- Making it easier for new users to learn what LiveJournal is, and what makes LJ different At a glance, if I were to show the current site scheme to a new user, it would only fill in part of the story of what LiveJournal is all about, or what makes it different. I think there's some important features that differentiate us. (I'm only talking about features here, there's a HUGE difference in the culture and community.) A good example is Userpics. Going to Manage/Userpics tells me that there is something called Userpics and that they can be managed. It doesn't tell users what they are for, or why they are important.
- Making it easier for new users to learn how to use the basic features of LiveJournal It needs to be really obvious how to Post an Entry, Upload a Userpic, View your Friends Page, etc. These options are not readily available in the current site schemes.
Reorganize the Site Scheme so that it can scale to fit new features we're planning on adding We're planning on some new features. We'll discuss those later when we are a bit closer to finishing them. Right now, it's a challenge to figure out where to put those new features in Xcolibur and Dystopia. And because the two options are also organized differently, Designers and Developers have to solve the problem twice. It eats away the time we would rather spend on new features, or fixing bugs. The new Beta Navigation will have a vertical and horizontal orientation, (via CSS) but they will use the same HTML, so we will be maintaining one version, but we get two options.
Now it's your turn Unlike some of the other features that we've hidden behind secret URLs, this one is a serious effort. I really need your feedback. Here's how to test the new Site Scheme...
- Go to the Browse page
- Select Beta Navigation, and click Switch Scheme
- And that's it.
Also, if you've ever invited someone you wanted to join LJ, and they did, and gave up because it was too hard, ask them again. Tell them to turn on Beta Navigation, and to send us feedback. We'd love to hear the differences in reactions from people who are used to LJ versus people who aren't very familiar with how LJ works, because that helps us make a site scheme that works best for everyone.
- Initial plans were to have a vertical navigation bar so that people using Dsytopia will have an option that maintains the left side navigation. We're still planning on making that version.
- We have a problem right now where some of the links in the navigation get covered up if the browser window is 800x600. We know that some of you don't like maximizing the window. We'll be looking into fixing that, but we didn't want that to stop us from getting your feedback about other parts of the design.
- We've already received some feedback about how the Beta Navigation contains "an awful lot of links." We deliberately left in more links that were necessary, because we wanted to wait and figure out particular usage patterns first. It would be really helpful to use the Beta Navigation for a few days, and then send us feedback about what links you use the most.
- After logging in, the pencil in the logo disappears. That will be coming back as soon as the beta period is done.
This is a pretty long post already. We'll follow up with more updates on the Beta Navigation later.
UPDATE: We're receiveing feedback that it's hard to figure out how to turn Beta Nav off. The Browse link is located at the bottom of the page. Click that, and then click on the thumbnail of the Site Scheme you'd rather use. It should take effect immediately. Also, if you're experiencing severe problems with font or layout display and are able to post a screenshot, please do. They are particularly helpful.