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THIS NEW FORUM FORMAT IS HORRIBLE. I DON'T LIKE IT AT ALL.

    General discussion

  • I don't like it at all because of the preponderance of intense blue or black color. When you see the threads listed, those blue lines irritate me. I don't know how other folks see it. There is something weird about it. In the editor this black frame around the window is both depressing and ridiculous. The icons for "cut" "paste" , color dialog, etc are barely, barely visible. Why did they do it?

    It seems the color dialog can be called only once. I could not open it second time (on the same item). It just did not open.

    The formatting is unbelievably stupid. They should have preserve the formatting style and rules of VS2008. I copied a code samples from VS2008 and lo and behold instead of single spacing, I got double, all indentation was gone, all of it. It took me twenty minutes to restore it manually.

    Yesterday I could not cut pieces of the "quoted" message that was open in my response box. It was frozen. I wanted to make it manageable, to illustrate just a few lines. It was impossible.

    I think MS should examine the quality of work of the people who did it. It's been done completely without heart, without understanding of human side of it. It is totally unacceptable. It lowers our productivity. The old format is much more superior. I hope the other forums don't get this misery.

    What is the lowest mark I can give it? Zero? -10? -100?

    IT IS TERRIBLE.
    AlexB
    Sunday, June 01, 2008 5:05 PM

All replies

  • You'll get used to it :)
    Marius
    Monday, June 02, 2008 10:00 AM
  • I'd like to look at your suggestion about how we can make it easier to maintain formatting when copying from VS 2008. Sorry you don't like the new forums. If there are other specific improvements you'd like to see, let us know.

    -Andrew


    Forums Product Planner, Andrew.Brenner at Microsoft.com
    Monday, June 02, 2008 9:47 PM
  • all right when considering the interface this is fine, ican get used to it;
    but the code snippet editor?????

    how can you get used to it!?
    it destroys the code you write!!!

    and when you want to edit an existing snippet, you don't have a way to do it in the snippet editor.

    I think there should be in the language combo box an option "restore" or "preserve design" etc. to keep the original pasted code.
    also, why did you Microsoft decide that always when we want to add code we are are pasting it from an external IDE, sometimes the user wants to add code manually, and then the editor should design the code automatically as in VS, I don't thing it's that hard for Microsoft to find someone to do it, doesn't Ajax exist in our world yet?????????

    the quotes needs a major fix as Alex said
    and last part, it's rediculus thinking that Microsoft rathers buying ready interfaces than hire developers to do develop them, since when do we use php or delphi in our form, you didn't think about, ah? :-)

    note that my complaints are about the code editor, about the interface, I loved the idea mking the page as a thread and allowing writing posts while watching the previous'

    Monday, June 02, 2008 9:47 PM
  • Thank you Andrew,

    Hard to like it. Why should I. I have a poor eye sight. I can barely see what is on that toolbar. What about some contrast? It just defeats the purpose. The scissors are absolutely invisible. I have to blindly move my cursor over the toolbar and wait for the box to drop down. What is the idea behinf it?

    There are many blogs where people (bloggers) set a very dark background and print regular fonts on top of it. But this is their private loonacy. I can copy their code to my own browser/editor and be happy. I can see everything in an instant. Here I don't have this laxury.

    Obviously if I am alone in my contempt, you are not obliged to do anything. I don't expect any exceptions but how about accessability? MS is all about it, isn't it?
    AlexB
    Monday, June 02, 2008 10:07 PM
  • Alex,
    I agree with you. The older one was plain jane, but we have grown to love it. Intuitive, simple, to the point. This is too busy for my taste. Is it my imagination or did we all lose stars?


    John Grove - TFD Group, Senior Software Engineer, EI Division, http://www.tfdg.com
    • Edited by JohnGrove Tuesday, June 03, 2008 6:24 AM update
    Tuesday, June 03, 2008 6:20 AM
  • Alex

    There are many good new things in the forum like the spell checker and the possibility to see the whole thread you are replying to, but I also agree with you that blue text on a dark gray background is absolutely terrible to the eyes - almost as bad as some combinations of green and red, which gets flickering - just ask a sign writer.

    It is also rather irritating that most of the screen is filled with nonsense information. To be able to show long code lines, it would be much better with a full screen width instead of wasting space on medals, thread summary and the absolutely silly and completely useless "Browse by tag" box.

    I have not tried the new code box, but I can see from your comments that it is as terrible as it has always been. In the old code box, is was necessary to first copy the code to Word and then to the code box to preserve the formatting. It seems rather crazy that a .Net forum does not understand .Net formatting, but I guess that it is more fun for the programmers to work on a beautiful graphical user interface than on the engine below. Today, it seems more necessary to have user defined colors and more themes than a stable, efficient and reliable code.


    Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.
    Tuesday, June 03, 2008 7:40 AM
  • I agree with Carsten completely. The new features are nice, and the general idea of making the forums more feature rich is very welcome, and sorely needed. The old forum, in terms of functionality, was buggy as hell, slow as hell, and could be quite frusterating in it's own right... However it didn't hurt my eyes, and I was able to work around it's quirks without too much trouble.

