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You are here: MacNN Forums > News > Mac News > MacNN's 2016 desktop and mobile redesign is live, updated Friday

MacNN's 2016 desktop and mobile redesign is live, updated Friday (Page 2)
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Stuke
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Feb 5, 2016, 09:34 PM
 
I'll give it a week but today it was unstable and news-wise unreadable on iPhone 6s+. Sad, really, because this is the one site I frequented daily for 10 years. As your story says, you decided change was necessary for drive-by news...guess I may need to embrace Flipboard and Apple News apps more. Remember, you're reporting news, not graphics.
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Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 5, 2016, 09:47 PM
 
Can you detail "unstable on an iPhone" please? Nothing we've seen on mobile suggests there should be any instability or unreadability?
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 5, 2016, 09:49 PM
 
Originally Posted by dxtr View Post
Hi,

Sorry the new design is completely unusable on Safari Version 9.0.3 (11601.4.4) MBP 13" mid 15
Can you detail how, please? Thanks!
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 5, 2016, 09:55 PM
 
Originally Posted by Stuke View Post
I'll give it a week but today it was unstable and news-wise unreadable on iPhone 6s+. Sad, really, because this is the one site I frequented daily for 10 years. As your story says, you decided change was necessary for drive-by news...guess I may need to embrace Flipboard and Apple News apps more. Remember, you're reporting news, not graphics.
1) We're on Apple news too.

2) The URL to the old interface headline-only view is in the main article, or the first post in the forums too, don't have it handy at the moment.
     
Stuke
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Feb 6, 2016, 10:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Can you detail "unstable on an iPhone" please? Nothing we've seen on mobile suggests there should be any instability or unreadability?
Sure! The graphics blocks were slow to load, therefore no text was showing up. When it did appear (after flicking the screen up a few times), it was bunched up on the right, maybe 8-10 characters before the text returned to the next line. Understandably, connectivity is never perfect everywhere, but the old style loaded me headlines on mobile, and headlines with the first snippet of text on desktop. Never was there a lag, and I say again, I come here every day for the past 10 years looking for Apple news. Why do we have no other option than to accept your drive-by new format, can't you simply create a new URL for the old styles (mobile and desktop), like the Legacy approach you did before? (Honestly, if I've ever clicked on a graphic...the things that dictate page layout upon loading and can/are slower than text, hence my unstable comment...it was by mistake trying to flick the screen. Sorry, I guess I'm simply not drive-by news oriented.)
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Stuke
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Feb 6, 2016, 10:09 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
1) We're on Apple news too.

2) The URL to the old interface headline-only view is in the main article, or the first post in the forums too, don't have it handy at the moment.
Great, I'll look for it and bookmark it to keep going.
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Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 6, 2016, 10:44 AM
 
Originally Posted by Stuke View Post
Sure! The graphics blocks were slow to load, therefore no text was showing up. When it did appear (after flicking the screen up a few times), it was bunched up on the right, maybe 8-10 characters before the text returned to the next line. Understandably, connectivity is never perfect everywhere, but the old style loaded me headlines on mobile, and headlines with the first snippet of text on desktop. Never was there a lag, and I say again, I come here every day for the past 10 years looking for Apple news. Why do we have no other option than to accept your drive-by new format, can't you simply create a new URL for the old styles (mobile and desktop), like the Legacy approach you did before? (Honestly, if I've ever clicked on a graphic...the things that dictate page layout upon loading and can/are slower than text, hence my unstable comment...it was by mistake trying to flick the screen. Sorry, I guess I'm simply not drive-by news oriented.)
Huh. Haven't seen that. I'll pass it to the web team.
     
bobolicious
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Feb 6, 2016, 11:45 AM
 
I wish the site would widen to the width of even my macbook screen, let alone 27"...
Lots of open blank that might expand & simplify what seems a very busy, compressed layout,
still adjusting, and can't say I understand the why. or any obvious accolades.
Never understood ubiquitous portrait web design in a landscape screened world...
I usually suspect boosting ad revenues for dramatic reinventions?
Simple elegance...? And yes I was happy 2 site redesigns ago...
     
Paulrm
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Feb 7, 2016, 09:01 AM
 
What I find hilarious about all of this, is that a MAC news site doesn't work on Safari.

I've tried on 2 different Macs (Mini and Macbook Air) and consistently get the "too many redirects" message.

