back to article You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way

Here at El Reg towers, our backroom boffins have been toiling away improving our proudly Perl-based homegrown online publishing system. Among their latest work is rejigging The Register's website so that it looks spiffing on desktop and mobile, automatically adjusting the layout depending on your device's screen size. Whether …

  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    I volunteer as tribute!

    1. caffeine addict Silver badge

      Tributes are usually virgins...

      Sorry... I forgot we were all in the tech field. There will be enough of them around.

      (This makes it awkward that I'm about to go test it myself, doesn't it? Ah, balls.)

      1. onefang Silver badge

        "(This makes it awkward that I'm about to go test it myself, doesn't it? Ah, balls.)"

        Blue balls perhaps?

      2. -v(o.o)v-

        IPv6 support?!

    2. J. R. Hartley

      Fuck

      I always use the desktop version on my mobile (Galaxy S8). Works really well actually. Is this still going to be possible under the pointless new redesign?

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      4-wide panels good; needs better 'NoScript' compatibility, non-flat buttons

      Please don't even REMOTELY fall into "the blackhole of scripting nightmares" (and the UNNECESSARY bandwidth consumption that comes with the CDN and 3rd party scripting bloatware library downloads) that too many OTHER sites "feel" they "need".

      Using 'NoScript' caused most of the graphics to "not display". Please test with NoScript and its default settings, and make sure the appearance is the same. If it's because of "a bozillian different servers" are feeding content, please stick to ONE server (or at least one URL base), or maybe two at the most, and no use of scripting to load graphics. Most browsers are smart enough to keep connections alive. You don't need 'many parallel servers' to feed content efficiently for a single web browser. (so please don't head in that direction either, thanks).

      Less 'bandwidth intensive' is _ALWAYS_ better! (even if it's not YOUR bandwidth that's affected)

      NOTE: I _ALSO_ suggest fixing ad banners so that they NEVER have script in them. That way, they'll still work when people use NoScript. IT professionals SHOULD use NoScript, and practice "safe surfing". They should understand just how *INSECURE* scripting is (meltdown, spectre, 0-days, bitcoin harvesting, yotta yotta) and NEVER run scripts on anything but the MOST trusted of web pages, and even then, by specifically allowing for it "just for this session". With _THAT_ kind of very security-minded thinking, you'd expect MOST 'El Reg' users to NOT allow scripting, not even for El Reg. So make your ads work WITHOUT the script. Then we're ALL happy!

      New column design: 4-wide instead of 3-wide: easier to scroll article titles. I like it.

      HOWEVER, putting non-size-compliant panels (including ads) and THEN cramming others to make 'em fit: not so much. It breaks up my ability to eye-scan the page for interesting things to read. In other words, it GETS IN THE WAY. Things that GET IN THE WAY simply *ANGER* IT people. But you knew that.

      And pseudo-random panel size changes are WAY too similar to a "the Metro" tile screen. That's enough to HATE it, right THERE!!! Think about how SOME people actually take it upon themselves to gripe at *ME* for using things like CAPITAL LETTERS for emphasis (I do this to break up monotony and stress points). But, at least the text itself doesn't change size.

      "The Metro" and "Tile Screen" and "Start Thing" are _NOT_ "modern", no matter how many millenials whine and call people like me "luddites".

      The existing 3-wide panel design _does_ waste a lot of screen real estate. So going to 4 wide is good! Changing panel widths at semi-random to put an oversized ad panel in there? not so good.

      And, finally:

      The 'subscribe' "button" at the bottom looks like a flat red rectangle. How about some 3D skeumorphic effects to make it look like a BUTTON instead? That's right, I want to START a REBELLION against the 2D FLATSO! (I gotta try). FYI I use 'bitmap image' buttons for my stuff. The files are usually very small, and you can make 'em look like "whatever" that way. Hand-draw in the 3D skeumorphic, maybe with a vulture watermark, some ALL IMPORTANT 3D skeuomorphic features, and voila! [your own articles and research show that flat rectangle buttons make for BAD UI cues - can't recall the article, it was from about a year ago]

      There's supposed to be a shadow effect in CSS but it may not be supported in all browsers. However, using a "bitmap button" works every time it's tried.

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Windows

    Again?

    It only seems five minutes since you last did it. That said, everything seems like that to me now.

    1. m0rt Silver badge

      Re: Again?

      "The last time we rejigged the appearance of the site, opinion was highly divided. "

      No shit.

      I have just gotten used to this design and you are DOING IT AGAIN??!! WHY?!

      You been taken over by some ex-google UI/UX designers?

    2. macjules Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Again?

      Umm, did you consider GDPR when doing this?

      window.dpmPixels[0].updateUserVariable({

      "country_code": "826",

      "city": "london",

      "latitude": "51.5154",

      "ipAddress": "MYIPADDRESS",

      "appnexusId": "0",

      "dma": "826044",

      "uuid": "63573e4609b6875bd32c1502b4328fc1db5641b5",

      "longitude": "-0.092461"

      });

      Not really sure you should be harvesting this ..

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Again?

        ooh! now i know what Lattitude London is at !

      2. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: Again?

        It's all come from information your browser supplied, so hardly personal info. If you're worried about that level of identification, tor and vpn are both over that way...

        1. Mike 137

          Re: Again?

          " information your browser supplied, so hardly personal info"

          It doesn't matter where it came from. If it's collected by the Register and is capable of identifying a living person (on its own or in conjunction with other information the Register holds) it is definitely personal data under the GDPR.

          And note that even a dynamic IP address can be personal data (Patrick Breyer v. Bundesrepublik Deutschland C‑582/14 2016).

      3. caffeine addict Silver badge

        Re: Again?

        Not that it's in any way accurate anyway. My (unprotected) IP address makes my location bounce between London, York, Carlisle and somewhere in the west country (if I use PlusNet), London, Rugby or Swindon (IIRC, if I use Virgin) and London, Ireland (just "Ireland"), Cambridge and Welwyn if I'm at work. Even Three frequently gives me an IP address outside the UK if several streaming services are to believed.

        1. macjules Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Again?

          My IP is clearly identifiable as my company via a simple ARIN lookup and the Lat/Long co-ordinates pinpoint the originating office. (Well, enough to localise it)

  3. Ol'Peculier
    Mushroom

    Oh boy, I remember the furore of the last redesign. Lob the grenade and one... two... three...

    1. Ralph the Wonder Llama
      Mushroom

      Oh yes. We all remember the Last War *shudder*

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Big Brother

        But haven't we always been at war with Eastasia?

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          But haven't we always been at war with Eastasia?

          Elbonia?

    2. Steve Evans

      Shhhh!

      Don't mention zee vor!

    3. Morrie Wyatt
      Angel

      Pie Iesu domine, dona eis requiem

      Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out.

  4. wolfetone Silver badge

    My Comments

    Not sure what the craic is with the article boxes, some are equally spaced across 4 boxes, then the row underneath have been shrank down so you could fit, maybe, 5 under neath?

    Like the idea of the most read section being bigger. Although I think the articles are a bit lost further down the page.

    If you're going for this card format of articles, it'd be better to have them differentiated better. So like I said with the Most Read section, I know where it starts but does it continue to the bottom of the page?

    Finally, it needs more cowbell.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: My Comments

      Yeah, when a row of boxes doesn't have a full row, the boxes actually shrink. The boxes should stay the same size.

      Oh - and can we have the tombstone icon back please? Pretty please?

      1. Mark 110

        Re: My Comments

        On desktop: Feels like there's way too much whitespace - alot of downward scrolling needed. If you have gone full responsive design, why isn't the site filling my browser width? I can only see 9 articles before I have to scroll. On classic I can see 10 even though you've wasted a 3rd of the space with a picture of some chips. You don't really need all that space for those background adds do you?

        On mobile: I can't really tell the difference.

        My tuppence.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: My Comments

          Why all the little grey lines everywhere? Pointless boxing out of articles. The brain/eye will create lines and boundaries out of aligned whitespace.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: My Comments

            Why all the little grey lines everywhere?

            Seconded. Not too bothered about the occasional isolated line, but putting boxes around everything (particularly around the small stuff - a box around the main story is ok) makes it all a bit messy.

            M.

            1. Dave559 Bronze badge

              Re: Little grey lines

              I'm fine with the little grey lines on the current new home page. However, personally, I think that after the first few lead articles, I'd still prefer no more than three articles across, it results in a bit too much horizontal eye scanning to glance through the headlines for my liking otherwise.

        2. Marco Fontani

          Re: My Comments

          On mobile: I can't really tell the difference.

          That might've been due to a blunder on my (Apache config) part - as we have an "edition switcher", mostly for mobile, which allows you to always see the mobile site if you've got that cookie set; and the "redesign cookie" wasn't taking over.

          It now is, so... even if you've got your edition preference set to mobile, you should be seeing the new homepage if you've opted into it AND are looking at "www", not "m".

          1. Mark 110

            Re: My Comments

            Cool that worked. I'd move the first ad below the first story if I were you though - or have a smaller ad - not a nice experience just seeing the masthead and huge ugly boring ad when you access the page.

            (HTC11 - Firefox)

        3. Doctor Evil

          Re: My Comments

          "On mobile: I can't really tell the difference."

          P-l-e-a-s-e don't dick with the mobile version! It's just fine the way it is.

    2. Alister Silver badge

      Re: My Comments

      Please, please please! can you put a link at the BOTTOM of the comment pages which lets me go back to the main articles page, so I don't have to scroll all the way to the top to get back there.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: My Comments

        Or what some sites have, a "top of page" link/floating(discrete!) button.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: My Comments

      "Like the idea of the most read section being bigger. "

      I never really understood the point of a "most read" section anyway. I'll read the stories that interest me. Why would I specifically want to be guided to read the same stuff lots of other people are reading? Just because a story is popular with me any people doesn't mean I want to read it and it will be in the list of stories anyway.

      1. Mint Sauce

        Re: My Comments

        Because these days everything MUST be 'curated' - you're not smart enough to just look at a list of things and decide for yourself what's interesting. Well, that's what just about every major website thinks these days, anwyay. <mutter> I remember when everything around here was green (screen).... gophers for goalposts... </mutter>

  5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    I HATE IT!!!!!11!!!111!!

    Nah, all seems fine to me so far. Will have a go on Mr iPad sometime later today, and see how that compares.

    Needs more blinking coloured text though.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: I HATE IT!!!!!11!!!111!!

      ...and an animated "under constuction" gif

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: I HATE IT!!!!!11!!!111!!

        And the <blink> tag added to the allowed html for comments.

        I promise not to abuse it...

        1. Adam 1 Silver badge

          Re: I HATE IT!!!!!11!!!111!!

          No, *I* promise not to abuse it.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I HATE IT!!!!!11!!!111!!

          "I promise not to abuse it..."

          ...and so does his wife!!!11!!!1!

  6. Mike 125

    Oh no...

    "rejigging The Register's website so that it looks great on desktop and mobile, automatically adjusting the layout depending on your device's screen size."

    Ok, but please don't commit Windows 8.

  7. QuiteEvilGraham

    How about...

    If there are comments on the article, and you click on the comments icon, it takes you directly to the comments, not the article itself?

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: How about...

      Exactly what I was about to add. Often I go back to look at the comments on an article later in the day.

      1. Tony Gathercole ...

        Re: How about...

        Me too

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge

          Re: How about...

          RE: Jump to comments button.

          Then there's all the sages and wise-men who leap immediately into the comment box without having read more than the article title (or merely just skimmed it, and jumped to comment on what they thought it said).

          I do try to read the article first, but with articles like yesterdays mostly verbatim drivel from ISPs, it was self defence to leap to the comments after a paragraph or two before I started bleeding from the ears.

          1. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: How about...

            I do try to read the article first, but with articles like yesterdays mostly verbatim drivel from ISPs,

            It showed in your comment. The ISPs were in fact talking good sense: they don't want to do the government's dirty work any more that we want them to.

