How Are We Doing?

Making the site better, with your help.

Feedback time, folks.  How are we doing with the new site layout?

Please don’t give me a single-word reply like shite, or good.  The site now has more than 3,500 posts and the whole point is to make sure that they don’t get lost in the mists of time, because they’re all interlinked through categories and tags.  It’s not a list but a web.

What I need to find out from you is how you’re managing to find your way around the site.  Is the navigation ok for you?  Can you get at the information you want?  Are you finding things you didn’t know were there?

This is a serious effort to make the site as accessible as it can be and it won’t finish for quite a while, until I’m reasonably happy that we’ve created as many routes into the thing as we can.

While I’m here, can I ask you what else you’d like to see on the site?  If it’s humanly possible, and if time permits, I’ll do my best to add features requested by readers.

Come back to me. Advise me.  This is your site as much as it is mine and the other members of the Bock Collective because without you, there would be no point writing any of this nonsense.

83 thoughts on “How Are We Doing?

  1. Technical / middle aged eye site issue, too many words on a line makes it hard to read on a iPhone without scrolling right and left while reading in landscape screen.

    Used to be perfect size now it’s too small for my failing eye site, without the messy scrolling

    Just saying

  2. A little too wide for my desktop also, but not to worry, soon I’ll be getting the Cinemascope version. Otherwise, I have no trouble finding my way around. All this reshuffling hasn’t affected the content in any way, so reshuffle away to your hearts content. Change is good!

  3. One immediate observation: the homepage is set to a different width than the posts, categories pages etc. Not a major irritant, but would be nicer if the width was consistent so that you don’t get that resizing effect when you go from one to the other.

  4. Get rid of Klaus Kinski and the “20% more offensive” bit – meaningless. Earlier versions this week had the banner too blue. Maybe a different font colour and more imaginative banner? Otherwise ok.
    Happy New Year!

  5. The place looks fantastic Bock.

    I don’t navigate my way through the site too much. Is there a feature to do so.
    I just read um as they come.

    Ok, on feedback then since you’re asking- chill the fuck out sometimes.
    That’s all.

  6. its looking a little cluttered to me but maybe I need an adjustment period. @labrat go to and download the latest version of opera browser. its the best phone browser I’ve seen.

  7. As someone who does’nt like change to much, (because i’m of a certain age)and who reads everything you write Bock the site looks great.Okay maybe the width issue could do with a tweak,but that does’nt really bother me.One other thing keep yer man at the top,never fails to bring a smile.Thank you for keeping an old North Mayo man informed and amused.

  8. Klaus will have to stay but the 20% more offensive bit will go. It’s had its day and I only put it in for the moment to see how the banner looks.

    There seem to be some problems with the site width, and I’ll instruct my minions to look into this. Failure to resolve it will result in more floggings.

    On the clutter issue, I can understand the point of view, but at the same time, it’s necessary to make maximum use of screen space. Actually, some of the proper respectable publications, like the Irish Times website, are just as full. We’ll keep an eye on it and see how it works out.

  9. Opera is a good browser, might take it for a spin for the next few days thanks.

    (doesn’t solve the width problem though, I’m watching this space)

    With all the different platforms for viewing, websitery has become a very complex business

  10. We have a few options to solve the width problem. I’ll be playing around with it over the next while and trying it out with different displays. I hope it won’t take long to sort it out.

  11. Overall it looks okay on my desktop PC (19″ wide screen). The few things I can see are:

    1. Fonts are rather tiny which doesn’t make for a good experience for those that don’t have 20/20 vision. I’ve noticed that most of todays’ themes are like that though. For some reason theme authors think that an (apparent) 8 pt font is readable.

    2. Like Darwin said above, there’s a problem with the main RSS feed in that that the last two posts have “Enter title here” as the post titles.

    3. I’m sure you know this already but a “Subscribe to comments” function is rather essential. Especially to older fellows like me who can’t remember breakfast.

    Otherwise, it looks fine.

