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Site relaunch (2)

One of the problems with the current site design is that the "back stage" where content is created looks exactly the same as the "stage" where content is presented to readers. This is especially clear when there are tables or images that run into and over the sidebars when a post is being created, even if the post will look fine to readers after being saved. The same problem shows up when there are a lot of toolbar buttons or fields to choose from: They end up getting stacked on top of each other in the narrower column made necessary by the sidebars. (This problem is especially evident to me as an admin; some of the admin screens are just horrible.) Getting rid of the sidebars back stage solves these layout problems.

So, herewith the new back stage with some high-level notes on the design. This is the form for creating a Quick Hit. I added some annotations:


1. Integrated help. Good for new contributors! Old timers don't heed Help, really, but I bet even old timers aren't aware of all the bells and whistles the site has, let alone the new ones I am installing. I did some tech doc in a past life, so my help reads that way, for good or ill. Suggestions welcome!

2. Required fields first. Enter the title, enter the body, Preview, Save is the normal workflow, no? But the current form is cluttered and doesn't follow that order. So I re-organized it to put the required fields first.

3. WYSIWYG editor. I think for new writers and those who aren't completely confident technically, the Word-like toolbar, the cute little icons, and "Look! I pressed the Bold button and my text is bold!" (instead of being marked STRONG) are all a draw. And we want new writers, no?

In addition, for good or ill developers think that WYSIWYG is cool, and so functionality ("Bells and whistles") gets created in that context: Tables -- a very handy and analytical presentation device -- are just one example; I will present others when I make some videos on the editors.

4. And for the Old School (including, generally, me) the existing editor is still available. It's not the default, since the goal is to attract new writers, but can be selected. (Before you ask, there is no easy way to default to editor to your personal preference. I have tried.)

So that is the approach to creating a better back stage environment for writers, especially new writers. More to come when I create videos this evening.

No votes yet


Submitted by jawbone on

where my selected text is for the embed, it shows up at the beginning of the first paragraph.

I either type out the URL embed code or copy the correct code and text from the opening graf and place where it belongs.

But, it is bothersome, somewhat.

Sometimes I still can't get my highlighting to work. I'm on Win 7. IE 9 now, on a laptop which was invaded by a virus which took over Norton antivirus and now won't let MS make any changes to Windows!

My next step is to try Malwarebytes -- unless someone has a better suggestion or two???

Norton indicated it was on guard, but maybe it wasn't, because when I first went out on the web things went kablooey. Grrrrrrr. So I never use this laptop for any financial or security actions at all. Nor do I use it on any Wifi, fearing the virus could spread. Yech.

And time is in short supply nowadays, what with my sort of full time unpaid job. I'm home today with a huge sinus headache after doing two days of hurricane and fall outdoor clean up. Nice to catch up on da blogs. It was awful having both no electricity and no internet for 10 whole days!!

Submitted by lambert on

On the URL, I'm not sure what you mean by embed. That globe with chain?

On the "Win" 7 machine, I can't be any help except to suggest it's a teardown. I don't know what else you use the machine for, but if it's only browsing, I suggest moving to Ubuntu, since linux was almost designed to make old low-performance machines seem faster, and it doesn't have the horrible virus problems.

You are in PA, right? Perhaps there is some institution like a library or a even a young family member, who can set you up? Nobdy should have to suffer with a sucky machine. Terrible time sink!

Submitted by hipparchia on

it generally plays nicely with other antimalware programs, so you can have your regular antivirus and mbam at the same time.

sorry to hear about the no electricity and no internet. that sucks. glad to see you have survived.

the link thingy showing up at the beginning of the first paragraph and the highlighting issue, i've run into those. two things i did [at the same time, so i can't tell you which one worked] was to totally disable the touchpad on my laptop and to switch to opera for my browser.

Submitted by lambert on

Because Ubuntu is a modern well designed operating system instead of a poorly designed pile of crap. My heartfelt advice is ask yourself if you have any data on that computer that you need. If you do not, wipe it and start over with Ubuntu. A savvy high school kid could do it. A girl scout troop could win merit badges for it.

I'll see about the other sometime tonight.

Submitted by YesMaybe on

It's based on Ubuntu, but it has a somewhat more traditional interface. I'd say try them both and see which seems more intuitive to you. You can try them without installing on your computer, since their installation dvd's are also live dvd's (they boot into the operating system and you can then use it or install it).

One thing I would do, though it requires more working knowledge (but if you get someone who knows a little about linux to do it it'd be easy for them) is to have a separate partition for /home . That way upgrades don't even require doing a backup.