A SharperIron Design Update this Weekend

If my notes are correct, SI’s last design update was about three years ago. That would make us way overdue for a face lift! It turns out one has been in the making behind the scenes for several months, and the site will go offline for much of the weekend to transition.

The underlying framework, for those interested, is still Drupal 7, but theming for Drupal — and for websites in general — has improved a good bit in the last couple of years. There are some powerful tools available now for themers … and I don’t how to use any of them!

But the good folks at More Than (Just) Themes provided a great starting design and excellent support along the way so, Lord willing, an updated look will be operational and about 90% actually “finished” before Monday morning October 30. Most of you probably won’t notice the 10% that will still be under construction.

As some of you have probably noticed, I’m a lousy cheerleader. So, with that as context, my assessment is that the update is looking mostly pretty good.

A few improvements to look for along with a fresh, more colorful look:

  • Improved overall fit to varying screen sizes
  • More eyeball-friendly fonts
  • Easy return to top of page
  • Text editor (comments, etc.) in rich text mode on most phone browsers (rather than plain text)
  • Logging in via the Log In link returns you to the page you logged in from (with a few exceptions) rather than always taking you to your profile 
  • New Posts tabs display data without reloading the entire New Posts page
  • Jump to Filings from the menu (saves some scrolling on small screens)
  • Logged in users: “Discuss” takes you to the bottom of the thread (a shortcut that works regardless of logged-in state is on the do-list)
  • Multi-page threads: paging links (next, 1, 2, 3, etc.) are visible at the top of the thread as well as the bottom
  • Containers on the Forums page are just headings rather than links to a redundant and potentially confusing additional list page
  • Larger ads for our advertisers
  • Miscellaneous other tuning and tweaking
  • A continued total absence of: automatically playing videos, instant or time delayed overlay ads, popups insisting that you turn your adblocker off.

There are a number of options that are in the “undecided” category, so your feedback after the transition will be welcome. And this thread is the perfect place to post issues/bugs/whatever.

We’re not moving to a different server, so there shouldn’t be any weird half-old-half-new syncing issues … but if you see anomalies of any kind, flush your browser cache (usually ctrl+shift+delete; select images and files) and see if that helps.

Just one other detail: The plan is to go offline today, 10/27/17 around 4 PM Central.

1845 reads

There are 34 Comments

Aaron Blumer's picture

lol, as my son says. (Yes, actually says it out loud in conversation... pronounces it "lool" for some reason)

Might be funny one of these years to switch the site to an early 90's retro theme on April Fool's Day.

Aaron Blumer's picture

A couple of other improvements that didn't make the list in the main post:

  • Two new blogs in the Blogroll
  • When you click "Start a discussion" from a sub-forum page the post defaults to the correct sub-forum.
Don Johnson's picture

Congratulations. I need to do something similar elsewhere!

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Jim Barnes's picture

Thank you! Looks much easier to navigate.

Jay's picture

Everything looks fantastic so far, Aaron.  Nice job!
 

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TylerR's picture

Where has the "New Posts" link gone to! Site looks very, very good. Smile

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Aaron Blumer's picture

TylerR wrote:

Where has the "New Posts" link gone to! Site looks very, very good. Smile

It had gone the way of "Oops, how did that get deleted?" It's now back home under the Forum menu.

Thanks for asking, and everybody do please feel free to point out glitches, etc. Some of these things might be in the "can't fix yet" category, but some are just a bit of transitional mess easy to clean up.

Aaron Blumer's picture

Jim wrote:

This is a minor thing ...but one can BOTH "like" and "dislike" a comment.

Not a new "problem" - was that way before

Yeah, that was one of those things that turned out to be hard to fix then got to thinking, why fix it? I kind of enjoy it now as an expression of ambivalence. People have probably also noticed that you can like and unlike your own comments.

 

Speaking of... there is now a new block in the Foundry listing recently liked threads/articles. I don't think we have one for comments yet.

Bert Perry's picture

And I've also had fun with liking and disliking the same comment.  I did my own to avoid offense, believe it or not.

