Feedback on the Website Rebuild

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Could you please make a mobile version of this site? With every edit field having options to be text only, html only etc, it is becoming quite unusable with the iPhone, which already has huge internet browsing issues as you all know. On top of all that, I just tried posting a comment and couldn't do it. I had to get on the PC to do that. All my fields were filled, but no matter how many times I pressed save, (not counting the times VO jumped to a different place onscreen,) the post still did not save.
The old attage about not fixing things that aren't broken comes to mind, as the site was always perfectly usable before, though I'm sure the devs have good reasons for having added all the new bells and whistles. Thoughts?

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Submitted by Michael Hansen on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hello Ken,

Unfortunately, making a mobile version of the AppleVis website is not possible.

There is a lot that goes into running the website behind the scenes. As with all technology, every so often it is necessary to upgrade. In the case of AppleVis, we were encountering a growing number of problems with the older site engine we were using, and it got to the point where an upgrade became increasingly necessary.

Obviously, it was not our intention to make the site more difficult to use. If you could please provide us with specific examples of the difficulties you are experiencing--the more detailed, the better, so we can attempt to reproduce the issues--that would be much appreciated. While creating a mobile version of the website is simply not an option (the site rebuild has been an ongoing project for the last week, to give you an idea of how involved this process has been), if there are usability issues that you or others notice, it would be great to have that feedback for consideration.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Further to what Michael has already said, I think it worthwhile to put things into some perspective by pointing out that an iOS app that provided full synchronization with this website and offered similar functionality would cost a minimum of $10,000, and is realistically likely to be closer to $50,000. It would then cost in the region of $10,000 each year to contract a developer to provide ongoing support and development as necessary.

Considering that we receive no external funding or sponsorship … well, you can see just how far away we are from having an AppleVis app.

These are not figures plucked out of thin air, as we have researched the viability of making this a reality. The figures simply demonstrate the complexity of what would be required.

Hi! I consult this website on my PC rather than on the iPhone, and I have also had the problem that comments don't seem to save, or at least that they take a long time to do so: that was certainly the case with a comment I posted elsewhere on the site yesterday. Here's hoping I won't have to wait ages for this comment to save! If I do, I hope this is simply a teething problem with the new version of the AppleVis website.

Submitted by Jonathan Candler on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hi all. sense we are talking about the site and stuff, I just have one question. are you using this site based on the drupal content management system? The reason I ask this is that I'm a web developer, and I get pretty techy about all of this stuff. pluss, if you are using drupal for this, yes, it's not going to be possable to create a moble version of this site at least for right now.

Submitted by David Goodwin👨‍🦯 on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

In reply to by Jonathan Candler

Jonathan,

Yes, we use Drupal ... albeit quite heavily modified to suit our needs.

Submitted by Siobhan on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hi everyone. Ken i'm sure the fact your comment didn't save you a bit irritated, loading the site on my Mac, posting a comment, even clicking a link to read something, took ages sometimes. as i politely asked, they are still doing a lot of behind the scenes things to improve it. btw, I wasn't saying you're not being polite, not at all. i'm simply saying i asked what was up, and got the answer of we're working on it. sorry members of the editorial team if I migth have put words inyour mouth, trying paraphrase what Michael and I were commenting back and forth last night. Have a good one.

Submitted by John Muoio on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hello Ken,
With out more details I will assune that your haveing the same issues that I've had with makeing a post since joining the site. I'm using an 4S running the latest version of IOS 7.1, The work around is to fill in the comment section first than swipe up to the subject field and fill this out.Than swipe right till you hear save, than double tap save. Yes a pain in the A-- but it works. I think this may have some thing to do with when you go to fill in a field the screen zooms in.
I Hope this will make it onto the fix it list.
T.C.
John

Submitted by Jesse Tregarthen on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Hello, I don't seem to be having any problem posting comments from my iPhone. I've always found the site pretty easy to use. Since the update, I do find it a bit more bulky and there are some things that I am getting used to but the good thing is I can still do what I need and want to do with it. I understand that things need to be changed on occasion and although I am the type of person who believes you shouldn't fix something that is already broken, I don't really know what goes on behind-the-scenes. I just put my trust in the hands of this great team that has helped me so much since I got my new iPhone with finding great new apps and allowing me to ask questions about my phone that all of you great people help me to answer. I wish everybody the best of luck and hope all the bugs are fixed. Thanks guys for the great work you have been doing.
Jesse

Submitted by Ekaj on Wednesday, April 30, 2014

I too, have had few if any issues with this site on my Mac Book Air. I'm talking before the overhaul or whatever you want to call it, and now. As you all can probably tell by that last sentence, I'm not much of a programmer myself. Having said that though, the site has on occasion taken awhile to load in Safari. But I've found that resetting Safari solves the issue for me. Regarding Drupal, I've heard from a few close programmer friends of mine that it is one of the easiest platforms to work with. Some of these friends who told me this use assistive technology, and one doesn't. I can only imagine how much time and money goes into stuff like this, and kudos to the Editorial Team for really putting forth the effort to make this site great. The only functionality I sort of miss is the ability to edit one's own comments. But that's a small price to pay considering the amount of work that has gone into this website. Now if only the website for my volunteer job would get renovated that would be awesome. I probably can't go into too much detail here, but our founder wanted several more features on the website to make it a lot more interactive. However, due to everybody's favorite--the dreaded funding issue--those changes haven't happened. I seriously doubt they ever will at this rate. I know that sounds rather pessimistic, but that's what I've been told over and over again.