            OK, I only skimmed it too.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: How about...

      I was going to ask that. But then thought, that does encourage people to go straight to the comments having only read the headline. Which is bad, but also a punishment for any site that has clickbait headlines. El Reg tends to be more guilty of punning than clickbait - which is fine.

      On t'other hand, it's good for looking at a comments thread again. Also there has been the odd article that I'm entirely uninterested in, but wish to post congratulating the subbies on the quality of thier punning.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: How about...

        how about some more threading in the comments section?

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: How about...

          And notifications when someone replies to your comments, or comments you've replied to.

          1. Nick Kew Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            Re: How about...

            Yes please to a proper revamp of comments.

            Better threading: a relatively minor Good.

            Notification of replies: yes, has merit. Just don't do anything stupid like email them: a notifications box I can click when on the site will do nicely.

            Highlighting of new comments: definitely useful. Could be a "since last visited this discussion" for logged-in users.

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

              Re: How about...

              And if the beancounters need convincing... I know I miss a lot of comments I'd usually read - I usually read all the comments on an article after reading the article, but never see any further comments - other than checking to see if anything I've written has had a reply.

              If there was proper comment threading/marking/notification, I'd be reading the comments far more often, and as the hacks have already done their job at that point, any ad revenue from then on is just free money, earned from the invaluable contributions of the commentards!

              My way of seeing it: If you think about the bog standard 'web forum' you have categories, containing a few forums. Within each forum, you have posts, and replies to post.

              I invisage each el reg article would effectively have it's own "forum" - within that forum, you'd have the posts and replies just like in web-based forums.

              Then people can follow threads, see new posts since last visit (*still threaded* - the 'see recent posts' option that exists currently kills all threading), and replies to their posts and have online or email notifications set as they see fit.

        2. Unep Eurobats
          Flame

          Re: more threading in the comments section

          Definitely. All too often the replies to the first comment effectively become the comment thread, sometimes taking it down a tedious off-topic rabbit hole that causes interesting top-level comments further down (eg mine) to be denied their due number of upvotes.

          1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: more threading in the comments section

            ok , have an upvote! dont drink it all at once

        3. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

          Re: How about...

          Please comment threading. It's so hard to make sense of the comments now. Especially if people dno't make clear who they've replied to - even just re-instating the thing that used to say who a comment was in reply to would help. Yes I know they've got a grey arrow you can click on that will move the page to the comment it replies to, but that's silly - and then you have to scroll back to where you were.

          The comments are important to the site. They could do with a bit of love.

          1. onefang Silver badge

            Re: How about...

            "It's so hard to make sense of the comments"

            Especially when it's a bunch of ACs arguing with each other.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: How about...

              > Especially when it's a bunch of ACs arguing with each other.

              I don't know what you're talking about.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: How about...

                "I don't know what you're talking about"

                shut-up, loser, I was going to say that.

                1. onefang Silver badge

                  Re: How about...

                  "shut-up, loser, I was going to say that."

                  Well played sir and/or madam.

          2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

            Re: How about...

            Yes I know they've got a grey arrow you can click on that will move the page to the comment it replies to, but that's silly - and then you have to scroll back to where you were.

            Wooooooooooooooooooaaaaahhhhh! I never knew the arrow thingies had that purpose... How long have they done that for?

            But yeah, a silly way to do it!

        4. -tim

          Re: How about...

          If your going to fix the commenting, consider running a private usenet server as the real backend. It fixed all the problems most comment systems have but it addressed them decades ago.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: How about...

            It fixed all the problems most comment systems have but it addressed them decades ago.

            I'm sure it did. How many more did it create, though?

          2. Nick Kew Silver badge

            Re: How about...

            @-tim - consider running a private usenet server

            Nice one: Quod ambulat lectitantur! Once we had the comments of Usenet, then we had the Enclosure of the Commons in privately-owned websites. Would it be a good thing to remind us of the commons we once had?

            1. Dave559 Bronze badge

              Re: How about a private usenet server...

              I fear we may be stumbling into the realm of feature creep, but…

              As a (now former) fellow usenet contributor, I am curious, Nick, as to whether you will be posting an RFD for uk.comp.media.the-register or perhaps uk.media.web.the-register to uk.net.news.announce? ;-)

              Certainly, once upon a time, the perfect webforum <-> usenet gateway was the golden treasure that we were all searching for…

              (I see that there is (if it is still working, I know Lars (of Gmane) ran out of spare time) <http://gwene.org/about.php>, which might be sort of relevant for anyone who might want to try to bolt something together?

  8. ThereBePirates

    Looks alright. Cleaner interface to the last design. I'm running Adblock+ and Chrome.

  9. BoldMan

    Its not bad, the normal articles have their own boxes.

    You are still only using at most 2/3rds of the width of my desktop screen - I guess the side columns are where you will put adverts.

    There does seem to be a disconnect between the numbe rof articles above the first row of imaged articles - looks to be about 1.5 box widths of whitespace on the right of the last box in the second row.

    Its a redesign I can live with.

    1. Matthew 3

      It would be lovely to lose those grey bars down both sides of the screen. But I said that last time as well.

    2. Marco Fontani

      There does seem to be a disconnect between the numbe rof articles above the first row of imaged articles - looks to be about 1.5 box widths of whitespace on the right of the last box in the second row.

      That "empty space" is actually for an MPU ad, which it seems you're either blocking or not seeing. Is it the former (not a bug) or the latter (a problem)?

      1. Mark 110

        Looks like they haven't sold the ad today.

        Can't we have the ad just down one side of the page - would allow the responsive design much more space to show some headlines.

  10. John Sager

    Doesn't change on my phone

    Nexus 5 Android 6, Firefox 61.0 with uBlock Origin 1.16.12.

    1. John Sager

      Re: Doesn't change on my phone

      It came up with the new look this morning. However, I really don't like it - it wastes far too much space. The previous wasn't perfect, as headlines would repeat further down the list. But even with that I prefer the more condensed list on smartphone - screen real-estate is in short supply!

  11. TechnicalBen Silver badge
    Coat

    Not perfect...

    But wow, web "2.0" that does not want me to tear out my hair, teeth, eyes and brain just to get away from the horror? Great stuff!

    You must have real engineers working on this stuff, not those "graphic designers" who don't actually think someone else needs to [b]read[/b] the content on the site they design.

    Mines the one with the unused Graphic Design qualifications in the pocket... oops.

    1. DJO Silver badge

      Re: Not perfect...

      But wow, web "2.0" that does not want me to tear out my hair, teeth, eyes and brain just to get away from the horror? Great stuff!

      Don't worry, this is just an early draft, I'm sure they'll come up with something in due course to seriously piss off as many people as possible.

      Cue the green headlines on a purple background.

  12. Valeyard

    YES

    totally up for this, and it looks really good so far

  13. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Looks good, no grumbles from my side.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    You know what, it's really not bad at all. Simple, properly dynamic and it's great that you haven't entirely abandoned the "feed of news" in favour of a custom front page. Nice balance. There's a bit of wonkiness where uBlock has worked its magic, but I guess I can't complain too much on that front.

  15. lsces

    Still too much grey space ...

    I know that wide screen monitors are a thing of the past, but responsive design SHOULD be able to make use of all the blank space that cropped sites like The Register have always had. Far too long and thin is what is needed for limited vertical display devices, but horizontal display devices should be supported as well ... even if many sites can't actually cope with using tablets and the like in horizontal mode ...

    1. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Still too much grey space ...

      I know that wide screen monitors are a thing of the past

      Have I stepped through into a parallel universe again (I still suspect, not matter what my therapist says) - last time I looked, it wasn't impossible to buy a not widescreen, but it wasn't easy either.

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: Still too much grey space ...

        "it wasn't impossible to buy a not widescreen, but it wasn't easy either"

        Half the time I peak into an office, most people have two wide screen monitors side by side. I have once seen someone that had one of them in portrait mode.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      FAIL

      Re: Still too much grey space ...

      "wide screen monitors are a thing of the past"

      not on MY planet. and I'm certainly no "luddite". I *despise* vertically oriented aspect ratios anyway. My eyes are next to each other, side-by-side, and I view the world in "wide screen". Ultra-portrailt mode (>2:1 aspect in vertical orientation) makes it hard for me to recognize objects in photographs, let alone read TEXT. You and the other 3 people that agree with you can keep your vertical orientation. I'll take WIDE SCREEN every time!!!

      /me rotates slab devices into LANDSCAPE mode nearly all of the time.

      Oh, and El Reg? Please keep this in mind, i.e. make it look good in LANDSCAPE orientation, k-thx.

  16. Nick Kew Silver badge

    First sight: thanks for getting rid of some of the sillier quirks of $old-design. Now looks like a ramshackle set of unordered boxes each with a headline, and adapts reasonably when I try radically changing my browser window. But I fear those boxes are adding clutter: not something you need on a site with enough stories to fill a front page.

    My bottom line: the front page is something I rarely visit (easier to use the RSS feed). It's useful if I can find a story or easily scan headlines.

    The recent feature that most pissed me off is headlines that repeat on the same page, first in one of the silly sections (favourite/mostread/hot/whatever - I forget the actual classifications), then again somewhere in the general listings.

    1. A K Stiles

      Fewer repeating headlines

      Would be appreciated - If they're sticky, they don't need to be chronological and /or most read.

      Having an easier way to access some of the article types (like On-Call, Something For The Weekend) that don't have specific sections (e.g. BOFH) would also be helpful. It's currently a pain to find them if you've been on holiday and are playing catch-up over a couple of weeks.

  17. Dabooka Silver badge
    Go

    Okay here

    Nothing to write home about, I see the 4 boxes vs 3 beneath to accommodate ads which is fair enough. No obvious change on my handset (Canary on Oreo).

    No strong feelings either way.

  18. J4

    Don't stare into the white with remaining good eye

    Looks nice. A bit tidier, smarter font, neater comment numbers at the bottom of the headline.

    But the WHITE. It's so WHITE. Still. And then the highlight story flips to grey on mouseover.

    Why not try an A/B of having the grey be the default which flips to white on mouseover ? See if the readers still with working corneas prefer that ?

  19. Maya Posch
    Coat

    Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

    Let me guess, with the new design I will have to enable JavaScript for the The Register domain, a CDN or two, and half a dozen AWS domains or face a completely blank page?

    I don't mind redesigns (that much), but the drive towards JS-only websites is rather infuriating.

    And no, I haven't tried the new design as setting the cookie is too much trouble :) Screenshots look nice, though.

    1. Marco Fontani

      Re: Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

      the drive towards JS-only websites is rather infuriating.

      I wholeheartedly agree - we strive to ensure the basic functionality of "things" works without JS. JS provides an additional layer on top of the basic functionality. You can see (or maybe not, if you leave JS disabled) that for the up/downvote buttons, which are simple/standard HTML forms, but "morph" into AJAX-based things if you have JS enabled. Progressive enhancement might be the correct term?

      Or you can (again, maybe not?) see it with the "mobile website" footer button - as that feature is entirely JS-based, you won't find a trace of it in the HTML for the page. It'd be otherwise silly to have a non-functioning button.

      On the other hand...

      with the new design I will have to enable JavaScript for the The Register domain

      The design will continue to work without JS enabled, but you might be missing on a few lazy-loaded images and such. There's no reliable way to do that with CSS only, unfortunately.

      On a bigger/wider note, though, JS is pretty much a prerequisite for seeing ads, and the site "lives and breathes" through ad impressions - so by disabling JS you might be getting a subpar experience and might complain about it, but El Reg might be complaining more ;)

      1. Maya Posch

        Re: Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

        Thank you, it's a relief to know that I don't have to change my habits to keep using this website :)

        As for ads and the like, I have made it an absolute rule years ago already that the adblocker remains enabled, and JS disabled unless I can be absolutely certain that a domain is safe. This on account of JS and ads in general being the primary attack vectors for malware and kin on the 'net, as you may be aware.

