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Site Update: April 2023

Posted April 19, 2023 | | Windows

Hello, everyone! I’ve been meaning to keep you all updated as we improve the site each month, so let’s get that rolling with a quick list of the improvements we made to this month.

As you may recall, we transformed the site in late 2022 with a new Windows 11-inspired design that includes a new layout, support for dark and light modes, OpenWeb-based commenting, improved performance, and more. Since then, we’ve spent a lot of time addressing feedback and fixing the inevitable issues that come from such a big change. Nothing is ever perfect, but I feel a lot better about the site today than I ever have.

Over the past two months, Laurent and I have formalized a new process for actively improving the site over time. And our goal is to make these improvements and fix any remaining issues in a timely way each month, in addition to addressing whatever issues come up spontaneously. In March, we improved the display of article headlines on mobile, increased the font size on mobile all around, fixed a pagination issue in the forums, and widened the scroll bar in the Recent Stories block at the top of the home page to make it more discoverable. (The inline infinite scrolling there is a key change in the new design, but it’s a bit different from most websites. So we also offer a more traditional “all articles” page as well.)

This month, we made a similar series of improvements. They include:

Article thumbnail consistency. We had different article thumbnail aspect ratios (16:9, 4:3, etc.) depending on the page and block, which caused image stretching in many cases and looked awkward to us. We use 16:9 images for all article “hero” images, and so we changed the thumbnails to be 16:9 everywhere, creating a more consistent look with no image stretching.

Article blurb consistency. Speaking of consistency, we also changed the thumbnail/blurb block for each article on the home page and navigation pages to feature the same options (bookmark, favorite, etc.) We removed the “Share” and “Read more” items from the blurbs because the former is most likely to be used when you’ve already read an article and the latter was redundant because you can already click on so many other items to get to the article. (And the switch to 16:9 thumbnail images removed some space there anyway.)

Article blurb hit targets. Related to the previous items, different article thumbnail/blurb blocks featured different hit targets, which are areas you can click to do things (like display the article, or when you click the comment count item, the page loads and navigates to the comments for the article). The biggest offender was the larger thumbnail/blurb block for the most recent article: the only thing you could click was the title to display the article. Now it is more consistent with the other blocks. You can click the thumbnail or the title to display the article, click the comment count to go there directly, click the author’s name, and so on.

Articles marked as read. Previously, the thumbnails for articles you had already read were grayed out and displayed a “Read” overlay in the top left corner. We didn’t like the mix of grayscale and color thumbnails and felt that we only need one way to identify articles that are read. So we removed the grayscale effect but left the “Read” overlay.

Premium banner. Previously, a large blue Thurrott Premium banner appeared under the Forums block on the home page whether you are a Premium member or not. Premium members should not see that block, obviously, so we removed it for Premium members.

We have a to-do list internally of things we would like to fix and improve and will continue to work through those in the weeks and months ahead. But perhaps this is the obvious time to ask whether there are any lingering issues you have with that we can prioritize and address as well. We can’t do everything we’d like, of course, we’re a tiny company with limited resources. But we will do what we can to make the site as usable and useful to you as possible.



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