This Week In Techdirt History: We Finally Start Testing Responsive Design!

from the it's-about-time dept

Try out Techdirt's new responsive design on our beta site »

It hasn't escaped our notice that the design of Techdirt is a little... behind the times. There was a spate of high-profile redesigns a few years ago, with many blogs transitioning to a more "magazine"-esque style, and although they looked great, it wasn't always the most useful choice for readers — and that's part of why we didn't end up going along with the trend. We've heard from various readers over the years that they appreciate our adherence to a traditional blog format with a chronological list of posts, and the fact that we don't force the use of photos and imagery when they don't actually add anything to the content. We're also a very small and very busy team, so when we tinker with the site, we try to focus on adding streamlined features that are immediately useful, like the ability to expand posts on the front page instead of clicking through, or to hide all ads on Techdirt. We've also tweaked the appearance of the site in small ways from time to time, and in general we prefer this incremental approach over making a splash with a big redesign.

That being said, there's something very important that we've been neglecting for far too long: how Techdirt works on mobile devices. Our "lite" format is much too basic — a holdover from an earlier era of the mobile web — while our default site is extremely inconvenient on a small screen. And so today we're happy to announce that we're almost ready to launch a new responsive framework for Techdirt, enabling the default version of the site to perform well on devices of all shapes and sizes, and we'd like your help with the beta test. We built this framework ourselves using fairly basic responsive CSS, since so many pre-packaged solutions are overly complex and/or unnecessarily reliant on JavaScript.

Click this link to switch to Techdirt's beta site and try out our new responsive design! Your preference will be saved in a cookie, and you can go back to the regular version of the site at any time via your user preferences or the prominent "Exit Beta" link in the header of every page.

You'll notice a few small tweaks to the layout of our posts, but the main change is that every page should now respond nicely to any viewport size and organize itself to be easily readable and navigable. Please give it a try on your phones and tablets (or by resizing your browser window) and let us know how your experience goes. If you encounter any bugs, or have any general suggestions or comments, get in touch using our contact form or by reaching out to us on Twitter (or here in the comments!)

If all goes well, we hope to roll this change out to the site very soon, and we've got a few more adjustments (plus a general tidying-up of the visual design) in the pipeline.

Filed Under: design, web


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  1. identicon
    ryuugami, 1 Dec 2018 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I think we could probably make it possible to expand hidden comments without javascript and without reloading the page, though I'm pretty sure it'd only be possible to have one comment expanded at a time (and there might be some other weird behaviours like the comments collapsing when you try to reply) due to the limitations of pure-CSS for that kind of interactivity. Or we could potentially do it using the HTML5 summary/details tags, although those have no support in Microsoft browsers. In any case, we'll look into it!

    You could check how SoylentNews is doing it. There, you can open or collapse entire (sub-)threads or individual comments, and as many of them as you want. It works pretty great.

    IIRC that functionality is written entirely in CSS. I'm certain that at least it doesn't use JavaScript -- I have it blocked and everything works flawlessly :)

    You could inspect it in the browser as usual, or check it out on GitHub, as the entire site code is open source (GPLv2). If you have any questions about the implementation, you could drop in to the site's IRC channel (which does need JS, of course) and try asking the devs.


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