        Thus I'm afraid that barring text-only and simple image-based ads, my usual assortment of witticisms and smart-ass commentary will have to suffice as my contributions to this website :)

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge

        Re: Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

        I wholeheartedly agree - we strive to ensure the basic functionality of "things" works without JS. JS provides an additional layer on top of the basic functionality.

        There were a number of changes to El Reg a few years ago that disapointedly broke that philosophy.

        Firstly, in the forums, the clear-to-understand date/time of a comment was changed to a javascript "x hours" or the even more horrible "x days ago". To make it worse, the non-JS fallback doesn't show the date/time as it did, it just shows the date, which is useless when you consider that most posts in a forum are made in the same day.

        Second, the needless "expand comment..." - if you are paging/scrolling through the comments, it breaks the flow to have to click "expand comment" . It's not necessary - vertical scrolling is inevitable! If you do want an easy way to skip long comments, a 'skip comment' anchor href is all that is needed.

        Other than that, yeah, one of the big appeals to me of the Reg is it's light and efficient design, so fair doos there.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

          'Second, the needless "expand comment..." - if you are paging/scrolling through the comments, it breaks the flow to have to click "expand comment" . It's not necessary - vertical scrolling is inevitable! If you do want an easy way to skip long comments, a 'skip comment' anchor href is all that is needed.'

          Agreed, that's a pet hate of mine. All those "Expand comments", "Read more", "Load more comments" links are very annoying.

        2. Marco Fontani

          Re: Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

          To make it worse, the non-JS fallback doesn't show the date/time as it did, it just shows the date, which is useless when you consider that most posts in a forum are made in the same day.

          Indeed, I agree. Commit from 2014 reverted and live ;)

          1. Jamie Jones Silver badge
            Pint

            Re: Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

            To make it worse, the non-JS fallback doesn't show the date/time as it did, it just shows the date, which is useless when you consider that most posts in a forum are made in the same day.
            Indeed, I agree. Commit from 2014 reverted and live ;)

            Blimey! That was quick! I made the same moan at the time when the change was made... I didn't like the new date change code, but I remember saying "if you keep it, at least don't lose the working non-js fallback", but it fell on deaf ears..

            I knew you were the BOFH worth keeping :-)

            1. Marco Fontani

              Re: Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

              I remember saying "if you keep it, at least don't lose the working non-js fallback", but it fell on deaf ears..

              It must've; apologies, I'm partially deaf and don't read forums all that often.

              ... so the best way to get this sort of "techy" feedback to us is likely to email webmaster@ - emails there usually get replied to fairly quickly (or never, depending).

              See also: https://www.theregister.co.uk/Page/problem.html

      3. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

        @ Marco Fontani

        JS and adds

        Or you could curate and serve adds yourself instead of using .js / third parties.

        .. Like many sites used to do back in the day

        On a tech site people are aware that .JS is a potential security issue (and many instances of malware attacks via .js adverts) and try and disable it as much as possible for protection.

      4. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Stop

        Re: Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

        "JS is pretty much a prerequisite for seeing ads"

        NOT true. By careful use of session identifiers and server-side effort, advertisements can be served up, clicked through, tallied, etc. _WITHOUT_ client-side scripting. It's just that the "programmers" who do it the CURRENT way are *LAZY*, *UNEDUCATED*, and *LACK* *CREATIVE* *THINKING*. That's all.

        /me coded a web page, to be run on a fondleslab, using ONLY server-side script and CSS, to solve certain kinds of puzzle problems in a popular video game. So that way when I play it I can use a fondleslab to solve those, when they show up. Otherwise I'd never be able to complete the game. Some of them are _IMPOSSIBLE_ without a computer, or extended white-board analysis.

        Anyway - I _KNOW_ it can be done, and I have NOTHING but CONTEMPT for ad-networks that REFUSE to do it *PROPERLY*. And it's GDPR compliant if you do it PROPERLY. how about THAT one!!!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

      @ Marco Fontani

      Being able to surf Javascript-free is a big reason to love the Reg. After the edgy-wit, anti-tech-hype and privacy-led agenda, its one of the biggest reasons to use the Reg. As regards Ad revenue vs JS... Regular Reg'rs often contribute in other ways. Sometimes by cross posting useful companion links (even just to 'The-Onion'), or taking time out to write lucidly. So hopefully we make up for it by helping keep the debate live or active. Good luck with the new look, and always fight the good fight!

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: Setting cookie already takes JavaScript

      "but the drive towards JS-only websites is rather infuriating"

      More like the icon. Security-minded people should be blocking script, period. And El Reg needs to understand that in their design. That goes MEGADUPLE for scripting in ads.

  20. Phil Kingston Silver badge

    We fear change

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nay, nay and thrice nay!

    Alternatively ... is there any possibility of a "no image" version of the front page(s). After all ElReg is one of the publications that you only go to read the articles :-)

    1. Sven Coenye

      @Nay, nay and thrice nay

      Run PrivacyBadger ;-) It eats all the images, on the old site as well as on the new one.

  22. dnbattley

    Constructive criticism - less feeding click bait please

    The new site itself looks fine and appears to load swiftly - I only tested on desktop, but assume basic testing on Android phone browsers has already happened.

    However, the new site (as currently laid out) appears to fall into the sadly in-vogue trap of assuming I only want to read your most click-bait-y headlines, with a "most read" section that already dwarfs the more traditional date-ordered news headlines. This is (IMHO) a flawed assumption on a predominantly news-based website, where I will typically want to browse, in order of oldest (i.e. picking up where I last updated myself) to newest, all those newsworthy items that are of interest to me - and to clarify my interests here I have no interest in jumping on the FOMO bandwagon that causes me to worry that I might be ignorant about something that the other kids are talking about in the playground tomorrow. At time of writing there are 14 (excluding the repetition of the "Elders of the Internet" article) stories in the upper, chronological, section - even assuming none of those are "priority" news that has jumped the queue it is highly likely on an average day that I will miss content unless I visit the site every few hours (which is not my usual m.o.). This will significantly reduce the site value to me.

  23. ArtThrob

    More new articles, less "most read", please

    I like the new look. The option of having full-width mastheads seems sensible.

    The one thing I'd change is to have more of the new articles, and fewer of the "most read".

    Either way, it needs clear and prominent navigation to "More ..." from both sections.

  24. ArtThrob

    Don't be Facebook

    Oh, and:

    Can we have a "most recent" articles? (If that's what "Top Stories" is - call it "Most Recent").

    I definitely don't want (to think that) you are serving up what some algorithm *thinks* I'm interested in...

    1. Marco Fontani

      Re: Don't be Facebook

      Can we have a "most recent" articles? (If that's what "Top Stories" is - call it "Most Recent").

      Articles are ordered by published at date descending, so you just have to look (usually) at the first row to find those, and work your way downwards.

      There'll be some "don't miss" or otherwise editorially-picked articles in the middle somewhere, along with the distinctly styled "Most read" row, but in general the bulk of articles are ordered as above.

    2. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: Don't be Facebook

      "I definitely don't want (to think that) you are serving up what some algorithm *thinks* I'm interested in..."

      ^This ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this ^this.

      OTOH, I use the RSS feed so the layout of the front page is irrelevant to me. :)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't be Facebook

      Please don't go this way, just give me articles sorted by how recent they are.

      1. DropBear Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        Re: Don't be Facebook

        Considering the new front page and its boxes seem to me about as orderly as a toppled container ship, compared to which the current front page seemed soothing in its regularity and relative simplicity on return, my by-RSS-only reading days may well be fast approaching.

  25. Joe Drunk
    Windows

    Mobile version comments still defaults to desktop view

    on both new and classic el reg, Android 6 stock browser. Same thing when desktop Firefox user agent is set to Iphone 5.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like it but then again I like marmite.

  27. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    Meh

    The in-line advertising messes up my GreaseMonkey scripts which removes all the stuff I don't want to see, leaves swathes of nothingness and unaligned article boxes but I guess I can live with it.

  28. theOtherJT

    Please don't make the entire card a button.

    I frequently like to copy text out of the front page headlines to google the name of some company or whatever for some context before reading the rest of the article. When the entire thing is a button it's really hard to do that.

  29. well meaning but ultimately self defeating

    Hmmm

    Don't really notice that much difference. The overlays when you do a mouseover on the section titles at the top are pretty annoying as they cover the content.

  30. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    As a freshly conjured bowl of petunias I must clearly state

    Oh no, not again.

  31. Korev Silver badge
    Terminator

    Conference grouping?

    If we're covering a conference, stories from the event can be grouped together into a handy box on the homepage.

    Can we also have a button to turn off the DevOps conference adverts?

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Conference grouping?

      psssst... Greasemonkey...

  32. Brian 18

    Prefer the current design

    but the new one is not that bad.

    The top stories are was a little confusing at first, the center is dominated by an image with the headline to the left. There is no vertical separator between that image and other (unrelated) headlines to the right. I know it gives a "cleaner" look, but for some reason my brain tried to figure out which of the right side headlines belonged to the image. Probably the whitespace caused by a left justified headline with one line significantly longer than the others.

    I actually prefer less fluffy pictures and more information.

    1. Brian 18

      Re: Prefer the current design

      Forgot something. There is a lot of WHITE and I am light sensitive thanks to an eye problem. For a short time, it is not an issue. After a while Bright WHITE causes me headaches. Try an off white color. There are plenty of shades that are close enough to white that most people cannot tell the difference and yet are far enough from white to really reduce eye strain.

      To anyone out there that wants to remind me most paper is white, try holding a sheet of white copier paper up to your monitor showing a white background. Unless you buy extremely bleached high gloss paper, you should see a distinct difference.

      1. Nick Kew Silver badge

        Re: Prefer the current design

        @Brian 18 - white is something you can do something about for yourself:

        - force something different in your own settings

        - use a display technology whose white is friendlier

        Back in the days of CRT monitors, I had a huge problem with white/light backgrounds, perhaps akin to yours. Nowadays I'm generally happy with them, but still sensitive to the quality of a display.

  33. Anonymous Coward Silver badge
    Joke

    Could do with a bit more:

    <blink><marquee><font color= .......

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Gimp

      Not forgetting the only work on Netscape signs. A Webring would be nice too.

  34. marky_boi
    Holmes

    Talk about make my laptop fan spin up !!

    My venerable Lenovo T420 normally is very silent, i used the Alpha site and after about 30 minutes, the fan was trying to make a cyclone. closed the tab and it went away... what sort of coding does this ?!?!?!?

    1. eldakka Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Talk about make my laptop fan spin up !!

      > My venerable Lenovo T420 normally is very silent, i used the Alpha site and after about 30 minutes, the fan was trying to make a cyclone. closed the tab and it went away... what sort of coding does this ?!?!?!?

      Maybe they've got a crypto-miner running?

  35. Giovani Tapini Silver badge

    This is sure to cause heated discussion

    on content and underlying technical approaches. I've ordered an extra big popcorn...

    I must say I agree with the comments above relating to more chronology than pushed headlines. I like many others read most of the content, so the screaming headlines are largely a distraction. I generally arrive from an RSS news item and I have no idea if the article is a screaming headline or a normal article anyway.

    Don't over think it, you don't have to hook us in with headlines, we will come back anyway.

    My beef is that comments and forum behaviour are currently markedly different on mobile, so alignment (as long as its not towards the current mobile offering) is good news.

  36. msage

    Date ordering

    I like that the timelines are now correct. I might finally be able to let go of www.theregister.co.uk/Week

    1. Marco Fontani

      Re: Date ordering

      I like that the timelines are now correct

      Both the new and "classic" homepages have stories ordered from descending published at date, save for 1) the "don't miss" story, which isn't currently shown on the "new" layout - but could; and 2) for "sticky" stories Editorial decides to place somewhere on the page; now replaced with a similar method.

