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m.zam.com - some feedbackFollow

#1 Mar 14 2011 at 2:05 AM Rating: Good
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Edit: I've tried to increase the amount of useful information given in the post now that I have access to a laptop.

Been browsing the site via the phone for some time now, and recently i've posted a bit as well. Before I get to the QQ, let me say that I'm glad you have a phone friendly version of the site.

I'm sure the mobile layout is identical to the real layout due to programming convenience and I realize most of my suggestions would require a complete rework of the mobile site, so take my suggestions with a grain of salt.

1. General layout

The layout for the mobile version is almost identical to the regular layout. This presents a number of challenges when trying to navigate the site on a cell phone, the most difficult of which is going from one forum to another. The Forums link has you scrolling through a million forums, partly due to the FFXI forums taking up so much space at the top of the list. Scrolling down through this list every time you wish to visit a different forum is pretty time consuming, especially on a tiny cell phone.

Suggestion: Restructure the forums list into a branching "click to expand" list. That way you'd be able to find your desired game and the sub-lists for that game without having to scroll through everything first.

Second challenge is navigating the forum once you're finally there. Now, as mentioned, the mobile layout is almost identical to the normal layout, which means the thread index page shows a lot of information that, first of all, is relatively unneeded and also takes up lots of screen space. Things like thread karma ratings, number of views on the thread and who created the last post. While the latter is valuable on the normal layout, I feel like it is unneeded when browsing the forums on your cell phone, or rather, the benefit doesn't outweigh the screen space cost.

Suggestion: Compound or remove some of the "fluff" that makes the screen so crowded. This would give more space to other useful things, such as the thread titles and, most importantly, the tiny little arrow that enables easy access to a multi-page thread.


2. Load times

Considering the amount of fluff it has to load, the site loads really fast. A lot of it is probably due to the fact that there are no background images and such, but whatever it is, it's working. Nothing much to say except Smiley: thumbsup


3. Posting (layout and lag)

Originally I wanted to roll this one into load times and layout, but then I decided to make a third point instead, because it's such a big thing. The writing of a post on the phone is quite a pain. There is actually just one primary issue with this, which I'll get to in just a bit.

First, though, I want to repeat myself from the first point, because the thread layout is, like the thread index layout, much identical to the normal layout. This includes buttons for creating new posts and check-box for when you want to quote (and multi-quote). Now, because of the identical design, the layout is full of a lot of stuff that doesn't necessarily have to be there. Being able to choose how many posts per page and such is neat, but not really needed. You could easily set it at a default value (50?) and remove the settings, giving more space on the screen.

Suggestion: Remove some of the fluff and redo some of the button image sizes (including the multi-quote check-box) to make it easier to tap them on a touchscreen.

Second, and the biggest issue I'm having currently, is the way the writing of a post is handled on the phone. Like the above stuff, this also works pretty much like on the normal layout (by the way, by "normal layout" I'm referring to the layout on the original site). This means, however, that the text box is way too big for a phone. When you're writing a post, the text leaves the screen and the phone scrolls sideways to show it. This causes a great deal of lag, because apparently the phone has to load everything not shown on the screen - every time it moves. Maybe it's just an issue because I'm on an iPhone 3G, but I imagine others are having similar issues.

Suggestion: Change the text editor to something more phone friendly, including changing the text field size to a more upright rectangular form. Scrolling down instead of sideways would reduce the lag as the phone only has to load a blank, white space instead of the background colors and buttons and stuff.

Also, it would be nice if the Post Message button was easily available once you exit the text editor mode.

Okay, I've got to go to classes now, so I'll have to cut it short (lolrite), but hopefully I got the message across in a decent manner, without seeming too much like a negative sumbish. I really appreciate that the site is available for my phone and these suggestions are just to make things easier.

Thanks for your time. Smiley: smile

Edited, Mar 14th 2011 2:00pm by Mazra
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#2 Apr 25 2011 at 3:43 PM Rating: Excellent
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Thanks very much for the feedback!

Mazra wrote:
The layout for the mobile version is almost identical to the regular layout. This presents a number of challenges when trying to navigate the site on a cell phone, the most difficult of which is going from one forum to another. The Forums link has you scrolling through a million forums, partly due to the FFXI forums taking up so much space at the top of the list. Scrolling down through this list every time you wish to visit a different forum is pretty time consuming, especially on a tiny cell phone.

Suggestion: Restructure the forums list into a branching "click to expand" list. That way you'd be able to find your desired game and the sub-lists for that game without having to scroll through everything first.

