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*** NewsFactor Response to Design Complaints and Other Questions
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May 20, 2001, 07:02 PM
 
Well, I'm the designated person from "big bad" NewsFactor (not). I was asked by management to respond to some complaints and concerns voiced here on the MacNN boards. One important message is that we have been watching some of the discussions and that we are interested in your opinions on MacNN. We will implement some of your suggestions and others we may not. Like anything else, there will be compromise and some people will love the result, while others will not be totally satisfied.

Ultimately, you should know that we take your opinions very seriously (enough for me to take time away from my family on a Sunday afternoon) and that we view MacNN as an important part of the NewsFactor family of news sites. There will be a transition phase, where MacNN’s design is evolving to match the rest of our sites, and then we will link to MacNN from other NewsFactor sites.

In all fairness, we take responsibility for not doing enough prep postings in advance of the site re-design, and we have not yet published a press release detailing to the general public our partnership with MacNN’s owner. This will be forthcoming.

Before moving on to NewsFactor’s official response, I want to say that MacNN will maintain the services you’ve come to enjoy here, and that MacNN will remain an independent Mac news community with its own regular contributors, its own discussion forums and its own identity.

Oh yeah... the best way to contact us for the immediate future is to post messages to this thread. Due to the volume of feedback received by all sizable news agencies, NewsFactor cannot respond personally to e-mails sent to the usual in-boxes on a daily basis. In the near future, we will set up a MacNN contact in-box for e-mail inquiries.

Here’s the message from NewsFactor management:

-----------------------------------
Message from NewsFactor
-----------------------------------

As a co-founder of NewsFactor Network, I’d like welcome MacNN into our growing family of news sites.
Some MacNN readers may be concerned about a perceived loss of uniqueness, and I want to assure everyone that this will not happen, even though MacNN will more closely resemble our other sites, visually. In the rest of this letter, I will refer in more detail to this issue.

For those of you who have not yet been introduced to NewsFactor, we are a news company focused on covering e-business and technology. We are one of the world’s largest producers of original news content in our sector, competing with organizations such as Cnet and Zdnet on the technology side, and with red Herring, Industry Standard, Reuters and AP on the e-business side. Sites in our network are organized by topic, while newsfactor.com provides an overview of the top stories from our network sites, as well as adds its own “general” technology content. We estimate that our news reaches more than 3.5 million readers per month through our sites, as well as by being an anchor technology news provider on Yahoo!

Our partnership with MacNN represents our first foray into a Macintosh-focused site, and our goal is to improve and expand MacNN’s current news content and services, to provide top-notch news coverage in the category of MacCentral and other leading Mac news sites. We expect this process to take some time, and that becoming the best (at anything) will be an uphill battle. We don’t expect you to simply accept NewsFactor as an authoritative source for Mac news, but I want you to know that every day there will be talented individuals working to prove to you that we are committed to our goal.

I also wanted to address the issue of the new MacNN interface. Our goal is not to create the Mona Lisa of Web sites. Our beauty, in my estimation, is that we wish to de-emphasize the interface, and to draw attention to the site content and ads. To this end, we have reduced the amount of flashiness and color in the interface and created a simplified site structure, that is downloaded and renders quickly in the greatest variety of browsers across the various flavors of Mac, Windows, Linux, Unix and Sun platforms.

Please keep in mind that, unfortunately, there is still a considerable amount of variation in how the same HTML code appears in different browsers and in different OS versions. Even on different Macs, the fonts are handled differently in the various IE and Netscape versions, producing a type-face and size difference. In any event, we intend on reducing the size of the fonts, to reduce perceived clutter on some machines and to fit more content without scrolling excessively.

As for the placement of the ads between the main content areas and the right-side links, this is done intentionally to highlight our advertisers’ products more than would be the case with ads that are pushed outside the content areas. No one likes ads, but it is no secret that the ads pay for the people who produce the content. In the future, we might offer a fee-based service that will be ad-free and also offer premium content, if there is enough demand for such a service. Time will tell.

I am well aware that some of MacNN’s readers do not welcome the new design and have “threatened” to look elsewhere for their Mac news. All I can say is that we will try each day to win them back with a major effort on our part to provide excellent content on MacNN. If that’s not good enough for some readers, then I respect their decision to get their news wherever they please.