      The _bulk_ of stories are ordered; some are sticky somewhere. This hasn't changed in a long, long time.

  37. pip25

    Not much of a difference

    Assuming the huge white bar at the top with a single button ("Back to classic homepage") is not supposed to be there in the long term. The articles do look a bit more jumbled together, the old version felt somewhat more orderly than this.

    As some others mentioned above, if you were redesigning things anyway, wasting a bit less space on a widescreen monitor would have been nice.

    1. Marco Fontani

      Re: Not much of a difference

      the huge white bar at the top with a single button ("Back to classic homepage") is not supposed to be there in the long term

      That's indeed only shown for the opt-in users, to allow them to go back to the "classic" version without having to look up the article, go to the "red pill" page and have to figure out that clicking "rm" removes the cookie ;)

  38. Whitter
    Thumb Up

    Duplication

    Nice job all-in-all.

    In the same manner as the current site design, there is a good bit of link-duplication (going as far as link+image duplication). One link per story on the main page is quite enough, and definitely no image duplication.

    I agree with a previous comment above that "Most read" isn't a useful section for me, though it demands a fair bit of room.

    And when clicking on the #comments section on a story (bottom RHS), perhaps we could jump straight to the commentard section?

  39. WibbleMe

    sure,

    are you getting rid of mobile.theregister.co.uk ?

    1. Marco Fontani

      are you getting rid of mobile.theregister.co.uk ?

      Not a definite answer, and not in any official capacity - but "likely".

      The way things are going web development wise is towards having responsive websites, and this (if and when done right) negates the need for having multiple versions of the same site / content (disregarding AMP for a minute).

      We've already gotten rid of the mobile article pages, in case you haven't noticed. They're responsive, and the "www, responsive" version suffices. Next up will likely be getting rid of the mobile homepage - as this new, responsive homepage + our current "edition switching" logic suffices pretty well.

      Chances are we will likely make each "page type" responsive, and kill the related mobile-only version as we go.

  40. Efer Brick

    Typical post modern bolx

    let's go back to https://web.archive.org/web/19980628145626/http://www.theregister.co.uk:80/

    Nostalgia ain't what it used to be!

    1. Florida1920 Silver badge

      Re: Typical post modern bolx

      Nostalgia ain't what it used to be!

      "CIA warns of Cyber War" Wow, they sure missed it on that one. The vulture icon was pretty rad, though.

  41. Whitter
    Windows

    And on a side note

    It's got nowt to do with the new design, but let's just take the opportunity to ask for only static silent ads please!

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: And on a side note

      Can I give Whitter an extra million upvotes?

      I didn't know the Reg had sound, but I have seen animations, which caused me to blanket-adblock Reg ads (which also catches story images). If the animations disappeared, I'd unblock the ads.

      Occasionally I try to look at the Reg on mobile, where I'm less in control. But then I see an animation, and back out of the site.

  42. Whitter

    Forum section

    I note the structure of the forum section still doesn't tally with the structure of the articles.

    e.g. MainPage > Software is a busy enough section.

    However, MainPage > Forums > Software is a bleak desert, populated only by Applications > Verity Stob!

  43. sabroni Silver badge

    I'd like to see it fill the page

    Why doesn't it?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'd like to see it fill the page

      On my 16:9 26" monitor filling the screen means head movement - and that is uncomfortable. A centred page can be read by maintaining the same head position without any feeling of the eyes having to scan to extreme edges. The right-hand panel usually never needs to be scanned - as there is nothing relevant for me to read.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I'd like to see it fill the page

        "On my 16:9 26" monitor filling the screen means head movement - and that is uncomfortable. A centred page can be read by maintaining the same head position without any feeling of the eyes having to scan to extreme edges. The right-hand panel usually never needs to be scanned - as there is nothing relevant for me to read."

        I think this may be one of the reasons app windows can be resized. I rarely would have a browser maximised to full screen on a large monitor. This is also one of the reasons I'm all for properly done "responsive" pages, so I can resize my browser window to the size and aspect ratio that suits me, not something dictated by a web designer or screen manufacturer.

    2. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: I'd like to see it fill the page

      I'll be sure to mark in my calendar the day I see a "responsive" "web 2.0" page that uses more than the middle third or so of the width of a 16:9 monitor. Hasn't happened yet. There must be a secret conspiracy somewhere sworn not to rest as long as there is any website remaining that can't be reduced to an endless vertical list of three word wide post-it-cardletsnippetkins. #WhoNeedsMore #BiglySad

      1. onefang Silver badge

        Re: I'd like to see it fill the page

        I'll add my vote. There's reasons I have a wide monitor and a tiny font, but "so I can enjoy most of my screen being blank" isn't one of them. Though I always assumed that's where the adverts go, since I block them anyway, but now I'm seeing a place holder where the adverts should be in this new El Reg, and it's not on the sides.

        It's particularly annoying when comment threads are indented, you quickly end up with a thin stream of one word per line smooshed up on the right of the middle third.

  44. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hmmm.

    "The last time we rejigged the appearance of the site, opinion was highly divided."

    That's not my recollection - unless by highly divided you mean the readership vs. The Register

    1. TRT Silver badge
  45. Def Silver badge

    Those boxes around the headlines/sub headings are unnecessary and just add noise.

    The layout of each row looks disjointed and random.

    The section name should be smaller, and probably in the bottom left next to the time/comment counter.

    Make it so I can hide the Top Stories and Most Read sections. I don't care. I just want latest stories in chronological order from the top down.

    Get rid of the pointless pictures. I want headlines, not useless tat wasting space.

    Speaking of wasting space, 1000 pixel wide fixed width is a bit 2005 don't you think? If you can make the mobile site better (and it *is* better now - at least in Edge), why not make the desktop site expand to the full browser width as well?

  46. tfb Silver badge

    The 'go back to the old version' thingy

    should be smaller or at the bottom, or something, because it pushes everything else down & also, presumably, means the layout is not actually what it will look like.

    1. TRT Silver badge

      Re: The 'go back to the old version' thingy

      Float it in a div.

  47. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A change is always a good time to re-evaluate whether you are spending too much time on an activity.

    Like my life - there was a time when El Reg did not exist for me - and there will come a time when it will not exist for me again.

  48. Chrispychips

    Don't decide what I should read

    Please, I read el reg everyday, I come back to it several times a day, having popular articles at the top will likely mean I will miss smaller but important to me articles. This is the way Facebook works and I end up seeing the same old stuff rather than more recent posts.

    At least give us an option to have a page sorted just by recent articles.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ugh. The photos add no value to the stories, thus wasting space that could be used to convey relevant information. The tetris (every row is a different) layout makes it difficult to scan the page for information. Hmm. The "classic" design has the same problems. Thus I never visit your site. Thank heavens for RSS where I don't have to deal with sh*t. BTW, I am a UI/UX designer and HTML code slinger. What did your visitor research identify as issues requiring resolution?

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eyeball shock! Instant palpable feeling of nausea.

    Too much white. Too many pictures. Too disorganised. Too much scrolling needed.

    It may be that it just needs my El Reg page filter code adjusting - but my life is too short to want to faff about redeveloping that.

    But how bitter will be this last farewell.

  51. John Mangan

    First Reaction

    Mostly what others have said:

    - too many pictures

    - unnecessary sections interrupt rapid scanning of story headlines

    - too many pictures

    - inconsistent box sizes disrupts rapid scanning of story headlines.

    Having said that I've never understood the need for stock photos to 'portray' every story. For some stories pictures are useful; for others not so much but I guess that's my problem.

    I would echo the requests to be able to click on the number of comments and go straight to the comments for any particular story. I would also like a 'strictly chronological' story ordering.

    You know, I know it was years ago but I really don't have the stamina for another "It's shit!", "No, it's not!" slanging match. Like a couple of posters above I'm wondering if it's time to just move on. I've been entertained, informed and amused (sometimes all at the same time) at the Register but sometimes the reward isn't worth the effort. I just wanted to look at the Alpha and try to give an unemotional, rational critique of what I saw but I felt that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach as I tried to articulate my views.

    Good luck getting it right.

  52. msknight Silver badge

    Doesn't look that different.

    However, on the home page, the "boxed" titles come in at different widths, and that confuses my eye. I like my tiles somewhat regimented.

    Also, the individual sections have a 5 piece rolling headline at the top, which always drive me nuts. These things either go onto the next one before I've read it, or else by the time I've thought, "Oh! I like the look of that," and get my mouse to the banner, it changes over just before the click. Causes nothing but frustration for me.

    Other than that, it looks like a cleaner version of the same design.

  53. onefang Silver badge

    I use a variety of Palemoon plugins to get web sites to behave according to my tastes. Sometimes certain websites seem to think I'm using a phone and switch to their mobile version. Let's see what happens when I bite this new cookie...

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Not a whole lot different for me really. The headline articles are a little bit better behaved. I can now see a line that says "Advertisement" where I guess the adverts would be if I wasn't blocking them. I'll stick with this.

  54. unz
    Boffin

    DARK MODE

    I ask only for one thing: An optional dark site theme.

    Have mercy on my aching ocular orbs.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: DARK MODE

      "I ask only for one thing: An optional dark site theme."

      That's what one of my browser extensions does for me, only on all web sites, coz every one and their dog thinks that black text on white background is the way everything should be. "Page Colors & Fonts Buttons" lousy name, works reasonably well most of the time, not particularly obnoxious when it doesn't work.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: DARK MODE

      "Have mercy on my aching ocular orbs."

      A couple of points that can be addressed without losing the current 'look'.

      a) off-white background to limit the blue level. Lowers eye strain

      b) no more "grey on white". *EVAR* (especially when hovering).

      (and the 'edit comment' text size is just TOO SMALL - can you fix THAT too, please? I didn't test with the new site appearance, though, so maybe you DID fix it?)

  55. Florida1920 Silver badge
    Pint

    Don't miss the sidebar

    Right away, the home page looked friendlier. The sidebar was distracting. Good job!

  56. mfisch

    News Prioritization by Popularity not ideal.

    Perhaps I'm not your median reader .... I've been a (nearly) daily reader for almost 20 years. Days where I'm too busy I catch up later in the week somehow.

    In short, I spend a lot of time looking at your content and don't need 'sort by popularity' to save me time (by pulling the less popular stories out of the page feed it actually costs me a lot of time or information).

    In the average week I peruse perhaps half the articles you have on offer and rely heavily on your information feed to keep up to date in the industry. Your headlines are predictable enough that I can quickly determine whether I want to click through.

    The redesign alpha seems to show just a few of the most recent or perhaps pinned articles up top followed by a 'MOST READ' section which I presume is based on popularity.

    I find it unlikely that the half of the articles I read thoroughly from your outlet are the same half that are most popular. This means I'm going to miss a lot of stories.

    Please make sure to include a chronological feed ... I could resort to XSS to track your content but more likely I'll just switch to an outlet that doesn't force me to click through 10 sections to make sure I'm not missing anything.

    1. Marco Fontani

      Re: News Prioritization by Popularity not ideal.

      The redesign alpha seems to show just a few of the most recent or perhaps pinned articles up top followed by a 'MOST READ' section which I presume is based on popularity.

      It's one ROW of FOUR articles, with a distinctive grey-ish background. It's the same four articles which are shown on the forums or "old homepage" RHS.

      The row below "continues on" with the chronological article list.

      What I take from this is that it's not too clear to many that the "most read" bit only applies to that row of four articles, _despite_ the distinctive background.

    2. mfisch

      Re: News Prioritization by Popularity not ideal.

      hmm .... I'm looking closer now. Is "MOST READ" just those four articles in that box and the remainder of the bottom of the page all chronological?

      It's not really clear.