There is a solution to this coming (hopefully soon), though it will work differently.

Mazra wrote:
Second challenge is navigating the forum once you're finally there. Now, as mentioned, the mobile layout is almost identical to the normal layout, which means the thread index page shows a lot of information that, first of all, is relatively unneeded and also takes up lots of screen space. Things like thread karma ratings, number of views on the thread and who created the last post. While the latter is valuable on the normal layout, I feel like it is unneeded when browsing the forums on your cell phone, or rather, the benefit doesn't outweigh the screen space cost.

Suggestion: Compound or remove some of the "fluff" that makes the screen so crowded. This would give more space to other useful things, such as the thread titles and, most importantly, the tiny little arrow that enables easy access to a multi-page thread.

Actually I thought I had already removed the Rating column for mobile devices (though honestly we're only targeting iPhones and Androids right now). This column is now hidden when viewing m on iPhones and Androids. I also hid part of the Last Post column so it just gives a date and link for the last post.

Mazra wrote:
Considering the amount of fluff it has to load, the site loads really fast. A lot of it is probably due to the fact that there are no background images and such, but whatever it is, it's working. Nothing much to say except Smiley: thumbsup

Cool, thanks. :) I used a lot of image-less gradients instead of background images, and trimmed out a lot of the icons when viewed on a mobile to keep it loading fast.

Mazra wrote:
First, though, I want to repeat myself from the first point, because the thread layout is, like the thread index layout, much identical to the normal layout. This includes buttons for creating new posts and check-box for when you want to quote (and multi-quote). Now, because of the identical design, the layout is full of a lot of stuff that doesn't necessarily have to be there. Being able to choose how many posts per page and such is neat, but not really needed. You could easily set it at a default value (50?) and remove the settings, giving more space on the screen.

Suggestion: Remove some of the fluff and redo some of the button image sizes (including the multi-quote check-box) to make it easier to tap them on a touchscreen.

This will be receiving some cleanup in general in a coming forum update (which was hinted at a while back), but ultimately for mobile it'll likely need some more significant changes. This is definitely something I'm looking at though, either way.

Mazra wrote:
Second, and the biggest issue I'm having currently, is the way the writing of a post is handled on the phone. Like the above stuff, this also works pretty much like on the normal layout (by the way, by "normal layout" I'm referring to the layout on the original site). This means, however, that the text box is way too big for a phone. When you're writing a post, the text leaves the screen and the phone scrolls sideways to show it. This causes a great deal of lag, because apparently the phone has to load everything not shown on the screen - every time it moves. Maybe it's just an issue because I'm on an iPhone 3G, but I imagine others are having similar issues.

Suggestion: Change the text editor to something more phone friendly, including changing the text field size to a more upright rectangular form. Scrolling down instead of sideways would reduce the lag as the phone only has to load a blank, white space instead of the background colors and buttons and stuff.

Also, it would be nice if the Post Message button was easily available once you exit the text editor mode.

Yes, the large text box isn't handled well at all currently on mobiles. I'll look in to improving this.
#3 Apr 25 2011 at 4:04 PM Rating: Excellent
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JerekDain wrote:
Mazra wrote:
Second, and the biggest issue I'm having currently, is the way the writing of a post is handled on the phone. Like the above stuff, this also works pretty much like on the normal layout (by the way, by "normal layout" I'm referring to the layout on the original site). This means, however, that the text box is way too big for a phone. When you're writing a post, the text leaves the screen and the phone scrolls sideways to show it. This causes a great deal of lag, because apparently the phone has to load everything not shown on the screen - every time it moves. Maybe it's just an issue because I'm on an iPhone 3G, but I imagine others are having similar issues.

Suggestion: Change the text editor to something more phone friendly, including changing the text field size to a more upright rectangular form. Scrolling down instead of sideways would reduce the lag as the phone only has to load a blank, white space instead of the background colors and buttons and stuff.

Also, it would be nice if the Post Message button was easily available once you exit the text editor mode.

Yes, the large text box isn't handled well at all currently on mobiles. I'll look in to improving this.

This should handle much better on iPhones now. I scaled up the text box font size so the iPhone won't zoom in, and the box should now be sized to perfectly fit the screen while typing, with the Post button easily accessible once you hit "Done".
#4 Apr 26 2011 at 6:17 PM Rating: Good
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Thanks for giving my post a look.

And yes, posting just got easier by a million times or so! Smiley: thumbsup
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