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theljstaff | 17 August 2009 @ 03:11 pm

Theme design contest

Just a note to all of you creative and design folks that lj_turns10 is hosting a theme design contest! See this post for details!
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chasethestars | 7 January 2009 @ 12:22 am

goodbye :(

As you may have heard, there has been a number of layoffs in the San Francisco office, including the entire design team. I just wanted to say goodbye and thank you to everyone who has been a part of this community. I know a lot of times, it seemed like your comments weren't being read or heard, but believe me, they were. I promise you, I read every single comment on any post I made (unless the comment was made months later), and read most of the ones to posts I didn't write. I even enjoyed (ok, maybe that's not the right word) the more vicious comments because it was proof of how much everyone cared about what happens to LJ. And that's something I'm really going to miss.

For a long time, the design team was just me. This year, gregorykennedy and lizlux came on board and a lot of usability improvements were being made. I was really looking forward to 2009; there are so many parts of the site I want to fix up—Memories (managing and deleting memories and keywords) and Manage Custom Filters (duplicating a group and inverting, easily separating out communities from journals, etc.) to name a few—and I really thought I'd have a chance to do it.

I am really sad to be leaving. I have been an LJ user for almost 9 years, and would have been an LJ employee for 3 in March. I don't think there are even words to express how much LiveJournal means to me, but I don't think there needs to be because this community is full of passionate users who know what I mean anyway. I don't know what will happen with lj_design, if it'll be handed off to someone else, or if this is going to be it, but this will be the last post here from me. So thanks again, and goodbye.

<3,
chasethestars

p.s. In the next release, the last updated timestamp on the profile page will be changed to be less exact. The date will remain, but the exact time will be gone. (If this change is reverted before then for any reason, please don't come after me with pitchforks.)

p.p.s. The link to beta the consolidated settings page was accidentally removed from the main site navigation. It'll be back next release (you'll have to re-enable it), but in the meantime, the beta settings page can be accessed at http://www.livejournal.com/manage/settings/index2.bml. Or it might be live by next release!
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chasethestars | 18 December 2008 @ 02:36 pm

Updated Profile Page

We have been working on the profile page since summer (the initiative was first started 2 years ago). It's been a very challenging and enlightening 6 months. After multiple rounds of betas and feedback, we have something we're happy with, and hope you are too. The usability of the page has greatly improved, and the information is easier to take in at a glance. Thank you to everyone who provided feedback on the many iterations of this page. We could not have ended up with the profile page we did without your input.

The most recent changes we have made:
  • Action links are now in a vertical list rather than across the top
  • Section headers changed to match the design on the Customize Journal Style page
  • Reorganized display of information in the top area
  • Moved External Services and Schools below Interests
  • Changed AIM service icon
  • Added an [x] that will remove the yellow feedback notice

There are still several usability improvements that could be made to the profile page, such as the display of friends/communities/feeds. We will continue to work on those ideas in the future, but will be returning most of our efforts to the Consolidated Settings page now, as well as focusing on other things for 2009.

We look forward to hearing what you think. Please also let us know if they are any bugs.

Known Issues:
  • Long schools don't wrap; the whole section folds below
  • If you're seeing a white background on the icons in the action links, try shift+refresh and/or clearing your cache
  • Action links stagger in Internet Explorer when browser text size is set to smaller than the default
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chasethestars | 8 December 2008 @ 03:53 pm

another profile page update

detailbear had a great suggestion of putting Schools and External Services into the Interests section. Both Interests and Schools are ways of browsing LJ for other users, and External Services is another way to connect with users elsewhere on the web. This shortens the Basic Info section, and moves Schools further down the page.

The poll shows a clear preference for Basic Info before Bio. There were comments further explaining some voters' choice that Basic Info only go before Bio if it was just the basic basic info, without schools and stats. This works well with the suggested rearrangement.

Here are the reworked mocks (again, shown as if you're looking at someone else's profile, in which the edit links wouldn't be visible to you):



page width and linksCollapse )


We look forward to hearing your feedback on the new mockups.
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chasethestars | 5 December 2008 @ 01:06 pm

design related changes in R43

Journal Styles
  • Subject lines in system layouts now link to the entry page (on the Recent Entries page, Friends Page, Day View (every page that can display multiple entries). eta: Known issues in A Sturdy Gesture, Nebula, and The Boxer.
  • New journal layout, Minimalism, which has 25 themes:
    • Aquatic Moon
    • Autumn Time
    • Bad Weather
    • Black Pit
    • Claret Mood
    • Crazy Day
    • Crimson Valley
    • Dark Wood
    • Deep Ocean
    • Depth
    • Desert Fire
    • Desert Memories
    • Entries on the Wall
    • Fire Smooth
    • Forest Afar
    • Heavenly Color
    • Notebook
    • November Day
    • Outline
    • Randomness
    • Red Style
    • Stone Age
    • Travel Afar
    • University
    • Valley of Silence