    The new forum's look and feel is really really hard to use. It's just too glaring, too must wasted space, and useless information, the contrast is awful, and the color scheme is unbalanced.

    It's just really awkward.

    The old look and feel was extremely generic, and not "cool" at all.. Which was perfect. It allowed the user to focus on the content, not the layout and design. Now, I'm unable to focus on the content at all, since the design and layout is so distract. Worse yet, the design and layout is unpleasant, so it's getting all my attention, and the attention it's getting is negative.

    My suggestion is in two parts:

    First, make the default UI very generic, with muted contrasts and colours, much like the old forum (or like almost any blog or forum on the net).

    Second, allow the users to customize thier look and feel using, either prepared themes, or tweakable colour/font/icon sets/ etc...

    If themes are "too hard to implement"... That's a bigger problem. One of the metrics that you can use for the design of an application is "is it skinnable?". If there is sufficient seperation of concerns between the UI and the business layer, no magic strings numbers or hackish UI implementations, then making it skinnable should be as simple as giving the users access to choose an alternate UI config file that holds all the specific UI style information (ie, a CSS file in this case). If you can't do that easily, you need to restructure your application before you get any farther.

    Meanwhile, give us the old forums back until the new ones are useable.
     
    Just typing this message is giving me so much eye strain, that this will be the only thing I do on the forum today.

    Normally I would scan the questions posted in one of a few forums that I pay attention to, and answer at least one or two questions, usually providing helpful code samples. However, that contribution will not occur today, because of how uncomfortable this look and feel is. It creates too much impedance.

    How many people like me are there?


    if at first you don't succeeed, you must be a progammer.
    Tuesday, June 03, 2008 8:04 PM
  • I have to agree that the look of the site is very bad. Take the work done the creators.xna.com website - that updgrade was excellenct. However, the visuals of this site are horrible. Besides just simple aesthetics, it is just harder to read and scan through post titles with the bright blue and the stark contrast between rows on the forum threads.

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE update the look of this site.
    Tuesday, June 03, 2008 10:19 PM
  • JohnGrove said:

    Alex,
    I agree with you. The older one was plain jane, but we have grown to love it. Intuitive, simple, to the point. This is too busy for my taste. Is it my imagination or did we all lose stars?


    John Grove - TFD Group, Senior Software Engineer, EI Division, http://www.tfdg.com



    I have to generally agree with this thread.  The statement above is perfect.  This new design is way too A.D.D. for me.  Too busy, too tuff to tell what's what.  Granted we didn't have all the neat sort tools that we have now, but at a glance I could tell 1)which posts were new/new to me 2) who posted last.  Now it just all runs together.

    I have to agree that the new icons are not very intuitive, the tag list box thingy seems pointless, and this color scheme is awful.  Contrast is certainly a major issue here.

    The thing I don't get is how this scheme ever got chosen to begin with.  Did any of you guys get the survey several months ago where they showed a number of different themes and layouts?  I just can't believe this is what won given the choices (some of the other designs were very clean and nice - quite similar to the old look).

    I haven't noticed the code posting issues mentioned though...  I've found that if I click the "format code block" button while the cursor is on a blank line, then use the dialog to paste my code (being sure to select the correct language), the output is much, much better than it used to be.  I do not have to manually indent all the lines.  The only issue I saw was that the VB keyword "IsNot" did not turn blue, and the string values did not turn maroon.

    I don't like that the "Top Answerers" list seems to display answerers for the entire MSDN Forums, not just the particular forum you are in.  That info is really only usefull if it only shows people who actually post in the forum you are looking at.  I mean, the top answers is useful when two people post conflicting answers to your question.  How do you choose which answer to use?  Well, whichever one has the higher answer count is a good first choice to try.  But if the list of answers doesn't pertain to that exact forum, you can't do that.  Now the list just become bragging rights and serves no other purpose.

    My suggestion would be to give this site back to the old schoolers for a bit of rethinking (at least where color and theme are concerned).  It really appears that the whole layout was given to fresh-out-of-school kids to come up with - hence the everything everywhere look (which is common to the ADD generation).

    I'm trying to take it in stride and focus on the positive - it's just tough when the negatives are the silliest, easiest things to modify:  graphics and colors!

    Reed Kimble - "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all"
    • Edited by Reed KimbleMVP Tuesday, June 03, 2008 10:24 PM changed "top asnwers" to "answerers"
    Tuesday, June 03, 2008 10:21 PM
  • I am surprised to discover that some of my initial grievances have been addressed in the initial design and did not have to be vented, as I found out after reading Carsten's and JohnGrove's posts. What I mean is that the Format Code Block probably removes all the aggravation and preserves the formatting. But it was hard to see--this feature as well as the spell checker are sunk into this lowest contrast possible.

