New format

NHBabs(4b-5aNH)February 11, 2013

To sum up my response to this new format: EEEWWWWW!!

I don't like the light blue font (it's more difficult to read), I don't like that the forum page will only load to 7" of content plus 2" of ads on width, and I find the backdrop trite and unappealing.

Are my responses in keeping with others or am I in the minority?

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molie(z6 CT)

Who designed this new format? --- an elementary school student?

Yes, it is more difficult to read with little contrast.
Yes, there is a tremendous of wasted space on the page.

Double EEEWWWWW!!

Molie

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:03PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

If you go to AdBlock Plus, and block all the gardenweb graphics URLs, it reverts to something more usable. The only problem then is a page of junk to scroll past.

I had to turn all the filters off to see what you were talking about. Total EEWWWWW!!

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:05PM
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spedigrees z4VT

Another vote against the new format here, with one exception. I like the user-friendly photo download window, directly below the "post a followup" text.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:30PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

My initial response at 7am this morning was "Oh, no. What did they do?" I thought maybe the browser on my iPad just wasn't loading the page properly. This looks like a 1995 AOL format. Just clicked on GW again and my initial reaction remains unchanged. How unfortunate to change to a less classy design. Hopefully, it is just a trial and they will return to the previous format which, to me, was just perfect. This format looks like a cost reduction and I have AdBlock Plus. Lots of white space on this page. I know GW is free to use and I'm glad to have access to it. We may just have to get use to it, but this layout seems like a few designs steps backwards.

Jane

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 1:40PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

My initial response was one of disappointment, but I readily admit to not liking change, so I always try to give something a chance. That being said, I'm not sure WHY the change...? Not only do I not like change, but I can't stand change for change's sake.

Perhaps it just takes some getting used to, but I find that things don't stand out as well as they used to - titles/headlines, etc. or whatever you would call the titles of the posts/threads.

Plus I used to know exactly where on the list "my" forums were so I could scroll and click immediately. Again, just some readjusting, I suppose

I haven't explored too much, so I'll reserve judgement for now.

Dee
P.S. I do want to add - I remember a lot of comments about not wanting a cluttered look, that many of us liked the basic format of GW, and I think that this was certainly delivered here. So yes, it may be "old" looking, basic, perhaps even rather blah, but it may be that the powers that be took us at our word.... :)

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:17PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I sent an email expressing my feelings, both positive for the ability to edit and to upload photos and negative on this design change.

To do that there's a link at the top of the main NEng forum page titled "An exciting update from GardenWeb!" that links you to a letter form that lets you tell them how you feel. Hopefully if enough folks send a response, they will get rid of this 'update.'

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 2:17PM
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diggingthedirt

I like it! Less cluttered and a clear font - ariel, I think. You can also use your preferences in Firefox and most other browsers to control font types and colors. - doesn't always work perfectly, but if you're having trouble reading the page it would probably be an improvement for you.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 4:21PM
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pixie_lou

Hmmmm - I have only been looking on my iPhone today - I only pull out my laptop to post photos. And the only difference I see is the font.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 8:04PM
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spedigrees z4VT

The page used to have a nice, restful, old fashioned look to it. Now the one remaining icon from that era, ie the vintage painting of a clump of flowers at upper right, looks lost on the page. If they filled the banner atop the page with photos or vintage images of flowers so that it was filled with color, I think I would feel less adrift in a sea of white.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2013 at 9:03PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I find the new format really a step backwards. It looks like one of those 'generic' websites that let's you host your own blog, where everyone has the same page design but is allowed to choose the font and the background color. It very much looks like a cost cutting measure. I sincerely believe that no one at GardenWeb was paid to design this site, that they chose a generic background on a less expensive hosting site and it took them all of 15 minutes.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:00AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I posted before reading everyone else's posts....I find it funny Jane, that my comment was so similar to yours. I also note that white background is always difficult for me to use. It glares and tires the eyes.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 10:06AM
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bill_ri_z6b(Zone 6B)

I don't care for the new format, however I do like being able to edit after posting. I like the idea of being able to post a photo, but when I tried it yesterday it just sat there and I had to close my browser. Also, I don't know if one can upload more than one photo per posting.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 11:05AM
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diggingthedirt

Oh, I hadn't noticed the new edit feature - that IS an improvement. This format may be more adaptable to mobile devices - I do a lot of web work, and iphones etc have really changed the way pages are put together.

I think GW put a fair amount of effort into modernizing the site, and what I appreciate is that they weren't just trying to make it pretty, they were adding functionality and making it more versatile WRT mobile devices. Change is hard, but it isn't evil, really - it's almost a necessity on the web.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 12:16PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

I thought both the edit feature and the photo upload have been in place for awhile now...? I thought it was just the new format that debuted yesterday.