To all the rest of our readers, I welcome the challenge of leading MacNN into a new phase of growth, which will become evident in the upcoming weeks. On behalf of NewsFactor Network, I look forward to humbly serving the Macintosh news community as best we can.

Sincerely,
NewsFactor Network www.newsfactor.com

[This message has been edited by NewsFactor Response (edited 05-20-2001).]
     
georgius
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May 20, 2001, 07:09 PM
 
If this is your first "foray " into the world ofthe Macintosh...let me put it to you nicely.

We are not a bunch of homogonised PC users. We (and as pathetic as it may sound) have taste and decorum. We like things that look good. And to be frank, your new MacNN news page takes that beyond the extremes of dis-functionality.

I'm sorry...but that is the truth.



[This message has been edited by georgius (edited 05-20-2001).]
     
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May 20, 2001, 07:12 PM
 
I have to agree.

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May 20, 2001, 07:14 PM
 
If you want to compromise, why not use Misha's design? It looks enough like NewsFactor's to be considered part of the network, while at the same time satisfying us with the design and functionality.

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May 20, 2001, 07:16 PM
 
What exactly was wrong with the old layout? In my opinion, it isn't necessary to have the MacNN website look exactly the same as all of the other NewsFactor websites. Most people are not confused by a slight change in design when they switch between websites. In my opinion, it is actually better for the different NewsFactor sites to have different layouts so that they each have their own unique feel.

I also believe that the MacNN site should be optimized for Mac web browsers, since most people looking at Mac news probably are using Macs.

If it is absolutely necessary to have more advertising on the page, couldn't you just put more on the top or something without making the rest of the page barely readable?

Sure, the information is there, but it is in about 3 different columns. To me, it is very confusing to have news organised that way. Others may not feel that way, but I would rather read information if it is neatly organized into one column.

I'm not asking that the MacNN site be changed exactly back to the way it was. I understand that advertising is how websites make money, and I'm not opposed to seeing more of it, as long as the news content is still readable. However, if some changes are not made to make the site more aesthetically pleasing, I will be forced to find another source of Macintosh news and discussion.
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May 20, 2001, 07:16 PM
 
Originally posted by georgius:
We like tihngs that look good. And to be frank, your new MacNN news page takes that beyond the extremes of dis-functionality...
I think I responded to this issue already, and I have read dozens of compaints about the new design.

I understand that you hate the new design.

I understand that you think it is the worst ever and that it is ugly as sin.

You think that the new design is the root of all evil, and second to none in its degree of ugliness and lack of functionality.

But we need to get beyond this point eventually, because it's been said over and over and over and acknowledged by us several times in my previous message.

Thank you for understanding the point I'm trying to make.


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May 20, 2001, 07:18 PM
 
Assuming you are who you say you are (which seems the case),

The concerns here are mostly regarding the interface. The whole idea that MacNN has been assimilated into a collective doesn't seem to bother people all that much. Admittedly, it doesn't bother me all that much either. As long as MacNN's services stay operative and optimal. I don't really care that you changed the main page, as I don't visit it - but changing the forums would be a different matter.

Now, the MacNN frontpage... has been turned into nothing more than another Newsfactor site. It is boring, and horribly designed. The last one was great user-wise. You admit that you design it how it is to draw attention to your ads. Well let me tell you, its a horrible design, and is basically against user interface guidelines - ie, it is not user friendly, it is advertiser friendly.
I urge you to reinstate MacNN's old design while a new one is implemented - a better one, and not merely a "Newsfactor" one.

BTW, you say you compete with Zdnet, C|Net, Red Herring, Reuters etc... I've heard of all of those, but not Newsfactor...

And also... the term "partnership" seems a bit... shall we say, naieve? For all intensive purposes you have taken over MacNN seemingly - otherwise would there be a direct copy of Newsfactors site in place of the MacNN frontpage?


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May 20, 2001, 07:18 PM
 
Well, to all the people harping on the design issue, I can copy and paste my previous response again:


I understand that you hate the new design.

I understand that you think it is the worst ever and that it is ugly as sin.