Submitted by Jonathan Candler on Thursday, May 1, 2014

Just want to say regarding drupal, that it's one of the easiest content management systems to work with. I have it on one of my sites that I have, but, it's not in my main directory that my site is hosted on. I mainly use it for blog posting and stuff like that, but, all and all, I love it myself! question for all who are behind the seens of applevis. do you all code part of it, or do you use modules and modify some of the coding of drupal's interface.

Submitted by Dave Nason on Thursday, May 1, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

On the whole I'm finding the site is working pretty well at the moment. It does appear that there might be a bit more content towards the top of the page in some places, so it can take a few more key presses to get to the content or button that you want, but nothing major and maybe I'm imagining that :) I have just noticed that comments don't seem to be numbered anymore, which isn't ideal in my opinion. The one thing that is really annoying me though is the new email alerts, which now have that summary section that you have to navigate past before you get to the actual new comments. It's driving me nuts if I'm honest.
Great job overall though, keep up the good work.

Submitted by Siobhan on Thursday, May 1, 2014

dave, As I admitted in a post, the load times were making me crazy and sometimes they still do. Others have been frustrated, in a not so negative connotation, with using this site via Safari. I'm reasonably sure the people behind this site have been a bit driven crazy with things. So as my subject line said, looks like nuts is the norm until the updates, whatever tey need to still complete gets fixed. :) Trying to lighten the mood so it doesn't sound like i'm coming off angry.

Submitted by Dave Nason on Thursday, May 1, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hey Siobhan. Ha, you're absolutely right, and I didn't mean to come off as too annoyed either :) The team do a great job on the site. I've recently started learning web design myself and can only imagine how complex this site is to run. I had to mention being driven nuts by the emails because they look like they might be a new feature rather than a temporary thing, so had been meaning to give them my feedback on it.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Thursday, May 1, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hello Dave,

Due to changes in the newer version of Drupal, numbering comments--and all of the previous comment sorting options--is no longer available.

While we plan to reexamine how website comments are displayed and may make some usability changes down the line, there are a lot of other items on our "to-do" list that need to be accomplished first.

As far as the website sluggishness...we are working to isolate the problem. The unfortunate nature of this type of problem is that determining the exact cause is like trying to find a needle in a haystack.

Submitted by Siobhan on Thursday, May 1, 2014

Hi everyone. dave, I knew you weren't being angry or annoyed, I was making sure others know humor first, anger much later. To the members of the editorial team, I've noticed a few of my own, as well as other posts be fixed. Now in the case of the miatenance word I can't spell, i appreciate that. On other times when I at least didn't realize subject wasn't specific enough, would it be to much to ask for a polite, hey siobhan what's get the picture? In other words, would it be to much trouble to ask us to change the subject before it's done for us? I only am suggesting this because when i've found out my subjects weren't clear enough, I can absolutely assure you, I'd be happy to change them. Just a question to ponder, not trying to sound unhappy. P.s. Half the time my mistakes are for typing to fast and not reading before I send. but mateenance just, can not spell that ... word. :)

Submitted by Dave Nason on Thursday, May 1, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Thanks Michael. Keep up the good work. Cheers Siobhan, was just making sure :)

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Friday, May 2, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi Siobhan,

Thanks for your feedback.

Generally, we change a subject line if we feel it is not very descriptive, notice a spelling mistake, or feel that a different subject line would better represent the discussion taking place in that thread.
If a subject line is changed significantly, we usually e-mail the original poster and point them to the new topic.
I think the biggest reason we don't currently ask that users make subject line revisions is that it is generally simpler if a member of the editorial team makes the change. We also sometimes try to correct the tweets that are sent out, if we can change the subject line before the new topic tweet is retweeted--something that generally needs to be done in the first few minutes a post is live.

Dave, thank you for your kind words. AppleVis would not be what it is today without the support of the VoiceOver user community.

Submitted by Jonathan Candler on Friday, May 2, 2014

Hi... this is only for the applevis editorial team to answer as this has to regard drupal. is it possible that due to the sites sluggishness if maybe, page cashing may be enabled? or disabled? might want to try playing around with that a little bit as this may help some. Like I said, I do have drupal on one of my sites and it seems fine on my end of things. maybe, it's a lot of modules that has to load before page cashing can start processing. this is just my thoughts on this... If you guys want me to help with anything, let me know as I may be able to help with some of this stuff. Thanks.

