denise: Image: Me, facing away from camera, on top of the Castel Sant'Angelo in Rome (Default)
Denise ([staff profile] denise) wrote in [site community profile] dw_news2010-08-12 04:29 pm

Weekly Update: August 12

Hello, Dreamwidth! There is currently a hole in our bathroom shower wall. Maintenance swore they'd have it completely fixed by today. Considering that there's only half an hour left of today's working hours ... I think we might be showering in the downstairs exercise room again today. (Ew.)

Thankfully, we've been a lot less remiss in finishing and fixing things here on DW. Let's go through the week's announcements, and I'll save the best for last.


Development this week has mostly gone to bugfixes from last week's code push, all of which are now live. You can check out the week's code tour if you're curious. Welcome this week goes to new contributor [personal profile] cpm!

We think we've caught most of the bugfixes from the last code push, but if there's anything that you're still having problems with, let Support know!


This code push finally fixed the ability for us to merge duplicate feed accounts into one, so I went ahead and did all the ones that people reported a while back. From here, if you notice duplicate feed accounts (two feed accounts pulling the same content, even if it's not the same feed URL), please report them to Support -- they'll be able to fix them up for you.


Our last code push made it so that people can display the entry management links in their styles as either text or icons, which a lot of people have asked for! We have a lot of themes by now, though, so some of them have turned out to have display problems. We're fixing those, but if you've got a few minutes, stop in and give [site community profile] dw_styles a hand in checking themes to make sure there aren't any more problems we're missing.


It's been a while since we've had community-of-the-week here in news updates, and I'd like to bring it back! This week, [personal profile] pauamma suggests [community profile] forkedtongues, a community for discussion about languages, translations, and the experience of being multilingual.

If you've got an active community that you love and want more members for, or are looking for some new communities to join, check out [site community profile] dw_community_promo.

Update Page

I did promise the best for last, right?

A little while ago, we unveiled the first draft of our new update page (being revised as the first step to adding draft & scheduled posts functionality). We got some great feedback (and thank you to everyone who left it!), and we're now ready to show you guys version 2.0.

This version incorporates most of the feedback you guys left, and is a result of some great partnership work between [personal profile] fu and [personal profile] hope, whose mad design skills has taken my initial crappy pencil sketches and [personal profile] fu's much more awesome first draft and done a lot of work on them.

Things to note for this version:

* As suggested, we've moved the draft and scheduled post management onto another page (which hasn't been turned into a working version yet, but we do have the first mockups of that done -- we'll show that one off in a few weeks.)

* We've moved around a lot of options to the places people said they'd rather see them, so hopefully it will be more intuitive for people to use.

* We've fixed up a lot of the visual presentation, so the eye travels more smoothly across the screen.

* We've done a bunch of bugfixes, so any problems you reported in the last round should be fixed by now.

Like last time, this is still a demo; it won't work to post entries to your journal, and it won't use your tags or your icons. Give it another look and see what else you can suggest for us to improve it further:

Create Entries Demo 2.0


That's it for us for another week! As always, if you're having problems with Dreamwidth, Support can help you; for notices of site problems and downtime, check the Twitter status page; if you've got an idea to make the site better, you can make a suggestion.

We'll see you next week (when hopefully the hole in my bathroom wall will be fixed) for our next update.

[personal profile] feathertail 2010-08-12 11:31 pm (UTC)(link)
It looks like a KDE "Preferences" dialog. >.> It's got an on/off switch for everything including the kitchen sink, with collapsable menu upon collapsable menu requiring clicks to conceal or expose functionality that only a handful of people will need.

If our target audience is LJcode power users, let's just come out and say it. Diversity statement or no, when the site's interface looks like this we're making it very intimidating to new users. And I know Dreamwidth serves a different niche than Tumblr or Posterous, but it seems like it requires a lot more effort to do basic things on Dreamwidth than it does almost anywhere else.

Between invite codes and privacy filters, I wonder if Dreamwidth's real "killer feature" is insularity. And I don't mean that as an insult.
musyc: Silver flute resting diagonally across sheet music (Default)

[personal profile] musyc 2010-08-12 11:47 pm (UTC)(link)
*nod* This here. I opened the update page and physically recoiled from the overwhelm-ness of it all, and I've been merrily using LJ for ten years. I can make it get up and dance, and this update page had me confused. If I were a new user, it would probably frighten me, and I'd never spend the time to figure out how to operate it. I'd abandon my account and go somewhere less difficult.

I think if there were an option to switch between basic-no-frills and advanced-zomg-clickythings, like the HTML/RTE tab, it would be far less of a "I won't touch anything so I don't break it" experience.

[personal profile] feathertail 2010-08-12 11:53 pm (UTC)(link)
+1. If we're trying to accomodate power users, and at the same time reach out to newbs and diversify ourselves, we need some way to hide the complexity from them. Not just collapsable menus, but a whole "simplified interface" kinda thing.
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)

[personal profile] charmian 2010-08-13 03:06 am (UTC)(link)
Hmm, maybe there could be a 'simple' mode as well? With only like the top five or so features used in the interface?

[personal profile] feathertail 2010-08-13 03:20 am (UTC)(link)
What if the interface was modular, sort of like how your DW layout is right now? Except easier to use. You could have the basics in a basic module right off the bat, and could drag-and-drop other modules in or leave them out as you saw fit.
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)

[personal profile] charmian 2010-08-13 03:22 am (UTC)(link)
Oh, like the Wordpress widget page? that would also be good. I'd personally also like to be able to make it one-column, but that's sort of a tall order.