    Have a grand day Bock.

  12. Thanks Kirk. I’ll take a look at the font sizes and see what can be done. The RSS might be ok now and I put in a subscribe function. Let me know if it’s working for you.

  13. The font is huge now, to my eyes.
    There’s a feature to zoom in or out though at the bottom right corner -of Internet explorer anyways Kirk, if you need it bigger or smaller.

  14. Site looks fine on my 19″ screen. Can’t comment on mobile phone/tablet as I don’t read blogs on small screen, too tedious. How about a Bock Android App……..?You could use Klaus as the icon.

  15. “How does that look? Don’t forget that Ctrl + will zoom you in and Ctrl – will zoom you back out.” It looks.. Just right! Not too big, not too small. Perfect.

    And I did not know that shortcut, thanking you Bock!

    Did yous know this one – Ctrl C will do copy and Ctrl V will do paste! Good one hey. I know things!

  16. I work on a MAC laptop and everything looks just fine to me. As someone said earlier, I tend to read what pops up on my blogroll/sidebar and rarely go looking for anything. I have in the past just clicked on your links to past posts when I’ve missed something and it has always worked (and still does.) I’ve been reading your blog for a long time now and of all the looks/formats you used, I find this format very easy to use. I’m glad you’re keeping Klaus. xoxo

  17. Site looks good – no problem here. We’ll deal with any major changes except the removal of Klaus. You’d be like a Big Mac without the aftertaste.
    You have mellowed somewhat, though, so maybe “now 17% more offensive” would be more appropriate, (You do the maths…)

  18. Thanks for that feedback and also for your endless loyalty, which I appreciate.

    I suppose I should explain that many people who visit the site have arrived here as a result of a Google search or some other link and therefore interact with the site in a different way. The redesign is about making sure that all readers, old and new, are dealt with in the best possible way.

  19. @labrat if you go into settings in opera and turn on single column view that should solve the width problem.

  20. Everything looks great Bock. All the changes are lovely. No problems here, no suggestions either.

  21. I like today’s piece on Mary Raftery. We owe Mary an awful lot. May she be at peace.

    Thank you for all the changes, I even checked out the print app. and it looks good.
    Your site is fine. You did some nice things and I like the spider web. I don’t use RSS so it’s not affecting me.
    Like a fine wine, you continue to improve. As in Savannah’s comment, I’ve been following you around for a long time now and find myself referring to your site for your opinion when news breaks. Validation, I expect.
    Continue to offend, it gives more sides to the argument.

  22. I like the link structure here (recent posts listed in a compressed format), and very glad to hear that Klaus will be staying. I’m a big fan of your use of images and graphics to illustrate a post and add humour, so I’m happy to see that retained.

    Your site has been a treasure trove for me, both for pure reading pleasure and to keep an ex-pat up to speed on the shenanigans back home. Appreciate all the good work and happy to see any changes that make sense to you.

  23. I like the new design, which looks great on my Mac. My only problem is that ever since Jan 6th, every new post shows up in my Newsfire Reader as “Enter title here.” Anybody else having this problem?

  24. Everyone is having that problem. I haven’t yet established what’s causing it but smarter people than I are working on it.

  25. Bock, the RSS feeds are now not showing your most recent posts either … last post which shows up is the Heineken one .. I see you have posted about 3 new ones since then??

  26. @Bock – That’s an interesting problem with the main site feed. Haven’t seen that one before. I did check the raw feed, the feed as shown in Google Reader and I’ve always had your feed in the “Brief” extension for Firefox. The post titles are missing in every instance since the site’s overhaul. I’m going to have to do some research on this one. I used to be a fair WordPress troubleshooter although I gave it up for Lent. :D

    @FF1 – I use Firefox and the ‘NoSquint’ extension set for zoom text only. It’s a neat little add-on that I set to remember the zoom settings for each site I visit even though I clear all my cookies/history every time I close Firefox. Works slick.

