Feedback wanted: Utility of right column "Recent Discussions"

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Amin Sabet

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I've been tweaking the tabs, Navbar links, etc, mostly with a goal towards eventually producing a mobile-friendly version of the site. If you visit FredMiranda.com or PentaxForums.com from your phone/iPod/tablet, you'll see examples of what I'd like to do with this site.

If I can make the sites user friendly on mobile from a phone, I can stop paying the high monthly cost of our forum app. Those who like using an app would still have the option to use Tapatalk, which is now free and provides the same functionality. More importantly, those who don't want to bother with an app would have a mobile-friendly site to use.

The major obstacle to making the site mobile-friendly is that I use a product called vBadvanced CMPS to put a "Recent Discussions" column on the side of each thread. I personally use that column to find the most recent posts while viewing any given thread, and I'm sure a lot of members use it that way too. However, I'm thinking we could all get used to going without that and instead using the "New Posts" and "Today's Posts" links under the Navbar (replacing the Active tab), which is the way almost every other forum works.

Regardless of whether we keep Recent Discussion in a column of the thread view, it will remain a column on the site Front Page.
 

barbosas

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I use the "Latest Discussions" mainly when I'm just browsing and not looking for anything in particular and click it when I see something I might be interested, so having it just on the front page I think it's enough, at least from my point of view, perhaps others have other use for the feature.

Regarding the mobile app I think the tapatalk app is more then enough, I already use it on other forums with great success.
 

Itchybiscuit

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I'm a lazy browser so I like the list on the RHS of the page.

I can train myself to click a tab to find the same thing if it helps. :2thumbs:
 

nstelemark

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I am going to say a few obvious things, sorry if this comes out as pedantic :smile:

This is all just CSS manipulation. However the site organization on a phone and say an ipad will likely be quite different. If you want small screen specific features the JS functions that are creating feature "x" would have to accommodate that (I really haven't looked carefully but I don't think the forum tools can do this). In other words you are not going to easily reproduce either the functions or speed of a native iPhone/Android app.

That being said I think Tapatalk is quite usable and a mobile version of the site although it would likely be different than the main site it could be just as functional in a different way.

Fundamentally you would need to know what users want in a mobile app. Personally I want (1) PMs (2) threads I participated in and (3) unread. I really don't try to navigate the forum on the phone ever.
 

RevBob

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I really liked the 101 Active discussions with the member ads in a side column. I could scan both at the same time and it was very readable. However, if you can save money by rearranging things then that makes sense. We can adapt.
 

Hyubie

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I'm speaking based on personal experience, but I've rcently uninstalled all mu-43. SC and FujiXSpot apps on my iPad. I can't get the SC app to work, so I just use TapaTalk. It works for what it is, so instead of using three apps, I now simply use TapaTalk.

If the apps are adding sizeable cost, why not just retire them? Users can adapt. :smile:
 

dornblaser

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I regularly use the Recent Discussions column and like it on the right hand side. If I am stopping by the forum briefly I browse down the column and click on the discussions that interest me.
 

Ulfric M Douglas

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I've been tweaking the tabs, Navbar links, etc, mostly with a goal towards eventually producing a mobile-friendly version of the site. If you visit FredMiranda.com or PentaxForums.com from your phone/iPod/tablet, you'll see examples of what I'd like to do with this site. .
Why is every forum suddenly completely ****ing itself up in pursuit of mobile users?
It's seriously like cutting off your leg to fit into a smaller car!
 

gcogger

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I've never used it and can't really see the point, but I guess life would be dull if we were all the same :smile:. I simply look at my subscribed forums - each forum shows threads with new posts, which is what I want to see.
I'm not sure what the problem is with mobile browsing, however? Even on my phone, the site works well for me as-is.
 

WendyK

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I occasionally use it, but wouldn't be annoyed if it disappeared. I have tried both Tapatalk and the app but don't like to read the site that way. The regular site works just fine on my iPad.
 

Fmrvette

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Odd man out - I never notice the column on the right hand side. It's just "screen clutter" to me on my laptop screen. I generally check the Subscribed Threads view first, then Unread Posts, and then (sometimes) go do the Forum view. If dropping the right hand column saves a few shekels that would work for me.

On my Nexus 7 I check out Subscribed and Browse using the app, but Tapatalk would work for me just as easily.

I dunno about usability on a smart phone - I ain't got one :eek:.

What I really need is a button timer - one that says "You've been on line enough, go print some photographs now" :biggrin:.

Regards,

Jim
 

Amin Sabet

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Why is every forum suddenly completely ****ing itself up in pursuit of mobile users?
It's seriously like cutting off your leg to fit into a smaller car!
No, it's nothing like cutting off your leg to fit into a smaller car. A little over two years ago, about 2% of our visits came from mobile devices. Now 35% of our visits come from mobile devices, and the trend is up and to the right with no signs of slowing. There are other layers to it as well, such as looking at the percentage of resources being used by mobile devices (substantial) compared to the revenue being generated by mobile visits (very low).
 

Djarum

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Amin,

When you say mobile, are you talking just phones or phones and tablets? Most tablets render full size sites just fine, especially the larger ones. There isn't a need for special apps. Phones present a different challenge.
 

Amin Sabet

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Jason, I was including phones and tablets, but it's mostly phones. Still, even with tablets, it isn't easy to tap on the various links on this site. It usually takes a bunch of double tapping, pinching, etc. We're used to doing it, but the best mobile sites make these things easier.
 
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