    To add insult to injury my working environment is bright sunshine everywhere. Perhaps the designers work in dungeons but my office has monumental windows almost wall-high to the left of me and in the back. My flat screen is against a white wall. The office faces South. I do keep the blinds partially down but still I simply do not see anything and I navigate by the feel.

    When I work home in the morning it is the same thing, or even worse. My desk is positioned against a wall-wide window and there is another wall-wide to my right. I am looking at the rectangle of my flat screen surrounded by the rising sun.

    I just used the spell checker. Cute!
    AlexB
    Wednesday, June 04, 2008 1:28 AM
  • I just checked again. Both the Back and Fore Color Dialog boxes can be instantiated only ONCE.

    BackColor DOES NOT work at all. First time it does not change anything but then never shows up at all.

    And Andrew came up with his "Sorry you don't like the new forums" almost like sending me on a guilt trip. What shall I like about them?
    AlexB
    Wednesday, June 04, 2008 2:17 AM
  • What others call "complaining" we call "evaluating".  (Isn't that how the saying goes)?
    John Grove - TFD Group, Senior Software Engineer, EI Division, http://www.tfdg.com
    Wednesday, June 04, 2008 4:58 AM
  • I want to add a few things. This time it is the speller.

    It should NOT do spelling check of the code block. This is just a nuisance. Also after the code block is over it stops highlighing the word it does not like.

    Also there should be an additional dictionary set for words that are technical terms around here like textBox. MS designers should spend a few hours I think just harvesting such words from some code samples. Those words should be either ignored in the text (I am not talking about the code blocks here) or spell checked appropriately, according to that additional dictionary. Actually glossaries of MS terminology do exist. Take one of them.
    AlexB
    Wednesday, June 04, 2008 1:38 PM
  • They need a new format, that includes message hierarchies
    "Everyone is an expert at something"
    Wednesday, June 04, 2008 3:08 PM
  • JohnGrove said:

    What others call "complaining" we call "evaluating".  (Isn't that how the saying goes)?


    John Grove - TFD Group, Senior Software Engineer, EI Division, http://www.tfdg.com



     we actually really appreciate the feedback.  dev's are harsh critics but usually right ;)
    Videmus nunc per speculum in enigmate
    Wednesday, June 04, 2008 7:42 PM
  • AlexBB said:

    Thank you Andrew,

    Hard to like it. Why should I. I have a poor eye sight. I can barely see what is on that toolbar. What about some contrast? It just defeats the purpose. The scissors are absolutely invisible. I have to blindly move my cursor over the toolbar and wait for the box to drop down. What is the idea behinf it?



    1.4.6 Contrast (Enhanced): The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 7:1, except for the following: (Level AAA) How to Meet 1.4.6 Understanding 1.4.6


    covers this.  we are looking into this issue.
    Videmus nunc per speculum in enigmate
    Wednesday, June 04, 2008 7:48 PM
  • Oblansky, I like your kid.

    Thanks for the pointers but I want to tell you that I am not going to delve into your theory. For one thing I know what the contrast is. It also depends on one parameter you DO NOT take into account and that is the surface area of the image you are trying to present with your 1.4.6.

    Let me give you an example for a better understanding. If you position a tiny grain on a surface, ultimately a microscopic object, like a bacteria then no matter what the theoretical contrast is the FLUX from the object in terms of the light quanta will not elicit any image on your retina and therefore in the Visual Cortex of your brain.

    You may write off our complaints with your formula and you can do it but I am telling you again--your toolbar items are barely visible. They are too tiny.

    Aside I do not believe that the blue image of the scissors (is it blue?) has any contrast at all. Have you measured it? Do you have a proof? How do you know that the image designer adhered strictly to the contrast specifications? Maybe there is a bug? Maybe he messed up the colors?

    Your theory has no place here. The contrast is very poor. Period.

    I just ran you spell checker. It balked at "parameter" and offered me a "paramedic" instead. Is it also in some sort of a formula:)


    AlexB
    Wednesday, June 04, 2008 11:01 PM
  • AlexBB said:

    Oblansky, I like your kid.

    Thanks for the pointers but I want to tell you that I am not going to delve into your theory. For one thing I know what the contrast is. It also depends on one parameter you DO NOT take into account and that is the surface area of the image you are trying to present with your 1.4.6.

    Let me give you an example for a better understanding. If you position a tiny grain on a surface, ultimately a microscopic object, like a bacteria then no matter what the theoretical contrast is the FLUX from the object in terms of the light quanta will not elicit any image on your retina and therefore in the Visual Cortex of your brain.

    You may write off our complaints with your formula and you can do it but I am telling you again--your toolbar items are barely visible. They are too tiny.

    Aside I do not believe that the blue image of the scissors (is it blue?) has any contrast at all. Have you measured it? Do you have a proof? How do you know that the image designer adhered strictly to the contrast specifications? Maybe there is a bug? Maybe he messed up the colors?

    Your theory has no place here. The contrast is very poor. Period.

