A New Look For TMO’s Home Page

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As many of you have noticed, today we changed the default look of TMO's home page to be cleaner, simpler, and more headline-focused. This in and of itself is not new and, of course, has always been a user-configurable option.  But we made the decision to default to "headlines only" as we realized the daily article count was getting high enough to push the morning's briefs "below the fold" by the middle of each day.  This made it difficult to present you, our readers, with a snapshot of the day's activities and, as such, the decision was made.

But we didn't stop there. We wanted to still highlight certain articles and allow our great article images to continue to grace our home page.  As such, Stephen Swift and Jeff Gamet collaborated on creating the rolling images you see atop the new page (depending on your browser width you'll either see two or three of them across). These will allow us to highlight stories from the past week that you may have missed on a previous day.  The goal is to keep the content fresh, plentiful, and easy-to-find, and I think we've achieved that and more.

More, you say? Yep. The new headlines view is dynamic or, rather, it can be, based on what you want to do. If you just want to go to the article, click the link and you'll be brought there immediately. But if you want to see the news brief first, the "On Click" default setting allows you to just click anywhere else in the article's horizontal bar to expand it.  The text below will slide down and make room for the teaser and related image. Try it out... it's pretty slick! You can also change this setting to "Hover," which means you'll get the news brief after hovering over an article link for a few seconds. 

Lastly, if you're a frequent visitor and/or simply someone who likes to get the full news briefs right there on the home page without any clicking or hovering, no problem: simply choose "Always" from the "Display News Briefs" drop down and you'll have your wish granted!

Internet Explorer 6 users (all 2% of you... we checked!): this is the first (of what I imagine will be many) change where we had to leave you out. IE6 simply doesn't have the ability to handle the types of things we're doing. We have, however, set up a custom version of the home page just for you, and you should automatically be redirected there from now forward. We do like having you here at TMO, we just don't like your browser as much... and your browser doesn't like us!

There are more changes coming down the pike, too, but we're not quite ready to roll those out. Plus, doing things one piece at a time makes it a bit more fun for everyone involved, including you! If you have any questions or comments, please do share them in the article comments below. We want to hear from you, and I look forward to your reactions and thoughts!

 

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27 Comments Leave Your Own

Stephen Swift

As Dave said, we’ll keep on refining this week to catch any edge cases where this new homepage doesn’t work as well.

We’ve tested in the major modern browsers: Safari 4 and 3, Firefox 3.5 and 3, and Internet Explorer 7 & 8; but do let us know how it looks in your favorite browser.  I’ll be following the discussion here.

YodaMac

Glad you posted this explanation.  I LOVE the “hover” option and will continue to use that I think.

But what do you mean by “...the rolling images…”.  I see only two images, and they don’t change in any way.  Are they supposed to?

Thanks!

davebarnes

Me like.
Concise is good.

Dave Hamilton

But what do you mean by ?...the rolling images??.? I see only two images, and they don?t change in any way.? Are they supposed to?

Yeah, they should be rolling through featured articles as you sit at the home page.  We’ve tested it in most known browsers.  What are you using?

YodaMac

Please disregard that previous post - the images are now slowing changing as advertised.  Not sure why they didn’t seem to be initially… Maybe I was just impatient.  smile

I’m using Safari 4.0.2 on my work PC.

dave

Whoops! you buried the APPL quote done the page whereas before i could visit and see it immediately. Bad idea. In fact this whole layout does nothing to engage me in any of these stories as you dont even offer a summary to pull me in.

Dave Hamilton

In fact this whole layout does nothing to engage me in any of these stories as you dont even offer a summary to pull me in.

Thanks for your comments and your candor, Dave! If you want the summaries, they’re still there.  Just choose “Always” from the “Display News Briefs” dropdown. That preference is saved in a cookie so you’ll see them every time you visit. Hope that helps!

Lee Dronick

It looks great on my Macs so I checked it with my iPhone. I found that setting the display news briefs to “Always” helps you click on the article you want without getting the one above or below.

Any thoughts to doing a home page just for iPhones?

iJack

I still don’t care for the whole italicized logo.  It’s so 1970.  Different stroked, I guess.

Khaled

Keeping it Simple, it’s good.

iSki iMac

This is great - it allows me to scan the headlines and at the same time see the news briefs that interest me. Best of both worlds!

Dave Hamilton

This is great - it allows me to scan the headlines and at the same time see the news briefs that interest me. Best of both worlds!

In one line you epitomized what took me six paragraphs to say.  Bingo! Glad you enjoy it.

iJack

In one line you epitomized what took me six paragraphs to say.  Bingo! Glad you enjoy it.

Ya wanna bet he Twitters?

iSki iMac

Ya wanna bet he Twitters?

Actually I don’t. I’m more of a 1970’s guy.

Islandgirl45

The

on hover

feature works for me in Safari, but not in Firefox 3.5.

FYI, I’m using an iMac running OS X 10.4.11.

iSki iMac

on hover
feature works for me in Safari, but not in Firefox 3.5.

Same here, but ‘on click’ feature does work, which is good since that’s the feature I prefer.

OSX 10.5.7

iSki iMac

Just discovered that if you click on the ‘...’ at the end of a quote, it expands that quote (in both Safari and Firefox).