Beta Settings Page
  • Security question on Account tab: changed to "question is set" instead of showing the actual question.
  • If a change is made but not saved, there is a JS alert on any action that would leave the page, instead of only when switching tabs.
  • Site Scheme options now include short descriptions in parenthesis after names: Horizon (site default), Vertigo (vertical navigation), Lynx (light)
  • PIN for mobile posting is hidden on set up page (but not in the instructions)
  • Changed gray description text to be the same color as the rest of the text on the page (black) so it didn't look inactive/disabled.
  • Added text to the top of the page linking to edit profile and journal style.
  • Added "Find by Email" choices to "Privacy" tab.


Profile Page
  • Added commas to numbers in stats on profile page where they were missing.
  • Collapsing and then re-expanding v-gift section no longer introduces huge whitespace.
  • Fixed bug which added an extra </div> if Posting Access list is empty.
  • Borders on images placed into the "Bio" section of the profile will now show up.
  • A post with further profile design changes is forthcoming.
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chasethestars | 26 November 2008 @ 08:20 pm

Bio and Basic Info

There's been a lot of comments for keeping Basic Info before Bio. The main arguments being that you're more likely to look for your friend's contact info than you are to read their bio again, and that sometimes bios are just full of colorbars and other long things you might not care about. The counter-argument is that the bio is what the user wants to say about themselves, so it should go first.

This poll isn't to decide which comes first, it's to help gauge preference. Please keep discussing in the other post, comments are turned off on this one.

This poll is closed.

What's your preference?

I strongly feel that Bio should come before Basic Info.
733(19.4%)
I think that Bio should come before Basic Info.
303(8.0%)
I strongly feel that Basic Info should come before Bio.
1105(29.3%)
I think that Basic Info should come before Bio.
745(19.7%)
I'm fine with either way.
890(23.6%)
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chasethestars | 26 November 2008 @ 11:17 am

profile page update

Communication and Beta

We'd like to clear up any confusion about beta testing: It has always been open to any user to beta test. When something is available for beta, a Beta Features link will appear on the header of the default site scheme, Horizon, and Vertigo, it's vertical counterpart. Features available for beta testing are also announced in news, as well as any major updates made in beta.



To keep up to date on these, if you haven't already done so, you may want to add news to your friends page, or sign up to receive notifications when "LiveJournal.com makes a new announcement".

If you're still using the older site schemes, Dystopia (the purple and orange one) or XColibur (the blue one with your userpic in the top right corner), this is a reminder that they are no longer updated or supported, and haven't been for years. The Beta Features link will not display in these site schemes. You can switch to a current one on the Viewing Options page.

That said, we will also try to make betas more prominent on our side. For future betas, we plan on adding "beta test the new version of this" messaging to the top of each page that will be changed, in addition to the Beta Features link and news announcements.

Change and Opt-Outs

We have explained in previous posts why an opt-out cannot be offered. There are already many use cases that need to be accounted for (logged out, logged in, ads, no ads, viewing your own profile, someone else's profile, communities, feeds, and so on) and all of them would require updating if something were to be changed or added. Having an option to use the old version of the profile page as is, with no updates is also not optimal, as it would also double efforts in Support if someone needed help. New additions would also be missed.

Change is required for LiveJournal to grow and evolve. We cannot keep legacy versions of everything on the site. Major changes are jarring at first, and take time to get used to. In the feedback we have received, many of you have even said you didn't like the profile page at first, but do now after giving it a chance.

Feedback

Just because we are not doing everything exactly as requested, it does not mean we are not listening. Your comments do get read. Keep in mind that the best and most helpful feedback is detailed. If you don't like something, what is it that you don't like about it? How would you prefer it to be done? If something has broken, how has it broken? Details help with investigation.

We'd love to make everyone happy, but everyone uses LiveJournal in a slightly different way, with different preferences. To that end, we're really trying to make the site as usable as possible for as many users as we can.