You think that the new design is the root of all evil, and second to none in its degree of ugliness and lack of functionality.

But we need to get beyond this point eventually, because it's been said over and over and over and acknowledged by us several times in my previous message.

Thank you for understanding the point I'm trying to make.



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May 20, 2001, 07:21 PM
 
Originally posted by NewsFactor Response:
I understand that you hate the new design.

I understand that you think it is the worst ever and that it is ugly as sin.

You think that the new design is the root of all evil, and second to none in its degree of ugliness and lack of functionality.

But we need to get beyond this point eventually, because it's been said over and over and over and acknowledged by us several times in my previous message.
Do you expect us to simply get used to the new design? I think that the new design for this website is worse than any other Mac news site out there. I don't have any sentimental reasons for staying with MacNN, so if it doesn't get better, I will simply leave. It's as simple as that.
<font color = blue>"Thank god for adequacy.</font> <font color = green>It gives people who </font><font color = red>suck </font><font color = green>something to strive for."</font>

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May 20, 2001, 07:23 PM
 
Anybody currently online who would like to discuss the new design or whatever, hop on over to irc.openprojects.net #macnn - I'm tired of reloading.


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May 20, 2001, 07:25 PM
 
Originally posted by Cipher13:
Assuming you are who you say you are (which seems the case),

As long as MacNN's services stay operative and optimal. I don't really care that you changed the main page, as I don't visit it - but changing the forums would be a different matter.

...

And also... the term "partnership" seems a bit... shall we say, naieve? For all intensive purposes you have taken over MacNN seemingly - otherwise would there be a direct copy of Newsfactors site in place of the MacNN frontpage?
Yes, the services will remain the same and actually improve from a content and technical standpoint.

As for the term "partnership," this is actually the case, although NFN owns a majority interest now in MacNN and it will provide the majority of the editorial, technical and management resources needed to keep MacNN alive and well and serving its community. The forums are largely self-running and will remain as such.



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georgius
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May 20, 2001, 07:27 PM
 
If you really understood us...you'd probably change it.

But you obviously don't understand.


And btw, Misha's design was 1 billion times - how can I put it...hmm... - SUPERIOR to the NewsFactor one.



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May 20, 2001, 07:28 PM
 
Originally posted by NewsFactor Response:
although NFN owns a majority interest now in MacNN
Thankyou, thats what I was after


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May 20, 2001, 07:28 PM
 
Originally posted by etphonehome:
I don't have any sentimental reasons for staying with MacNN, so if it doesn't get better, I will simply leave. It's as simple as that.
I will refer you to a quote from management:

I am well aware that some of MacNN’s readers do not welcome the new design and have “threatened” to look elsewhere for their Mac news. All I can say is that we will try each day to win them back with a major effort on our part to provide excellent content on MacNN. If that’s not good enough for some readers, then I respect their decision to get their news wherever they please.

(end quote)




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May 20, 2001, 07:29 PM
 
double post, sorry

[This message has been edited by Norm1985 (edited 05-20-2001).]


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May 20, 2001, 07:30 PM
 
Originally posted by Cipher13:
Thankyou, thats what I was after
I hear 'ya.



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May 20, 2001, 07:31 PM
 
Well then, you'll lose A HELL OF A LOT OF MEMBERS. You say you care about feedback! Dosen't seem like that to me, oh... You're spending time from your family! I have news for you, I've done things while family has even been dying to work on situations! So don't you tell me that! And I greatly love my family! A few responses won't help! Try Misha's design!

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May 20, 2001, 07:32 PM
 
We will implement some of your suggestions and others we may not. Like anything else, there will be compromise and some people will love the result, while others will not be totally satisfied.
When exactly did you ask for our opinions on the curent design? Misha and others gave us a preview of a couple of designs most coulld live with, none of which are close to the hideous Newsfactor clone we have now.

All I can say is that we will try each day to win them back with a major effort on our part to provide excellent content on MacNN
You aren't trying EVERY day cause there hasn't been an update on MacNN since 4:25 pm on Friday...

edit - fixed quotes
------------------


[This message has been edited by C-Eye (edited 05-20-2001).]

[This message has been edited by C-Eye (edited 05-20-2001).]
     