Dee

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 1:46PM
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spedigrees z4VT

-----"I thought both the edit feature and the photo upload have been in place for awhile now...? I thought it was just the new format that debuted yesterday."----

The edit feature was added a little while ago (and is a much needed improvement).

The photo upload was added a while ago too, but it seemed complicated. Garden Web just added a neat little user-friendly window (directly below "post a followup" at bottom of messages on the page) which makes uploading a photo much easier. This improvement went into effect at the same time as the yucky new "white" format.

It occurs to me that the beige bar at the very bottom of this page, if copied to the banner at top of this page replacing the expanse of white up there, would do a lot to restore the organic nature of this site and ground the ocean of white, while still maintaining the simplicity that appeals to some users. (It might be necessary to change the color of wording "web" and "the internet's largest home and garden community" to yellow to get them to show against the beige background, but it would be much more pleasant to view.)

This post was edited by spedigrees on Tue, Feb 12, 13 at 14:59

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 2:38PM
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molie(z6 CT)

Many previous posters said what I thought about the new format, but I'll give some specifics. (Thanks, nhbabs, for the tip on how to respond to the folks at GW, which I did.)

There is waaay too much white, empty space surrounding the text. My guess is that this is blank space GW would like to fill up with ads. What this sea of white does is to make the text --- our writing --- less prominent on the page. I know that advertisement drives websites, but these changes make GW look sad and lonely, like it's waiting for more business. The ads are getting really annoying! Today I started looking for other garden sites. :( Any suggestions?

The new backdrop (header, footer, color choice) is "icky" and unappealing. Yes, I agree that these changes do make the site looks cheap. The pale blue and pale green were poor choices; the design at the top looks trite and dated.

I wonder how this will fly on other forums? I often visit the Landscape Design and Orchids forum--- I'll have to check how these changes are viewed there.

Molie

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 2:47PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

I can certainly concede that the edit feature and the ability to post photos more readily are improvements. Not working in the computer field, I would really have no idea how much time or effort was necessary to make those two changes. My response is only to the new format of the web pages.

I did not consider that a new design might have been prompted by a need to use with mobile devices. Although everyone in my family does use them, I personally do not use a cell phone or other device. Since the screens are so small, I can see a need for a less busy design. Still, there is a LOT of white background, that is bright white, as you scroll down the thread reading text, which will continue to make it uncomfortable for me to use, even after I've gotten used to the appearance of the pages.

But we are only talking about 3 changes, correct? The design of the pages and the edit and photo functions. I'm unaware of any other improvements. The one that was the biggest stumbling block to me, when I used this site much more than I do now, was not being able to pull up a search on any subject, that presented the results in chronological order. I have literally stopped using the search function at all, because of that.

And while I agree with you, DtD, change itself is not evil, change that brings about positive change that solves problems is always welcome.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 3:54PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Hmm, I'm not seeing white space across the top of the page. I'm seeing, at the very top, blue sky, with some white clouds. Across the clouds is a small banner ad, no more than an inch high, and then directly iimmediately below that, the GW logo and the green field background.

There are also a few ads down the side of the page, about halfway down, and then white space.

My eyes have always been sensitive to brightness, so the contrast on my monitor is routinely set at about 53, with brightness a touch higher; I'm not seeing any difference between the "new" white and the "old" white.

I'm also not seeing any difference with the picture upload; although, admittedly, not having used it much, I might recall that you had to write a post first and preview it, THEN upload the photo, whereas now you can upload and write at the same time; is that correct? The procedure for uploading though, seems to be the same; it's just that they took out one step to get to that point, if I am seeing it correctly.

I've got to say, while my initial reaction was one of "ooh!" (and not in a really good way, lol), I've already gotten used to the new format. It's not the most visually exciting, but it doesn't irritate or annoy me.

Like I said, we all said we liked the simple, uncluttered format, so....

Like PM2, I don't use cellphones or tablets, etc., to view the internet, and didn't think that perhaps a change was necessary to facilitate better viewing for them.

I'm actually beginning to wonder if we are all seeing the same thing, considering the different browsers and ad blocking software we all use... I'm going to try to paste a screen shot here - hope it works. I'd love to see what everyone else is seeing too.

Dee

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 5:20PM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

This is what I am seeing, those the font is usually larger. I shrunk it to get the beginning of the post.

I know I'm not seeing what everybody else is seeing because I just found that too weird to look at.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 5:45PM
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diggerdee zone 6 CT

Wow, that is indeed very different from what I'm seeing! Now I see what everyone means about white space!

MG, do you have any kind of ad blockers or filters in place? If so, could that be contributing to your empty view? I'm pretty computer illiterate, so I don't know....

