transition everything to Discourse

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bluebell
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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby bluebell » Fri Mar 08, 2019 3:07 pm

martibs wrote:I'm a relatively new user here, and coming from using the Elektronauts forum for some time now, I must say the UX on the (ancient feeling) phpBB is a let down. So I was not surprised to find this thread here.

There are some arguments here that the phpBB UX is superior on desktops, and I can understand that argument even though I don't agree, as it is a matter of subjective taste. However, the same can not be said of the UX on mobile devices. Discourse is far better in this regard, simply due tue the fact that it is actually been designed for those platforms as well.

More and more people are now using mobile devices when browing the web, and chosing a platform that is more platform agnostic seems obvious to me. There's also the argument that having a modern looking interface could attract (or not scare away, rather) new users.


2 more cents:

- The Elektronauts forum is one of the ugliest I have ever seen. When I see this crappy font I think of "Yep, some youngsters wanted to create a modern looking website". No, these are no jpg-artefacts, it’s really that ugly:
elektronauts.png


- It’s never the look that attracts or keeps users, it’s always the content. So yes, if linuxmusicians.com looked as bad as Elektronauts I'd be here anyway.
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martibs
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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby martibs » Fri Mar 08, 2019 7:47 pm

I agree, that is an ugly font. It is, however, your browsers rendition of the website. This is the CSS font property:

Code: Select all

font-family: NHaasGroteskTxPro-55Rg,"Helvetica Neue",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;

Unless you have one of the former fonts installed, it is the browsers sans-serif type font that is used. And the look is the result of your browsers rendition of that font.
This is how it looks on my system, running Firefox on Fedora, with Deja Vu Sans as the sans-serif font:
Screenshot from 2019-03-08 20-29-59.png


When I see this crappy font I think of "Yep, some youngsters wanted to create a modern looking website"

Yeah, I guess this is pretty revealing of your attitude, when young people wanting to create something modern is considered to be negative.
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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby bluebell » Fri Mar 08, 2019 8:07 pm

martibs wrote:I agree, that is an ugly font. It is, however, your browsers rendition of the website. This is the CSS font property:

Code: Select all

font-family: NHaasGroteskTxPro-55Rg,"Helvetica Neue",Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif;

Unless you have one of the former fonts installed, it is the browsers sans-serif type font that is used. And the look is the result of your browsers rendition of that font.
This is how it looks on my system, running Firefox on Fedora, with Deja Vu Sans as the sans-serif font:
Screenshot from 2019-03-08 20-29-59.png


When I see this crappy font I think of "Yep, some youngsters wanted to create a modern looking website"

Yeah, I guess this is pretty revealing of your attitude, when young people wanting to create something modern is considered to be negative.


Too many people think that "modern" (in other words: different) is automatically better. I doubt that playing around with fonts and large spaces reaches this goal. Too many coders want to change things for change's sake. Isn't it an attitude, too, when people want to change things without thinking it over if they will increase usability or at least look better after the changes?

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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby milk » Fri Mar 08, 2019 11:15 pm

that first screenshot make me think font rendering isn't correctly configured there.

"Too many people think that "modern" (in other words: different) is automatically better. ... Too many coders want to change things for change's sake"

i wonder why you would say that? as it's not case in this instance. to say that is to ignore the valid qualitative example immediately prior raised regarding trying to hit the "jump me to the first post in the thread i haven't seen" on mobile. or, from here, it appears maybe you don't believe that people on mobile have UX problems with the existing situation? or that it it's not important? which would essentially be disregarding of the viewpoint of those who have different experiences to you.

"I doubt that playing around with fonts and large spaces reaches this goal"

as was mentioned way back, a theme with a lot of whitespace is /easily/ correctable. it's just a bit of CSS.

"Isn't it an attitude, too, when people want to change things without thinking it over if they will increase usability or at least look better after the changes?"

by the way you describe the situation, it comes across as an attitude of seeing things as black and white. naturally, engineering is about compromises, but i think there is truly a way to accommodate and address all the concerns raised.
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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby martibs » Sat Mar 09, 2019 7:42 am

bluebell wrote:Isn't it an attitude, too, when people want to change things without thinking it over if they will increase usability or at least look better after the changes?

What I have been saying over the last few posts, which you seemingly have ignored, is that the UX and look is improved on mobile devices, and that the desktop UX/look is a matter of subjective taste. So that statement isn't valid.