    I just ran you spell checker. It balked at "parameter" and offered me a "paramedic" instead. Is it also in some sort of a formula:)


    AlexB



    I think you misread him. He very much wasn't writing you off. He was quoting the piece of the W3C Accessibility Guidelines that covers the minimum level of contrast needed. He also then said "we are looking into this issue."

    I can assure you, he brought it up at a meeting this afternoon, and we'll look at places that we may need to increase contrast.
    Matt Fraser, STO Forums Software Developer
    • Edited by mattfras1 Thursday, June 05, 2008 12:08 AM spelling
    Thursday, June 05, 2008 12:08 AM
  • Some more critique:

    • Icons - The icons have both a drop shadow and a black outline.. That's redundant and leaves them feeling very heavy and disconnected with thier background. This is another contribution to the clutter feel.
    • Messsage Listings - Why does the avatar have an entire vertical column of white space underneathe it? That space could be used for the message content, with the avatar title and nav controls all in a single area, and the message content underneathe that area.
    • Random stuff on the right hand side - As others mentioned the bookmarking, thread summary, etc consume an entire vertical column on the right hand side, leaving even less space for message text. Most of the length of the page that is just pointless whitespace.
    • Too dark - The "contrast problems" we're talking about mostly amount ot the charcoal grey and black components being overly dark. Where these components would traditionally be a light to mid-toned grey, they are now a dark grey or black. The problem here is not "not enough contrast" really, but "certain components are too dark". If the sort of "menu areas" like the toolbar and frame in the editor, and the navigation tool bar in the messages, etc, were just a lighter shade of grey, that would solve the "too little contrast" issues with the various icons and also solve the "too much contrast" issue with the whole forum. Also, a slightly non-white background would assist the overall cohesiveness.
    • Red banner and buttons are intimidating - Color theory about red indicates that it's an intimidating color that makes people uneasy. Consider a blue and orange scheme instead, as blue evokes a sense of trust and reliability, and orange evokes excitement and energy. Isn't that what we want for developers to feel about Microsoft? That it's a trust worthy and reliable platform that is exciting to work with.
    • Too much padding and buttons too big - The gutters and padding, in general are too big. The buttons and tasks areas consume a lot of space. The breadcrumb trail is too close to the title. In general there are more icons than are strictly necessary. The drop shadow of the icon, coupled with the heavy outline tend to create a feeling like the icon is looming over the text, obscuring it, making the text more difficult to read.
    • "Add LIVE SEARCH to your browser" - Umm.. Why am I being advertised too about something that is irrelevant to the forums? Anyway, I access the forums with IE7, and I already h ave the Live Search provider installed... Why do I need this pointless link in my face all the time for something I already have? At least do some detection for the browser type, since IE7 defaults to having and using the Live Search provider.
    • Message Editor Region not Resizeable -  The message editor slide-up overlay seems to take up half of my window space, and there's no way to make it smaller. That means, If I've scrolled to the top of the main page, with all the pointless header stuff there, I can only see the header of the first message in that tiny window. I would like to be able to resize the message editor window.
    • Search Suggestions and Feedback Control - The drop down menu button wraps in a normal view ( I use 1280x1024), leaving the drop down button on the next line, instead of next to the magnifying glass icon. Why is this control not just combined with the one right above it in the main header for "Search MSDN"?
    • Editor Control Submit/Cancel buttons -  Why are they all the way over on the right hand side? It took quite a while before I found them the first time I used it. They are really in a weird place. The Post options groupbox is pointless, has useless icons and "hints". The whole right hand affair could have just been two check boxes next to two buttons under the editor control, especially since there is already too much padding under the editor box, between the box and the client window bottom. Why not put those buttons there where they should be?
    • Rollover effects on buttons - The rollover effects on the button switch from drak grey to slightly-less dark grey.. umm.. that's not enough difference.
    • Over-use of rounded corners - Rounded corners are not that great, and generally I prefer a square corner to a radiused corner unless there's a good reason to soften the feel.
    • Inconsistent contrast elements - The constant mental switch between looking at black text on white background and white text on black background (IE, text content vs controls like buttons, etc), make the users mind work overtime switching between positive and negative.


    Do you have a designer on your team or is it just programmers?

    Thanks,
    Troy


    if at first you don't succeeed, you must be a progammer.
    • Edited by thoward37 Thursday, June 05, 2008 12:17 AM spelling
    Thursday, June 05, 2008 12:12 AM
  •  Thowards37, have mercy on them:) They must be in shock by now:) They may be calling a shrink:) You may end up getting a bill for mental services:)
    AlexB
    Thursday, June 05, 2008 1:29 PM
  • More valid points.  And I think they forum group has pretty thick skin - this isn't the first onslaught they've taken.  :)  The criticism can only lead to improvements, right?

    Having gone through a number of these issues with my company's website, I'd like it share a little of what we learned...

    Color:  It is easy to get your colors too dark.  Lighter is better.  Grey's should be kept at less than 50% black, unless used in a gradient or shadow.  Hot colors (red,violet,cyan) should be used carefully. 

