Extreme Makeover: Writinghood Edition

Did you see? Writinghood has received a complete makeover!  Stripped down to its bare content, rebuilt and redesigned, this site is looking better than ever! (And how about those articles?)

Updating Writinghood wasn’t just for vanity, it also helped improve the site’s overall functionality for Triond and the community. Now it’s simpler to navigate, clearer to read, and easier to leave comments.

The redesign of this site from our content network is just a taste of what’s in store for 2009. Stay tuned for more feature updates and announcements.

Happy publishing!

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71 thoughts on “Extreme Makeover: Writinghood Edition

  1. Thank you. I can see how you work to make a better web page and build a large community of writers around the world.

  2. Wow… am I seeing what I think?! ‘Little Read Writinghood’ seems to also seek ‘keywords’ in comments/posts, and attaches ads to THOSE, too! So that way, follow-up comments have the potential to draw some ad-revenue too! Awesome! As it stood, the keyword density for the page would slowly decline as more-and-more comments are added…now, comments might even serve to send revenue to Triond (and hopefully, the author of the page being commented upon..)

  3. Sorry, I’m a dissenter. It may look good, but usability has gone down the toilet. The ability to choose how you want to view the posts has gone. Anyone who’s already seen previous articles wants to see only the most recently published — gone. Some people want to see the most popular — gone. All that’s left is a random chronological assortment with no way to sort them out.

    I know someone will say that if you want to see the latest publications, just use the Explore feature. That would be a very good idea — if it worked. Most days, I’m lucky to have two or three pages of new articles load before the system freezes. This is not a browser problem. Combine the new changes and a problem that’s never been properly dealt with, and you wind up being unable to read anything that isn’t featured.

    Comments — more offputting — done. More barriers in the way of posting a reply, which puts people off, as has been discussed endlessly on the web. And registered members have to add one more step, their email address, before they even get to the credentials section.

    The new system allows people to add their own site address, but it can also take you right out of the Triond network. Example: Another Triond writer left a comment on my article. I wanted to see what she had written here. Her link took me out of Writinghood and to her blog because she hadn’t added her Triond credentials.

    Just to cap this load of bad design, the date of publication and the author’s name are all but invisible. Grey type is a fad which seriously degrades readability.

    Do the people who are responsible for this design even use the site, so that they know what works and what doesn’t? It seems not.

  4. I do agree with the ‘gray type’ being bad. From an Accessibility s. 508 for the handicapped viewpoint, there should be a minimum of ‘100 points’ difference (in base-16) of color between ‘foreground color’ (the color of the text) and the background-color. Preferably, more than 100-points difference. Certain forms of colorblindness makes reading less-than 100-points, not possible. This denies access.

    The best color combination are closer to dark-gray on off-white.

    As for a post that essentially is a backlink to a non-related site… yeah, annoying. I just delete those myself if spammy. ;-) If it is postee’s personal site, yeah, they are after a backlink. If link is to some commercial site, call it spam, delete it. I more loathe when someone posts a comment, with a “…read MY article, over –>HERE<– and tell me what you think of it" blurb..

  5. Stickman, those aren’t links added to comments. On Writinghood, if you’re a member, and this person was, and you don’t use the Credentials feature, then your blog or site URL becomes your live link. Check it out to see what I mean.

    By the way, for me, this blog is almost unreadable. The date and author’s name on Writinghood articles are even lighter.

  6. I totally agree agree with Catana. The extra step of adding email(even have to do it for this reply) AND triond ID makes me not want to leave comments at all. The site may look up to date.

    But as has already been stated. The light grey is very BAD. I have checked this out on 3 different machines and the lack of contrast makes it un-readable.

  7. Shouldn’t they be able to over-ride all the steps so that we would only have to leave a comment with our triond ID?

  8. Positives:

    + I like the new Search box.
    + Overall design looks a bit more professional.
    + Pages seem to load faster than before.

    Negatives:

    – Still get an error message box appearing with Internet Explorer (possibly due to the content links).
    – Having to add email address to comments box further discourages leaving comments.
    – Gray font hard to read.
    – No Captcha for comments box further encourages spamming of website URLs.

    Overall, a bit of a disappointment. The negatives outweigh the positives in this scenario. The site may look more visually appealing, but it’s still missing the upgrades it really needs.

  9. Hi All,

    I’d like to take a moment to personally address some of your concerns. Your feedback is important, and all of your suggestions will be taken into consideration.

    As with any re-release of a site, it takes time to get used to the new layout. With Writinghood’s new design, there are significant improvements under-the-hood. Those improvements affect the design and functionality of the site, but rest assured they are for the better (otherwise why update the site at all?).

    Regarding commenting – yes, there are changes to how people can leave comments. Our blog right here also requires an email address and asks for a site, but you don’t see a tidal wave of rogue spammers due to the behind the scenes workings of this blog. The framework for Writinghood is a similar story.

    Thank you for all of your comments. Keep ‘em coming!