I'm typing this on the "classic" page. I was able to get on in Chrome... not my browser of choice.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 7, 2016, 09:26 AM
 
So, the Classic page you're getting too many redirects, or the main page of the redesign?

I think that's a recalcitrant ad.
     
loco
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Feb 8, 2016, 03:02 AM
 
On my Mac and iPhone I used to be able to look at the headlines that interest me and blow past the others. I don't read everything unless I'm really bored. Now finding the headlines that I care about is that much harder, requiring a lot more swiping. I read many other comments saying the same thing, but there go my two cents.
( Last edited by loco; Feb 8, 2016 at 03:02 AM. Reason: e==be)
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 8, 2016, 08:25 AM
 
Originally Posted by loco View Post
On my Mac and iPhone I used to be able to look at the headlines that interest me and blow past the others. I don't read everything unless I'm really bored. Now finding the headlines that I care about is that much harder, requiring a lot more swiping. I read many other comments saying the same thing, but there go my two cents.
1) I believe you'll find with some brief use that scanning of the new design will become second nature.

2) We still have the headline-only view live in the old interface. Link is in the main article.
     
Sosa
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Feb 8, 2016, 03:06 PM
 
I do not like the new look at all. A BLINDING amount of white. Don't like the organization. Maybe I'll get used to it or maybe I will just stick to the forums, which thank goodness haven't changed.

Did I mention I hated the new look?
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loco
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Feb 8, 2016, 06:24 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
1) I believe you'll find with some brief use that scanning of the new design will become second nature.

2) We still have the headline-only view live in the old interface. Link is in the main article.
1) Maybe, we'll see.
2) It seems only the desktop headline view is linked. What about mobile? The desktop headline view is *really tiny*
( Last edited by loco; Feb 8, 2016 at 06:24 PM. Reason: Only the*)
     
Stuke
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Feb 8, 2016, 09:22 PM
 
Thank you. I can read the my Apple news again at my favorite site...http://www.macnn.com/classic/. Please don't change this!!
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davisadm
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Feb 8, 2016, 11:18 PM
 
Very difficult to scan thru news items because there is no headlines option under News. I do not want to scroll thru a long page to look at all the headlines.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 8, 2016, 11:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by davisadm View Post
Very difficult to scan thru news items because there is no headlines option under News. I do not want to scroll thru a long page to look at all the headlines.
If you look back at the news item, or the first post in the forum thread, there's a link to a headline only view.
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Feb 9, 2016, 12:15 AM
 
It will probably grow on me, but I also miss that headline view. Is there a secret button for that (I didn't see one), but I'll probably just use the forums now anyway since I often comment. Anyway, it's something I can easily deal with.

The other thing I don't like is the article, following after article, following after article when you've gone to an article to read it. It's nice to be able to just quickly scroll to the bottom of the comments without ending up in a new article.
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Paulrm
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Feb 9, 2016, 02:36 AM
 
Mr. Wuerthele: re- above comment
The NEW page will not open in Safari, now tested on 3 different Macs belonging to 2 different people.

The classic page works fine. Please don't kill it.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 9, 2016, 09:14 AM
 
Paul: Our new page is opening in Safari fine all over the world, including the four macs in this house, and many at other locations - I'm just not sure where you're having problems with a redirect. What's different from stock Safari, and common to all three of those macs? I'd like to get to the bottom of it.

I have little say about the Classic page, but the Legacy page stayed functional for eight years.


To everybody else: IE 11 has been fixed.
     
davisadm
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Feb 9, 2016, 12:09 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
If you look back at the news item, or the first post in the forum thread, there's a link to a headline only view.
I don't understand where to look. In any case, it should be easy to find a link, like it was on the classic site.
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 9, 2016, 12:25 PM
 
Are you entering your comment in the news post, or the forum thread? In any event, here's the link:

Apple, Macintosh and iPod latest news headlines | MacNN
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Feb 9, 2016, 02:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Are you entering your comment in the news post, or the forum thread? In any event, here's the link:

Apple, Macintosh and iPod latest news headlines | MacNN
Hey Mike, I think we're looking for a link/button on the front page to get to the classic view or headline view if that's what you meant, but I'm guessing you meant something else.
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Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 9, 2016, 04:20 PM
 
I don't think a link on the front page back to classic is going to happen.
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Feb 9, 2016, 04:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
I don't think a link on the front page back to classic is going to happen.
No problem... I can bookmark, or more likely, will just use the forum aspect anyway now. Thanks.
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andi*pandi
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Feb 9, 2016, 06:18 PM
 
Mobile-ready? Awesome.