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May 20, 2001, 07:32 PM
 
Originally posted by NewsFactor Response:
I hear 'ya.


Hey, why don'tcha hop on over to the IRC channel if at all possible? People want to talk to you. It will be kept civil, that I can gaurantee.


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May 20, 2001, 07:34 PM
 
will someone please explain to me how IRC works?

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May 20, 2001, 07:37 PM
 
To put it frankly, mere content isn't good enough for me or the other users who have threatened to boycott the site starting tomorrow.

You can put down absolutely everything related to Apple or Macs on the website, but it won't be nearly as good as a clearly organized summary of the most important things that happened in the Mac community.

Mac users, in general, expect and believe they deserve more than content. That is why most of us have Macs, because they offer a better user experience, despite the relative lack of software compared to Windows PC's. If MacNN, under the new management, is unable to provide a good source of Mac news that is easily readable, many mac users will leave the site, for the same reason as they bought Macs in the first place.
<font color = blue>"Thank god for adequacy.</font> <font color = green>It gives people who </font><font color = red>suck </font><font color = green>something to strive for."</font>

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May 20, 2001, 07:37 PM
 
Originally posted by georgius:
If you really understood us...you'd probably change it.

But you obviously don't understand.


And btw, Misha's design was 1 billion times - how can I put it...hmm... - SUPERIOR to the NewsFactor one.

First of all, I dig the uh.. "variation" on the NFN logo. [ ]

To respond to what you're saying about switching to Misha's design, I do understand that it is not a 1 billion times better, but maybe even 100 zillion times better. Be that as it may, NFN will publish the design that its advertisers have already proven that they see as a quality investment. This is needed to keep the party going here at MacNN.

Of course there are better designs, but this one has evolved as the result of feedback and usage stats from nearly 5 million unique visitors over the past few months at NewsFactor. These included plenty of Mac users, as well as Linux, Wintel, Sun etc. So, NFN will go with what the advertisers accept and what the readers have indicated.




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May 20, 2001, 07:39 PM
 
See, even he likes it!

BTW! IT WAS MEANT TO BE A JOKE... Norm, you blew it WAY out of proportion... No, I am not stepping down. I never stepped (that high) up.

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May 20, 2001, 07:39 PM
 
Originally posted by Cipher13:
Hey, why don'tcha hop on over to the IRC channel if at all possible? People want to talk to you. It will be kept civil, that I can gaurantee.
I definitely want to chat, but I'm assigned to here and a poor typist, as you can see from the slowness of my responses. Thnx for the invite. Will take you up on it some time.



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May 20, 2001, 07:41 PM
 
[joke]Btw, maybe you should ask Alnora Design to design your site![/joke]

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May 20, 2001, 07:41 PM
 
Alright, for all those who want to join in on the irc chat, you can download a decent mac client here called Snak:
http://www.versiontracker.com/redir....73/SnakPPC.sit

the IRC network that we're on is irc.openprojects.net and the channel is #macnn

need more detail instructions, IM me at Avenirx or just reply here...

come to the chat (NewsFactor guys too...)

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May 20, 2001, 07:42 PM
 
Originally posted by C-Eye:
You aren't trying EVERY day cause there hasn't been an update on MacNN since 4:25 pm on Friday...

edit - fixed quotes
Yes, there is actually a lot of work going on behind the scenes even over the weekend, but it will take some time to get up to speed. I don't like the delay either.



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May 20, 2001, 07:42 PM
 
Newsfactor Response,

I have one question. Do you use a Mac, or know anything about Macs? As a matter of fact, does anybody at NewsFactor know anything about the Mac, or use Macs on a daily basis?

And the first thing you can do is get rid of that Microsoft stock quote on the front page.
     
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May 20, 2001, 07:44 PM
 
If the investors think that your design is good...well that says a lot about your investors.

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May 20, 2001, 07:44 PM
 
Originally posted by AlbertWu:
[joke]Btw, maybe you should ask Alnora Design to design your site![/joke]

I'm with you on that probably more than you think.

peace.


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May 20, 2001, 07:45 PM
 
Can someone from NewsFactor call me? I hate IRC. Can we chat on AIM? I don't know how to use it!

