Some Small But Important Techdirt Updates

from the without-further-ado dept

A couple months ago, we launched the beta test of a revamped version of Techdirt with some key new features, most importantly a responsive design for a better experience on phones and other devices. As we noted, it wasn't about diving into a big redesign, but incrementally improving the blog, for a variety of reasons.

Today, we're coming out of beta and turning on the new version of Techdirt for all users!

Apart from some small adjustments to the layout and sizing, very little has changed if you're viewing the site on a desktop or laptop screen — but if you're on a mobile device, you'll see we've changed everything to fit naturally on any size of screen. We're not blazing any trails here: this is something we've needed to do for quite a while now, and we're excited to finally launch it.

If you want to know more about the strategy behind the changes and a few details on the implementation, check out our post announcing the beta. And if you have feedback on the updated site, let us know via our contact form or on Twitter!

Filed Under: redesign, responsive, techdirt


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  • icon
    Gary (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 12:42pm

    Defaults

    Still don't see _markdown_ checked by default. **Sigh**

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 12:57pm

      Re: Defaults

      Let's see if there's a way to edit comments after posting yet?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 12:57pm

        Re: Re: Defaults

        Nope. We still don't have that either.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2019 @ 1:49pm

        Re: Re: Defaults

        I don't want a way to edit comments after posting... but I *would* like a way to check the markdown box after posting if it's not checked by default.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Mason Wheeler (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 1:55pm

          Re: Re: Re: Defaults

          I don't want a way to edit comments after posting

          Why?

          And if you were going to bring up the usual objection--that it would lead to confusing conversations if someone can change something they wrote after someone else replied to it--that can be ameliorated easily enough. StackOverflow has had a fix for that problem for 10 years now: changes leave a trail.

          For the first five minutes, edits are "free." This is for fixing proofreading problems: typos, bad word choice, stuff like that. It's expected that few people are going to see and respond to your post during this time anyway. But after a post is 5 minutes old, if you edit it, it leaves an "edited" link on your post that takes anyone who cares to click on it to a change history, letting them see exactly what it used to say.

          I don't know if that's exactly how it ought to be implemented here, as the workings of this comments section are fairly different from the way StackOverflow works, but the basic principles are pretty generally applicable and could be adapted as appropriate to come up with a solution that works for Techdirt.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Gary (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 4:47pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Defaults

            I like the audit-trail but that sounds difficult to implement.
            Despite my typos I would prefer no edits, barring an easy to use system that would leave the original and edited post readable.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2019 @ 5:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Defaults

              I don't see why it should be hard to implement. Just off the top of my head I can think of two different ways to do it super-easily by adding a single column to the posts table in the database. Maybe even three.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                Gary (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 8:47pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Defaults

                I know enough to know it isn't as simple as you are sayin.
                Citation needed.

                Also, this is a change request for someone else's website. TD has to balance the time/cost effort of such a task against the return. Their call.

                This isn't a feature I see at other blogs - so I'm going to guess that it ain't super easy.

                Also - Woot! Default Markdown!!

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Bergman (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 8:59pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Defaults

              It's actually pretty easy. Every wiki does that.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2019 @ 10:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Defaults

            I like the fact that anything submitted here is as permanent as it can possibly be on the Internet. It usually makes me stop and consider my words a bit more carefully than on all the sites where I can retroactively go and change the content.

            This is important because in reality, anything put on the Internet IS permanent, even if you change it after the fact -- someone out there has likely mirrored it in the interim. So I like the permanent comments because they force people to come to grips with this instead of hiding it behind a sometimes deceptive veneer.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Matthew Cline (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 1:45pm

      Re: Defaults

      Here is a UserScript which will automatically turn on markdown for all comments.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 1:50pm

      Re: Defaults

      We had thought about including that with this build and then it sorta dropped off our radar, but you're right and we're all in agreement! Updating it any moment now - you should start seeing Markdown checked by default very shortly.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2019 @ 1:33pm

    the mark down check box is now on the right side of the text (in opostion to almost all sane page layouts).

    also there seems to be a "subscribe to the techdirt daily newsletter" in the middle of the comment fields (I like clicking refresh, but thanks.)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 1:53pm

      Re:

      the mark down check box is now on the right side of the text (in opostion to almost all sane page layouts).

