. You might benefit from decreasing font size, or adjusting your monitor resolution. This is the only fix I can offer currently until management allows me to redo the website completely.

New .vs Old Posts
If you're referring to the icons that tell visitors which posts have been read or not, these can be changed. I'll work on making them more obvious and truly stand out. I used standard default icons to distinguish between new posts, old posts, and posts with polls in them.

Grids & Styling
When visitors go into a "FORUM" and there's a list of "topics", they do seem to 'run-together'. This will be fixed as soon as I replace the icons. The envelope icons now are thinner and cause the topics to stack. Utilizing a larger icon will space the topics more. Again, I wish I could help more with the forum width as a whole. I'll definitely tinker with the style sheets, and attempt to implement a horizontal line or spacing between topics.

Recent Posts
Most forums have a feature where you click one link, and it shows you all the new posts since you last logged in. I believe UBB forums call this:

» Today's Active Topics «

It's located in the upper right of the forums when you first enter. It will show you all the new, unread, or recent posts since your last visit.

Sarge
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Marlin Broadcasting

<small>[ 03-27-2006, 09:57 AM: Message edited by: Sarge ]</small>
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby Shapley » Mon Mar 27, 2006 10:17 am

Sarge,

Thanks. We appreciate all your efforts.

The new forum looks nice. I would have chosen a more 'masculine' colour scheme, but that's just me. :D

V/R
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby piqaboo » Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:17 am

Shap,
mustard, dark red and beige isnt masculine enough for you? This is not what I consider a 'feminine' color scheme.
Altoid - curiously strong.
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby barfle » Mon Mar 27, 2006 11:26 am

Yeah, I don't see any pink, lavender, mauve or puce.

A bit of taupe, but no lilac. :D
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby Sarge » Mon Mar 27, 2006 2:38 pm

Ya'll are welcome. Thank you for the feedback, and participation!

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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby barfle » Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:45 pm

Sarge, I have a request. On the window I'm looking at right now (Post a Reply), there is a section marked "Instant UBB Code." Below that are several cryptic icons with no explanation. I believe I have the bold and italic figured out, but I do those manually anyway, and I think I have the image one, too, but those little pointers, and the thingy that looks like three chain links in front of a globe, not to mention the three horizontal lines with a dashed line under them - totally mysterious to this particular dweeb.

Even holding the cursor over them simply gives me a "javascript: ()" which don't help much, nither.

Do you think you might add a word or two as to their functionality? Thanky.
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby OperaTenor » Mon Mar 27, 2006 4:46 pm

Hi Sarge,

I take it you've taken over for Chris Larsen? Whatever the case may be, let me be the first to welcome you to the Pit! (especially since shap miseed the boat :D
"To help mend the world is true religion."
- William Penn

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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby Shapley » Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:18 pm

Barfle,

When I hold my cursor over the icons, I get a text message that defines their purpose: i.e Bold, Italic, etc.

I've closed that particular window, but I think the world with the chain links signifies world domination, but I haven't clicked on it to find out how it works... :D

V/R
Shapley

BTW, Sarge, welcome to the B.com BB! [sorry, OT, I'm slipping]
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby barfle » Mon Mar 27, 2006 5:22 pm

Originally posted by Shapley:
Barfle,

When I hold my cursor over the icons, I get a text message that defines their purpose: i.e Bold, Italic, etc.
Hmmm, now it's doing that - pretty sure it's alt text for the image, but when I posted my message, I actually checked to see exactly what did happen, and that wasn't it.

So what's a "Code Tag?"
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby BigJon@Work » Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:30 pm

Sarge, the thread titles have lost their bolding and are very hard to read against he brown background.
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby BigJon@Work » Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:34 pm

Originally posted by barfle:
Sarge, I have a request. On the window I'm looking at right now (Post a Reply), there is a section marked "Instant UBB Code." Below that are several cryptic icons with no explanation. I believe I have the [b]bold and italic figured out, but I do those manually anyway, and I think I have the image one, too, but those little pointers, and the thingy that looks like three chain links in front of a globe, not to mention the three horizontal lines with a dashed line under them - totally mysterious to this particular dweeb.

Even holding the cursor over them simply gives me a "javascript: ()" which don't help much, nither.

Do you think you might add a word or two as to their functionality? Thanky. [/b]
Barf (LOVE IT) I mentioned the same problem in my initial post. Was it too long to read? :) Sarge, If I could be so bold as to ask for the instant UBB Code buttons to be redesigned to resemble the new buttons found everywhere else. That would be cool and very usable. Also they should not be stacked vertically since again, they require scrolling to see them all.
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby BigJon@Work » Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:39 pm

I want to clear something up from my original post. When I talked about contrast with read-unread links, I meant that the read links have little contrast with default plain-text color. This is poor usabiltity as both read and unread links should have good contrast with the plain text colors so they are distinguishable at a glance. My comments on the read and unread music notes still stand
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby BigJon@Work » Mon Mar 27, 2006 7:46 pm

Sarge, "Today's Active Topics" has never worked right for me. And it doesn't remember all the unread threads from my last log-in and it gives no indication of threads I have read vs. not. I'm used to the phpBB and Vbulletin where unread threads are clearly differentiated from read by some mechanism, either icon or bolding, and they truly remember all threads unread since last log-in. I believe "Today's Active Topics" is really just that, a regurgitation of threads modified since some arbitrary time in the past, with no recollection of my personal interaction with them. Am I missing something?
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby barfle » Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:19 am

Jon, I must have missed it, and rereading it, I still missed it, so I guess it was too long. ;)

As long as we're making suggestions, I have one for the read and unread musical notes. Make the read notes a negative of the unread notes - white on a black background - that way there's an obvious difference, even to those whose eyes are going south.
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby Nicole Marie » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:03 am

Originally posted by OperaTenor:
Hi Sarge,

I take it you've taken over for Chris Larsen? Whatever the case may be, let me be the first to welcome you to the Pit! (especially since shap miseed the boat :D
NOOOOOOO!! NEVER!! Hello OT... sorry, nope, no more email. We have discussed bringing it back but if we did provide email again we would want to do it right. We would want the correct firewalls, protection, servers etc. The cost to purchase all that is just too large. Even with the interest of users willing to pay for the email, it would still not be enough to purchase the correct equipment.

