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WHY DID YOU CHANGE?!? Answered

Why did you change what was good? This new site is awful!

I see pics with no idea of what I'm looking at because the titles and brief descriptions are gone. I can't even hover and get a mouse over text.

BTW - the pages don't format right in my OS / Browser combo - couldn't you have tested this first?

This was a great site that needed no tweaking.

Sad, so very sad....

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ewilhelm (author)2011-05-08

Hi johnclifford77,

Thanks for the note, and I'm glad you think the site was great before. What OS and browser are you using? We tested in the most commonly used browsers, but apparently missed your combination (make sure you've done a hard refresh; some browsers have been aggressively caching parts of the site, breaking the layout until the cache is cleared).

To directly address the thought that the site didn't need any changes (and indirectly address some of the concerns raised in the comments), I think it did need some tweaks, and here are some specific details why. I wanted to increase the number of Instructables on the homepage so that when a project was featured it would have a longer period in the spotlight (on a busy day, a featured Instructable might spend 10 minutes on the homepage). I also wanted to integrate our new blog onto the homepage. Additionally, we lost a few major advertising campaigns because the site -- and the homepage in particular -- had too much orange; the advertisers thought it clashed with the look of their ads. Finally, some of the advertisers wanted greater separation between the 728x90 and 300x250 ad units. All of these changes taken together required a different layout of the Instructables on the homepage.

Frankly, the smaller images and hover-over text isn't my favorite, but we had a limited amount of width to work with. If this doesn't work, we'll try something else. I like to run experiments and make decisions based on the data. In this case, I'll judge the success or failure of the new homepage based on a few things including increasing the rate that visitors (new and old measured separately!) navigate from the homepage to Instructables shown there or to our blog posts; and increasing the number of advertising campaigns wanting the homepage. For the visitor navigation, I typically gather a week's worth of data. The advertiser feedback unfortunately comes a bit more slowly.

Running experiments requires having a defined measure of success and sometimes getting things wrong. I'm ok getting things wrong provided we always learn something new. For the new homepage's measure of success, if the click-through rate is the same as before, and we don't see an increase in advertising campaigns, I'll use an aesthetic measure; and for that, I've heard your feedback loud and clear.

To conclude quantitatively, the homepage represents 2.6% of our total traffic (a number that's been steadily climbing throughout our various homepage design changes). Since it only represents a small fraction of our total traffic, I tend to be a bit more cavalier with changes to the homepage than you might guess.

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randofo (author)2011-05-07

I have deleted three threads because all were almost entirely in violation of The Be Nice Policy and there was little about them worth saving.

Constructive criticism is welcomed, but it is completely unacceptable to make ad hominem remarks about anyone on this site, including Instructables staff and interns. No one is above The Be Nice Policy, no matter how entitled they feel.

At this point, it is unlikely anyone responsible for the changes will thoughtfully respond in this thread as the level of dialogue has veered away from civility.

Anyone interested in having a civil exchange about these design changes can contact us directly by emailing service@instructables.com.

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mikeandre (author)2011-06-05

OK, as of today, June 5, 2011, I like your corrections to the home page from the hover/changing type page that you briefly tried. Looks and navigates nicely now. Thanks.

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gmoon (author)2011-05-06

Where is caitlinsdad with that "Don't go Changin'" vidclip?

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ElvenChild (author)caitlinsdad2011-05-11

I am flabbergasted at your ability of course I also thought that you looked a bit more human in real life

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Kiteman (author)ElvenChild2011-05-14

I just realised you were talking about me...

The real me has a bit more hair...

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craftyv (author)caitlinsdad2011-05-06

I am humbled by your multiple talents. Perfect and says it all.