Dee

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 6:16PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

This is what I see on my 20" PC screen (tulips are Firefox background) using Firefox with AdBlock Plus. Some people on the computer forum think this new GW format is wonderful. On my iPod Touch (same display as iPhone) the new font, which is Arial, I assume, is a tad clearer than Times New Roman, but no biggie for me. I think this display is less classy than the former format, but I'm at the 'whatever' stage. If I can still get free info and see and learn about plants, trees and birds, I remain grateful to those who provide the service... and glad for AdBlock. If I had what Mad is seeing, I'd be looking for better answers.

This post was edited by corunum on Tue, Feb 12, 13 at 20:08

    Bookmark   February 12, 2013 at 7:55PM
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spedigrees z4VT

Jane, if I had your firefox tulips at the top of my page, I'd be happier with the new design. There certainly is a wide variation in how the GW pages display on each of our computer screens and mobile devices.

The top screenshot is how the Garden Webpage looks on my computer, and the image below it is an improvement that I could envision. Just adding a simple banner of an "earthy" color would anchor down the top of the page, so to speak.

I'm not sure if my idea would appeal to anyone else or correct the situation for them. I checked some of the other GW forums that I frequent, perennials, junk art, and pets, and there is not a single comment about the new format on any of these boards. Perhaps we New Englanders are either more discerning or more prone to complain, and maybe we'll all just have to live with it.

I have only a basic cell phone for travel emergencies and don't use it for web viewing, but I can see that for mobile devices a simpler web design may be more practical.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 1:07AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Here is what my screen looks like on a Mac. I also took a shot of the first scroll down to display what I mean by a LOT of white.....

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:09AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Second shot ....WHITE!! (g)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:11AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Yes, that is what my screen looked like before I fixed it. The 'box', and the idea that everything was centered in a silly way really bothered me.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 7:51AM
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molie(z6 CT)

Thanks, PM2!

I never thought about it before your post, but your second screen shot is just what I see on my Mac --- too much white.

MadG, you said, "If you go to AdBlock Plus, and block all the gardenweb graphics URLs, it reverts to something more usable. The only problem then is a page of junk to scroll past." AdBlock is new to me. Do you selectively "clean up" various sites when you use AdBlock? Any tips would be very helpful.

Molie

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:25AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Molie, I have a Mac with AdBlock. If you go to the menu bar and click on 'Safari' the 2nd menu item is called 'Safari extensions', where you select the AdBlock and click on Install and it does the rest. I've never had to do anything to each individual site.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:44AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Oh, and this is interesting. Suddenly, I now have a light green border around the box of text???

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:47AM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

And it goes all the way down to the bottom of the page....

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:48AM
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molie(z6 CT)

Wow, PM2, that last screen shot is much better -- and so easy. Thanks, I'll do that right now!

Molie

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:54AM
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mad_gallica(zone 5 - eastern New York)

Molie, AdBlock is (obviously) designed to block ads. How it works is by simply ignoring anything it has been told to ignore that comes from a different URL. If you have it loaded, you can click on the logo and get a list of blockable items. Then what you get rid of is up to you.

GardenWeb has a habit of periodically asking for corrupted URLs. So the browser sits there trying to find a URL that doesn't exist. That's how I started getting rid of the graphics. I've also had slow connections, and old computers in the past that don't necessarily work well with the 'latest and greatest'. With a page like GardenWeb, where the point is mostly straight text, there isn't much reason to put up with bells and whistles that slow things down.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 10:29AM
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kpaquette

While I'm not a fan of all the white (I also have a mac and run safari with adblock - I have the same looking screen as Prairemoon) I do like it a little better. While it's still not fancy, I thought the old site and font very basic, almost elementary. And the new features like editing and easier photo posting are long overdue.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 12:53PM
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jenniferg76(6a MA)

Except for the header of the top of the page, I don't see how there's any more white on the page now than there was before - if anything, there's less. I think it's funny how people are calling the new design dated - to me it looks much more fresh. The old design was what was horribly dated looking. I like the new fixed width for text - there are studies that show that it's easier to read shorter lines of text. The only issue seems to be with very wide pictures (which I've noticed in the home design forum particularly), but I'm guessing that only shows up on posts made before the change.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 1:16PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

I am so pleased that things have been tweeked to make pages more functional. The light blue text has been darkened enough to be readable and the photos (except for some of Claire's tinypic contributions) are showing up unwarped and a reasonable size, so I can tolerate/ignore the obnoxious background which slows up the page loading and the overall narrow width. It still bugs me a bit that of the 9" page GW now allows me, 3" are set aside for ads. Seems a mighty high ratio.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 9:44PM
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