Proposed Changes

These are some of the changes we are thinking of making, based on your collective feedback. (Click images to enlarge; the view is of looking at someone else's profile)
  • Redesigning the top to fit the ad so Bio can come before Basic Info
  • Moving Last updated time and comments counts from the top to Basic Info, moving name field to the top
  • Changing the headings from the gray rules to blue to match the collapsible sections on the Customize Journal Style page



Let us know what you think, and we'll continue to revise and implement.
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No Face

gregorykennedy | 14 November 2008 @ 03:04 pm

Profile Page Design - Complete List of Feedback

We have put together a new post which details out of all the specific feedback on the new profile we have received in all of our previous posts. We did this to let everyone know that we are listening to you, and that this is what we have heard. The following list is not intended to make any judgments on the items listed. We are not saying that these things can or will be changed; similarly, we are not saying that they cannot or will not be changed. We are publishing it to you so that you can know we've heard you on the individual concerns you have pointed out to us. The items are also not listed according to any ranking. So don't be concerned that the thing you're most concerned about is listed at the bottom, as that does not at all mean we consider that item to be the least important.

Once we are confident that we have gathered all the feedback, and we have discussed it internally, we will come back to this community with a proposal for changes to the new profile.

While we've made every attempt to list as much as possible, please comment if we've missed a major point of concern for you. Thank you!

Concerns have been expressed about:
  • The amount of whitespace in the overall layout. Seen as unbalanced, visually unappealing.
  • The horizontal rules. They break up the page unnecessarily, give a very 'blocky' look to the page.
  • The placement of the Bio section. Not given enough prominence, should be moved higher or other steps taken to remove other info to result in it being higher.
  • The full page width as the page is expanded. It should have some maximum setting to prevent big whitespace and other issues at really large widths.
  • General call for more customization controlled by the user. Ability to drag components around the screen and place where the user prefers. Possibly allow user style sheets to be applied.
  • Text size in top section. Seen as being too small in relation to prominence/placement. Tiny text might be OK if the information were at the bottom, but hard to read when presented as first thing.
  • More ability to hide certain information. Possibly hide stats block as a whole, hide parts of the stats block, 'blur' the last updated field to not be literal date/time stamp (instead, updated in last week, updated two weeks ago, etc). Have last updated reflect viewer's access level. (see opposite viewpoint in next section)
  • To move stats block to the bottom of the page. More similar to old profile, not as prominent. (see opposite viewpoint in next section)
  • Tags and Memories listing in Stats block. Why so prominent. Concern over viewers seeing total of tags, even if they can't view the tags themselves.
  • V-gift section. Too prominent, should be lower on page.
  • Screen readers. Does not work with many, works with a few apparently.
  • Underlining of links in the Friends/Comms/Feeds section. Bring this back -- too hard to read without underlining, can't process the usernames as easily.
  • Feeds section. Should be disappear if no feeds are listed.
  • Basic Info section. Put it lower on the page, or in place of the stats block. No ability to remove it entirely since 'Name' field is always listed, could Name field be added to another section so this is possible. Integrate portions in other locations possibly.
  • Collapse setting. Setting should not stick from page to page. Should affect user's profile page only. (see opposite viewpoint in next section.)
  • Ad placement/type. Different type of ads might lead to other design possibilities opening up. A landscape/wide/horizontal ad would fit the page better than the square blocky ad, improving flow.
  • Heads and sub-headings. They appear redundant in sections like Interests.
  • First 'row' of profile. Looks/behaves oddly with that middle column of data.
  • The text added to the row of buttons. Text is redundant, some buttons should be added/removed. Icons themselves shoudl be self-explanatory, negating need for the text. (see opposite viewpoint in next section)
  • Communities and feeds listing. Should be able to be collapsed 'together', no need to be separate main-level sections.
  • Over 500 total friends/comms/feeds watched. Second page list should allow you to view just friends, just comms or just feeds. Grouping all of them together is too hard to process, can't find what you're looking for, etc.
  • Various font color or other page element color changes suggested. Make heading text darker, non-white background, certain text larger, etc.
  • Schools section. Too prominent.
  • Sub-information in sections. Info in sections should be slightly indented under the main heading. More visually appealing, less blocky.
Items where opposite 'positive' viewpoints expressed:
  • Collapse setting should remain as it is. Very helpful for permanently 'banning' a section you never care about.
  • Stats should stay at the top. Many users use them all the time to judge activity levels before friending or adding to comms.
  • If Stats are moved, that might be OK, but don't remove or alter them at all -- they were there before, no reason to remove or change them now.
  • Various 'edit/modify' links are very helpful, provide direct access more obviously.
  • Text added to buttons is helpful, makes it easier to quickly find what you want.
  • The horizontal rules. Help organize information into separate groups.
  • Underlining of links in the Friends/Comms/Feeds section.  Links in the profile looked neater without the blue underline.
  • Removal of indentation under the friends is more visually appealing on the page as whole.
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No Face

gregorykennedy | 13 November 2008 @ 10:14 am

Profile Page Design - Feedback and Process

I just wanted to update everyone on where we are with the Profile design process. We are still reading and addressing feedback directly in this community. It's slow going as there are lots of suggestions. Thanks to fiddlingfrog all of our replies to specific comments have been collected here:
http://community.livejournal.com/lj_design/17986.html?thread=6021698#t6021698

Once we have gone through everything, looked at all the mock ups, and shared all of this internally. We will bring a proposal back to this community to address your feedback.