      If the entire bottom of the page is chronologically inclusive (so I can catch up etc) .... then I like the new format.

      Two other notes:

      There's not nearly enough whitespace, everything is too jammed together making it difficult to read. Are you afraid people don't like scrolling?

      I'm very happy with the responsiveness of this new design. The old design was obviously geared for desktops which means half the time (mobile device) your site is difficult and feels like it was designed in the stone age. Cheers for horizontal bounding to screen width!

      1. mfisch

        Re: News Prioritization by Popularity not ideal.

        Re: whitepace

        The thing that makes the new design difficult to read:

        - The gray line around the article boxes is super distracting. The old format (just white space) was much easier on the eyes. Perhaps even a more subtle gray would make a difference here. I've tested this on both desktop and mobile and the eyeball burn problem is there in both.

        - 4x articles wide is strange.

        I see as I resize the window it goes from one article wide (phone, good), 2 articles wide (tablet? small browser window? Good), ... then straight to 4 articles wide (crazy jumbled looking). Even at max-width of the main content page 4 articles wide is too busy.

        If I had to redesign this part with no other considerations I would do 3 articles wide until the viewport width is sufficiently wide to fit 4 articles with pleasant whitespace. Instead I've got empty grayspace padding the left and right sides and text thats so squished in the middle I can't read it.

      2. Marco Fontani

        Re: News Prioritization by Popularity not ideal.

        hmm .... I'm looking closer now. Is "MOST READ" just those four articles in that box and the remainder of the bottom of the page all chronological?

        Yes!

        It's not really clear

        The "most read" unit has a distinctive light grey background, in contrast with the white background used by the other stories, which at least right now are in chronological order.

        This all points to the "most read" unit maybe needing a little further hint that it's really just those four stories... but IMVHO the background colour change should be enough.

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: News Prioritization by Popularity not ideal.

          The "most read" unit has a distinctive light grey background, in contrast with the white background used by the other stories, which at least right now are in chronological order.

          This all points to the "most read" unit maybe needing a little further hint that it's really just those four stories... but IMVHO the background colour change should be enough.

          Just my 2 cents on this section:

          The grey background is very subtle, I didn't even notice that there was a grey background until this thread noted it (note that I think that that grey shade would actually be a better background for the entire site, not the bright white you currently use).

          While the articles themselves might be 'in' the grey box, the headline "MOST READ" and the heavier grey horizontal next to it aren't in that grey box, they are on the main white background of the page. There is a roughly the same weight grey line at the bottom of the greyed background area that looks like it is part of the grey background zone, not a terminator to the "MOST READ" heading.

          So what I see, how I comprehend it (prior to you explanation), is a new section headed "MOST READ", that includes within it (i.e. it is a component of "MOST READ", not the sole content of "MOST READ") a very subtly shaded grey area, and then continues on with more "MOST READ" content after it.

          At the very least, the "MOST READ" heading and it's grey horizontal line need to be within the same 'box", with the same background grey, as those 4 articles.

  57. Wilco

    Comments on redesign

    I like the general direction but there are some things that could be improved. I'm using latest Chrome with adblock on.

    1) I don't like the hover over grey highlight. It seems more extreme than the current site Also the hover state is much lower contrast than the regular state, which makes it hard to read for old blind people like me.

    2) The alignment of boxes seems quite random. The main headline width doesn't align with the smaller story box underneath. The picture width doesn't align with the story boxes.

    3) Ad boxes mess up the size of the other boxes. There is a random ad at the right in row 3 whose size is completely unrelated to other boxes, bit which makes the other story boxes smaller and messes up the alignment.

    4) The new page seems to be divided into "Top Stories" and "Most Read". Is the most read section fully controlled by page views? Is this different to the current site?

    5) Too many ines around things - I would get rid of them all

    6) The top row of the most read section has a grey background for no obvious reason

  58. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

    Is a redesign strictly necessary at this point?

  59. Marco Fontani

    On the layout, for avoidance of doubt

    The new layout is "row based". Each row may have different content, but that content is limited to that row, and doesn't "bleed over".

    That means, the "top stories" is just that very first row of stories, comprising of one with images, and three without. Those are editorially picked. You might see that it's a "whole section of one row" as it's got a distinctive border before it (well, next to its title) and after it, delineating it.

    You may see instead a "breaking news" row, of one story. If set, it's shown _instead of_ the "top stories" unit.

    After it, you'll see a chronological set of stories - from most recently to least recently published.

    BUT...

    We may instead show you a row of four "most read" stories; that'll have a distinctive light grey background. After that row, the main content resumes.

    Or... we may show you a "don't miss" story. That one will be Editorially picked, but the three stories to its right will be the "rightful" stories, from most recently to least recently published.

    Or, there may be an Editorially picked story, "stickied" in that position. After it, there'll be three more chronological stories.

    Interspersed, you'll see about three ads; some will be full-width and won't impede the display of stories before and after; others will be usually set to the right (or left!) of stories, and the three (or five) stories preceding it will shrink slightly, as (at least on desktop) we can only display ads of a given width (300px or so) on a desktop-sized device.

    On a mobile device, the "most read" unit is also four stories, and also has the distinctive background.

    Nothing's changed with regards to our displaying stories "generally" in most recently to least recently published order. It's kinda literally just how we portray the stories that has changed.

    1. Dave559 Bronze badge

      Re: On the layout, for avoidance of doubt

      Unfortunately, if you have to explain how the design works, that means that it hasn't really worked, I'm afraid(!).

      I think it's not at all obvious to (m)any of us that "Top Stories" contains only 4 articles: the way that the next row just continues straight after those first 4 articles, I really thought that was a (long) continuation of "Top Stories", and not actually the start of the "Newest first" section. Some sort of much clearer separation is needed, perhaps the "Top stories" section should be on a slightly darker background (similar to "Most Read"), and with a much "harder" break between it and the start of the "Newest first" section (perhaps even a "Newest articles" heading just to make it explicitly clear?).

      "Most read": I very much get the feeling that very few, if any, of us care about that in the slightest (the nature of the readership probably makes us more likely to be general information junkies than the sort of people who care about who or what is "popular"), and you're possibly best just getting rid of it entirely? (If you had had a, say, "?src=mostread" parameter in URI links from the "Most read" section, you would be able to tell from your webstats whether (m)any people actually do find it useful. I know that I have literally never used it myself.)

      By all means do highlight "Top Stories" that you feel are editorially important (as that is useful and helpful), but, otherwise, I think we're mostly happy with a chronological list of articles (easy to tell when you've caught up with where you left off on your last visit, etc).

      I also endorse the requests from others for a less bright background (I really hate pure bright white backgrounds, and since most of your readers probably stare closely at computer screens vastly much more than many people in our jobs, a less dazzling colour (eg, light grey) would be so much less straining on the eyes. Alternatively, the ability to choose custom themes (dark on light, pale pastel, sepia backgrounds, etc, would, I am sure, go down very well.)

      (And, for the avoidance of doubt: I'm not meaning to be overly critical, it's a good initial step forwards.)

      1. Marco Fontani

        Re: On the layout, for avoidance of doubt

        If you had had a, say, "?src=mostread" parameter in URI links from the "Most read" section, you would be able to tell from your webstats whether (m)any people actually do find it useful. I know that I have literally never used it myself.

        Unless the client-side devs screwed something up, we've tracked clicks on "most read" since its inception (and separately, when the RHS "most read" unit used to come in a few A/B variations) and continue to do so in this new design, "simply" using GA, with sampling - and a little chunk of JS.

        Re your "how many find it useful", I'm not looking now at the actual stats, but speaking in general... "most read" is quite a good source of additional page views for enough readers to make it worthwhile to be kept. It's maybe not as good a source of additional page views for assiduous readers who've already read those articles, but it certainly is for readers who find the contents of those highly popular articles interesting, as they've not seen them before.

        Same goes for all other "editorially picked" slots - they're "pinned" because they'd otherwise "fall down" in the sea of bland, ordered by date published articles - and they'd risk getting missed by less assiduous readers.

        If you've not read the news on the site for a few days, chances are that between the "most read", "top stories" and "don't miss" slots you'll find good articles to read - although you might also do well looking at the homepage for recently published articles which might not have had enough time to "rise".

        Hope this makes sense! Not all readers are as assiduous as most readers commenting on this article; not all readers actually comment on articles; not all assiduous readers comment. Not all commentards read the articles, either...

        In general, this new design tries to give the Editorial team more ability to shape the homepage in a way they weren't able to previously; moreover, it has been a pretext for also going towards responsive design / mobile friendly - which we weren't previously.

        Many design matters are mostly a matter of personal taste, and one's choice on what should be on a homepage depends on how they use the site. We have to cater to a lot of users, very different between each other. It's sometimes the case that what works for the power-user hurts "new" users, or the other way around.

        It's a difficult balancing game.

        1. Dave559 Bronze badge

          Re: On the layout, for avoidance of doubt

          Re: "mostread". Remember that Google Analprobe (and similar third party trackers) only run for those of us who don't block them, and given the audience of this site, any data you (don't) get from GA is likely to be substantially more skewed from what might be typical elsewhere (which is why I was suggesting a URI parameter for more reliable link tracking).

          1. Marco Fontani

            Re: On the layout, for avoidance of doubt

            Remember that Google [...] only run for those of us who don't block them [...] any data you (don't) get from GA is likely to be substantially more skewed [...]

            We do use url-based tracking elsewhere, i.e. on whitepapers - which isn't ads-supported - where we track the "source" for a download, to be able to tell what works (newsletter link, RHS link, "most read papers" etc) and what doesn't. As it's not ads supported, and as the "business" of that site only relies on people downloading whitepaperes, we can't merely use GA as we'd indeed lose a lot of trackability.

            That said, you might concede that for the ads-supported site we're instead far more interested in the behaviour of those seeing ads (as the site is ads-supported) which are unlikely to see ads but block GA, as those are likelier to be the ones that keep the site afloat - money wise, not merely comments wise.

        2. tiggity Silver badge

          Re: On the layout, for avoidance of doubt

          using Google Analtics (typo deliberate for a change) will be a problem as likely that a fair proportion of techy people have that blacklisted, so metrics cannot always be relied on ..

          Web log analysis, if configured, could give an idea how useful it is ... as you can set yourself up to log all requests quite easily (spot the person who thinks whats the use of GA when you can log stuff & be unaffected by js blocks, GA blocks etc)

          1. Marco Fontani

            Re: On the layout, for avoidance of doubt

            Web log analysis, if configured, could give an idea how useful it is ... as you can set yourself up to log all requests quite easily (spot the person who thinks whats the use of GA when you can log stuff & be unaffected by js blocks, GA blocks etc)

            We use both, but each to their own purpose.

            In an ideal world, "web log analysis" would be the best of the crop, but how do you propose one filters for real, actual users ONLY (the things we're most interested in knowing whether things work for) instead of the zillions of differently behaving crawlers?

            For the use case I highlighted, using GA gives us the best 80% of gain for 20% effort. Going the "analyse log files" route for that gets me instead pulling my hair out, and I'd rather keep them for the time being, thanks.

            For other stuff we absolutely rely on log file analysis; each has their own purpose, and they're not - to the best of my knowledge and experience, interchangeable.

            1. Dave559 Bronze badge

              Web stats analysis and crawlers

              A good point about the need to filter out crawlers, etc, from pure log file visit analysis.

              However, there are less painful alternatives to the perhaps most well-known method of probing, that most readers would probably be willing to accept; it's not really the analysis of web statistics (an understandable thing for a publisher to want to know about) that is the issue for many of us, but that that data is passed to an untrusworthy third-party.

              You are probably aware of Matomo (formerly Piwik), which you could install locally, and which is very full-featured in itself. It has an "opt out" function (and even respects "Do Not Track") for the truly secretive.

              https://matomo.org/

              1. Marco Fontani

                Re: Web stats analysis and crawlers

                Yup, "shame" that the industry has instead pretty much settled on GA, and that's kinda the only metric they accept.

