Up front, let me say thanks for joining the discussion with us here. It's definitely appreciated.
Well, those few needed tweaks never stop piling up. On top of that, UX research and (more importantly) user expectations continue to evolve.
. Yes, UX research evolves. But could you please point out some concrete examples of where UX research has brought out new insights that you think Slashdot needs to integrate into their site? Also, please provide some details on these user expectations that you have learned about which led you to the conclusion that the new design was necessary. What were some concrete aspects in which the old site did not meet the users' expectations? Who are these users? Are we talking about user expectations of some "general public" or of those users currently using the site and making it what it is? Please clarify.
To keep up with that, websites either need to constantly change in small increments, or to do it in big chunks. We'd been doing the former for a while, but the decision was made to start fresh. I totally understand how jarring it is to see such a huge amount of change all at once, but we also have to look at what the website will look like a few years down the road.
If the premise holds (if!), then I am willing to follow your conclusion. But I don't think this is really about big chunks vs. small increments. In both cases, the changes incurred should have a justification and rationale behind it. And it seems that a significant part of your userbase (myself included) either does not understand your rationale, doubts your justification or simply has no idea about what your concrete justification and rationale is. And as others have pointed out on here, it's not the articles that make Slashdot the great site it is, it's the comments. In other words, your userbase is not an audience, and I don't think they deserve to be called that. The articles are the seed. The conversation, and the Slashdot community, are what make the site great. If there is an audience, it's for the most part our audience (or at least it's the audience of those posting here more regularly than myself).
The classic design in 2014? Not too bad. The classic design in 2018? Probably not going to cut it.
Again, . Now, I don't want to be a proponent of complete stagnation. In fact, there are a number of things that I think could use improvement. But please be more specific: How is the classic design not going to cut it?
My personal opinion on what Slashdot needs to improve in general, in the Beta (if it is to survive) in particular, and in communication with its userbase as the Beta progresses:
- Unicode. I think this is way overdue.
- I don't have a problem with the general idea of a new design. In fact I'm all for a design that suits the larger variety of different screens you have to cope with now. But as many others have said, don't waste my screen space. I want to see a compact design that allows me to gather information from not just a single comment, but as much context as possible.
- You pointed out yourself that the comment system isn't quite there yet. I completely support the sentiment that the comment system is the heart and soul of your website. If it isn't quite there, Slashdot isn't quite there, and in my eyes a beta is pointless as long as the comment system is in such a horrendous, unusable state.
- How about you keep us up to date about what your general aim is with the new design; what concrete features are still in planning, currently progressing, or finished; what conclusions you drew from user feedback and what actions you took as a result of them?
- How about, more in particular, you keep giving us feedback on our feedback, so people know what you think of their feedback, and so they actually get the impression that you are listening?
That said, I hope you take all the feedback seriously, and while I personally don't really need a new, fresh design, I do hope that since this is what you seem to want, you end up with one that is the result of actually listening to your community, and can be considered an overall improvement.