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May 20, 2001, 07:46 PM
 

How does this new look affect the editorial content? If a small shareware author releases an update, it'll appear on MacNN but not necessarily on MacCentral for instance. Please tell me that MacNN won't change its focus so that it concentrates more on press-releases, that kind of thing..

I do wonder if changing a successful website dramatically is good business sense. When I've seen sites incorporated into larger 'networks' it's always been a big change for the worse, because the site guidelines weren't flexible enough to incorporate the subject. Internet.com is a good example of this.

Oh well - let's see how it goes...

Chris
     
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May 20, 2001, 07:47 PM
 
Of course there are better designs, but this one has evolved as the result of feedback and usage stats from nearly 5 million unique visitors over the past few months at NewsFactor. These included plenty of Mac users, as well as Linux, Wintel, Sun etc. So, NFN will go with what the advertisers accept and what the readers have indicated.
How many Mac users are included in the 5 million? I don't think there are many. In my experience, most Mac users don't normally visit Wintel websites and then give their approval to a site design that makes the content all but unreadable on Macs and probably on other OS's as well.

My 2¢.
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May 20, 2001, 07:47 PM
 
Originally posted by Bugs Bunny:
Newsfactor Response,

I have one question. Do you use a Mac, or know anything about Macs? As a matter of fact, does anybody at NewsFactor know anything about the Mac, or use Macs on a daily basis?

And the first thing you can do is get rid of that Microsoft stock quote on the front page.
yes and yes.

All our Web and print graphics are generated on several macs at the art dept.

We also publish osOpinion.com on a daily basis. See example of Mac coverage at:
http://www.osopinion.com/perl/story/9784.html




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May 20, 2001, 07:49 PM
 
IRC chat people -

If there's anything juicy, please copy and paste to share here.

Wish I was there.

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May 20, 2001, 07:52 PM
 
Originally posted by NewsFactor Response:
IRC chat people -

If there's anything juicy, please copy and paste to share here.

Wish I was there.

Just come, who cares how fast you type, it will be fun no matter what!


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May 20, 2001, 07:52 PM
 
Originally posted by clebin:

How does this new look affect the editorial content? If a small shareware author releases an update, it'll appear on MacNN but not necessarily on MacCentral for instance. Please tell me that MacNN won't change its focus so that it concentrates more on press-releases, that kind of thing..

I do wonder if changing a successful website dramatically is good business sense. When I've seen sites incorporated into larger 'networks' it's always been a big change for the worse, because the site guidelines weren't flexible enough to incorporate the subject. Internet.com is a good example of this.

Oh well - let's see how it goes...

Chris

So far, the updates to the front page will continue as is. There has also been a journalist assigned to cover Mac and graphics-related issues exclusively, and a managing editor has been assigned this this.

We should be adding to the current news, some fuller stories (mainly top mac news) like MacCentral has, and we'll also link to relevant osOpinion pieces.




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A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle.

     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Northbrook, IL, USA
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May 20, 2001, 07:53 PM
 
Maybe Mac OS and Mac OS X should look, feel, and operate exactly like Windows. That way all PCs can be part of one another!

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georgius
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May 20, 2001, 07:55 PM
 
Originally posted by NewsFactor Response:
IRC chat people -

If there's anything juicy, please copy and paste to share here.

Wish I was there.

You are a fake. You have a signature. You're language is too informal. You constantly use the first person singular pronoun (I), and you want to know about all the "juicy" goings on on IRC. And why would NewsFactor employ a slow typist?That doesn't sound like someone form a prestigious media company.

You aren't here for NewsFactor. You are here to lead us all on.



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11th Commandent: Thou shalt traverse to Alnora...the only place to be seen for HTML, Web and Graphics.)
     
Banned
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Los Angeles
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May 20, 2001, 07:55 PM
 
Originally posted by etphonehome:
How many Mac users are included in the 5 million? I don't think there are many. In my experience, most Mac users don't normally visit Wintel websites and then give their approval to a site design that makes the content all but unreadable on Macs and probably on other OS's as well.

My 2¢.
To be honest, I don't know the exact pbreakdown of Mac users, but I know that it is approx. twice the number of users than in the general population, because of osOpinion, and also because many Mac users that log on to Cnet and ZDnet also frequent NewsFactor for the same reasons.