    Best,
    Marla

  10. “As with any re-release of a site, it takes time to get used to the new layout. With Writinghood’s new design, there are significant improvements under-the-hood. Those improvements affect the design and functionality of the site, but rest assured they are for the better (otherwise why update the site at all?).”

    What I get from this is that though our comments are welcome, there’s nothing wrong with the changes and we should just get used to them. This, despite specific problems that have been pointed out. “For the better:” extremely poor readability, additional requirements for leaving comments, loss of choice about what you see, less exposure for newly published articles. “…why update the site at all?” I’m wondering.

  11. “Actually, I find this Name, Mail, Website, comment, then pen name, password, MUCH more of a pain than it was before..How does anyone figure this to be easier???”

    Your browser can be made to ‘remember’ these, for sites that you post to. Do it once and ‘remember these settings’ and the next time, it is automatic. :)

  12. It seems that the Capcha function has been replaced by adding email and website. It always takes time to get used to new features but I don’t like the gray typew either. I have to wear reading glasses, or I can’t see it properly.

  13. Hi All,

    Here are the latest updates to Writinghood, thanks to your important input:

    The font color of the byline is now an easy-to-read black.

    Leaving a comment with your Triond credentials is easier than ever. It’s the first option and you won’t need to enter your email or website. Visitors coming from outside the Triond community will still be required to leave their email and can choose to leave a website. Don’t worry about spammy comments; Writinghood has built in spam filters to prevent unwelcome comments.

    And last but not least, a “Popular Articles” box has been added.

    Thanks again for the feedback. Until next time…

    Best,
    Marla

  14. I’m glad to see that you do listen to what we have to say and I have no problem with admitting that I was wrong to believe that our suggestions were simply being brushed off. I applaud the improvements, but I still hold out for a return to the ability to select how we want to view the articles. If you’re on Triond and using the Explore feature, you may have a chance of finding the latest articles, although the feature doesn’t always work properly, and not every one of the latest articles is actually listed. But the person who has bookmarked Writinghood will never see that feature. If they want to see the latest articles, that’s now impossible. As I said before, if you’re a regular reader, you’ve already seen most of the articles and having nothing but a random selection is not going to keep you around. The box for most popular articles is nice, but as usual, it gives all the advantage to the articles that are already popular, and shuts out the new ones. I don’t understand why this problem isn’t perfectly obvious to the site designers.

  15. Thank You. I am truly impressed with the speed and consideration you have taken our comments in stride. I would absolutely be thrilled if the “I am a Triond Member” box could be spread throughout all of Triond’s sites. Well Done!

    Having said that… I am in agreement with Catana… I still wish for a way to choose how to search for articles. This I believe is a major function that will encourage repeat viewers. I often only have five or ten minutes at a time to peruse articels. And if I have to wade through articles I’ve already read, then I don’t bother because I don’t have the time. But if I can choose what is the most recent… then I will read and view.

  16. Wow… I noticed that the “Online Editor” now has a “Suggest tags” button! AWESOME!!! I just used it, -I am assuming that this parses the article for more powerful keywords than the typical user/writer would suggest. This picked three keywords for my article that, honestly, I would have missed. Maybe this is a better draw to my article.. we’ll see. Certainly I would have missed these keywords and if this works, it will make our articles more ‘indexable’ by spider/’bot/googlebot, etc and thus, garner more traffic!

    Yay us! Yay Triond!

    -thestickman

  17. I’ve seen the new look and it looks good and modern. :)

    Keep up the good work team!

    One thing though is when I tried posting comments to some of the articles there, it didn’t appear. Am not sure if it has this function of moderating or I’m actually experiencing a glitch. I even tried it twice and used different browser just to be sure, but still to no avail.

    -jhenz-

  18. It looks great, but it seems that I cannot leave comments at any site where the comment box contains a checkbox for adding Triond Credentials. As a matter of fact, I have talked with MANY people who have the same problem. It doesn’t matter if we try to use the Triond Credential box or not, it simply will not go through. You might want to go with the standard comment boxes with CAPTCHA and leave the Triond checkbox off so more people can comment. Just a suggestion.

  19. I was reluctant to leave comments on articles due to having to leave my email. Even here I am reluctant. I did fill all blanks in on two seperate authors, but again it did not post.

    For future site changes, a suggestion; survey your authors and ask for specific requests in your formatting. If your authors and readers are happy, your site will show it.

  20. I aggree. I would be up for a survey. There are many many features on Triond that are brilliant, and some that could use some tweaking.

  21. I am having trouble with the security strings, especially differenciating between the letter ‘l’ and the number “1” . Is it possible for Triond to use a different font for those strings?

  22. I’m sorry you’re having a difficult time viewing the text in the security code box. Here are two suggestions:

    – If you refresh the page, a new security code which might be easier to read will appear.

    – You can make the text on your browser window appear larger by pressing CTRL++. As you press + while holding down the CTRL key, the text size on your screen will increase, making the security code easier to read.

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