Tag: release 41

How Do You Want Your Vox Homepage Reordered?

If you haven't noticed yet, Vox pushed out another release (release 42) that fixes some of the issues people were having with the Vox homepage.  Now, you have all your recent comments, posts, and activity visible by just scrolling down the page.  The QotD and the Vox Hunt are together (although not above the fold).  As improvements go, this is MUCH better than release 41, but not quite yet what I could see myself wanting to have on my homepage.

I'm planning to put together another quick-and-dirty Greasemonkey script for the Vox homepage – the first revision of this (and only planned revision, at this time) will only re-order the content boxes around on the page.  For example, I would much prefer to have the QotD and Vox Hunt up in the top right, where currently the "Find your friends" and ad boxes are.

I'd like to make this script something that people would want to use, so for now, I'd like to hear how you'd like your homepage reordered.  Please leave a comment if you think you'd like to have your homepage reordered in any way, and let me know what your dream order for the boxes would be.  Keep the following in mind:

  • On the first revision, I'm only going to reorder the stuff on the left up/down, and the stuff on the right up/down.  I'm not going to be moving things left-to-right or vice versa, or merging content of boxes.
  • I'm not going to delete anything.  If you don't want ads, use an ad blocker.  I will however be amenable to putting things that aren't used often (like the find your friends widget) at the very bottom of the screen, where you won't see them often.

If I get overwhelming direction in the comments to order things a certain way, I'll definitely create a version of the script to order them that way.  If there's a more even split for what people want, I will probably pick the solution I would prefer and just implement that.  If you have any special requests after the fact, send me a note and we'll see what we can do.

I will be waiting to hear what people think until early next week (March 17th), after which I'll decide on an order, put together the script, and post a follow-up with a link for people to install it.

Edit: While hacking Vox to our whims may be fun and useful, the only way it's ever going to be "fixed" for real is by sending Vox some feedback with what you would like changed.  In addition to leaving a comment for me for the short-term fix, I urge you to tell Vox what you'd like reorganized on the home page – if they get enough feedback asking for a specific change, they will probably at least consider making the change (as shown by their efforts in release 42 to fix some of the complaints they received from their release 41 modifications).

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Everyone Else is Doing It, Why Shouldn’t I?

I'm talking, of course, about discussing the recent Vox update.  I haven't made a dedicated effort to seeking out people's opinions on the new UI changes, but every post from my neighborhood on the topic seems to be on the negative side of things.  I wonder how many, like myself, actually tried out this interface during the beta phase?  I'm blushing, because I tried it, found it pretty unusable, and switched back to the "old" UI.  But I forgot to submit feedback through the survey, and I'm wondering now if there were just not enough people who tried it out, found they didn't like it, and submitted their negative review. 

I wouldn't think Vox would go ahead with such a change for everyone if they found 90% of the people who tried it didn't like it, so I'm afraid that the majority of the survey results were from people who tried the new design and liked it and bothered enough to submit feedback.  I have to take my share of the blame for not providing feedback when it could have helped, but yet I still feel that it is better to voice my opinion, albeit a bit late.

Here's what I submitted to Vox feedback this morning:

I tried out the new design when it was a beta option, and had to stop after a couple days, because it was just so damn hard to do what I wanted to do.  This is not a knee-jerk reaction, I really gave it a chance and it came up lacking for the basic actions and ways that I used Vox.  I was happy that I was able to switch back, and I hope you provide an option to opt back to the older layout (much like Google gave Gmail users a means to switch back to the old Gmail design if they didn't like the new one).

Problems with the interface that made me switch back: I can't easily follow my neighborhood updates, comments are a pain to find, and this really breaks the entire user experience I was having and enjoying.  I don't care so much about the death of [This is Good], but I feel like my Vox homepage is a splash screen with almost zero content, where before I felt like it was a very lean, efficient means of transferring information about myself and my neighbors.  Part of my desire to come to Vox was derived from what I could glean from the Vox homepage.  That part of my involvement feels missing – I feel LESS connected with my neighbors and groups than I did before.  The new "features" section is a good idea but something about it makes me feel like I won't be using it much.

I will (probably) be staying with Vox through this new design, but I'm leaning towards getting into posting on my personal site.  I know that I won't have the community aspects that Vox has had, but when it feels so awkward to use Vox, I think I may be willing to give that up for something that feels more comfortable to use & manage.

Vox has been a great place to blog, and I have enjoyed the community aspects that have made me active, both in posting and reading other people's blogs.  I'm going to stick with Vox for a while yet, and see how things go.  But in the end, my intention for having a blog was having a place for me to write and share my thoughts and experiences, and the neighborhood aspects were secondary, only.  If a wordpress blog on my own site is what it takes to keep me feeling like I can easily get my thoughts out into a written medium, I won't hesitate to go that route.  We'll see, though.  I still have faith that the Vox admin can turn this around – I just hope that my neighbors don't all jump ship without giving them a chance.  And if you are thinking of leaving for somewhere else, PLEASE leave a forwarding address.  I want to keep track of my neighborhood, even if they are scattered to the four corners of the internet.  (And I'll be you didn't even know the internet was a quadrilateral, eh?)

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