Top nav? Very clean.

Changing the top story to be two columns? Big improvement.

However, it's still cluttered and needs a clear design *hierarchy*. The reviews top left, I think it's fine to have a REVIEW flag, but it should be smaller and the headline for the review larger. Right now the REVIEW bar is larger/taller than TOP STORY. I like the idea posited above of moving the news to the left and putting two columns at right.

The leaderboard placement is cludgy. I know it should be up top, but with the nav sticking to the ceiling, the ad appears right where I expect a headline. Kind of hides the top story. The space left/right of the ad is wasted, and not in a nice white space way. Why not shift everything up, and put the leaderboard between the top story and the other boxes? You do that further down the page (with a med rect, but ok)

I like the immediacy of having the "3 hours ago" line, but having it bottom left of the photo interferes with the headline reading. I'd prefer it overlay the photo or appear at the bottom of the article blurb.

Come up with a standard size for your image thumbnails on the home page. Not just width but height also. Images with white/light backgrounds should have some kind of border, or come up with a standard background color for knockout images.

I like the bottom of the home page much better with the image on the left and blurb on right.

As for the comments that it feels ad-heavy... I explained in feedback but here again: Even if the ad load is the same as before, the design makes articles feel more like ads. There are lots of design articles out there saying that users skip over things they perceive as ads... even things designers think they shouldn't, like carousels or images. It's the perception, and website designers need to make a clear delineation between content and ads. You may need to put a "ADVERTISEMENT" text underneath what is really an ad. I've had this conversation with clients, and it is frustrating, but it is what it is.
     
davisadm
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Feb 9, 2016, 08:44 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Are you entering your comment in the news post, or the forum thread? In any event, here's the link:

Apple, Macintosh and iPod latest news headlines | MacNN
Oh, I thought the new web site had a headline style page. Thanks, I am now using the classic headlines page. I hope this gets to the new web site. Mike, thanks for continually looking at the comments. It is much appreciated!
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 10, 2016, 08:17 AM
 
You're welcome. I do take great pride that we're at least somewhat responsive to our readers.

Speaking of, the adblocker problem has been resolved, at least in our testing. Thanks for everybody's continued patience as we shake out some things!
     
SierraDragon
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Feb 14, 2016, 11:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
I don't think a link on the front page back to classic is going to happen.
Frankly I think that may not be a good choice even though I believe I know why you make it.

1) The new Layout
I have read MacNN daily and thoroughly for many years; it even used to be my home page.
- On the MBP with the new site design I skim it as fast as possible and move on because it just feels uncomfortable. I am bookmarking your classic view.
- On the iPad Air (used less for web access) the new view is OK but I still skim it as fast as possible and move on.
- On the iPhone 6s (used much less for web access) the new view works well for me.
- The white space feels wrong. I built print ads for years, and maximizing white space was always a goal of good design. Apparently design issues are not the same on line, because the white space of your new site feels wrong. Just my .02 of course.

2) Content
MacNN calls itself and used to be a News Network but to a long, long-time reader now it feels like it is devolving into an ad and product-pimping site. Sorry guys, I respect you but that is how it feels. Your choice of course, we do understand the drive for more Benjamins.

-Allen
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 14, 2016, 01:59 PM
 
Originally Posted by SierraDragon View Post
2) Content
MacNN calls itself and used to be a News Network but to a long, long-time reader now it feels like it is devolving into an ad and product-pimping site. Sorry guys, I respect you but that is how it feels. Your choice of course, we do understand the drive for more Benjamins.

-Allen
One of the reasons why I took the Managing Editor job about 16 months ago now, is because I didn't care for how some of the advertising was being handled, and I thought it was abusive. OnSwipe was terrible, so I had it killed. The mouseover words? Killed those too. This isn't about more Benjamins, so much as it is enough Benjamins to keep the lights on.

I would so dearly love for MacNN to go be able to go conventional-ad free. So much. I do a lot of work to hammer down the bad ads, and I'd rather use that time for content. However ad-free doesn't pay the bills, and I feel like our ads are some of the least obtrusive that I see in my patrols. Related to that, I promise you that as long as I am nominally in charge of editorial, we will never run a slideshow that requires you to click 25 times to see the content on-site. These decisions all have a real cost, though.

