Announcing AppleVis 2.0: The Second Decade Edition

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

The Editorial Team and I are pleased to announce a major upgrade and redesign to the AppleVis website.

When I created AppleVis ten years ago, I built it quickly and with little idea of where the site would go... and certainly no expectation that it would become as popular, valuable, and successful as our community has made it.

AppleVis has surpassed all of my hopes and expectations, and I truly thank everybody in our community for this.

Over the past decade, the content management system that's at the core of the site has served us well. But in the past few years it has begun to show its age and present numerous challenges and restrictions.

Consequently, for the last several months I’ve been working on a ground up rebuild of AppleVis.

My goal was to retain as much of the site user experience as possible to how it was before, but to also make some accessibility and usability enhancements. It is my hope that low vision users in particular will enjoy an improved experience, most notably on mobile devices.

While I've made every effort to keep the new site compatible with the old one, there will undoubtedly be some teething problems - there will be things that I missed during development and testing; there will be unforeseen issues that only surface now the site is being used; there are things which simply could not be addressed until the site went live; and there are things which I delayed for practical or technical reasons .

In the past, our routine site maintenance and upgrades have involved mainly under-the-hood improvements; however, because there has been no ‘in place’ upgrade path this time, the process has been significantly more involved--and it has necessitated some changes to features and functionality.

While I was able to rebuild a lot of the old website's functionality on the new platform, some features were not able to be carried over because of technical limitations with the available tools; one of these features is the auto-posting of new content to our Twitter accounts. I realize the value that these posts have to many in our community, and I am currently exploring possible alternatives to automate this process. In the meantime, our plan is to manually tweet links to blog posts, podcast, and trending topics on our forum.

All of that to say that you should expect to notice fixes and further enhancements in the coming days, weeks, and months. I ask that you please bear with us during this transition period.

Later this month, AppleVis will celebrate its tenth birthday. Our community would not be what it is today without the support of all of our users and visitors, and it is my hope that this upgrade will place AppleVis on firm technological ground for many years to come.

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Hey Ekaj, thanks for the encouraging words about your experience.

For now, the ability to login with your email address is not available.

It's on the list of things that I hope to reinstate, but that's going to be dependent upon finding a stable and reliable alternative to what I used before.

So, keep watching this space 😊

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Friday, July 10, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

And, yes, I did just add an emoji to my display name 😊

It probably won't be a keeper, but it did give me an opportunity to check that this is now something people can do.

But, now back to resolving some of the bigger issues.

I am aware that some people are still experiencing login issues. This is proving to be a hard one to pin down. If this is something that you are experiencing, do please clear your browser cache again. Yes, even if you have tried this before please, as I am making changes at this end which *might* have fixed things since you last did this.

And, again, my apologies to those of you who are still unable to login. Believe me, it's the last thing I would want, and I certainly had no idea that it would be an issue (either from my testing before the new site went live or afterwards).

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Friday, July 10, 2020

Just to confirm with you, David, my log in issues appear to have resolved themselves, after I had cleared out the browser casche. Keep of the great work.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Friday, July 10, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Roxann Pollard

Thanks Roxann, that's great to hear.

Not being able to reproduce the problem here makes it impossible to test for myself whether any changes i'm making are possible fixes or not. So, reports that clearing the cache does resolve the issue for some is encouraging.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Friday, July 10, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Holger Fiallo

Hi Holger,

What issues are you having with the new website? If you're using the site on Windows, for best results, I recommend maximizing the screen--as this will expand the navigation menu without you having to do so. Besides the navigation menu (a change which we made to make the site easier to use on mobile devices with smaller screens), the core experience should be quite similar to before.

It got fix. Crossing finger. Issue I have is after responding, and saving, I will need to refresh to scape and be able to go to home web page. I do have my edge maximize.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, July 10, 2020

I'm quite surprised there is no "remember me" check box. This is in my humble opinion standard in many websites I've dealt with over the years. Please consider adding this?

Submitted by Jo Billard on Saturday, July 11, 2020

I was looking for some of the beginner podcasts for a review, but I couldn't find them. Are they still being uploaded, or are they being taken down?

Submitted by harry6116 on Saturday, July 11, 2020

This site has and he is continuing to help me so much. There is one thing I would like to see in the new design.
When USA looking at the games that have been added, I would like to see the option to be able to sort from the latest post to the oldest which I have not been able to do previously.

Hey Jo, no podcasts (or any other content) were removed as part of the switch, so everything that was here beforehand should still be here.