Oh and as for Sarge ducking projectiles... he's a Marine... he can take it! ;)

Chris Larsen is still with us. Larsen was so over loaded with the number of projects he does for us, we needed to give him a little support. We brought Sarge onto the team to help. Sarge made it through the obstacle course the fastest so he got the job! No really, he's great to work with and you will see other areas of the Beethoven.com site change over the next few weeks.
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby Shapley » Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:13 am

Nicole,

RE:Oh and as for Sarge ducking projectiles... he's a Marine... he can take it!

So...that explains why Ryan was doing pushups on the webcam the other day.... :D

V/R
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby Selma in Sandy Eggo » Tue Mar 28, 2006 11:28 am

Welcome, Sarge. What version of Marine? I worked with a MGySgt(ret) Sawchuk several years ago; class act. And the boys and girls at the gate are always charming.

The buttons are less of a mystery than the boys are alleging. Just push the buttons, see what they do. Me, I'm just going to have to study up on the UBB Code Tags a bit.

I like the redesign. The colors and fonts are very eye-friendly. Some mauve and lilac would be nice, if you feel like adding them :D
>^..^<
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Re: BB Upgrades

Postby Sarge » Tue Mar 28, 2006 12:38 pm

I'll try to tackle the comments and questions. If I miss any please advise.

Remember, there's a pretty robust FORUM F.A.Q..

On the window I'm looking at right now (Post a Reply), there is a section marked "Instant UBB Code." Below that are several cryptic icons with no explanation. I believe I have the bold and italic figured out, but I do those manually anyway, and I think I have the image one, too, but those little pointers, and the thingy that looks like three chain links in front of a globe, not to mention the three horizontal lines with a dashed line under them...
Depending on which internet browser you're using, the buttons do have "screen tips". Hold the mouse still over the button, and it will display a little information about what they do.

<img src="http://www.beethoven.com/ubb/ubb/NewUBB/url.gif" alt=" - " /> - Use this to add a hyperlink to the post.

<img src="http://www.beethoven.com/ubb/ubb/NewUBB/email_url.gif" alt=" - " /> - Use this to insert a hyperlinked email address.

"B" and "I" are Boldface and Italics.

<img src="http://www.beethoven.com/ubb/ubb/NewUBB/ubb_quote.gif" alt=" - " /> - Use this to Quote someone else. It makes the text stand out different from the rest of the text in your post.

<img src="http://www.beethoven.com/ubb/ubb/NewUBB/code.gif" alt=" - " /> - Use this if you want to display text or code (strict text) that others can copy/paste. Sometimes when we post exact code, the forums will try to render that code. Similar to the QUOTE button, the CODE button will separate your code from the rest of the text in a post. Example Below:

Code: Select all
<script language="Javascript1.1" type="text/javascript">
<!--

var session_cookie = getCookie('session2452133.2211');
if (session_cookie == null) {
   var session_dt = "0";
   var session_j = "0";
}
<img src="http://www.beethoven.com/ubb/ubb/NewUBB/list-start.gif" alt=" - " /> - Use this to begin a bulleted list of items. Then for each item use <img src="http://www.beethoven.com/ubb/ubb/NewUBB/list-item.gif" alt=" - " /> as much as you'd like, and finally END your listed items with this: <img src="http://www.beethoven.com/ubb/ubb/NewUBB/list-end.gif" alt=" - " />. Example Below:

</font>
  • <font size="2" face="arial">Item 1</font></li>
  • <font size="2" face="arial">Item 2</font></li>
  • <font size="2" face="arial">Item 3</font></li>
  • <font size="2" face="arial">Item 4</font></li>
<font size="2" face="arial">

<img src="http://www.beethoven.com/ubb/ubb/NewUBB/image.gif" alt=" - " /> - Finally, use this button to add an image. Here's the catch: The image must already be hosted somewhere and have a valid URL (web address) pointing to it. The system limits you to 8 (Eight) Posted Images embedded in the post.

That covers the button tutorial. I believe anyone using Mozilla Firefox for a browser will not see the "screen tips" over the buttons.

On to BigJon's questions & comments.

First, let me start by thanking you for your suggestions. I stayed up all night thinking of a way to respond to your thoughts. Here it is... BigJon, if I make TOO many improvements to this UBB Forum, management will decide to stay with it. You said you're familiar with phpBB, and vBulletin. There's also Ikonboard, and Invision Power Board, any of which I would personally prefer. I'll try to tackle some of the cosmetic changes.

For Selma
That is the most unique question I've been asked. "What version of Marine?". My first instinct was to say something gung-ho and motivating... but it will only lead to more questions. MOS: Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Defense & Psychological Operations NCO.

Semper Fi,

Sarge
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