  27. Oh, I forgot to mention that the “Ajax Edit Comments” comment field hasn’t been loading for me since you’ve been working on the site. The dialog box comes up alright and it says it’s “Loading” but the comment field remains blank and the “Save” and “cancel buttons are blanked out. I wonder if you’re seeing the same thing? The plugin has been working on my site okay as well as my test site so i know it’s not the browser.

  28. Bock – Agreed. Especially since the author went to a pay model. Unfortunately it’s the only thing out there right now that actually works the way I want it to. let me know if you find anything to replace it would you? I’ll do the same if I find anything.

  29. That’s cool Kirk.
    So how come you mentioned the font at all then?

    Doesn’t a zoom option come standard with firefox?
    (In the View menu?)
    I suppose if you want it tailored per website, makes sense to use the add-on.

  30. Alright. Sorry.

    I didn’t mean to be attacking.
    I was meaning to be helpful.

    Looked up zooming in firefox and an article said:

    “I recently had two conversations with Firefox users who did not know that Firefox came with the means to zoom in and out of a website. They were using external applications to magnify parts of the screen”.

  31. @FF1 – In my years of helping others with their old style HTML websites and now the newer WordPress powered websites, one of the things I always warn against is making your site fonts too small to start with. It doesn’t mean your site fonts have to be 14 or 16 pt but many sites (including main stream sites) seem to believe it’s okay to have site fonts set at 10 pt and that’s too small. When I mentioned to Bock about increasing the font size a bit, was thinking more about the visitors that come by that do not know the difference between a browser and a search engine. And that’s a whole lot of users. Just because I’m an old tech-head who knows how to get around these type of things doesn’t mean the average Internet user does.

    @Bock – By the way, you’re site scales beautifully when I increase the font size via the browser. No content running into the side panel and all that. Well done.

  32. Thanks. I’m doing my best with almost no resources, apart from a team of kidnapped scientists living inside a vast mountain cavern.

  33. I’m not prepared to disclose the identities of my workers. However, if and when they earn their freedom, they may choose a name, provided I approve it.

  34. Oh righty Kirk.
    I figured you knew these things.. was genuinely curious why you mentioned it after saying you had the add-on.
    I see where you’re coming from.

    Personally I’ve found font 10 looks a bit neater – in emails and sites.
    Tis small alright though.

    I think our attention span isn’t the best these days and when people see large emails and bigger looking posts on sites they can be put off. Maybe that’s why the smaller font is used?

  35. FF1 – Not wanting to hijack Bock’s comment thread any further, take a look at my site as an example of what I’m talking about (just click on my name). The font size for the text in the main content area (front page and single posts/pages) I purposely set at 13 px for general readability. I don’t think it’s too big to put off anyone but I do get your point.

  36. RSS feed in Google Reader still showing “Enter Title Here”.

    There is acres of white space at each side of the page as I look at it. Also the sidebar on the right is the same width as the main topic (which could be your intention) I would prefer a less intrusive sidebar. Maybe you could only show the most popular links and click here to see the full list!

    Also I would prefer to see your banner on top before any ads!

    Would add some social media sharing buttons at the bottom of each article to make it easier to spread the gospel according to Bock.

    Keep up the good work! (Thanks)

  37. Cian8 » What display resolution are you using? The sidebar is set at 300px and the content width is fluid. Testing it at 640, it still looks ok. The sidebar is tabbed, so you can select what you want to see. I prefer to keep ads out of the main body which is why the banner ad appears first. There’s a small problem with media-sharing buttons at the moment but the plan is to put them back again as before. Still no luck solving the RSS puzzle though.

  38. This is weird – I can drag and drop around the various parts on the sidebar – but I don’t see any tabs to minimise them.

    Not sure about resolution think mine is “1280 x 800” does that make sense? Maybe I should email you a screenshot?

  39. The tag cloud is nice. Works well on both windoze and osx, and on androids and iPhones. Perhaps increase this feature in terms of number of tags?