    In our case, red is the company's logo color and had to be used a lot - this took careful distribution to prevent glaring spots on a page.  In Microsoft's case, blue and orange are already considered MS colors - blue has been the theme color of choice for Windows since the beginning.  So it would seem natural to follow a color scheme similar to the previous forums.  I guess the point here is to use colors that your customers already associate with your company.

    Contrast is very important, but doesn't take mathematical calculation to get right.  Keep text dark and backgrounds light, except where you reverse this for attention (like in headers).  Full color images should always go on light backgrounds with a small stroke (the stroke is optional if the image will be hyperlinked since the browser will provide a border on linked images).  This allows the variety of colors that may appear in the image to all have contrast, either against the light background or the dark stroke.

    Display:  This is a big hidden issue.  I have a Dell Precision workstation that I develop on.  It has 4 of Dell's UltraSharp LCD monitors (3x20", 1x24").  My graphics designer has a 30" Mac.  All of these screens are bright, sharp, and crisp.  They also have high contrast ratios.  We both have our own office with fluorescent light kept to a minimum (the graphics guy even keeps incandescent lamps).  We have no windows.

    We both thought the first iteration of our site looked great.  But then the complaints started to roll in about how difficult it was to see certain text or controls.  When we started looking at the site on other monitors - standard CRT's or sub $500 LCDs - it became apparent just how much of a difference a good monitor can make.  For instance, even the grayed out cut and copy icons in this editor are apparent from 24 inches away.  But on my Toshiba tablet they are just fuzzy blobs of darkness lost among darkness.

    Since most designers will have nice computers and monitors it is important that they keep a test bed with ____ computers and monitors.

    Whiz-bangs:  Features are cool.  AJAX is really cool.  Partial Postbacks and controls that utilize and enhance it are cool.  But users need to know when a page is busy.  I love how the new poster works.  Popping up over the thread, leaving the entire thing for review while your write - excellent.  But when I navigate threads, or change filters, I need the list to be completely disabled while the changes take place.  I'm glad the page doesn't go blank then completely reload - but it needs to be obvious that the thread list is working and is about to change on me.

    When I first went back and added AJAX and partial postbacks to my site, I did the same thing.  People got confused, so I had to go back and cause very obvious portions of my content to become disabled while the partial postback was in progress.

    Change:  People hate change.  They will b*tch and moan just because things are different.  We took all kinds of flack when we first changed:  "your site sucks", "put it back like it was" - but once people got used to the changes, they realized that the site was SO significantly better that they began to rave about it.  We're now known for having one of the most useful websites in our industry. 

    I have to admit that I'm guilty of change-hating with this site myself.  I hate the new thread list.  But I do know that I just need to get re-trained about where to look for things like "last poster".  Learning to use the new sort and filter options will end up being better than just glancing at page after page of results, I'm sure.  But I have to take time to get used to it.  In the meantime, I b*tch and moan.  Such is life.  :)


    So thats some of what we discovered.  Maybe it'll be helpful.

    I'd also like to mention again that there were like 3 other complete themes created for these new forums.  I saw them in a survey.  Two of them combined contained all the proper elements to alleviate most of everyone's concerns about look and feel. 

    How bout putting them back on the table for review???

    Reed Kimble - "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all"
    Thursday, June 05, 2008 3:37 PM
  • Oblansky said: 1.4.6 Contrast (Enhanced): The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 7:1, except for the following: (Level AAA) How to Meet 1.4.6 Understanding 1.4.6
    covers this.  we are looking into this issue.
    Videmus nunc per speculum in enigmate


    Oby, , I want to educate you a bit about the contrast definition:) The contrast is what I've said: the difference in luminance.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contrast_(formula)

    Read it. It is simple, 5th grade level. Very educational.


    AlexB
    Thursday, June 05, 2008 4:38 PM
  • Andrew Brenner said:

    I'd like to look at your suggestion about how we can make it easier to maintain formatting when copying from VS 2008. Sorry you don't like the new forums. If there are other specific improvements you'd like to see, let us know.

    -Andrew


    Forums Product Planner, Andrew.Brenner at Microsoft.com




    Hi Andrew.  Specifically, "If there are other specific improvements you'd like to see, let us know"; yes, please see these threads in this specific order:
    http://forums.technet.microsoft.com/en-US/suggest/thread/2ca5c75d-05ec-4df0-bdca-14c20c0395d4 
    I could not reply to that, so then this one had to be started:
    http://forums.technet.microsoft.com/en-US/suggest/thread/cb59f0b6-b75d-41e1-911a-a347c4a760a6
    I also could not reply to that one!  So THIS one then had to be started!
    http://forums.technet.microsoft.com/en-US/suggest/thread/cd1125ad-4b60-41ac-a624-dd39b4bcc3f8

    Yes, these forums are screwed up REALLY bad and something HAS to be done about it.
    Thank you.