It's not really a matter of "approval," but it's more like they just want to get the top tech stories of the day.

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A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle.

     
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Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Los Angeles
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May 20, 2001, 07:56 PM
 
It is so wonderfully fitting that one of the most important issues to Mac users is being ignored, even patronized, by this outsider: Appearance.

Our contact is glib in his responses to complaints about the new aesthetics. He chooses to use a patronizing list of "I understand..." arguments, and then pastes same one into future responses when people did not find it sufficient in the first place. This is telling of a governing body that does not understand its people.

We will not simply get used to this cookie-cutter, tracked-housing layout that lacks any semblance to Macintosh personality! Own us, but don't have anything more to do with it than collecting the money. We don't want your ideas of where this site should go, or what this site should look like, or the what the chosen position of your advertisers' banners is.

I appreciate your coming to these boards to hear what we have to say. Now hear what we have to say and give us our site back.

- Pook

The MacNN Boycott begins Monday, May 21
It's the devil's way now.
     
Banned
Join Date: May 2001
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May 20, 2001, 07:57 PM
 
Originally posted by georgius:
You are a fake.
Think again.



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A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle.

     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Northbrook, IL, USA
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May 20, 2001, 07:59 PM
 
Can I please call you or someone who heads NewsFactor?

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AIM: Norm1985
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Banned
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Los Angeles
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May 20, 2001, 08:02 PM
 
Originally posted by PookJP:
It is so wonderfully fitting that one of the most important issues to Mac users is being ignored, even patronized, by this outsider: Appearance.
I noticed that you only started posting to this forum after the re-design. Nonetheless, your first post was inviting a boycott of MacNN and within a space of 3 hours you posted more than 27 negative postings. Again, these were the first you've ever posted under your current screen name.

So people in this forum should be asking themselves who you are and what your agenda really is.



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A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle.

     
Professional Poster
Join Date: Dec 2000
Location: boulder, co
Status: Offline
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May 20, 2001, 08:03 PM
 
sounds more like "Just Me" than I would like... [shudder]

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Banned
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Los Angeles
Status: Offline
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May 20, 2001, 08:04 PM
 
Originally posted by Norm1985:
Can I please call you or someone who heads NewsFactor?

Tell you what, I have set up a special in-box for the next 10 minutes or so. Please e-mail me at:

4pm-test@newsfactor.com

This way you and other posters will confirm.



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A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle.

     
Dedicated MacNNer
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: Eagan, MN, USA
Status: Offline
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May 20, 2001, 08:04 PM
 
Is it just me, or is this guy starting to sound exactly like Just Me?
<font color = blue>"Thank god for adequacy.</font> <font color = green>It gives people who </font><font color = red>suck </font><font color = green>something to strive for."</font>

etphonehome03@yahoo.com
     
Banned
Join Date: May 2001
Location: Los Angeles
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May 20, 2001, 08:13 PM
 
So here you have it.

Those who e-mailed got their responses.

As further confirmation, you will see the letter you read here posted on the front page of MacNN on Monday, if not sooner.

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A computer without Windows is like a fish without a bicycle.

     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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May 20, 2001, 08:14 PM
 
Two orders of business.

originally posted by "NewsFactor Response"
Think again.
Prove it. I have sent you an email and I have not received a reply.

originally posted by PookJP:
The MacNN boycott begins Monday, May 21
Don't you think that's a bit of an overrection? It seems to me like you people are looking for a reason go get really pissed off and martyr yourselves. Coming from a guy who has a real reason to be pissed off, I think you all need to loosen your sphincters a bit.

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Fyre4ce

"I need a vacation." - Terminator robot
Fyre4ce

Let it burn.
     
Mac Elite
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Northbrook, IL, USA
Status: Offline
Reply With Quote
May 20, 2001, 08:16 PM
 
Damnit you! Why can't I call you or one of your asssociates? I'm willing to work this out if you are! But you don't seem to be!

------------------

E-mail: Norm1985@mac.com
AIM: Norm1985
ICQ: 34049393


NormPhillips@alnora.com
AIM: Norm1985
ICQ: 34049393
     
 
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