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Site Overhaul

Discussion in the Administrative forum
Site Overhaul
The long anticipated site overhaul is now complete. I know, not everything I wanted to do has been included (like the wiki!). Maintainability (my concern more than yours) has been a major goal in this revision. It's passed all of my local tests on the development server at home, now it's time to test in the wild. My tests have shown that the new site is snappier (renders faster) than before, I hope that carries on in the deployment.

Most of the changes I've made have been based on published web standards, and I've avoided those things that are noted to not work in IE (the world's worst standards conformant browser). So if you ever decreasing IE users come across anything, please try to describe the problem as best as you can below. It would be especially helpful if you compare how it looks in FireFox when filing a bug report. (Note: FireFox users will have some non-standard extras that I just couldn't resist but don't break other browsers.)

One major change that you will notice is the team abbreviations. Since 1995 I've been using team acronyms like "CD" for "Chunichi Dragons" or "YBS" for "Yokohama BayStars." All team abbreviations have been updated to 3 characters that should allow the team names to just roll off the tongue, such as CHU and YOK. In order to avoid conflicts, HAN is for Hanshin and HNK is for Hankyu - so the "roll off the tongue" goal doesn't work for all teams. Furthermore, some team abbreviations are reused through history for different franchises - so long as they don't conflict with other teams in the same year. If you're interested in the technical aspects of this for using the database, please feel free to contact me off list.

Anyway, I hope to continue to reform this site in the coming months with more features. While I'm not asking for feature requests right now, I would like to know if you're experiencing any problems below.

Yoi otoshi wo.

Michael Westbay
System Administrator
JapaneseBaseball.com
Comments
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: Deanna | Posted: Dec 28, 2007 6:39 PM | NIP Fan ]

Dude! It's, uh, very pink.

Is there still a link to the box score archive somewhere up front? I didn't see one offhand.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Dec 28, 2007 7:58 PM | YBS Fan ]

You seem to be right, there is a bit of pink. I was using the xwiki CSS. I you would like an alternative, you can hit "View"+"Page Style"+[green|red|orange] from FireFox's menu. (Other browsers should support alternative CSS themes.) But I fear that these three are also rather pastel-ish, so they may not work for you either. I'll work on a stronger set of colors.

Ouch, I just noticed that the tabs don't change with the color theme. That's a bug.

Finally, I've added a link to the box scores from the top page. I'll need to think up something else for in-season.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Dec 28, 2007 9:28 PM | YBS Fan ]

Pink is now red. And the pastel green and orange are darker shades. Better?
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: TimMac | Posted: Dec 30, 2007 4:56 AM ]

Hi Michael, like a lot of what I see, but find it very difficult reading the headers for the stats. The red and black just don't seem to jive real well.

Hope this helps,

Tim.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Dec 30, 2007 10:03 AM | YBS Fan ]

I couldn't agree with you more. Updated to white on red for headers.

Thank you.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: Guest: A.S. | Posted: Dec 30, 2007 7:56 PM ]

Looks great Westbay-san. Nice work!
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: Guest: Gern | Posted: Dec 31, 2007 2:27 PM ]

The small font size makes it a little difficult to read for those of us in the aging Japanese society.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: mijow | Posted: Jan 1, 2008 1:20 AM | HT Fan ]

Yes, the small font size is a problem. I'm looking at it in Firefox on a Mac and it's extremely difficult to read.

Also, plain red on white throughout the site is a little monotonous. In the old design you had some gray here and there. Any chance of some other colors, or shading to break it up a bit?
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jan 1, 2008 9:25 AM | YBS Fan ]

With regard to font size, is it the forum posts that are too small? I can increase that. Also the forum explanation table does seem to be smaller than I remember making it originally.

The only thing that I don't really want to increase in size is the stats tables. They require scrolling to the right as it is, and I really like to be able to see most of them at a glance (without maximizing the size of my browser). Would that be acceptable?

In the mean time, Mac users on FireFox, try hitting [Apple]+'+' (JIS keyboards require the [Shift] key as well). [Apple]+'-' will shrink the default font size. Linux and Windows users, substitute [Ctrl] for [Apple].

I'll see what I can do.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: mijow | Posted: Jan 1, 2008 3:06 PM | HT Fan ]

- With regard to font size, is it the forum posts that are too small? I can increase that. Also the forum explanation table does seem to be smaller than I remember making it originally.

Yes, the forum posts are too small, and the forum descriptions (on that forum explanation page) are even smaller.

- The only thing that I don't really want to increase in size is the stats tables. They require scrolling to the right as it is, and I really like to be able to see most of them at a glance (without maximizing the size of my browser). Would that be acceptable?

The stats tables are fine as they are. When you're looking at stats the size doesn't really matter - a totally different situation to trying to read forum comments.

- In the mean time, Mac users on FireFox, try ...

Ah, but I don't want to change my default settings for one website! That means the sizes for every other website I visit will be too large!
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: Guest | Posted: Jan 1, 2008 4:06 PM ]

Looks nice. Much improved in my opinion.

Ake ome y'all.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: Guest: Gern | Posted: Jan 1, 2008 10:54 PM ]

Anything below 12 point font is hard on the eyes. With all the small fonts, you are jamming too much into the screen shot. The logo and titles should be much larger as well. I don't mind having to scroll - I do mind having my eyes unnecessarily challenged...