Submitted by Jo Billard on Saturday, July 11, 2020

In reply to by David Goodwin👨‍🦯

When I go to the section on starting with your first iPhone, then set it to podcasts, there aren't any.

Hey Jo, thanks for the heads-up.

The podcasts are still on the site, but they weren't being displayed on that list.

So, I'm taking this as an opportunity to review which podcasts should be included on these lists.

I've updated the iOS/iPadOS list already, and the Mac and Apple Watch lists should follow shortly.

Submitted by Socheat on Saturday, July 11, 2020

Congrats to you guys. And happy birthday, AppleVis!

Although I use Google Chrome as the default browser, I was unable to log in with user name and pass word, but Firefox did not cause any problems. In both browsers, I cleared cash, maximized and refreshed the page. I am thrilled with the new layout. Hard work well done.

Submitted by Blackadder on Saturday, July 11, 2020

First of all thank you for the great site. Apple this has been my number one and probably only site to look for news. It’s a great help and it is indispensable. I like the site a lot especially the reviews for games and apps and how accessible they are. Keep up the good work. Hope the filtering of the ups comes back.

Submitted by Blackadder on Saturday, July 11, 2020

Tried to dump dates but after breaking the mound I could not select it and I could not donate therefore

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Sunday, July 12, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Blackadder

Hey Blackadder, thank you for wanting to further support us by making a donation.

It's not clear from your message exactly how and where there was a problem.

You said:

Tried to dump dates but after breaking the mound I could not select it and I could not donate therefore

The first step on the Club AppleVis page is to use the radio buttons to select whether you wish to make a single or recurring donation.

Next you use the dropdown to select an amount.

You than click or double-tap on the “Donate Now” button, at which point you should be taken to the PayPal website to process the donation.

I've just tested, and everything appears to be working as expected at the moment.

Submitted by Piotr Machacz on Sunday, July 12, 2020

First of all, congratulations on being around so long. I'm not really saying anything new here, but this site is an incredibly amazing resource. Here's to 10 years more!

I initially ran into log-in trouble. I thought deleting cookies sorted those out, though when writing this post and opening a new tab I found that I was once again logged out, but after logging in it now seems to keep me logged in even after browsing around... So not sure what happened there.

I was also going to comment how I can't seem to be able to look at anyone's profiles anymore and just see their name in text, except after logging in this seems to work now so never mind. I also love how replies are indicated now, a very logical system. :)

So the other thing I would personally change is cut down on the use of headings, because IMO there's waaay too many compared to the previous site. The #1 candidate for removal I think is the heading indicating the start of breadcrumbs. There's already an aria landmark there, so if someone wants to find those specifically they can just navigate that way. Other potentially unnecessary headings might include the different menu dividers for the site navigation and user menus. Again, they already have aria landmarks, so what's the point? The first thing I usually do when I go on here to read something is just hit H, or if I'm on the phone, flick with the rotor, which used to take 2, 3 presses at most. Now there's 4 headings counting from the top of the page. Now to be fair they are all different levels, so on a computer or if I have a bluetooth keyboard connected on the phone I can just go next level 1 heading and skip all the menus, but on iOS with just the screen you don't have specific heading level jumps unless you're paired to a keyboard or braille display. I would probably also move the main landmark to start after the breadcrumbs, not before because some screen readers like JAWS or Narrator have a hotkey to jump to the main region which in my experience is usually set on the title of the post, not a navigation section.

And finally here's hoping you can get back the ability to keep the Twitter integration going while also preserving the indication of app accessibility ratings in the tweets. It was incredibly useful and how I mainly interact with Applevis. If I saw a tweet about a new, accessible app I'd jump in and look at it, if I saw a forum thread I could potentially contribute to, again, same thing I would just jump in. I don't remember the last time I was on the Applevis frontpage or a specific directory to monitor for something new, so hopefully you can get this sorted out so I don't need to go out of my way to see if people discovered new, cool apps. Someone earlier suggested ifttt with RSS which is a good idea, if you wanted something you could have more control over ifttt also supports webhooks, so if you can get your CMS to fire one when a new entry is created that could also be a potential solution.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Sunday, July 12, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Piotr Machacz

Hey Piotr, thanks for the feedback and suggestions. The automatic tweets are actually already reinstated. And, yes, using an RSS feed to trigger them.