Submitted by Ken Downey on Friday, May 2, 2014

99% of my frustration with this is a voiceover on iOS. It skips around headings like a child playing hopscotch, and the Internet is almost unusable with this heading jumper bug. It jumps around even when I'm not trying to go by heading, and even if I put my finger correctly on a link it might still jumped to something else! As far as saving comments goes, if the subject line needs to be typed in, that's fine. I wasn't doing that before because it wasn't necessary, but if I need to do that to save the Commack then that's fine. You guys are doing awesome work on the site. The only reason that I brought it up at all was that the site was already rocking very well. From the point of view of the standard user, nothing needed to be done to fix it or change it in anyway. Of course, I'm not a professional web designer, and not aware of what you guys have to put up with. By the way, no real problems with the set up the PC… It's mostly the iPhone.

I understand the need to get the website up and running as soon as possible, but Drupal? It is bloated enough with its code base, not to mention it has errors everywhere. In most cases, it is slower than most CMF platforms. I would use something like YII, Symfony 2, or other MVC type of framework.

The numbers might be true. However, it might be cheaper to retime Drupal to be mobile friendly.

Submitted by Andy B. on Friday, May 2, 2014

In reply to by Jonathan Candler

I would think that telling the world about their update process and practices is a security breech. It appears so far that the UI is stock themes and layout. I have no idea what is on the backend. On the point of Drupal being easy, it can be. It is too bloated, a general mess, and uses too much memory. I am having a hunch that the php limit is almost used. I am guessing around 128M. Was the site tested for load times and workload before it was released?

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Friday, May 2, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Andy,

We appreciate your feedback.

With all due respect, we've done the best with the resources we have available to us.

AppleVis receives no external funding, and our team is made up of volunteers. We have no full-time web development staff, nor is that in our future. Of the six members of our editorial team, only one of them handles the technical aspects of the website development and maintenance. We have no plans to "retheme" Drupal to be "mobile friendly," as we plan to continue focusing on a user experience that is universally usable cross-platform.

As to whether the site was tested before being released...several hours of testing went into the rebuild process before the upgrade was carried out. The main site upgrade took place on Monday 4/21, but refinements were not completed until yesterday--with troubleshooting being ongoing.

Submitted by Siobhan on Friday, May 2, 2014

Hi Michael. If it's my spelling, please fix it, :) I know i have a bad habbit and i turned off auto correct thiking i was relying onit to much, yes I was. :) As for the other reasons you need to change subject lines, I'm totally ok with them, I just wanted it to be known that I'd be happy to fix them if you ever did say hey, try another subject line please? Have a good one.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Friday, May 9, 2014

So far I am enjoying the site, how ever Here is my feedback in list form.

  • I went to recommend an app and I got the please wait 12 seconds before trying again. I have had to do this all 3 times I've recommended apps.
  • Also the top and nav bar before the you are hear section is way too cluttered to me. It needs to be decluttered to only show the main points of the site.
  • Also why put the category in a heading, that makes no sense. You don't want the eye to be attracted to the wrong level 3 heading. Put it where it was before, right after the heading wherein the app name resided.
  • Change secondary menu, or just make it go away. I feel like this is more of a wordpress site not drupple or how ever it's spelled. Why do you need the secondary menu there in the first place? I see it is a footer. Maybe change the title as it has your about, rss, etc etc; or don't make it obvious we are entering a menu. as it is the footer of the page.
  • ON the same note, I don't want the page to look like an outline. It seems too well organized which is making it harder to navigate and use.

All of this is coming from my business class I took so right now I'm pretty focused on what the eye needs to go to including ballence of the page across the screen etc. This is only feedback and what's going on in my mind as I use the site.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Saturday, May 10, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi Marrie,

The "Please wait 12 seconds" message is an antispam measure. It is designed to stop spambots that try to take a bunch of site actions very quickly.

I get this though every time and I'm doing all of these in intervals of hours not seconds.. For example, I only recommended 1 app and got the please wait thing. I'm not sure this will get spammers to not abuse this as I can imagine someone writing a macro script to do exactly what I'm doing, hit the button, wait, hit the button , etc.

It's good to know that it's not broken. I just now got my computer so I thought I'd done something odd. lol!

Take care and happy friday.

Submitted by Michael Hansen on Saturday, May 10, 2014

Member of the AppleVis Editorial Team

Hi Marrie,

What you will need to do is simply wait say 30 seconds between when you click the "I would recommend this app" link to when you confirm the recommendation on the following page. So it really doesn't matter whether you recommend one app per day or three...it is all about waiting at least 12 seconds to confirm the recommendation after clicking the first recommend link.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, May 10, 2014

I can still see a script or keyboars script that will do the automated action that a spammer coud write. I think I read too many books on the subject. lol!

At least I know it's not my fault or I did not brake things. lol

Submitted by Ekaj on Saturday, May 10, 2014

In reply to by Ekaj

Hello. I was going to let you know that I found the "Preview" button and clicked on it. Lol guess I just overlooked that one! But now I'm noticing the return of the "Edit" link. Both are good in my opinion. Keep up the good work. BTW, I haven't yet gotten the "Please wait 12 seconds" message.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Saturday, May 10, 2014

In reply to by Ekaj

So, what you arej saying is you have not gotten the please wait 12 sefconds when recomending apps etc etc? That's the only time I myself get it.

I"m also glad the edit link is back. Yeyayayayayayah! as I tend to post before I look.
Take care.