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Feedback wanted: Utility of right column "Recent Discussions"

Discussion in 'Help and Feedback' started by Amin Sabet, May 27, 2014.

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  1. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    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.
  2. barbosas

    barbosas Mu-43 Veteran

    May 7, 2013
    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.
  3. Itchybiscuit

    Itchybiscuit Photon Mangler

    Dec 10, 2013
    Glasgow, Scotland
    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:
  4. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    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.
  5. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    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.
  6. Hyubie

    Hyubie Unique like everyone else

    Oct 15, 2010
    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:
  7. hazwing

    hazwing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 25, 2012
    I like and regularly use the columns on the right
  8. Lordjim

    Lordjim New to Mu-43

    Feb 28, 2014
    Like it and us it regularly

    Sent from my iPad using Mu-43
  9. dornblaser

    dornblaser Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 13, 2012
    David Dornblaser
    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.
  10. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 4, 2010
    Ditto - I usually look at Subscribed threads first and Recent Discussions next before going to the home page.
  11. Ulfric M Douglas

    Ulfric M Douglas Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Mar 6, 2010
    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!
    • Like Like x 1
  12. I view a lot using my iPad, and never using my iPhone. I like and use Recent Discussions. I also hate the last few versions of TapaTalk, and almost never use it.
  13. DoofClenas

    DoofClenas Who needs a Mirror! Subscribing Member

    Nov 9, 2012
    Traverse City, MI
    I just use new post's/today's post, or I go direct to the buy sell forum.
  14. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA
    I use it all the time, even with my Android Tablet.

    I'd use the drop down but the drop down(not there anymore) didn't seem to work well with android based browsers.
  15. gcogger

    gcogger Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    May 25, 2010
    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.
  16. WendyK

    WendyK Super Moderator

    Feb 28, 2014
    Northern Virginia
    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.
  17. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    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:.


    • Like Like x 1
  18. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    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).
  19. Djarum

    Djarum Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Dec 15, 2009
    Huntsville, AL, USA

    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.
  20. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Apr 10, 2009
    Boston, MA (USA)
    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.
    • Like Like x 1
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