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Site Redesign Questions for *You*

This year I’ll be working on yet another incarnation of The Daily Grail, to keep up with changes in back-end software etc. As I plan for this, I thought I’d post some polls and some posts such as this to gather feedback from readers.

To start with, I’d like to ask your thoughts on a preferred format for the front page (ie. the page that displays when you go to Back in the day, we use to have the ‘river of news’ format that remains popular at sites like Slashdot and Boing Boing (and which can still be accessed here via the ‘Grail Blog‘ link at the top of the page). More recently we changed over to presenting a summary page, trying to point out the newer and more important content on the site, so that those stories didn’t get lost in the mix as the daily deluge of news stories got posted. I’ve found there are both positives and negatives to the change: on the plus side, some stories that I think deserve extended coverage now get exactly that by staying on the front page, rather than slipping down as new items are posted. Additionally if I find it difficult to post to TDG for a few days then readers aren’t faced with a long line of ‘News Briefs’ postings and nothing else (for example, see the last 6 days). On the negative side, perhaps now those ‘lesser’ stories that don’t get featured on the front page are disappearing without most readers knowing that they exist.

So anyhow, take the time to register your preference by voting in the new poll, and add any pertinent comments that you think might help us as we go about creating the next version of the site. Certainly seems a better solution than me simply taking a guess at the best presentation.

  1. Expiration date for threads
    One suggestion for the new version of TDG would be to apply a sensible “expiration date” on comment threads.

    Most of the time, when you get to see a new comment re. a post that is 3 or 4 years old, chances are it’s an annoying spam.

    So maybe the threads should be open for about a year or so at the most.

  2. Typical business model, i.e., opium trading.
    Firstly, I agree with RPJ. An expiry for commenting on blogs and stories would be a great idea. As for my recommendations, putting the latest and greatest at the top of the page is important, keep the readers reading, for example, having the 4 month old featured bloggers content on top of the daily news is a poor design, likewise with the featured article. The sidebar is an area I rarely look, there’s no order in it, just some options then a twitter feed then features, categories, then actual stories and news. Actually, the site seems upside down now that I think of it XD And a common user area would be nice(have no idea what I mean by that, could be a million things) By far the black and blue background is most important, specially for night dwellers like myself!

    1. Featured bloggers
      Well, the problem is not the location of the featured blogs per se, it’s just that our featured bloggers don’t seem to be very interested in blogging at the time ;).

  3. Your Choice is Fine with Me

    Periodically freshening up the site, changing the presentation a bit, and so on is fine with me, so long as the site continues to exist and I’m able to figure out how to navigate it.

    Please feel free to experiment!

    I was shocked one day, wondering what the heck you’d done, but with great relief realized I’d accidentally gone to The Daily Gruel.

    Before discovering my error, I temporarily retreated to the website of the nation’s oldest newspaper (I’m in the U.S.), The New Hampshire Gazette. This is a fine site, a place I visit almost as often as The Guardian’s Comment is Free section, but the lack of stranger items so frequent on The Daily Grail can make visiting either of these sites tiresome.

    Please keep the site going and never eliminate it in favor of some restricted app that only works on the latest connected toy, a Facebook page, or anything like that — recent studies show that those who buy these toys die, increasingly, while driving cars or in train or plane wrecks in which the engineers or pilots are glued to the screen on their latest connected toy. Those who don’t die in this way suffer, increasingly, from some mysterious malady that reduces their attention span and causes bipolar-like symptoms for which there is no known cure.

    BTW — I intend to offer my support by sending vast quantities of funds via PayPal just as soon as I become a billionaire.


    Bill I.

  4. On A Purely Personal Note

    Many shades of red, not all, are a little hard on my eyes. So, I would prefer it if the “new”, “updated”, etc. notices that are usually in red were in another color, any other colour except hot pink. Eventhough hot pink isn’t hard on my eyes, I don’t think that hot pink is right for TDG!:)

    P.S. Did sister grail’s school get the new teacher’s room?

  5. Copying Individual Posts That Are Very Long!

    I’ve never copied anything on TDG. But, some posts are very long and I wish that we could selectively copy them. We could then read them later and make notes as to how we wished to reply to them.

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