November 12th, 2008

No Face

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

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.