  40. Must say I really like what you have done here, Its often the case that work isn’t appreciated, as in people who havent built their own Website might not realise the gigantic task it is to create such an accessible space and this one lends a sense of space to its explorers.

    It is just elegant.

  41. norma » Some people are like that, but most are not. Most people are very supportive, as you can see from the comments and they realise that this is a thing I do at my own expense, in my own time, with the help of whatever people are prepared to write stuff and mess around with the technical bits for no payment.

    Occasionally, I get a problem with people who think I work for them and who make demands. That can be irritating, and I have to remind them that this is shit I do because I enjoy it, and when I stop enjoying it I’ll stop doing it. I have to remind then that they don’t get to demand anything because they don’t pay anything, and still they accuse me of censorship. Many people think they have a right to tell me how this site should be managed.

    It’s amazing. I get complaints that I didn’t publish some bullshit comment, that I didn’t fix a problem fast enough, that the layout isn’t as they’d like it to be.

    It never occurs to such people that I don’t give a rat’s arse what they think.

    But of course, I care very much what the regular and loyal readers think. There’s the difference.

  42. Everything is looking grand now, Bock with that one exception of the post titles not showing up properly in the RSS feeds (rotten little bugger of a problem that). I’ve done some inital checking on it and the whole thing seems appears to be theme related and I had a bit of a chuckle when I checked the RSS feed for this particular comment thread and it stated the following for each comment:

    “Comment on Enter title here by…”

    One thing I can tell you. Your RSS feeds were working just fine on 01/05/12 and on 01/06/12 they were not. if you can recall what changes were made between the 5th and 6th then that might help some. Of course you probably know all this by now but I wouldn’t want to think I’d abandoned to your RSS plight. :D

  43. Bock (#62) – Ah-ha! (sometimes the occasion calls for an “Ah-ha!”, don’t you think?)

    In that case I would heartily recommend you contact the theme author and shoot him see if there’s been any reports of this problem by other users of the theme. Any possible chance of downgrading to the previous version without a whole lot of hassle involved? Or should I cut out my tongue just for thinking of it?

  44. i KNEW if i came back the answer would be here re “enter title here”
    thank you! *going back to change the font size at my place* xoxoxox

  45. Ur site’s slowed down a bit , not being a smart arse at all , jus sayin’ from here…it’s slower .

  46. Hmmm few more issues than that it seem’s….ah well best o’ luck with it all . CYA…….Ad’s are fkin’ u up..IMO .

  47. Shocker !…lol …dunno if its jus me or wot but heh ya won’t see tis either ways eh ? LOL !

  48. Right well…ur site, and apols if I’m outta order here, ain’t even updating for me ( all other’s are ) …feedback ?…thought this was that !….if I’m banned etc …could u do me the common courtesy of sayin’ so ! …….purety pleez und ta ….FFS.

  49. My apols all and ta ..stressed thingy…please ignore …afraid to even look meself ( and have’nt )….the power o’ deletion for the user would be nice in such situ’s..and umm some beer etc too involved..sry..won’t be happenin again .

  50. RE : Site Issues :
    Might be helpful to other readers, solved issues by deleting Cookies and Browsing History , as for the ‘B – Shit ‘ above…thought it was’nt posting ( a mistake ! ) and Kirk M….Philip K Dick’s ‘ A scanner darkly ‘ more like !
    Cheer’s .

  51. “How are we doing?” To be honest Bock, kinda brutal.

    I think you could do with losing the advertisements for the young Asian girls.
    Also the tone is gone is a bit sensationalist lately.. a bit tabloidy.
    And get rid of that Captain piehole fella. He’s very tedious. You could hire more entertaining lackeys really. :)

    Oh and bring back the emoticons. I like my smileys.
    We’re not all cranky aul fuckers.

    Am I barred yet? No?

    Oh on “knowledge being lacking” everywhere.. I like what Whitman once said on that (my interpretation anyways) “A morning-glory at my window satisfies me more than the metaphysics of books”. Always like that one.

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