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kwaldron (author)2011-05-10

Another vote against the new layout. I have Instructables load as part of Morning Coffee so I can see the new stuff on the front page.
Sure, occasionally I get to a specific instructable directly from some other site, but how did that site find it in the first place? From the front page.
The thumbnails are way too small to determine what they are about. They all look like some kind of abstract art.
And just when I see something that might be interesting it slides off the window. Grrr.
In my opinion you've tried to jam too much into too little area. Any designer will tell you this is a major no no. Whitespace is important, and things need to be recognizable and readable.
The fact that so few visits are to your homepage is a tribute to the search engines and your SEO.
I however, like some others, like to see things I might have not otherwise thought of. Thus the need for the home page.
My recommendation is remove the advertising from the home page so you have enough space for the real content. At that point you don't know the viewers interests and can't target your ads to them. I assume someone isn't dumb enough to pay more for a home ad anyway since it: a) isn't targeted, and b) only gets to 2.6% of viewers.

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JamesRPatrick (author)lemonie2011-05-13

Awesome. Switching my bookmark from instructables.com to this.
On a side note, YouTube also got rid of its browsing capabilities.

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kangooooooo (author)lemonie2011-05-10

Thanks for the back-door link lemonie. This is perfect to me.

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Mandrew (author)2011-05-12

I'm quite surprised at the redesign, as it seems less usable.

On my Ipad, I don't get the mouse roll-over, and on both the Ipad and my PC the images are too small to really make out the content of the ibles.

I'm also quite surprised at the hostility of users, constructive feedback is fine, but some people are being downright mean. Cut it with the ad hominems.

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canida (author)Mandrew2011-05-12

The iPad/mobile bug is a biggie - not being able to see titles is a serious problem that will be fixed ASAP. We're still gathering data on how people use the new small-picture layout, and will make some more changes soon based on the results. More useful = better.

Thanks for adding your constructive feedback!

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2tautges (author)2011-05-11

this new site is awful. it's a step backward. i hate it and won't continue to buy a pro membership.

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Kiteman (author)2011-05-06

Every time A is changed to B, people complain about how much better it was as A.

Later, when B is updated to C, people complain that the site was far better with B.

In a medium as fluid and changeable as the internet, it's odd how many people see change as a bad thing.

OK, so changes can be unsettling for a while, but what has never changed is the content and the community.

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Lithium Rain (author)Kiteman2011-05-06

That sometimes complaints are made regardless of what changes you make does not negate the possibility of valid criticism.

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Kiteman (author)Lithium Rain2011-05-06

True, of course, but can you recall any past changes that have actually made the site less usable?

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Lithium Rain (author)Kiteman2011-05-06

* The frontpage change which strips projects of their titles and reduces previews to thumbnails, making it a pain to navigate and decide which content I am interested in

* Changing the "featured" markers to where I really never know whether something is featured or not (unless it's on the front page of course)

* The update that broke line breaks in PMs

* The update the broke images

* The update that started eating random ibles' text

* The updates which periodically break and fix the ratings box

* The updates which periodically break PDFs

* The update that made it impossible to post more than one comment on any page without refreshing

* The update that removes the "Reply" button, making it impossible to reply to certain comments on random pages (likethese)

* The (ancient, still unfixed) update that made it impossible to truly read all of the comments on any instructable or forum topic which has multiple pages of comments

So, yes, some of them may be a matter of taste, but some are definitely not. (Also, there's nothing inconsistent in the behavior you describe - the poster said it best who said the design has gone from wonderful to not so good to eye-stabbingly bad)

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user

Well put.

The early 2010 front page when I joined was the best. Two columns, one for featured and one for popular. You could actually read what the project was about without having to do anything!

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I liked that front page. :(

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caitlinsdad (author)CameronSS2011-05-06

You linked back to broken pages...slow. Your link no linky here.

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CameronSS (author)caitlinsdad2011-05-06

Weird, I set it as a link through the rich editor, and it displays as a link with no destination. Something else that's broken... Copy/paste still works, I guess that's good.

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Lithium Rain (author)CameronSS2011-05-07

I literally started laughing so hard I cried.

This is absurd.