Anyway, I didn't intend to get into an argument over classical-vs-modern. I just wanted to say that I think the forum would benefit from switching to a more up-to-date platform.

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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby bluebell » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:30 am

milk wrote:that first screenshot make me think font rendering isn't correctly configured there.

"Too many people think that "modern" (in other words: different) is automatically better. ... Too many coders want to change things for change's sake"

i wonder why you would say that? as it's not case in this instance. to say that is to ignore the valid qualitative example immediately prior raised regarding trying to hit the "jump me to the first post in the thread i haven't seen" on mobile. or, from here, it appears maybe you don't believe that people on mobile have UX problems with the existing situation? or that it it's not important? which would essentially be disregarding of the viewpoint of those who have different experiences to you.

"I doubt that playing around with fonts and large spaces reaches this goal"

as was mentioned way back, a theme with a lot of whitespace is /easily/ correctable. it's just a bit of CSS.

"Isn't it an attitude, too, when people want to change things without thinking it over if they will increase usability or at least look better after the changes?"

by the way you describe the situation, it comes across as an attitude of seeing things as black and white. naturally, engineering is about compromises, but i think there is truly a way to accommodate and address all the concerns raised.


The font rendering on my machines is ok. Maybe MacOS does better than Linux but there are huge differences regarding the clearness of different fonts. Arial or Bitstream Vera are great, many webfonts look only good in huge sizes.

We should distinguish between progress and change. Progress offers, change forces. Examples:

- CSS and User-CSS: progress
- Ugly "modern" websites with ridiculously big fonts and spaces (death by scrolling): change

I need progress (User-CSS) to fix the change (big fonts, big spaces, annoying pictures for pictures sake)


- VoIP as a technology, WiFi, Asterisk: progress
- VoIP as replacement for ISDN: change

- Having VoIP inhouse and via WiFi to my wife's shop in the neighbourhood allows me more flexible telephone calls at very low costs. What a cool progress.
- German Telekom recalling ISDN and forcing me to use VoIP on the incoming/outgoing line leaves people in my 3000 souls town without an emergency call at blackouts. Yes, even the mobile phone doesn't work at blackouts. Some call it progress but it's a change.

I need another progress (affordable UPS) to be able to do an emergency call, at least for about the 1st hour during the blackout (battery capacity).

What offers additional freedom/choices or makes something objectively better (e.g. faster internet at the same cost) is progress. What takes away something that I liked is change.

Don't mess them up. This has nothing to do with black/white thinking.

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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby Lyberta » Mon Mar 11, 2019 3:34 am

Oh, by the way, this forum is unreadable on my desktop PC because I have monitor with high PPI. Thankfully, I have forced the minimum font size in Firefox so now I can read text... but the white space is so small that text fields tend to blend into each other. Oh, the irony.

I think the biggest problem is that CSS has the ability to set the size of something in "pixels". I think this is a fatal mistake. There should be never be anything absolute in CSS because all the screens are so wildly different that it is impossible to make anything look good everywhere if you use pixels or other absolute stuff (wait, are pixels the only absolute thing in CSS?) in CSS.

On my websites I decided that I only specify font sizes in percents and I use 1/16 of em as a virtual pixel so everything (EVERYTHING!) will scale with font size.

Oh, and here's how that forum looks on my PC:
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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby wolftune » Mon Mar 11, 2019 4:01 am

The CSS pixel is a crazy thing, but not really related to device pixels exactly. I don't really get it and only skimmed this: https://stackoverflow.com/questions/273 ... calculated

Anyway, this is far from the worst way that web standards are done weirdly/wrong or are abused by careless developers.
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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby Lyberta » Mon Mar 11, 2019 7:47 am

Sure, that's why I put the word "pixel' in quotes. Most browsers allow you to set the ratio between physical and logical pixels and that's what I did to make sites more readable on my monitor. The problem is that it is still 1:1 by default at least in Firefox and it makes a lot of sites look like shit that way.

Tbh the pixel problem is not only CSS problem. It is a general GUI problem. In my game engine I decided to do away with concept of pixel until the last step in rasterization so everything will be scaled according to PPI of the monitor or the settings of the user.