      I'm not quite sure how we ended up with that happening but I don't think it was intentional and either way you are correct! Moving it to the left side now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        ryuugami, 30 Jan 2019 @ 8:39pm

        Re: Re:

        The "Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)" below the markdown option has the same problem (checkbox on the right side).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    justok (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 1:33pm

    Doesn't

    Can't seem to get it to work on my phone. Its a Nortel Meridian. Maybe I'm dialing the wrong number?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2019 @ 1:34pm

    Yes thank you now how do I turn it off

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Phoenix84 (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 1:41pm

    I can't stand mobile sites. 99% of "mobile friendly" web sites cut out navigation aids on mobile. Makes it much harder, if not impossible to find what I'm looking for, thereby missing valuable information too.
    Now I haven't tried the new techdirt site on mobile, but I hope that hasn't happened.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2019 @ 1:53pm

      Re:

      I've been testing it for a while and had no problems, unlike on most sites that have gone adaptive.

      Weird; markdown is now suddenly checked by default, when it wasn't in my previous response in the same thread. Someone's listening?

      ^^whee!^^

      testing

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2019 @ 5:33pm

      Re:

      There's a reason that in an age of high resolution large mobile phone screens I always have a browser extension which defaults all pages to the desktop version. I've yet to find a mobile site which maintains the minimum amount of functionality I require from the desktop version.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        R.H. (profile), 31 Jan 2019 @ 5:32pm

        Re: Re:

        That's the thing, now they're only serving one version of the site to everyone mobile and desktop alike and your browser is handling the decisions to resize everything properly. That's (roughly) how adaptive sites work. Try putting Techdirt into a window and resizing that window to the size of a phone screen and see if it looks similar to how it looks on a phone to verify.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2019 @ 11:37am

      Re:

      I can't stand mobile versions of sites. I'd rather just be defaulted to the desktop version.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 2:24pm

    Thanks for breaking my custom userstyle, really appreciate it~!

    (For real, though, I do appreciate the tweaks done for mobile — and it is nice to have the Markdown option checked by default!)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      ryuugami, 30 Jan 2019 @ 8:38pm

      Re:

      Thanks for breaking my custom userstyle, really appreciate it~!

      Can I add my appreciation as well? :)

      I don't use mobile, so I don't have anything to say about that, but I second the niceness of the new default for the Markdown checkbox... even if it was a very late addition :)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    DocGerbil100, 30 Jan 2019 @ 4:20pm

    Hello, Mr Beadon. :)

    Congrats on and thanks for completing the update. I'm on old-fashioned regular desktop and TD looks and behaves very nicely indeed - a definite improvement for me.

    PS: +1 for an edit button, even if only for five minutes. Not being able to fix typos drives me absolutely up the wall.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2019 @ 10:31am

      Re:

      Hmm... for the next round of improvements, maybe placing all posts in a 5 minute holding pattern before they show up for anyone but the original poster would work?

      That way, what everyone sees is still permanent, but the OP gets a chance to see how their comment looks beside everything else for a few minutes before it goes live -- allowing them to make any quick fixes that might be needed.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2019 @ 4:20pm

    A major site change and I didn't notice/can't tell.

    Great job!!!! 100% serious. TD site design is great!

    small request- pop up hidden comments on mouseover, so us anti script peeps don't have to lose our place when removing css style to view them.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2019 @ 5:30pm

    is it possible....

    ...to get the convenient sidebar with all the info on a post, tags, and links back?

    That's one of the features I make the most use of on the site, being able to at a glance check for related articles, and see a breakdown of all the info on the post without having to scan through the body of the full article.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    testcore (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 5:33pm

    Much appreciated!

    As a longtime reader (10+ years now!) who mostly visits mobile, just want to say thank you!!! Been using the beta site since it was announced, and it's a MUCH improved experience over the previous version.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    krickit (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 5:40pm

    I've been using td lite on my phone since I started reading this, must admit its nice to finally understand whats going on in the comments

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2019 @ 5:49pm

    Not liking how the text is now on the very left side of the page. I'm used to it being a bit off the left with a margin. I also zoom the main text a bit for readability, but now the main body text is almost the same size as the headers. The headers don't stand out as much anymore.

    It looks weird how the "from the X dept" is the only font passage I can see that's serif - everything else is sans-serif. Might be browser defaults, but you can also set it via CSS, as I'm sure you already know.