Please note: constructive and specific feedback is most appreciated. Comments that are simply rude, mean and belligerent only create noise and make it hard for us to address the real concerns.
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No Face

gregorykennedy | 12 November 2008 @ 10:14 am

Profile Page Design Follow Up

We have been monitoring all of the feedback on the new Profile. After reading through almost everything there are a few points that we would like to call out:

1. The link to LJ Seek has been removed from the new Profile. This link was always there, but the new design gave it more visibility. Due to privacy concerns that were brought up in comments this has been removed from the page. Please note LJ Seek is a 3rd party service not affiliated with LiveJournal. We have no control over their site. Our removal of the link is not a removal of the site itself or its archiving of public entries. You may wish to visit LJ Seek directly to opt out of their indexing. Click here to opt of LJ Seek http://www.ljseek.com/journal.php.

2. The stats at the top are another item that many people have issues with in the new Profile. These stats were always on the Profile but in the old version they were on the second part of the page that was hidden from view. Many people just never noticed them. We are open to feedback on how we should address the stats in the future. Possible options would be to enable visibility controls for this specific statistic or to research ways to have it show only the last update visible to the viewer based on security levels -- what other options can you think of?

3. The 'Last Updated' statistic is one specific example of a statistic that some users felt was now not in sync with the rest of the privacy controls available on LJ. Again this feature was always on the page and now with it being given more prominence we might want to consider a feature to restrict display.

You can also use the 'Minimize my journal's inclusion in search engine results' option here at LiveJournal to help reduce your journal's inclusion in sites such as LJ Seek or Google. This option can be found here. If you are beta testing the new combined settings page, this option is found on the Privacy tab

4. The roll out strategy for new features is another issue that many people brought up. Just to clarify, we did announce all 3 of the beta launches in news and in this community, and the beta test features button has been at the top of the entire site for over a month on horizon and vertigo. However we don't think that is enough and want to improve our ability to communicate upcoming large changes with users. Here are some suggestions:
  • Provide a link at the tops of pages that are being worked on and allow people to preview the changes directly from those pages.
  • A system wide email to all users that a major UI change will be implemented.
  • Road block or interstitial to communicate the UI changes.
5. As for the visual design issues. The biggest challenge for us is the scaling. The profile page has a lot of customization features that allow for a huge variety in the amount of content displayed. For example some people see ads, and some do not, some people have 100's of virtual items displayed, other don't even allow them, some people display up to 10 IM clients, and wide range of schools attended. The profile page also has to work for both personal journals and communities. And HTML in the bios prevents us from moving to a two column design system, like we have on other pages. While it might seem a simple task on the surface the depth of the design challenge we face is very large. With that said we want more ideas, some of the things that people have comped up are a great start and we are seriously considering adopting some of those ideas, such as moving the stats to the bottom of the page.

6. As for screen readers there have been some reports of bugs that prevent people from using screen readers on their profile page. We are paying particularly close attention to this and want to hear specifically about bugs that people have found in this area as we are committed to accessibility for all users.

7. Though we will not be reverting to the old version of the profile page or providing an opt-out of the new profile page for the reasons stated previously, we very much want to keep working with you to continue to update the new profile page to achieve an end result that most users can be happy with. We hope that the removal of the LJ Seek link is a first step in that process, and that we can continue to receive your specific feedback on what changes you would like to see on the profile page. To that end, on our next production push, we will be including a feedback link on the new Profile page to engage with even more users who may not have seen all the places for feedback mentioned in news or lj_design.

Thanks to everyone that provided us with specific feedback. Please keep it coming.


Update 11:35 am PST

[This was posted in the community and is re-posted here for everyone.] We decided to not allow opt-outs on UI design improvements because it makes the design, maintenance and support of LiveJournal very difficult. If there are lots of different version of the site (like there are now). We have to know each version and design for each version. Adding one button to the profile page requires us to design and test for Basic, Plus, Paid, Logged-In, Logged-Out, Journal View, My View and Community View. Plus we need to also design for screen readers, privacy concerns, language issues and older site schemes. If we have two version of one page you multiply all that by 2. Which adds weeks to design and testing.
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