    God Bless
    Friday, June 06, 2008 6:03 AM
  • Clint D, it appears your grievances are all related to the old forum formats not this new one. It is my understanding that one of the reasons they are trying to set up this new forum format is to resolve many of the problems in the old forums.

    Andrew and Oblonsky, Of course it is kind of surpising that you presented this somewhat bizarre color scheme, unhealthy contrast, and overall setup with so many bugs, I want to let you know (I can speak for myself only in this case) that MS is an awesome company and your desire to be user friendly is unmatched overall. I personally appreciate it. I think you will fix it all eventually.
    AlexB
    Friday, June 06, 2008 12:53 PM
  • Here is another error with this new format. You are unable to attach images of any kind of format. This is something that is useful because some times it is easier to show the issue rather then trying to do it all in text.
    ~Nathan
    Monday, June 09, 2008 5:05 PM
  • can't you provide some alternative color themes for the new forum and let every user chose the one he likes? something with more gray in it (like the old forum had) would be nice :)
    Lucian Baciu, MSP, MCTS, http://studentclub.ro/lucians_weblog
    Tuesday, June 10, 2008 11:03 AM
  • Well I just love the new interface.
    1. at a single click I can apply a filter to show only unanswered (for example) posts without the whole page refreshing
    2. click the widget to see a preview of the post without having to jump into the thread first. THIS IS EXCELLENT
    3. quickly post replies and wot not in the scroll-up window, again without the whole page reloading
    All of this leads to increased productivity.

    Regardless of any minor unverified formatting issues some have mentioned, the new system has my vote.

    Good work!

    Micky D
    Wednesday, June 11, 2008 10:46 AM
  • Reed Kimble said:

    Color:  It is easy to get your colors too dark.  Lighter is better.  Grey's should be kept at less than 50% black, unless used in a gradient or shadow.  Hot colors (red,violet,cyan) should be used carefully. 

    In our case, red is the company's logo color and had to be used a lot - this took careful distribution to prevent glaring spots on a page.  In Microsoft's case, blue and orange are already considered MS colors - blue has been the theme color of choice for Windows since the beginning.  So it would seem natural to follow a color scheme similar to the previous forums.  I guess the point here is to use colors that your customers already associate with your company.

    Contrast is very important, but doesn't take mathematical calculation to get right.  Keep text dark and backgrounds light, except where you reverse this for attention (like in headers).  Full color images should always go on light backgrounds with a small stroke (the stroke is optional if the image will be hyperlinked since the browser will provide a border on linked images).  This allows the variety of colors that may appear in the image to all have contrast, either against the light background or the dark stroke.

    ...

    When I first went back and added AJAX and partial postbacks to my site, I did the same thing.  People got confused, so I had to go back...

    Change:  People hate change.  They will b*tch and moan just because things are different.  We took all kinds of flack when we first changed:  "your site sucks", "put it back like it was" - but once people got used to the changes, they realized that the site was SO significantly better that they began to rave about it.  We're now known for having one of the most useful websites in our industry. 

    I have to admit that I'm guilty of change-hating with this site myself. 


    I am not sure of the rule that a company's colour has to be used everywhere.  As you mention with red, if this belonged to a company then it would need special attention since red means something quite important psychological wise for people - danger, stop, death, Red Rooster Chicken etc.

    I don't see anything wrong with using black for the toolbar colour in these forums.  Many rich applications for example use black as a scheme - Windows Media Player, Expression Studio and of course Vista.  As you mentioned, the important thing is contrast or more importantly when colour is concerned - complementary colour.  While most of the icons in the forums toolbar appear fine, I do agree that the disabled buttons for say Copy are difficult to see.

    Repeatedly during my role as an architect at work, we need to suggest ways to add new functionality to legacy systems. Some are quite old and look like Windows 95 or even Windows 3.1 apps.   Instead of just going in arrogantly and changing the look-and-feel of an app, we add new UIs using themed-technology.  Just as you should never hard-code what colours your app uses, you should never hard-code the theme.  This way we keep the old look keeping our loyal customers happy whilst adding new ways to view the app should customers change an application user preference.

    In the same way, users should be able to view these forums using classic mode if they so desire.


    Micky D
    • Edited by Micky D Wednesday, June 11, 2008 11:20 AM grammar mistakes
    Wednesday, June 11, 2008 11:16 AM
  •  Hi Micky,

    You misunderstood me.  I did not say using the company's color everywhere was a rule.  Just in our case they wanted the company's color used a lot.  And the other point was, if you are choosing colors for your website, use colors that are already associated with your company by your customers.

    Black is always bad for a toolbar backcolor because of the disabled button issue.  But again, as general art rule, black is a bad backcolor for full color pictures.  When a picture is framed, they use a light border for any matting, sometimes with a black "stroke" first, or a light-dark-light series of stroke and matting.  See these images:  http://images.google.com/images?um=1&hl=en&rlz=1T4DKUS_enUS259US260&q=framed+painting&start=18&sa=N&ndsp=18

    These aren't necessarily my ideas... the world of art has had many years to come up with the best ways to display images to people.  And those techniques have been applied to monitor display since desktops gained more than 2 colors.