EDIT: styles/prosilver/theme/common.css

Code: Select all

body {
   font-family: Verdana, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif;
   font-size: 10px;
   line-height: normal;
   margin: 0;
   padding: 12px 0;
   word-wrap: break-word;
   -webkit-print-color-adjust: exact;
}


UGH, 10px? Good luck reading that, also padding in pixels, that totally breaks with different font size.

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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby milk » Thu Mar 21, 2019 9:52 pm

bluebell wrote:What offers additional freedom/choices or makes something objectively better (e.g. faster internet at the same cost) is progress. What takes away something that I liked is change.

Don't mess them up. This has nothing to do with black/white thinking.


I don't think the transition to a more modern forum platform can be cast as purely a balance of additional/reduced freedoms.

Talking about specifics rather than abstractions might help refine a potential solution; what do you think would or might be taken away from you?
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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby bluebell » Fri Mar 22, 2019 7:34 am

milk wrote:
bluebell wrote:What offers additional freedom/choices or makes something objectively better (e.g. faster internet at the same cost) is progress. What takes away something that I liked is change.

Don't mess them up. This has nothing to do with black/white thinking.


I don't think the transition to a more modern forum platform can be cast as purely a balance of additional/reduced freedoms.

Talking about specifics rather than abstractions might help refine a potential solution; what do you think would or might be taken away from you?


That can be answered when it’s defined what the "more modern" platform brings and what it takes. Just be "more modern" is no additional value. Being "more readable" is – as far as I can remember – mostly a claim, not a given fact. Being "more intuitive for new users" can be a mix of a claim and an excuse to experienced users who have to re-learn things (see Microsoft Office’s ribbons – most hated by every office worker I know).

I learned that "more modern" in real life means a "more modern layout" and that means bigger fonts and spaces and a "flat design":

- less text on one screen -> more scrolling than before -> degrades readibility
- no 3d effect for buttons -> degrades navigation

Of course the world won't break apart with such a new forum and since it's run by a volunteer/idealist he can do whatever he thinks is needed or wanted.

And maybe a new forum software brings real enhancements instead of only being "more modern". Many things can be fixed with CSS. But what progress is it when you have to fix things first ("Of course it's broken but look how modern it is")?

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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby tavasti » Fri Mar 22, 2019 8:38 am

bluebell wrote:I learned that "more modern" in real life means a "more modern layout" and that means bigger fonts and spaces and a "flat design":

Modern look means lower contrast for background and font, and to be still readable, font needs to be bigger.
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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby bluebell » Fri Mar 22, 2019 11:36 am

tavasti wrote:
bluebell wrote:I learned that "more modern" in real life means a "more modern layout" and that means bigger fonts and spaces and a "flat design":

Modern look means lower contrast for background and font, and to be still readable, font needs to be bigger.


The contrast on this site isn't very high. So we're modern enough here :D

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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby Basslint » Sat Mar 23, 2019 8:09 am

I haven't read the whole discussion (so apologies) but I actually like that this site does not require javascript and it's very light.

phpBB is free software and it can be easily customized. If looks are the problem (and I would agree on that), that can be easily changed. Take a look at this for example.

The emojis are also awful and dated, and so is BBcode (there is a plugin for Markdown support). I propose (and am willing to contribute as a coder, within my constraints of time and skills) to work on the existing code base instead.

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Re: transition everything to Discourse

Postby bluebell » Sat Mar 23, 2019 9:55 am

Basslint wrote:I haven't read the whole discussion (so apologies) but I actually like that this site does not require javascript and it's very light.

phpBB is free software and it can be easily customized. If looks are the problem (and I would agree on that), that can be easily changed. Take a look at this for example.

The emojis are also awful and dated, and so is BBcode (there is a plugin for Markdown support). I propose (and am willing to contribute as a coder, within my constraints of time and skills) to work on the existing code base instead.


People wanting "a more modern layout" can use a personal userCSS:

- Huge font sizes
- Big "scroll-to-death" spaces
- Hardly readable but beautiful Webfonts
- Maybe it's even possible to include big Javascript libraries to slow down the page rendering. Bonus points if they mine Bitcoins for some hacker sites.
- Random pop-ups getting in your way telling you stories about cookies and new articles

Thinking about what today's webdesigners' "good design" is this version of linuxmusicians.com doesn't look so bad anymore:

http://www.wonder-tonic.com/geocitiesiz ... icians.com


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