The bottom line is adblockers cost us money, and our staff is slimmer than we've ever been because of it. The last time I took even a day off during the week is when my wife had a stroke. So, to try and offset the loss of ad revenue as best as we can, we run deals posts, including some from our deals partner. Our editorial content still way outnumbers our deals posts and whatnot, and we do curate the deals as best as we can. Let me give you a case in point. Not all that long ago, vendor X had iTunes cards for 10% off, and vendor Y had them for 20% off. We'd make more money if you bought the 10% off one -- the 20% off one gave us literally nothing. We advertised the 20% off one, because it was better for the reader. We make these choices all the time, and err in your favor.

Our advertising density is about the same as it was on the old site. Our editorial content remains unchanged. If you don't want to see the "product pimping," then skip the deals posts, and just read the editorial content.

We will never, ever do a review, Hands On, or Living With as a paid feature, so when you see that, it is our genuine opinion after use.


Anyway, regarding comfort. How much of the discomfort is because we haven't changed the design for nearly a decade?
     
SierraDragon
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Feb 14, 2016, 02:42 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
Anyway, regarding comfort. How much of the discomfort is because we haven't changed the design for nearly a decade?
That is a very good question. I don't know the answer but have both new and classic sites bookmarked in my toolbar and I will alternate between them to see if the comfort level changes over time as I get used to the new. As of now the new site lends itself to fast skimming while the classic incents me to peruse. That is just me of course.

Edit:
Also note that I have a personal difficulty with gray type as less readable. I find it seriously less readable when Apple or MacNN use gray type instead of black.
- The classic site uses blue/larger font for headline, black for copy.
- The new site uses black for headline, gray for copy. More difficult for my old blue uncorrected eyes to read.

I wonder if the gray typeface color might be the primary source of my perceived "discomfort?"

- Allen
( Last edited by SierraDragon; Feb 14, 2016 at 03:03 PM. )
     
Steve Wilkinson
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Feb 14, 2016, 03:02 PM
 
Originally Posted by Mike Wuerthele View Post
I would so dearly love for MacNN to go be able to go conventional-ad free. So much.
...
Anyway, regarding comfort. How much of the discomfort is because we haven't changed the design for nearly a decade?
Hey Mike, I appreciate what you folks do, and certainly understand the challenges. They are pretty much the same for all of traditional media, even traditional on-line media, in content saturated time. I really think some out-of-the-box kind of thinking is going to have to be a solution some day, but for now, I appreciate the balance you're trying to strike.

(And, serious kudos on the podcast, as I think that's at least part of the solution to gaining a more connected following! I think the future is going to be in that kind of connection, with a value-for-value type model like No Agenda or Congressional Dish podcasts are going in terms of media and making a living. i.e.: lower numbers of more committed followers willing to pay/donate, instead of mass scatter-gun advertising.)

Regarding the layout, I think SierraDragon kind of nailed it with that last post. The new layout is easier to initial-skim the article with much more space and a lot of scrolling to take them all in, but with summaries of each easily visible. While, the headline view is nice to see in a glance, all the new or a while series of article and pick the ones of interest. Personally, I much prefer the headline kind of view, but it's going to depend a lot on the reader. I'm not sure either is better or worse on the whole. But, no, I don't think it's just a matter of comfort with change.

Edit: regarding fonts and colors... absolutely! While sites look cool with various 'gray' fonts and such, they really should be very high contrast for usability. That's one of the first things I usually fix with modern website templates/themes (for the main body copy).
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mr100percent
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Feb 17, 2016, 07:57 PM
 
I dislike it. I'm sticking with Classic mode, thanks for preserving it.
     
Mac128guy4
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Feb 17, 2016, 11:04 PM
 
new is not always better. CLUTTER and way too BUSY. More than a bit distracting to scan quickly. Can we at least have just headlines or the classic view as options?
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Feb 17, 2016, 11:28 PM
 
Old is not always the way to stay, either.

Regarding headlines/classic: Yes. As I've mentioned earlier in the thread:

Apple, Macintosh, iPod and iPhone news | MacNN

However... we're finding out that the longer-term users do adjust after a short period of time. Do check the site as time goes on, it doesn't take much to adjust.
     
 
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