                1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                  Re: Web stats analysis and crawlers

                  "Yup, "shame" that the industry has instead pretty much settled on GA, and that's kinda the only metric they accept."

                  Probably the advertisers have been stung by less than honest site operators too many times so prefer an "independent" 3rd party analysis of page and ad views. Google has become all pervasive and "trusted" in that respect so the bar is incredibly high for other to be able to join in.

      2. Marco Fontani

        Re: On the layout, for avoidance of doubt

        I think it's not at all obvious to (m)any of us that "Top Stories" contains only 4 articles: the way that the next row just continues straight after those first 4 articles, I really thought that was a (long) continuation of "Top Stories", and not actually the start of the "Newest first" section.

        I completely "get" where you're coming from, but may I point out that the "classic" homepage has the exact same unit (and has had that for 3+ years) and what's changed between "classic" and "new" for that unit is... merely where the "top stories" title is (moved from right to left) and how the "main" pic is portrayed? :^)

        I take your point that the "separation" between those section isn't as clear to many people as they'd prefer; we did briefly AB test a "dividing header" between the top row and the slightly lower rows, but the result from that was roughly inconclusive. We'll see!

        1. Dave559 Bronze badge

          Re: On the layout, for avoidance of doubt

          > I completely "get" where you're coming from, but may I point out that the "classic" homepage has the exact same [Top Stories] unit (and has had that for 3+ years) and what's changed between "classic" and "new" for that unit is... merely where the "top stories" title is (moved from right to left) and how the "main" pic is portrayed? :^)

          Ah, but you can see the code, we can only see what the matrix wants us to perceive!

          On the current normal (desktop) site, I had only ever 'seen' "Top Stories" as an entirely separate column on the right, and had just assumed that the "hero" story (yuck, I hate that term) was either a separate "hero" story in itself or perhaps merely the newest date-sorted story(!).

          (And when browsing on my mobile, that was still that confusion as to where "Top Stories" actually ended and date-sorted stories began (I'd guess at the point where the story titles stopped having accompanying pictures, but without a "harder" divide of some sort, it's perhaps not especially clear (although I suppose also not especially important).)

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: On the layout, for avoidance of doubt

      The new layout is "row based".

      That is BAD. Many of the same faults as 1997-style tables-abuse.

      But I hadn't realised that. Indeed, I gave it a quick test by narrowing the browser window, and four boxes per row went down to two nice and smoothly, which looked like evidence of flexible design.

      I also took the general untidiness of those boxes (looked a bit like packing to move house) as a good sign that it wasn't the work of some deezyner-wannabe from a marketing department.

  60. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Lines, lines and other visual distractions

    The sheer number of lines are visually distracting - as noted above already the brain will automatically make lines therefore adding so many of them doesn't add anything - in fact it makes it unnecessarily complicated. Not quote as bad as the "stacked chocolate box" of GUI designs that was inflicted on users quite a few years ago.

    The article age and comments indicator are unnecessarily intrusive compared to the content itself. What si more important? The article teaser text or the age and comments indicator?

    The use of JavaScript to load images is unnecessary. JavaScript should be an enhacement, not an implementation.

    1. Marco Fontani

      Re: Lines, lines and other visual distractions

      The use of JavaScript to load images is unnecessary. JavaScript should be an enhacement, not an implementation.

      I agree; unfortunately, this is what allows us to simply NOT load those images at all on device sizes which won't be showing them. I'm not aware of any HTML+CSS-only based solution which allows them to NOT be loaded if they're not going to be shown.

      Even if you set an element to "display:none", they will get loaded, and that's wasted bandwidth for mobile users.

      We have to draw the "JS as enhancement" line somewhere.

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Lines, lines and other visual distractions

        CSS media selectors can be used and the images shouldn't be loaded unless required. This would require using CSS for the article image which isn't hard, but possibly annoying depending on how the output code works.

        1. Marco Fontani

          Re: Lines, lines and other visual distractions

          CSS media selectors can be used and the images shouldn't be loaded unless required

          You're right, "shouldn't". Unfortunately some browsers still do, and instead of having to go the '90s style of doing browser sniffing, we've decided for a simpler, and mostly better, client-side solution.

          While I understand that this solution doesn't show images to users who keep on disabling the site's javascript, it makes the overall experience a TON better for most mobile users, and that's who we did this mostly for.

  61. Lennart Sorensen

    As if it matters what we think.

    Maybe you could just undo the previous change and go back to a proper page width? I don't want the page to look the same on my phone and my desktop. They have vastly different screen sizes and shapes. I still want my screen width used properly.

    And I am not convinced by the idea of highlighting anything. I go daily to read the days stories in order and don't care to have them shuffled around since that just makes catching up a pain.

    But well what we thought didn't matter last time I have little hope it will this time either.

    Oh and having the area outside the articles on the home page be a clickable link to some add or other sponsored content should be punishable by death. I have only ever clicked on it by accident when changing focus of my windows. If it doesn't look like a button it should not be a button.

    Well at least so far the new layout doesn't seem obviously worse than the current one, unlike the last update. Of course it also doesn't fix any of what the previous update screwed up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: As if it matters what we think.

      " Of course it also doesn't fix any of what the previous update screwed up."

      I spent some time with filtering to get the last changes (mostly) eliminated. It was a new thing to do - so a learning curve that was sort of justified.

      No way am I going to waste time redoing that filtering to make this new format readable. I don't do things twice for the sake of it.

  62. Laughing Gravy

    Since your last change I view the mobile version of the site on my desktop. For some reason the mobile version of comments no longer works though

  63. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
    Pint

    I like what I see...

    Looking at the Reg using a lovely big screen: less scrolling and the appearance is somewhat cleaner to my eyes. Could even have five articles in each row, but that may be disliked by others.

  64. Dave 32
    Devil

    If it ain't broke...

    If it ain't broke, then why fix it?

    Well, except for adding more cowbell. You always need more cowbell.

    Dave

  65. John70

    Top Stories

    I'm not quite sure about the background shading on Top Stories when you hover over them especially with the title text also changing to a grayish colour.

    Below top stories, there are 7 stories, 4 per line. However the line with 3 stories, the boxes don't line up with the previous line. The 3 boxes are smaller in width. Does the 4th box area need a dummy box to make it pad out correctly?

  66. Lee D Silver badge

    You've got time to pee about like that, but:

    - No IPv6 still.

    - You still can't link my old posts under previous usernames (but same id!) to the badge/stats

    - I can't search through my own (or another user's) comments to find a particular thing I posted.

  67. Daggerchild Silver badge

    This is a human shop, for human people!

    "our proudly Perl-based homegrown online publishing system"

    Heh - you too huh? :)

    The only improvements I'd want to a UI would be data-based. i.e. make a list of all the things I want to know when I want to look at the main page, and then tick off how many I see straight away, and how much work I need to do to find the others.

    If it was me, I'd tag (and potentially inverse tag) all the articles into categories (as judged by invariant criteria), and then let the user promote or demote these categories so the frontpage is always the data most relevant. And not a huge image, a few ads, and a few promos. Scroll wheel usage is a cost metric.

    No, you don't want me as a beta tester. I care about stuff way too much, and you want to aim at users with money and power. As a general rule, people with money and power don't care.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is a human shop, for human people!

      "our proudly Perl-based homegrown online publishing system"

      One of the advantages of Perl is that you can server-side configure an HTML page to suit the browser. Efficient downloads - and potentially free of Javascript.

      1. Marco Fontani

        Re: This is a human shop, for human people!

        One of the advantages of Perl is that you can server-side configure an HTML page to suit the browser. Efficient downloads - and potentially free of Javascript.

        Sorry, not going to bring back user-agent sniffing for _everything_ unless I really absolutely must, and only for a few things. It's 2018, not 1994.

        We do something like it for our CSS (we serve different CSS to different browsers, to ensure you don't end up downloading too much CSS which is completely useless to your browser), mind you.

        We do some similar tricks for supporting HTML5 for IE8 (so as not to burden most users with loading things like html5shiv) but we've got to draw the line somewhere between "let's fix the rendering for those few silly browsers" and "let's make our HTML templates a huuuuge chunk of IF/ELSE/ELSIF based on which flavour of the year browser they are". Macros can help, sure, but that's not the point.

        Feature detection / progressive enhancement is where things are at, and we can't "just" use HTML+CSS for _everything_. For some things, we require JS. They keep things tidy and sane for us, and they hardly change much for most users.

        Not all users run with ad blockers, noscript, images disabled, etc. etc. There wouldn't be a site at all if that were the case.

  68. A. N. Other 1

    The only feature I don’t like....

    ...is the feint grey box around the article headlines. The lines should be slightly thicker and/or darker. Also, they could be colour coded depending upon the subject.

    (Reading on iPad Pro 9.7)

  69. imanidiot Silver badge

    Not really my kind of design.

    Maybe I'm just slightly autistic, but I LIKE the rigid website design. I don't want the editor to make a giant masthead of breaking news that I find completely unimportant (actually, to be fair, I just dislike giant waste-of-space mastheads in general).

    Most-read sections are also utterly pointless imho. I have my own likes and dislikes. I don't care what others read.

  70. fung0

    Slash 'Week'

    I've been using the /week/ page, which gives me a compact, readable, sequential view of the latest news items. It still seems to work with the new layout. Please don't try to 'improve' it!

    Just remember those words: compact, readable, sequential. Everything else is an impediment, and likely to drive me away.

    1. GrumpenKraut Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Slash 'Week'

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/Week/

      Uh, oh, ... never noticed! Thanks for pointing me to that one.

      Me ------------>

  71. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Angel

    Hmmm.

    Still no popcorn icon then

  72. J27 Bronze badge

    Small Steps

    The max width is still the same as the current fixed-width layout. That might be fine for phones, but on desktops you're still stuck with content that doesn't fill the window. In 2018, that's not really acceptable.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Small Steps

      "[...] but on desktops you're still stuck with content that doesn't fill the window."

      If it filled my close-up 16:9 26" screen I would constantly be moving my head to cover the sides. I like the current fill - except I ignore the right-hand panel***.

      ***there's probably a lot more I don't see - with uBlock Origin, Ghostery, and custom filtering to undo most of the format changes from the last alienation.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: Small Steps

        > If it filled my close-up 16:9 26" screen I would constantly be moving my head to cover the sides.

        In which case you can reduce the size of your browser window to a width and height comfortable to you. You don't have to have the window full screen.

        But, unfortunately, the reverse isn't true. There is a certain maximum size to the website, and if you do stretch your window beyond that size, it has no effect other than making empty whitespace around the page in the browser window.

        All websites should expand - or shrink - to fit the width of the browser window. Whether it's 5-point font on a 100" wide window, or 20-point font on a 19" wide window, the website should fill from side-to side. It's why we have resizeable windows and use markup languages that reflow the text to the size of the current viewing area automatically as long as you don't explicitly limit it.

  73. Barry Rueger Silver badge

    Cool? All ads, all the time!

    Old Reg on LG G4: Reg header + three stories.

    New Reg on LG G4 : Reg header + big honking Microsoft ad, with two words below, at the very bottom of the screen: Top Stories.

    Do I need to explain the problem?

    (Admittedly it seems to be all the rage these days to design mobile sites to showcase advertising at the expense of content.)

  74. Stephen Hurd

    Advertising breaks layout

    Every row with an "---- Advertisement ----" placeholder block gets borked... the remaining headline blocks are narrower and it breaks up the grid fairly badly... makes the adverts stand out (and therefore easier to ignore) while at the same time making the three headlines harder to read.

    I'm also not sure what the difference between a "Top Story" and a "Most Read" one is... maybe "Latest Stories" or "Breaking" or something? If they're called top stories just because they're on the top, I think you need a new name picker outer.