There is a lot of invaluable info on this site - its presentation should be as user-friendly for a wide audience as well.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: torakichi | Posted: Jan 1, 2008 11:06 PM | HT Fan ]

Is the "watch this thread" function gone or am I doing something wrong? Used to be you automatically "watched" threads you posted in.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: Jbroks86 | Posted: Jan 2, 2008 7:39 AM | SFT Fan ]

The changes all look very good, though the one question I have is, under the old forum system, you could respond to the specific post you wanted to, instead of responding to the original message as is such now. I've always felt this made it easier to keep track when responding to messages over the boards.

As I said, the majority of changes once again look very good. Many thanks for the great website and a Happy New Year to everyone here, too.
Font Size and Usability
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jan 2, 2008 9:30 PM | YBS Fan ]

I'd never gotten this much useful feedback before. There have been wish-list things, but nothing that really ever addressed usability like this time around.

I've now setup the ability to set the font size to the size you'd most like it. The "A" characters to the left of the Google Search at the top of the page will adjust the font size one rank up or down. You can also set the base font size using the "Account Settings" link if you're logged in. While Account Settings will allow you to adjust from 8 point to 14 point, the "A" adjustments will allow from 6 point to 20 point (most likely way too far to both ends).

And, yes, these work for anonymous users as well ("Guest Settings" link instead of "Account Settings"). For guest settings to take effect, though, you need to accept a cookie to where the default font size is stored. (If this doesn't work and you are accepting cookies, please check your computer's clock.)

Right now I've only set the base font size. I'll still need to go through all of the pages and find where I've specified specific font sizes for some blocks. Expect further font size adjustments to occur as I find them.

I agree about too much red and white. More color variety (especially with background colors) will be coming shortly.

With regard to losing the ability to reply to a specific post instead of the whole thread, I was kind of torn on that one. Many other forums only allow one to post to the end, so it's easier to find the last posts (always at the bottom). But I do like having tangents clear. OK. You've convinced me. I'll restore that.

Finally, yes, I did away with watches. That's a functionality that I'd never used, so I wasn't sure what to do with them when I was redesigning some pages. Are watches useful? Can someone give me a short explanation about how they're useful and/or used? I can better restore them if I know what they're supposed to do.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: Brimsek | Posted: Jan 2, 2008 11:10 PM | HNHF Fan ]

I think the site looks great! I am having trouble seeing the login box at the top of the page. I can only see about the bottom third of it. I use IE.

I really like the forum design changes!
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: Jbroks86 | Posted: Jan 3, 2008 10:56 AM | SFT Fan ]

- Are watches useful? Can someone give me a short explanation about how they're useful and/or used?

I've never really cared too much for the watch feature. I'm not sure how others here feel about the watch feature. This is just my personal opinion on the feature.

The thing about watches that I understood was that they allowed a user to see if a thread changed or was responded to. As it is these days with the "Favorite" feature on all web browsers that I'm aware of, this feature feels somewhat empty, as it never felt like there was any reason for this feature in the first place.

Once again, this is only my personal opinion on the matter.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: torakichi | Posted: Jan 3, 2008 3:01 PM | HT Fan ]

- Are watches useful?

I'll use them if they're there, but I'm not overly concerned about it. I guess it's just force of habit: "watches.jsp" was the page I came to first by default. No biggie.

- Can someone give me a short explanation about how they're useful and/or used? I can better restore them if I know what they're supposed to do.

Um, not really, no. I just used them as a way to find out if anyone had replied to a post of mine, deal with that first and then go on and read the rest of the site.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: mijow | Posted: Jan 4, 2008 10:54 PM | HT Fan ]

- Right now I've only set the base font size.

OK, it looks fine now.
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: mijow | Posted: Jan 4, 2008 11:01 PM | HT Fan ]

- ...the ability to reply to a specific post instead of the whole thread...

I think the main issue for me is to be able to read exactly what I'm replying to when I'm typing my comment. Perhaps a new window could open, which would allow the user to double check all the posts that have come before.

I usually open two windows when I'm replying to a thread anyway - one to check what's been said and the other to write my comment. But if that could happen automatically it would be a huge improvement!
Re: Site Overhaul
[ Author: westbaystars | Posted: Jan 5, 2008 12:25 AM | YBS Fan ]

OK. Did them both. But with a slight twist.

If you click on the "Reply to this post" text, it will open a new tab/window (depending on your browser settings) with the reply you're replying to below.

If you click on the reply icon, it will go to the comment page in the same tab/window with the comment you're replying to below.

This is actually a poor design, as the functionality isn't clear. Consider it an Easter Egg.
About

This is a site about Pro Yakyu (Japanese Baseball), not about who the next player to go over to MLB is. It's a community of Pro Yakyu fans who have come together to share their knowledge and opinions with the world. It's a place to follow teams and individuals playing baseball in Japan (and Asia), and to learn about Japanese (and Asian) culture through baseball.

It is my sincere hope that once you learn a bit about what we're about here that you will join the community of contributors.

Michael Westbay
(aka westbaystars)
Founder

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