    Will probably get used to it given time, but it doesn't look as good on desktop or a large monitor as it did before.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Michael Costanza (profile), 30 Jan 2019 @ 8:20pm

      Re:

      There is something going on with the font sizes on mobile, especially with respect to the headlines. We’ll get that sorted out.

      I’m not sure what you’re seeing with the left margin. I do see a margin on my phone. But I’ll play with it a little.

      Both the headlines and the department are serif. That hasn’t changed from the previous design.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    vt4702, 30 Jan 2019 @ 6:12pm

    How do I go back to the old way on firefox? I want the better resolution/contrast and less space used up on the page the original version offered. I was stuck in beta for a couple weeks and hated trying to read TD so to know this is now the final is disheartening.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 30 Jan 2019 @ 10:27pm

    when I read this article on my iphone and click on "reader view" I don't see the text of the article but only some comments?!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Michael Costanza (profile), 31 Jan 2019 @ 1:26pm

      Re:

      This should be fixed now. The Insider Chat was confusing FireFox's "Readability" JavaScript code, which was deciding that the chat content, not the post itself, was the main content of the page.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    stine, 30 Jan 2019 @ 10:58pm

    darn

    As more and more website pull this kind of shit it makes my tablet less and less usefull. It has a resolution twice that of my laptop on a screen 1/4 the size. This means that the pages I have a hard time reading, without zooming, on my laptop are fucking impossible to read on my tablet.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 31 Jan 2019 @ 9:32am

      Re: darn

      As more and more website pull this kind of shit it makes my tablet less and less usefull. It has a resolution twice that of my laptop on a screen 1/4 the size. This means that the pages I have a hard time reading, without zooming, on my laptop are fucking impossible to read on my tablet.

      Can you explain the problem here? This change is designed to make things significantly more readable on mobile devices. I know that for me it's much more useful. The desktop change is minor, but on devices it should be much more readable now.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 31 Jan 2019 @ 3:41am

    I couldn't bring myself to read articles on the phone. Strains your neck and it isn't ergonomic. Not really on topic but am I the only one?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 2 Feb 2019 @ 3:17am

      Re:

      Are you able to lift an arm? If you can't raise your hand, consider a headband holder or a selfie stick for your phone that will suspend the phone in front of your eyes.

      If it is because your hands are otherwise engaged while reading this site, you may want to talk to a professional.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2019 @ 6:45am

    The new layout/sizing look terrible on my desktop. I thought I'd accidentally zoomed the page or something, everything just looks so much bigger than it needs to be, and less of the actual articles fit on the page.
    Is this the actual final version of the new design?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    tom (profile), 31 Jan 2019 @ 7:12am

    IMO - this is worse on my desktop then the old style. The spacing between letters (kerning?) is too large. Makes it more spread out and harder to read.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2019 @ 10:35am

    Dark Mode?

    Any chance you guys could add the hints to the CSS for dark mode? It shouldn't be too difficult as the site already works perfectly with my dark mode plugin.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Jan 2019 @ 5:46pm

    So where's the option for "opt out of inefficient mode" in user preferences? Because the reason it looks like I'm commenting anonymously is because "request desktop version" breaks being logged in. (and screws up browsing elsewhere)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Thad (profile), 5 Feb 2019 @ 9:59am

    Couple things I've noticed:

    The link on my username disappeared. It was working for awhile but now it isn't.

    Also, I think markdown may be enabled even if I uncheck it? I wrote something where I put a hyphen at the beginning of a line and it showed up as a bullet, even though I'm pretty sure I unchecked the markdown box. I'll double-check here:

    • markdown is unchecked; that should be a hyphen, not a bullet

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 5 Feb 2019 @ 10:00am

      Re:

      Sure enough. Let me try some other Markdown symbols with the box unchecked:

      > quote
      *italic*
      **bold**

      They look right (ie straight text, not formatted) in the preview.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 5 Feb 2019 @ 10:00am

        Re: Re:

        Hm, well those worked, so maybe it's just the hyphen?
        - trying the hyphen again

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 5 Feb 2019 @ 10:01am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Okay, I think I see what happened.

          Unchecking the box and submitting works fine; the problem is that if you uncheck the box and then click Preview, the box gets checked again. You might want to change it so that if the "Use markdown" box is unchecked when I click Preview, it remains unchecked on the preview page.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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