  75. John Crisp

    Horrible

    Nuff said.

    1. John Crisp

      Re: Horrible

      Actually, to be constructive.

      Mainly I read on mobile so.....

      I don't want images. They do nothing but waste screen real estate. A decent article title suffices (and I love the funny ones)

      I do want a simple compact list of headlines that I can scroll through quickly. My time is more precious than yours.

      The new version is far too widely spaced and takes too long to scroll through. Like hunting for a needle in a haystack.

      I don't want your suggestions. I like to make up my own mind what to read thanks. Equal weight to stories. Credit me with some intelligence.

      I just want a simple chronological plain text list of articles. Simples. For you, and me.

      /ends

      1. JohnHMorris

        Re: Horrible

        Well said. Don't let the marketers take over .... the Register has worked hard to achieve something that is also reflected in the stream of lovely bricks. Don't over-engineer ....

  76. Stephen Hurd

    Ok, maybe I understand now...

    So after reading some of the comments, I think I "get" it now...

    There's a block of four "Top Stories" (chosen by editors) first, followed by the seven newest articles (Top stories and most read excluded), followed by a row of four "Most Read" stories followed by all the rest newest to oldest.

    At the bottom is a link to "older stories" which links to a list of days in the current month (oldest first) with some breadcrumbs in reverse order (July -> 2018) that you can browse other days with... clicking "July" let's you choose other months in the current year, and clicking 2018 lets you choose a year, then a month. None of the links here takes you to a page where the first story is the one before the last story on the previous page.

    So the "older stories" link I find irritating... I want to view the older stories when I click it, not a list of days in the current month. I'm not suggesting an infinite scroll, but a link to the stories that came before the last story on the page would be very nice.

    1. eldakka Silver badge

      Re: Ok, maybe I understand now...

      I agree with what you've said generally.

      However, for recent 'older stories' - if that makes sense - try the /Week/ context, i.e.

      https://www.theregister.co.uk/Week/

  77. JohnHMorris

    Density, behaviour, scanning, harvesting, enjoying ...

    Note on usage - I like density - and always set TR to desktop even in phone. The low-density phone design (i.e. new design or old design mobile) requires scrolling and doesn't present much at a time. My pattern is "right click and open in new tab" three or four times. So the key is eyeball scanning and selecting. Only works well with a big "field of tasty selections". Graphics artists love whitespace. But it's the bane of real work.

    JHM

  78. Ozzard

    Fine in broad outline, nitpicks below...

    With a headline as I post this - one article to the left, several to the right - it looks somewhat asymmetric as the image is not in the centre of the page. That's probably a good thing, except that there are no visual cues that the picture is associated with the left-hand story until you hover over the story or image. It'd be good to have a cue to that effect; my slightly Aspie brain doesn't associate image and story as it stands.

    I still prefer more control over my vertical pixels. Any chance of a comfortable/cosy/compact setting (not that I ever use Gmail or anything, oh no) that squeezes the designer-grade whitespace out of the page and replaces it with minimal whitespace?

    Please, please, *please* can we have rid of that floating top navbar with the ALL CAPS? As noted last time, it's been demonstrated to be less readable than mixed case; and once again, it's vertical pixels that I can't use for my own nefarious purposes.

    Finally, any chance of an "advanced reader" option that blanks the stock images that adorn most stories, and their teasers on the main page, leaving only any that are genuinely related to the story? Once again, it's wasted pixels; I'm really not interested in seeing the same stock image that's been used for the last three related stories deployed again. It doesn't help me discern what the story is about; it doesn't convey information that is specific to the story; and in general it's schlock stock (where *do* you get your images from, as they're generally of rock-bottom creativity?!) If I could simply splat the images, that'd be great.

    Thinking about it, maybe I should just make an override CSS and load it ;-).

  79. JDX Gold badge

    I don't need to see it to tell you it sucks

    At least that's the feedback you're going to get. Every SINGLE community website makeover I've ever been involved with has been thus - users up in arms that "it's literally blinding me", threatening to boycott the site, even creating custom scripts to recreate the old look.

    It doesn't matter how brilliant the site is, in my experience. Better to set up a feedback email piped into nul.

  80. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921

    More Vultures Required!!!

    When browsing, javascipt switched off by default is my personal preference. Please make sure that your redesign works with javascript disabled, as it does now. Also don't tie the users to one tab, ensure that links can open in new tabs - I hate Google News since the recent toxic refresh because it's much less tabbable. The movement towards "Mobile first" is a travesty. Actually don't change a thing, El Reg is great the way it is.

  81. Alister Silver badge

    Forum pages

    We need a link at the bottom of the forum (comments) pages to take you back to the home page, without scrolling back up to the top.

    Where it says "The Register" in red used to be hyperlinked, but it isn't any more.

  82. DrBed

    TIFKAM?

    Seriously: What's the point of all those frames (boxing)? Reminds me of TIFKAM... or worse.

    SQUARED.

    Rest is OK, I suppose. Clean, maybe too much. Some beige somewhere, e.g. more retro-look?

    Oh, and more Vultures, of course ;)

  83. -tim
    Pint

    Geolocating options to turn it off?

    I would love to have https://www.theregister.co.uk/uk as well as https://www.theregister.co.uk/us and https://www.theregister.co.uk/oz which would turn off the geolocated story selection.

    1. Dave559 Bronze badge

      Re: Geolocating options to turn it off?

      Do we actually see different featured stories depending on where we are located? I didn't know that «shock».

      1. Marco Fontani

        Re: Geolocating options to turn it off?

        Do we actually see different featured stories depending on where we are located

        Since time immemorial, the homepage has had "editions" - US, AU, and "GB/Rest of World". The list of stories on the homepage slightly changes depending if you're in US/CA, AU/NZ or elsewhere; very few stories are set to have an edition, but it can be noticeable.

        All of them are shown in their respective section, though.

        Similarly, the Editorially-picked stories (top stories, don't miss, etc) are also picked by geography.

        This allows, say, the AU or US edition to highlight a really interesting "local" story which wouldn't otherwise have the same global importance - while at the same time allowing a particularly interesting "global" story to be able to be shown in that same spot in a global fashion.

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: Geolocating options to turn it off?

          'US, AU, and "GB/Rest of World"'

          Ah, so Aussies like me, how are in Oz, but use the web via a European proxy, will get "GB/Rest of World" stories. Might explain why I tend to see more GB and less AU stories.

  84. FrankAlphaXII
    Thumb Up

    I don't particularly like it on mobile (Firefox 63.0a1, aka Firefox Nightly on Android) because navigation between sections isn't intuitive, and it's not cleanly divided. Like it would be fine if each major section had one article a piece and you could tap on something to go into the section the article is in but I don't see a way to do it without tapping the menu button. It's two taps to navigate between sections where I'd prefer it to be just one from the front page.

    The desktop version has a menu bar though, so no complaints there. I'll likely just use the desktop version on Mobile.

    Aside from that, it looks good.

  85. Mike 137

    "Hidden cookie"?

    Perhaps the Register would like to explain "hidden cookie" and its full implications?

    1. Marco Fontani

      Re: "Hidden cookie"?

      Perhaps the Register would like to explain "hidden cookie" and its full implications?

      TFA says:

      Click here to enable the magic hidden cookie to opt-in for the 2018 redesign

      and:

      The cookie expires after a week, at which point you'll return to the current design.

      That's pretty much it.

      The link (well, the redpill page's JS, which can be read) sets a cookie, called "test_redesign", and sets it to value "2018", valid for about a week. Clicking the "Back to Classic Homepage" button instead sets it to "off_2018".

      Our Apache configuration ensures that even when your preferences are set to seeing the mobile version of the site, that cookie "takes over" for www's homepage, and shows you the new version; on our back-end, we simply check that the cookie exists and has value "2018" and if so we stash a variable, making the templates do what they need (set classes on the body tag, output a different SSI than the "classic" version, etc).

      The distinction between "2018" and "off_2018" moreover allows us to see how many opted in and "stayed there", vs how many opted in and quickly (or not so quickly) "went back".

      As to the redpill page, that's mainly been used in the past in order to see currently running A/B tests without influencing the outcome of them; i.e. being able to see "revision 2" of a unit, without the page view and/or the click "being counted" for the experiment. As it's meant to be a temporary setting one does, the related cookie's set to expire in just a week. We merely reused that facility to allow you, dear users, to opt in for a relatively short time - without "forcing" you to be part of this alpha/experiment for too long.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I generally like it except that the home page is not consistent with the information it gives about each article. Sometimes it gives the section/keyword, age, or author and sometimes it doesn't.

  87. Jim Whitaker

    Too many images on the home page just for the sake of pretty. One per page should be the max unless actually relevant (not just pretty) to the subject.

  88. nextenso

    New beta site dreadful in mobile

    The mobile version (Android 8) of new site appalling, one those unuseable ever scrolling sites where you get lost trying to find an article read few mins earlier. In desktop view heading fonts miniscule. Pleeeease don't do this. Your current site provides quick easy way to see all articles.

  89. eldakka Silver badge

    One of the issues with news websites is their seeming incapability to get away from old print-media paper styling.

    For example, when you would walk into a newsagent, there'd be 10, 15, even 20 different newspapers lined up so that you could only see the top half, the above-the-fold part. You aren't allowed to touch them, to pick them up and read them, until you buy it. All laying there side by side so the customer can see at a glance all the competing newspapers with the story their publishers think is the most eye-catching.

    It was even worse for magazines, there were literally hundreds of different magazines, all vying for optical space, eye-catching space so a customer would even be aware it existed, on the racks that they had to have splashy headlines, eye-catching images.

    In that system, yes you needed an eye-catching above the fold headline and/or picture to in the first instance catch the eye, get enough of the customers attention that they'd even notice it existed, then to encourage someone to buy your paper over the other ones, take it home/work/park/cafe and then to read through the rest of it.

    With websites, this is not the case. Sure, catchy headlines are still good, but you don't need to attract this initial "I see you" attention, because by going to the website you have already caught their attention before they've even seen your page layout or flashy images. You don't need to persuade someone to buy it over another site because by browsing to the site to see the front page the consumer has already, philosophically if not literally, "bought" your site and is reading it. They've already taken it home/work/park/cafe and are reading it.

    Therefore the 'top stories', or visually eye-catching headlines, pictures, are just not necessary. I've already bought it, and already flipping through the pages (clicking links to stories), reading it.

    As a consumer in this position, the only logical reason I can see for things like 'most read' stories, or 'top stories', is because there might be some specific reason you want those pages clicked over and above the customers interest in a story on a site they've already bought into. Is there extra advertising? Is it really an advertorial that the news site gets extra clickthroughs just from someone reading the story? What is the ulterior motive for flagging these stories when I can see all the stories, all the headlines, just by scrolling through and picking out the ones I want to read?

    I am not saying this is why The Register does this, but since there is no need for it in todays online experience - it just doesn't work the same way as print media sitting in a newsagent sharing shelf space with everyone else - then suspicions are aroused as to why. Whether it's purely innocent ignorance: "this is how print media has always formatted their front pages, and we are just a digital version of them so we'll format using the same theories", or something more: "this is an advertorial that we make more mony from than other stories so let's try and get more clicks for it" it's still problematic styling.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "In that system, yes you needed an eye-catching above the fold headline and/or picture to in the first instance catch the eye, [...]"

      The tabloid favoured by Bristow was designed so that whichever way you folded it to carry - it always showed a lurid headline.

  90. Marcus000

    I do read The Register at work but I have to make the window small enough not to show the pictures as i am supposed to be doing something else. You need to make your website look more like a technical document, so i dont get into trouble. Thanks.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Technical reference document

      @Marcus000: read it in Lynx ;-)

      (But perhaps a "boss mode" stylesheet option could be a nice easter egg…)

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Perhaps get a job at a less gulag-esque company.