    You have to keep in mind that we are talking about a web application here - not a desktop app.  Due to browser compatibility issues you simple can't have web controls that are as fancy as a desktop app with pure HTML/J-Script as it stands right now.  There are just limitations to what a web browser was designed to render (without plugins and such).

    Media player gets away with a dark tabstrip because the gradient contrast is high, and everything glows (buttons, hover effects, etc).  But a lot of those rich display effects just aren't reliably available in web applications.  You can't have the same design mentality for the UI of a desktop application and the UI of a web application.  Same goes for mobile applications.

    I do agree that multiple themes should be available by choice of the user.  Especially given how easy ASP.Net makes the whole "theme" process...

    I also agree with your comments about the new functionality being great.  But you can hardly call the display issues "minor", or "unverified".  If someone like Alex can't read the stinking page, then the issues are big and the problem is verified.  The development team agreed that they overlooked a W3C standard and need to address contrast issues with the site.

    So by all means, feel free to applaud the features - but don't be so quick to dismiss very real complaints about the graphic design.
    Reed Kimble - "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all"
    Wednesday, June 11, 2008 4:08 PM
  • I am reading with interest the follow up contributions. I think they should replace that black or near black BackColor for the toolbar with either CornSilk or Bisque or LIghtCoral or LightPink. It will aslo appeal to women!!!!!!!!!

    This whole thing looks like a part of a mortuary. I am wondering if some of the designers had prior experience working at a fuuneral home:) ??

    Reed, those black frames you saw at the website serve a different purpose. I do have a near black frame (actually dark brown) for one of my paintings at the office. I chose it myself. There is nothing to read on this black frame. This is the point. It is a totally unfair comparison.
    AlexB
    Wednesday, June 11, 2008 4:35 PM
  • Hi Alex,

    Not the actual frame itself but the matting between the edge of the painting and the frame - this is where the light-dark transition I refer to occurs at (of course if the painting has no matting it doesn't apply!).  And this is where the comparison is valid.

    I realize the results will vary on that image search, but I've only noticed one painting that has black matting and that because the whole image is a bright red-orange-yellow affair, on a black background, so its an exception.  But the whole point is to focus the viewer's attention or add accent - and when you want to focus on the piece, a light-dark-light transition around the peice does it well - again it provides contrast against both the light and dark elements of the piece, yet is simple enough not to distract from it.

    In that general sense, it is the same for web images.  A full color image with a small dark stroke, on a page with a light background, will stand out nicely.  If the background is dark, then the image needs a light stroke to provide the necessary contrast.  Just like the matting of a framed picture.
    Reed Kimble - "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all"
    Wednesday, June 11, 2008 5:07 PM
  • I agree with you Reed, but I wish they made it pink:)
    AlexB
    Wednesday, June 11, 2008 7:55 PM
  • AlexBB said:

    Clint D, it appears your grievances are all related to the old forum formats not this new one. It is my understanding that one of the reasons they are trying to set up this new forum format is to resolve many of the problems in the old forums.

    Andrew and Oblonsky, Of course it is kind of surpising that you presented this somewhat bizarre color scheme, unhealthy contrast, and overall setup with so many bugs, I want to let you know (I can speak for myself only in this case) that MS is an awesome company and your desire to be user friendly is unmatched overall. I personally appreciate it. I think you will fix it all eventually.


    AlexB



    Haven't posted in a while to this thread, but we are actively looking at addressing the main accessability issues mentioned earlier. We'll post back when we can give you more details on the specific changes we're making and an idea of when they'll be live on the site.
     
    Nathan Middleton said:

    Here is another error with this new format. You are unable to attach images of any kind of format. This is something that is useful because some times it is easier to show the issue rather then trying to do it all in text.
    ~Nathan

    We're looking at adding this in the future.


    Forums Product Planner, Andrew.Brenner at Microsoft.com
    Thursday, June 12, 2008 6:42 AM
  • AlexBB said:

    Clint D, it appears your grievances are all related to the old forum formats not this new one. It is my understanding that one of the reasons they are trying to set up this new forum format is to resolve many of the problems in the old forums.


    AlexB



    Oh no, read again!  It's this forum too!
    God Bless
    Thursday, June 12, 2008 9:08 AM
  • I don't like the visual design of the thread list.  It's very harsh, and uncontained.  Soften the colors a bit.  There needs to be some method of containing the thread list and visually separating it from other elements on the page.  One suggestion would be a thin vertical line on each side of the thread list.
    • Edited by RussDirks Sunday, June 15, 2008 3:10 AM Reason
    Sunday, June 15, 2008 3:00 AM
  • AlexBB said:

    Oblansky said: 1.4.6 Contrast (Enhanced): The visual presentation of text and images of text has a contrast ratio of at least 7:1, except for the following: (Level AAA) How to Meet 1.4.6 Understanding 1.4.6
    covers this.  we are looking into this issue.
    Videmus nunc per speculum in enigmate


    Oby, , I want to educate you a bit about the contrast definition:) The contrast is what I've said: the difference in luminance.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contrast_(formula)

    Read it. It is simple, 5th grade level. Very educational.