Nice.

iSki iMac

OK - so I tried this on ‘hover’ and now I can’t set it back to ‘click’. The setting shows’ click’ and works ok till I leave the home page. When I go back to the home page, while it is loading it shows ‘click’, but when it’s finished loading it shows ‘hover’ again.

I’ve clicked on links and returned to the home page. I’ve reloaded the home page. I even quit and relaunched Safari. Nothing seems to help.

This may be Safari related. When I tried it on Firefox it showed up as ‘click’

Powerbook G4
OS 10.5.7
Safari 4.0.2
Firefox 3.5.1

Stephen Swift

iSki iMac, I’m not sure why it’s not resetting your cookie for you.  Safari Menu > Preferences > Security Tab > Show Cookies Button.  Search for “exp_home_view” without the quotes.  You should see one cookie set for www.macobserver.com domain.  Under the contents column, I’m guessing you’ll see it set to “hover”.  Select that cookie and click remove and the site will go back to the default click behavior.

Thanks Islandgirl45 & iSki for reporting the Firefox 3.5 bug.  I’ll look into these tomorrow and hopefully have a fix soon.

iSki iMac

iSki iMac, I?m not sure why it?s not resetting your cookie for you.? Safari Menu > Preferences > Security Tab > Show Cookies Button.? Search for ?exp_home_view? without the quotes.? You should see one cookie set for www.macobserver.com domain.? Under the contents column, I?m guessing you?ll see it set to ?hover?.? Select that cookie and click remove and the site will go back to the default click behavior.

This is a test response

iSki iMac

iSki iMac, I?m not sure why it?s not resetting your cookie for you.? Safari Menu > Preferences > Security Tab > Show Cookies Button.? Search for ?exp_home_view? without the quotes.? You should see one cookie set for www.macobserver.com domain.? Under the contents column, I?m guessing you?ll see it set to ?hover?.? Select that cookie and click remove and the site will go back to the default click behavio

Stephen,

I sent you an email because each time I tried to submit a post I received the following error message:

You are not authorized to perform this action

If this post actually goes thru I will be very surprised.

Lee Dronick

You are not authorized to perform this action

I too have occasionally received that message, under the “old” set-up. I haven’t seen it in some time.

xmattingly

Love the work you’ve been doing on the site, guys. Having this kind of flexibility built into the front end is definitely going to please a lot of people, and I for one appreciate you offering an easy way to revert to the prior layout: I’m a visual guy, and prefer to see the article avatars with each piece.

The rolling articles at the top is a very nice touch, too; great way to cue in someone who just landed on the page to what’s happenin’ today. If I may offer a critique though:

1. The proportion is a little awkward. What you have is 2:1 width/height ratio (300px x 150px) graphics, within a column that is proportional to the width of the browser window. I get two articles showing on my typical window width, and three with not quite enough space for a fourth article at full width on my 22” monitor. I would suggest a 4:3 ratio (200px x 150px) that is a little closer to square; that should be more flexible for variable window sizes and not produce so much gap space.

2. The positioning of the headlines and avatar images are inconsistent; for example there are a couple of Ted Landau’s articles that have the headline placed on either the top or bottom. I would recommend a consistent placement and article type (back page, editorial, etc) for the article type - you might even consider color coding this - and consistent placement of the headline, graphics, etc. Trust me on this, it’s a familiarity thing: regular visitors will more easily be able to “get” what the news is at a glance.

3. I would suggest using a more plain, but flexible font like Helvetica. Looks like you’re using either Trebuchet or Verdana with Myriad. Helvetica is far easier to read at different sizes, and gives you a lot of flexibility with all of its weights. And The Mac Observer logo is in Helvetica, to boot. smile

Just my 2?. If you would like to see a comp to get a better idea of what I’m talking about, let me know.

dinara

Thank you for the article.

ctopher

Wow, xmattingly sure put a lot of time into his comment, looks like good stuff.

Me? I never go to the TMO home page. This article was the first time I was ever driven to your home page. It’s nice.

But I’ll just keep using my “live” bookmark in Firefox. Thanks for the great content.

iSki iMac

Hi Stephen,

There were the following 2 cookies. I was guessing that was the problem:

        website                 name               contents
1 - dotmacobserverdotcom         exp_home_view     hoverintent
2 - wwwdotmacobserverdotcom   exp_home_view       divclick

I removed both cookies and the ‘on click’ worked properly. As of now there is only the following cookie:

www.macobserver.com       exp_home_view     divclic

Then I couldn’t submit this post without getting the error message:

You are not authorized to perform this action

I had to quit and relaunch Safari to be able to submit the “This is a test response”.
But when I tried to submit this post, I again got the error message:

You are not authorized to perform this action

Stephen Swift

Hi Folks,

My apologies if you got bogus email notifications.  iSki iMac was having a problem posting a comment.  He kept getting an error message: “You are not authorized to perform this action.”

It appears that the software limits you to 2 URLs in the comment.  This is most likely to limit comment spam.  I’ll look into linking to a FAQ for the commenting system to guide people through some of these oddities.

In Other News: I think I fixed the Firefox hover bug.  Thanks for pointing that out!

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