  91. Denarius Silver badge

    layout

    PC: decent white spacing do delineate the separate articles. Will check on mobile later.

    Dont see much difference otherwise

  92. Dave559 Bronze badge

    "Expand comment" - we're Regtards, we have attention spans

    While we're thinking (re)design, I'd very much prefer if the "Expand comment" toggle in the forums/comments either went away, or perhaps if it was a configurable option.

    One of the genuinely great things about The Reg is the (mostly) literate, intelligent, interesting and informative nature of the comments. I think that most of us do have attention spans longer than 30 seconds, so if someone has taken the time to write a longish and hopefully thoughtful comment, I'd much prefer to be able to actually read it without an extra click (it's fortunately rare here for there to be long comments which are just quasi-literate rants, so the risk is fairly low, I hope (as long as Bobby Tables doesn't try for an input buffer overflow)).

    (cont'd p.94)

    '; --

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: "Expand comment" - we're Regtards, we have attention spans

      Disagree. Not every long comment is interesting even if it is cogently argued - a sub-thread on some particular point perhaps. How much effort is it to click a button to read a long comment?

      1. Dave559 Bronze badge

        Re: "Expand comment" - we're Regtards, we have attention spans

        > Disagree. Not every long comment is interesting even if it is cogently argued - a sub-thread on some particular point perhaps. How much effort is it to click a button to read a long comment?

        Fair enough, that's why I also suggested that perhaps it could be made a user-settable option.

        But certain old usenet habits die hard: just pressing «space», «space», «space», … repeatedly (or keeping scrolling down), Just Does The Right Thing (Eventually), without having to move your finger. Having to reposition your pointing device to click on an "Expand Comment" button does take some "effort" (even if only a marginal amount extra). ;-)

        1. onefang Silver badge

          Re: "Expand comment" - we're Regtards, we have attention spans

          Also in a lengthy comment thread, it's easier to quickly glance at the scroll bar to see how much more you have to read if they are all expanded. Otherwise you end up going through the page clicking all the expand comment buttons, then go to the top to start actually reading.

    2. Marco Fontani

      Re: "Expand comment" - we're Regtards, we have attention spans

      While we're thinking (re)design, I'd very much prefer if the "Expand comment" toggle in the forums/comments either went away, or perhaps if it was a configurable option.

      If you're an "active enough" user of these forums (i.e. if you qualify for your comments to be automatically approved), you'll now be able to toggle the option. If you've not ever set it, if you try expanding a comment you'll find a small message hinting you to pick your preference on the matter.

      You can head to the "My Forums" tab of your "Edit my details" (account) page, and you can toggle the "Switch off automatic post fading" on if you'd like.

      1. onefang Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: "Expand comment" - we're Regtards, we have attention spans

        'You can head to the "My Forums" tab of your "Edit my details" (account) page, and you can toggle the "Switch off automatic post fading" on if you'd like.'

        I like, and I turned off, er on that option. No more "More", er I mean no more "Expand comment" for me. Thanks.

        And now I've re-enabled the cookie to keep seeing the new stuff. Doing a bit of A/B testing.

  93. Dave559 Bronze badge

    "Donate" button

    I assume that the "Donate" button, for those of us who hate tracker ads, but who would nevertheless hate to see The Reg hacks have to resort to begging for a beer, is coming in a later iteration of the design? ;-)

  94. Miguel Vieira

    MOST READ updated

    Thanks for the feedback so far.

    The 'MOST READ' unit style has been updated and it should be easier to understand its delimitation and which articles it agglomerates.

    Other raised concerns in this comment section are being considered internally and we'll be addressing the identified issues.

  95. SeanEllis

    Seems OK

    Nothing awful happening. Layout of non-filled lines is a little scrappy, but it works.

    And best of all it works nicely with scripts disabled, too. Thanks for thinking of those of us who are in "default deny" stance.

  96. This post has been deleted by its author

  97. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I like having four headlines in a row, instead of the previous three. I always blocked the ads in the right column, so I'm happy it goes all the way to the edge of the box now.

    But some rows only have three articles in them. For some reason, the article positioning in those rows don't match up with the rest of the rows. Unless the row is somehow (very obviously) special, you should fill up earlier rows before putting articles in lower rows.

    It feels odd that not every article has an image associated with it. While every article in a row is configured the same way, it's still hard to tell which article a picture is associated with. If I look hard, I can see a little box around the headline (+picture), but I do have to look hard to see it. A slight color change between the inside of the box and the overall background would do a lot to help delineate the individual articles.

    There's a mouse-over effect, which just seems pointless. It's kinda nice that it helps with the previous problem, but it doesn't help that much.

    I find it odd that you barely use your main logo color (red) in the design. Try using it to help organize things.

    The style doesn't seem to have been applied to the headline page for the various categories yet.

    Overall, I think it's an improvement--if only for the first point.

  98. Nick Ryan Silver badge

    Page scroll stuttering

    Something I've just noticed is that with the new design the page noticeably stutters when images are scrolled into view. Switching back to the current design this does not happen. Disabling JS also stops this unpleasantness as well, although it also means there are no images...

    1. Miguel Vieira

      Re: Page scroll stuttering

      The new homepage "loading" behaviour follows a mobile-first approach.

      A particular concern was how the new behaviour would affect users bandwidth and overall page loading time. If ALL the images are loaded in the raw HTML we are:

      a) slowing the page load;

      b) forcing users to download images that they may never see (specially for the articles further down the page), or in the case of mobile devices matching certain breakpoints, they would load an image that we would later HIDE in the CSS as don't want the image to show on those small devices this then means the image would be loaded as it was part of the document but would be entirely useless to the user.

      To avoid this wastage of bandwidth (and avoid the slow page load) we opted for a lazy-load solution via JS, where images are not requested UNTIL the time a user has "shown intent" of seeing them, this is done via a JS function which determines said intent based on the users scrolling behaviour, the parameters for WHEN to trigger a given row articles image request are something we're still fiddling with.

      This lazy-load technique means that the raw HTML can not contain the article images as doing so would defeat the purpose of the lazy-load enhancement (and bandwidth saver) and as a result users with JS disabled get no images on the majority of the articles.

      If the page scroll is stuttering for you, my guess is that you're scrolling "too fast" OR experiencing poor network conditions. If you can provide us with your device details, we'll try to replicate the stuttering.

      See https://www.theregister.co.uk/Page/problem.html

      1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

        Re: Page scroll stuttering

        On demand image loading is "fine", however the new site appears to be performing processing even after the images are loaded, which is almost certainly what is causing the stuttering.

        The old site, using the same browser, and all that, exhibits none of the same problems, therefore it is something related to the new site code.

        I'm not "holding it wrong" :)

        1. Marco Fontani

          Re: Page scroll stuttering

          On demand image loading is "fine", however the new site appears to be performing processing even after the images are loaded, which is almost certainly what is causing the stuttering.

          If you scroll "that far down", you'll likely have two things happen on scroll: delayed image load, and possibly additional ad load - both happen only if they require to. We've gone to great lengths to ensure that the delayed image loading shouldn't strain things at all.

          The old site, using the same browser, and all that, exhibits none of the same problems, therefore it is something related to the new site code.

          I'm fairly sure the old version would just "feel like" it's better when scrolling, at the expense of that time being spent at load time. I might be wrong, though!

  99. WhoIsThis?

    Boxes and more boxes

    I don't envy the job of the people doing this.

    To me it looks okay, except that it's harder to read because there are all these boxes everywhere. I also find there is too much white space on the page, but then I think that about most webpages nowadays.

  100. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Aaargh!

    Took a look on the macbook with chrome - which blocks fewer pictures than my usual.

    So many pictures. Whole rows of stories with a picture each. What a waste of screen space!

    And indeed, whereas narrowing the browser causes the stories to wrap OK, widening it shows those "rows" of stories fall flat on their face.

  101. ah21

    Intrusive ads

    Well. Tried it, and where I had my adblocker disabled on The Register...had to re-enable because the new format is just not nice and the ads make it worse. With it enabled...it was readable at least.

  102. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    We need

    A Sir Pterry icon.

    #gnuterrypratchett

  103. Strange Fruit

    Less images on homepage

    Can I add another vote for less images on the homepage. Reading on iPad, I get ~16 headlines on the existing layout and only 6 on the new, leading to far more scrolling and reduced ability to scan through the headlines for stories of interest.

    As others have already pointed out, the vast majority of the images are stock and add nothing of value to the actual story.

    1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Less images on homepage

      Fewer

      1. onefang Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Less images on homepage

        "Fewer"

        Perhaps we need fewer less-ons on grammer?

        me grabs me coat

  104. silentmovie

    More really is better

    Seems you have reduced the number of articles visible on the first page from 40-odd to 30-odd. I don't find that at all user-friendly. In fact I think it should be increased to 50 or 60 so we have longer to view them before they are consigned to the oubliette of "Older stories".

    1. Marco Fontani

      Re: More really is better

      Seems you have reduced the number of articles visible on the first page from 40-odd to 30-odd

      Old homepage count is: 4 "top stories"; two rows of 3 stories; don't miss story, and 1 story; 12 more rows of three stories; 5 "most read" stories on the RHS. That's 4 + 2*3 + 1 + 1 + 3*12 + 5 = 53 stories; -10 (if you don't want to count the hand picked ones) is 43 "chronological stories".

      New homepage count, based on current layout at time of writing: 4 "top stories" (or 1 "breaking news" which isn't currently up); 7 stories; 4 most read; 5 rows of 4 stories; one row of 3 stories + ad; 4 rows of 4 stories = 4 + 7 + 4 + 5*4 + 3 + 4*4 = 54 stories. That's one more than the "old" homepage. If you discount the hand picked ones (4 top stories + 4 most read) we're then at 54-8 = 46 stories. That's three more "chronological" stories than the old homepage. If there was a "breaking news" instead of the "top stories" block, it'd be 51 stories counting all of them, or (still!) 46 discounting the hand picked ones.

      You're absolutely right in pointing out that we're showing one less "Most Read" story on the new homepage, down from 5 to 4.

      The amount of stories shown on the homepage has grown and shrunk over time. In fact, I've twice halved it in the past few years (since the last EOY 2014 redesign) as not many people were actually reaching that far down. Less is more. The amount of stories on the homepage is, though, something that we can easily iterate on if we want. We've picked a number we were comfortable with and which made sense in the framework of the new design.

      1. silentmovie

        Re: More really is better

        Thanks for the explanation. I'm really only interested in the "chronological" list, so I'd much prefer that to be expanded, at the expense of "top stories" and/or "most read" if necessary

  105. ysth

    Some indication of author on the homepage please

    Even if it is just a data-authorid="123456" attribute on some existing tag

  106. steviebuk Silver badge

    I might be blind but...

    ...on mobile can we have it so the to view My Posts, I don't have to go into any comments section, scroll right to the bottom until I then find the My Posts. In the desktop browser its nicely to the fight when I go into any comments section.

    1. onefang Silver badge

      Re: I might be blind but...

      I just keep that page pinned in my main browser. No need to go search for it in some random comments section. I'm assuming you mean https://forums.theregister.co.uk/my/forums/ and not https://account.theregister.co.uk/edit/forums/simple which sucks, or http://forums.theregister.co.uk/my/posts/. Though pinning or bookmarking will work for all of them.

  107. imanidiot Silver badge

    AAAND the new redesign is live, feeling like none of the comments were taken into account.

    In the words of a certain timelord upon seeing a new Tardis control room: "I don't like it"

    I'll refrain from further complaining until I've had time to potentially get stockholmed into accepting the new design.

  108. steviebuk Silver badge

    So...

    ...is it live now then? Was going to request we get an edit button for the comments. I'm always hitting submit too quickly and then realising after how much a tit I sound because I didn't spell check. Sometimes I also comment from my mobile and it's an arse to type on that.

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