TylerR's picture

The filings don't appear along the right-hand side any longer. Intentional?

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Aaron Blumer's picture

Where they appear will depend on screen width. They should still be on the right if your browser is wide enough... I forget what the threshold on th at is, but if you play with it, you'll probably see what I mean. 

One thing you can do to get "more width" on a somewhat smaller screen is zoom out a bit. Fonts are large enough that this might be fine for some users. Ctrl key and - key or Ctrl + scrollwheel zoom in and out.

Sometimes for side-by-side work, I zoom out a bit so I can see the "wide" layout without using up more screen.

TylerR's picture

Filings is there before I login, and then disappears afterwards. This happens at home and at work. Home I use Edge. Work we use IE11.

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

pvawter's picture

I primarily use Chrome on my android phone and can't find the Filings page anywhere.

Don Johnson's picture

I'm on Chrome on a widescreen laptop, don't see the Filings on the main page. I'll log out and see what I can see then.

Ok, ... logged out and back in. Filings shows up when logged out, but when I log back in, it's gone.

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

TylerR's picture

Thanks, Don, for confirming this.

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Aaron Blumer's picture

So far, no idea what would do that. I can't get that to happen in any browser I have access to (four so far). 

Will keep digging though. Have you tried flushing your browser cache?

OK, I can duplicate this now with certain permission settings. Still no idea why the block is disappearing for some roles. Just a matter of time though.

Aaron Blumer's picture

I think this is working now. (There was an obscure config setting that should have no impact on this, but it seems to have made a difference so... ) Please post your results. Thanks.

TylerR's picture

It works now.

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Aaron Blumer's picture

Glad to hear it, thanks. 

If anyone notices any other glitches, please post. 

... and if I don't see it right away, feel free to message me.

Jay's picture

For some reason, the portraits on posts only seem to display 3/4 of the way on my iPhone 5s (iOS 11.0.3).  I have a screenshot I can email if you want.

Is it SharperIron or SHARPER IRON?  I have always written the former but with this new relaunch it seems like our name and logo was tweaked to the latter.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

TylerR's picture

The avatars were good yesterday; now they're as Jay said. This is on Edge. I think something went wrong . . .

Tyler Robbins is a former Pastor. He lives with his family in Olympia, WA. He blogs as the Eccentric Fundamentalist

Don Johnson's picture

When I click on a link to a new comment, the poster's avatar and name are obscured by the persistent menu banner that includes the name, Sharper Iron, and the options Profile, Messages, and Log Out.

This may be trivial and unavoidable, but I find at my advanced age that I sometimes forget who wrote what I clicked on. I am finding myself scrolling up a bit to recall the poster's name. Sad to admit, but true.

 

Maranatha!
Don Johnson
Jer 33.3

Aaron Blumer's picture

Got that avatar glitch. 

Don, I'd like to see that link issue fixed also.... Same thing happens when clicking on footnote links. The reason is that the browser doesn't "see" the hover bar when taking you to the link destination. So it's behind it. I bet there is a bit of CSS or something to fix that, but it may be like it is for a while. (I've got a support request in on this one. It's a bit over my head.)

Aaron Blumer's picture

Is it SharperIron or SHARPER IRON?  I have always written the former but with this new relaunch it seems like our name and logo was tweaked to the latter.

Well, the answer is ... sorta both? For a good while, we've crunched the two words together in the name to fit the URL, which doesn't have a space... sharperiron.org. For the last few design cycles, there was kind of a half space between Sharper and Iron, with a smallcaps style using larger caps for the S and the I.

Now with all caps, there was no way to even hint at two words without a real space. SHARPERIRON just kind of looks like a mess. With a half space, it looked like an accidental spacing problem. Smile So... two words this time around. I'm hoping it doesn't mess up indexing at all. But it shouldn't. The previous header/logo combos were just one jpg/png image.

So anyway, that's the thinking behind that.

(Also I see that smileys aren't displaying quite right... alignment issue. On the do list)

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