Going back to what I said earlier I went on the page using my phone this morning and realised that, the problem I mentioned with there being too many headings especially on iOS isn't actually really there because the menus are hidden behind a button so the first heading you actually get is the start of the post. This if anything is a lot faster than it used to be, so never mind what I said earlier for the most part. I'd still probably ditch the heading on the breadcrumbs and move the main region, but this layout is a lot cleaner on mobile and on the computer I just have to remember to go to the first level 1 heading and you can get around it very quickly

Submitted by Kevin Shaw on Monday, July 13, 2020

Hi AppleVis team,

Big fan. Congrats on 10 years and may the site continue to grow and prosper!

Submitted by Pepper Fox on Monday, July 13, 2020

After a bit of adjustment and retraining myself to use some different headings to navigate, I'm quite happy with how things work now. I love love love that we now know which posts users are replying to and that the forum a topic is in is now at the top of the post. Is there any chance that post numbers might come back? Besides that and a few minor issues logging in, it seems pretty good. Nice work!

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Monday, July 13, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Pepper Fox

Hey Pepper Fox, thanks for the kind and encouraging words 😊

I *hope* to be able to reinstate comment numbering at some point in the future. But, being frank, it's proving to be quite a struggle, meaning that it's not likely in the immediate future. It's definitely on the list though.

Submitted by Troy on Sunday, July 19, 2020

Would it be possible to remove the + sign from the add forum topic link? That way when we pull up the links list with jaws we can just press a like we could in the older version.
Thanks

Submitted by Roxann Pollard on Monday, July 20, 2020

Traditionally, when I respond to someone's post, I will copy their subject line and then place that into my new post subject line and include RE: at the beginning of said post. Today, when I was trying to respond, I did these steps, except the RE: was unable to be added. I couldn't even ad any additional letters to the subject, except for the previously copied subject line material.

I don't know if this is a bug but thought I'd post it here.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Monday, July 20, 2020

When I put a comment in any question within applevis, and save it, I tended to go up to leave to home page. I am not able to do so unless I refresh the page and them I have to find the home link. It comes and goes. Probably after I save this comment, I will have problem leaving this.

Submitted by Clare Page on Monday, July 20, 2020

Hi! I want to wish AppleVis a happy 10th birthday: thanks to everyone who has contributed to this site over the years, with podcasts, tips, news, answers to questions, and so much more. Keep up the good work! Talking of good work, I'm pleased to say that I like the new version of the website so far: I admit I haven't done a huge amount of exploration, but I have noticed several good improvements. These include no longer putting "You are here" on each page, indicating whether comments are replies to other comments, and stating the name of the forum higher on the page. I know some of us need to get used to the changes, but I have seen plenty of good ones so far. Long live AppleVis!

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Thank you for all you've done not only in terms of the website but being my number 1 go-to resource for all things Apple. The knowledge on this website has been absolutely invaluable to me since I purchased my first iPod Nano in 2008. I've just bought a Macbook pro and I'm about to ditch sky tV for apple TV too. I do have a possible suggestion but don't know how well if at all it could be implamented. Or, maybe it is and I'm just missing it. Is there a way of ordering search results so that the newest content can be seen at the top? I'd really like to see the most recent forum posts or blog posts on the apple TV product as we are just about to take delivery of one. I have no doubt that the older stuff might be of use to me but it would be really nice to be able to sort stuff by most recent itterations etc.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hey Kerry, thank you for the kind words 😊

Sorting search results by date isn't in my opinion typically a good experience, as placing relevance secondary to date can leave you needing to go through what seems like pages of results before you hit one which is truly relevant to your search.

So, what I have implemented for the site search is the ability to filter results by year of posting. This allows you to select only posts from a specific year, with the results still sorted by their relevance to your search.

I hope you agree that this offers close to what you want, but without sacrificing search relevance.

Submitted by Holger Fiallo on Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Whenever I comment on a question in any topic, I am not able to leave it. When I use control page up and tab to home, nothing happens. I have to refresh to be able to go to the home page. However if I just check the many comments, I am able to go to the home page without any issues. This only happen when I respond to a comment. Help.

Submitted by Khushi on Thursday, August 13, 2020

hello @David Goodwin
I had a question :)
I think earlier the previous version of applevis, I guess there was an option to follow a particular blogger of applevis. I'm not too sure but I remember as if there was.
if there was an option like that, can you please bring it back cause I can't find it now. and if it wasn't there, is there any way something like this can be done? where we can subscribe to a particular blogger on applevis via email and we can receive an email notification whenever that person posts?
:)
thank you for reading my comment :)

have a good day xxx

Not to mention the fact that people come up with the most irrelivant string of words which means you have to read through the actual post to get a feel for what it is about. Drives me nuts.