[personal profile] feathertail 2010-08-13 05:25 am (UTC)(link)
Agreed. Here's a pic that I took, for reference: LINK

I think we should have, as a basic posting interface, just the userpic, currents and tags. Then everything else could be a widget that we could drag-and-drop from the sidebar into the interface. They'd have very brief descriptions and generous whitespace, and you could find out more about what each one does by dragging-and-dropping it in and having a look.

This way newbs can have fun experimenting, instead of taking one look and having the reaction that [personal profile] musyc did up there. >.>b
charmian: a snowy owl (Default)

[personal profile] charmian 2010-08-13 05:37 am (UTC)(link)
That is an idea. I think also access should be default. If drag and drop is too complex, though, I also think a bare bones version would be useful.

[personal profile] feathertail 2010-08-13 05:38 am (UTC)(link)
You're probably right ... access lists are another one of Dreamwidth's killer features, and one of the best reasons to post here rather than anywhere else. They're something most people are likely to use.
daweaver:   (Default)

[personal profile] daweaver 2010-08-18 06:04 pm (UTC)(link)
access lists are another one of Dreamwidth's killer features, and one of the best reasons to post here rather than anywhere else. They're something most people are likely to use.

Mileage varies - they're of absolutely no use to people who post solely for public consumption, and of not much use to people who use security settings (the Not Safe For Work gubbins) to keep posts from showing up in search engines. To the best of my knowledge, they're also an urban myth to anyone whose browser doesn't run javascript.

[personal profile] feathertail 2010-08-18 06:31 pm (UTC)(link)
I disabled scripts on Midori, and it didn't load any of my protected entries while I was not logged in ...

And you're right that mileage varies when people aren't posting things publicly. At that point, the major reason to post here may become the community and/or a person's existing social network. Otherwise people would probably be better served by Tumblr, Blogger or WordPress (and the numbers suggest that they are).
vanessagalore: (pic#)

[personal profile] vanessagalore 2010-08-13 01:00 am (UTC)(link)
I agree with this. I found LJ very intimidating at first, and an extremely basic interface for newbies would have helped a lot (of course, I think DW is doing a lot more to make help pages that are actually 'helpful'). And now that I know what I'm doing, I'd really appreciate all the bells and whistles that you're offering with this redesign. I know it's a lot more work to have two interfaces, but DW has proven itself to be forward-looking and thoughtful about its client base, so I have faith you'll figure this out. (Just look at this post, for example, asking us to help you create something awesome.)
stealth_noodle: Minish Cap Link thoughtfully examining a map. (interested)

[personal profile] stealth_noodle 2010-08-13 03:17 am (UTC)(link)
This is a really good point! I've been excited about all the collapsible bits and extra functionality, but I've also been kicking around LJ and its code-sharers for eight years and am the sort of person who will cheerfully spend half an hour setting and tweaking software preferences. If I were just starting out, this update page would terrify me.

A stripped-down basic update page as the default for new users would be much friendlier. Or if there were some way to hide most of the boxes by default and give users the option of displaying just the ones they want (not just collapsing/expanding, but full-out removing/adding), that would be really neat! Perhaps not actually feasible, but neat.
newredshoes: Mae Mordabito sliding into a base (peaches | all the way mae)

[personal profile] newredshoes 2010-08-13 04:18 am (UTC)(link)
+1 here. I'm a 9-year LJ user, and I want to make DW my home base and support it, but this... makes me want to not post out of DW. The bells and whistles are really overwhelming, and I'm saddened by how tiny and diminished the content box seems; I'd almost rather keep the present update page and add on a tab (like a tab on a browser) where you can just write in one and then select all your options in another. (Well, I'm also really happy with the current update page, and I'm... not entirely sure why it's being overhauled. I'd love to read a rationale, because I trust DW to have a reasonable, good one. At this point, though, it just seems like it's trying to fork away from LJ more.)

I also really wish the text box was on the right and the first column of posting options was on the left. The text box looks, well, boxed in and cramped.
newredshoes: radio tower on top of the world (peaches | we're all-americans)

[personal profile] newredshoes 2010-08-13 04:36 am (UTC)(link)
Ah, gotcha! Okay -- thanks very much for the reply!
archangelbeth: Sad female face, with horns. (Sad Eyes)

[personal profile] archangelbeth 2010-08-13 11:36 pm (UTC)(link)
Duuuuude, you could totally stick the draft/scheduled button under the "age restriction" dropdown, or shove the Show This Entry To stuff to the right and stick something under the Crosspost This Entry text.

Or do a "Schedule Posting" link (like the extant Edit Date one) and put that under the current "date" line.

You've got plenty of space on the old page! O:(

(Oh, and the "post" button should go back to the right, and should be "post to: journalname" as a last "do you really want to post this discussion of your yeast infection to your personal journal, circle-locked, when you intended to quietly post it to the DW version of Vaginapagina, community-locked?")

[personal profile] feathertail 2010-08-13 05:29 am (UTC)(link)
Here's an idea [personal profile] charmian and I had: LINK

It's like what you said, where you "select all your options in another [tab]." We could just have the basics to start with, and then you could drag-and-drop options in. Hopefully from a palette that actually uses whitespace, and has brief summaries of each module instead of the whole nine yards.
pocketmouse: pocketmouse default icon: abstract blue (Default)

[personal profile] pocketmouse 2010-08-13 12:19 am (UTC)(link)
Yes, this too. I was thinking along these lines as I looked at it. I can think of a couple people on my LJ flist that would never post at DW if they had to figure out this new interface.

[personal profile] feathertail 2010-08-13 12:22 am (UTC)(link)
Yes ... I can understand if most of the people here are excited about it, but it doesn't seem like anyone's thinking of the newbs. Or at least, able to empathize with them.