    AlexB



    that was actually my point.  we are not meeting this guideline, which is worse in that I help write the guideline.  we are in the process of reviewing a11y iisues currently.   as you mention above the simple contrast alone is not the complete story; one must also factor in visual field etc.
    Videmus nunc per speculum in enigmate
    Sunday, June 15, 2008 3:42 AM
  • Oblansky hi,

    I am pleased with some of the progress you've made in terms of changing the color scheme of the general layout but the contrast of the edit window is still very bad. Are you planning to change that or you've forgotten about it?

    Another thing I would like to express as my wish is to restore the edit protocol we had in the old forums. That now obligation of making comments and explaning what we've done at every edit attempt is annoying and ridiculous. What is the value of it for your as moderators or anyone who monitors the threads? It is a waistful use of time resources. Let's go back to the old variant.
    AlexB
    Sunday, July 06, 2008 8:33 PM
  • One of my posts was moderated (moved to off topics) from interop forums. Maybe it was not of an issue they expect people write there, but why make such category names people mix up? Even the description of the category is mixing things up then. Though the forum is on Microsoft forums, not in MSDN forums. I got link to there in the old MSDN forums. Also why have 2 separate forums now? This is confusing.
    • Edited by Silvercode Wednesday, July 09, 2008 8:22 PM Updated
    Monday, July 07, 2008 6:48 AM
  • Me too [not liking the new format]


    Kamran Shahid,(MCSD.NET)
    Monday, July 07, 2008 11:43 AM

  • Nathan Middleton said:

    Here is another error with this new format. You are unable to attach images of any kind of format. This is something that is useful because some times it is easier to show the issue rather then trying to do it all in text.
    ~Nathan

    We're looking at adding this in the future.


    Forums Product Planner, Andrew.Brenner at Microsoft.com


    Well, you can already add images in your post since the forum allows raw HTML (a horrible idea IMO).
    Just add a <img src="Foo.jpg"> and you're off.

    E.g.

    Wednesday, July 09, 2008 1:38 PM
  • Hi ALL and to the forum development team,

    My main grievance is when you want to insert a link url or an image bit of HTML using the link button as above in the EDIT window.>>


    Photobucket

    it is inserted at the top of your editing text window and NOT at the cursor position.

    The HTML to the above image is.>>

    <a href="http://s13.photobucket.com/albums/a272/u-might-want-this/?action=view&current=LinkButton.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a272/u-might-want-this/LinkButton.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>



    Anyway apart from that the text color and back color choice ColorDialogs jump to the top of the background window in edit mode, requiring the main window to be scrolled to the top to find the ColorDialog in a long thread.

    Why not open the ColorDialog in the edit window?

    For both the text and highlight ColorDialogs?

    Why can't we do reverse text like WHITE on a black background with these if we choose to?




    Regards,

    John


    I have previously been, until recently, an MSP ( Microsoft Student Partner ).
    Wednesday, July 09, 2008 11:18 PM
  • build a bridge. get over it.
    Monday, March 05, 2012 9:37 PM
  • The new forum format is TRULY horrible.

    I have not tried to use the forum mainly because of the very disagreeable format.  The main problem for me is that the new format takes up too way too much display real estate while displaying less information.  A better format would be to list each subject on a closely spaced separate line and display the details in a pop-up window or something along that line.  That way a person could visually scan many subject lines at a glance and display additional information in the pop-up window.

    Although the old format maybe needed improvements, it would be much preferred to this disastrous implementation.  There is just way too much wasted space that is visually distracting.

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013 1:01 AM
  • You're not alone in your complaints, but the majority of them is already tuned down since the forums changed more than a month ago. You may want to view this article

    http://social.technet.microsoft.com/wiki/contents/articles/17968.new-forums-design-suggestions-impressions-ideas.aspx

    and I also wrote another one more personal and emotional which was already deleted as I just found.

    In any case, because of the new forum re-design my participation in my favorite forum went deep down :( I used to answer at least 20 threads per day and now I barely answer 5. It is hard for my eyes and lots of other inconveniences which hard to describe, but I feel them.


    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog


    My TechNet articles

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013 6:55 PM
  • Funny, I read almost all the thread before I noticed dates on all of these posts. Looks like it started in 2008... but sounds very much like today's.

    For every expert, there is an equal and opposite expert. - Becker's Law


    My blog


    My TechNet articles

    Wednesday, July 24, 2013 7:05 PM
  • Funny, I read almost all the thread before I noticed dates on all of these posts. Looks like it started in 2008... but sounds very much like today's.
    Yes, Naomi, this is why they should lock old threads. (I didn't notice it either.)

    David Wilkinson | Visual C++ MVP

    Thursday, July 25, 2013 12:57 AM