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Hey guys, I saw all the fuss and put together a little mockup of a concept home page. Tell me what you think.

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Kiteman (author)Lithium Rain2011-05-06

I meant deliberate changes, not bugs.

The first on your list, we'll wait and see.

Personally, I never actually use the front page*, and the vast majority of visitors go directly to a specific project (thanks to a search engine), and then browse the tabs at the top of every page.



(*I start at my comments page, then all forums, then recent projects, then questions, all via my customised shortcuts.)


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steveastrouk (author)Kiteman2011-05-07

That's better is it ?

You'll note this thread has been deleted from the index.

Another bug ?

Steve

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Kiteman (author)steveastrouk2011-05-08

Deliberate act - see Randy's top-comment.

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steveastrouk (author)Kiteman2011-05-08

You'll note that the "un-civil" comments that get Randofo's panties in a bunch are actually addressed at MY intern - Ideanator. He has the strange idea that we knew he had a new intern.

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Kiteman (author)steveastrouk2011-05-08

So, you missed the threads?

https://www.instructables.com/community/So-Excited/

https://www.instructables.com/community/Ch-1-In-which-SHIFT-comes-to-Instructables-and-i/

I clearly missed a lot of stuff yesterday, a lot of it now missing.

I doubt there's much point in hanging around this thread.

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steveastrouk (author)Kiteman2011-05-08

Yes. Since I don't know user "SHIFT" I ignored the thread. So he/she is a new intern ? Tis the season obviously - since Idea's just started with us.

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Kiteman (author)steveastrouk2011-05-08

Is he an intern, or an employee?

(And has anybody started a book as to how long it will take him to set the laser cutter on fire?)

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steveastrouk (author)Kiteman2011-05-08

Purely interning, he has, by law, to drift from job to job as the fancy takes him....which is perhaps as well....

he's been un-setting fire to the laser - Jaye did that, and we're stil repairing it - hence the the Zinc Selenide lens cleaning thread.....

The X axis carriage got melted, as well as the drive belt.

New safety circuits are ALSO beingplanned.....

Steve

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Nostalgic Guy (author)Kiteman2011-05-08

How about a sweepstake?
The winner could get the charred remains to make something else out of.

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freakyqwerty (author)Kiteman2011-05-07

-The moving of contests off the home page.

-The pictures on the home becoming thumbnails.

-The lack of descriptions of thumbnails on the home page.

-The thumbnails changing on the home screen

Well... most of the above I don't mind but I don't like the first one nor the fact that instuctables has become less orange.

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-PRO users

-Lack of bug fixes

-The removal of whole sections of comments

-The hiding/deleting of this thread and similar other ones

-The continuing disappearance of orange

-Facebook login

-Use of the "be nice" policy as a reason for censoring comments that were in no conceivable violation of it

-etc., etc.

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NachoMahma (author)Lithium Rain2011-05-06

. ROFLMAO. Be careful what you ask for, young man ... you may just get it.

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annahowardshaw (author)Kiteman2011-05-09

Shot of three of the same project attached

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Kiteman (author)annahowardshaw2011-05-10

I've passed that issue on.

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annahowardshaw (author)Kiteman2011-05-09

The image rotation results in the same Instructable being displayed in two boxes at the same time occasionally. I just can from the homepage which was displaying two windows of the little egg dude and in another category, two windows of the key recorder. Can there be a check so that doesn't happen?

Also, not having the titles makes it less obvious what the thing is. No titles, plus flipping images makes it very difficult to search for something that flipped by.

Personally, I'd be fine with fewer featured projects that had slightly larger images and some associated information. But i do not know if that would be a popular idea.

Thanks!

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steveastrouk (author)Kiteman2011-05-07

And in that argument, clearly A is better than B is better than C. Change <> improvement.

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Kiteman (author)steveastrouk2011-05-08

Poor phrasing on my part, then.

I wasn't trying to say change = improvement, just that change = unsettling for a while.


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