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Thursday, August 13, 2020

In reply to by David Goodwin👨‍🦯

which explains why 50+% of subject lines mean I waist time looking for stuff in a post. It would be really helpful if this weren't the case as most people start off with hi. bla bla bla which frankly tells me nothing about the post it pertains to.

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Thursday, August 13, 2020

In reply to by David Goodwin👨‍🦯

Hi David. Beautiful. Sending both sets of fans home happy. Well done! :-)

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Thursday, August 13, 2020

Hi. I don't use forums that often but of late, I've had the need to ask a couple of questions regarding my new Apple TV, and it seems that I'm not receiving notifications via email when someone responds. Is this how it's supposed to work? Cheers.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Thursday, August 13, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Khushi

Hi Khushi,

There was the option in the past to follow specific users, but this was removed some time ago as there were only a couple people actively using it.

I will make a note to revisit it. But, being frank, the past level of usage and what it takes to maintain the functionality make it unlikely that it will return.

I know that this won't be the answer that you want, but each function adds something more to monitor and maintain; something to check still works when making other changes; and something more for people to swipe through. If people aren't using the function, then this overhead is simply too great to justify.

Submitted by Kerry Fielding on Thursday, August 13, 2020

Hi all. Again, a little teething problem for me with search, or maybe it's user error. i go to search, type in apple tv, and get all sorts of posts come up, a lot of which have absolutely nothing to do with apple tv whatsoever. Am I using the search incorrectly or is it just throwing anything up with the words apple in it? Thanks.

Hi Kerry,

You need to manually subscribe to any post for which you wish to receive email alerts of new comments.

When creating a new post, there is a checkbox to subscribe. Otherwise, you can click or double tap on the “Subscribe” link located just below the “Options” heading on the post page.

Hi Kerry,

The search currently has a minimum term length of 3 characters, as anything lower typically degrades the indexing performance.

However, I do appreciate that this isn't ideal when “TV” might be something that people on here might reasonably use as a search term. So, I will check to see if I can address this without a hit on search performance.

Submitted by Khushi on Thursday, August 13, 2020

In reply to by David Goodwin👨‍🦯

hi
I certainly get what you are saying. :) thanks for replying :)
hopefully some day there will be more people like myself who'd like to follow certain bloggers from applevis's team of bloggers and then we might see this feature making a comeback, probably in more enhanced way than before.

Submitted by Jeff on Thursday, August 13, 2020

I appreciate that the tweets about newly added comments are back, but they only take one to the top of the article, not the new comment that was added. This is only slightly more useful than not having them at all, but having to go search for the new comment(s) is very frustrating. Can you please bring back the links to the new comment in the tweet? Thanks.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, August 14, 2020

Simply open the thread in a new browser window. I actually do this for most forums I'm on if able so I can just pick up wherein I left off, not just this one. I can't remember what publication taught me that trick but it works well.

If this is a response to my post about ApplevisXL tweets, it doesn't solve the problem. When I follow the link in the tweet, a new browser window does open, but focus is placed at the top of the page, not on the new comment. If there are 40 comments on the page, but only 3 of them are new, that's a lot of comment headings to skip to find the new ones.

The whole point of the ApplevisXL tweets is to direct one to the new comments. If all it does is open a page at the top of the thread, it's not especially useful.

So far, it seems to me that the site was working much better before version 2.0. Don't misunderstand me, I think Applevis is a fabulous resource -- if it wasn't, I wouldn't care so much -- but some of its most useful features got broke in the upgrade and I'm finding it very disappointing.

Hi Jeff,

We appreciate your continued feedback.

The links in AppleVis XL tweets are "anchor links," meaning that they are supposed to route users to a specific place on the page. The issue is that various screen readers, depending on which platform and screen reader is in use, do not handle anchor links particularly well. For example, my understanding is that VoiceOver always took users to the top of the page, even when an anchor link is used and even before the site upgrade.

We realize that the upgrade has been a bit frustrating for some, and there were unfortunately some compromises we had to make along the way. With that said, the reality that prompted this whole process is that the version of the platform we were using to power the site was beyond its useful life, and not every tool/script we used would work with the new system. Please do continue to provide feedback, and we'll make improvements and enhancements where we can.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Friday, August 14, 2020

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Holger Fiallo

Hi Holger,

On Windows, the quickest way to get to the top of the page is to press Control Home. If necessary, refresh the screen. (With JAWS, this is accomplished by pressing Insert Escape.)