Have a travel related question? Post it here, and I’ll do my best to answer it as quickly as possible.
While anyone can comment on regular blog post, registration is required in order to post a question in this space. Creating your account is free, and you'll be able to see when your question is answered, as well as like comments from other users. And of course, you'll earn status points for offering helpful answers!
This space is intended to be more of a community as well, so please jump in and share tips!
Hey all —
I wanted to open this up as a place to collate and collect thoughts and concerns regarding the new site design. We know the shift from a landing page with all posts to a more styled homepage is very different for OMAAT, and I appreciate that the bold colors are a dramatic shift as well (we have been going through and toning those down). There have also been an annoying cluster of technical issues that I’m not pleased about (hello, password tokens!), and those have certainly led to a more chaotic launch than we’d planned.
So it’s understandable that reactions have been mixed, and we are listening. As we work to improve the user experience on the new site, we want to ensure there is a clear way/place to provide site feedback since comments in individual posts have the potential to be lost in the noise and shuffle. So please consider this post the best way to ensure we see/hear that feedback.
The more actionable feedback, the better (e.g. “it sucks and you suck and I hate you” is not something we can do much with, whereas “the lowercase i is hard to read in Internet Explorer” or “can we have timestamps back in the comments?” are things we could jump on and adjust right away).
I can’t express enough how much we appreciate having the extra eyes on usability concerns like that, so please keep it coming. We’ve already implemented many of the things y’all have pointed out or requested, and will keep working through that list with the dev team as quickly as we can.
We anticipated the shift away from the old homepage would be controversial – especially for the many readers who have been on this ride with us for awhile. That’s one of the reasons we created onemileatatime.com/blog to mimic the format of the old site as much as possible. It has different colors, no sidebar, and far fewer ads, but it still shows every post written on the site, in chronological order, with the most recent first.
Please trust as that the design and purpose of the new homepage will be more clear as we launch additional features in the coming weeks.
That said, we know this process is an evolution and there are other things we can do to make the /blog page or the individual posts feel more comfortable. So we’re all ears.
(Side note: I know the email newsletter is broken. It has nothing to do with the new design, and is just the worst.timed.inconvenience.ever. We’ll have it up and running by the end of the weekend, even if it means changing email providers again, or else I may just move to Mars.)
Hi Tiffany, as others have mentioned, the comments section on posts seems far less user-friendly now. However, that is using my laptop, which I normally use to access the site. I tried on my phone the other day, and that was a nightmare – i.e., far worse. I hold my phone in my left hand and scroll down with my thumb, so four times out of five, I accidentally brought up the Reply box, when all I was trying to do was scroll and read comments. I’m actually amazed that this could even happen – your designers should have tested this on actual users before release.
As for the visual side, the new design seems very nice to me. I also have bookmarked the blog, so it’s easy for me to access the posts, same as the old site. It’s the comment aspect that needs fixing.
Agree totally on the reply button on my phone!
@ Malc — Yes, ugh! Absolutely on the list, and hoping to have a fix for that by Tuesday. It was tested (including specifically with Ben, since he’s left-handed), but didn’t come up as an issue for anyone. Different finger positioning and whatnot I guess. Thanks for pointing it out 🙂
I had a bookmark set up on Ask Lucky so that when I went to the page the topics with new comments in them floated to the top and the heading of the topic was in bold type. (asklucky.onemileatatime.com/find-new/posts) That made it easy for me to see which topics had been updated since I last visited the site. I’ve just realized several topics were updated yesterday but when I visited today nothing drew my attention to the fact that these posts had been updated. I just happened to notice the comment count on a topic I’d commented on was higher than I was expecting. And since there’s no timestamp I don’t know if the comments were added after I signed off for the night or if they were there all day and I just didn’t notice.
I’m sure this is far down on the list of priorities but as someone who kept the Ask Lucky page bookmarked and reviewed it several times a day, it’s something that was quite helpful to me. Oh, and I primarily use the desktop version of the site, if that makes a difference.
@ MidSouthSkier — That’s a really great point. The Q&A is WordPress now, versus the antiquated forum software that kept breaking Ask Lucky, but it makes sense that you’d want to see where there had been more added to a discussion here still.
Having notifications (of one’s choice) regarding new content is on the roadmap for the entire site — we have often heard that people want to be better alerted to *certain* new content, or otherwise see what is new since their last visit. Let me see if we can push that up for at least the Q&A though, that’s a great call out.
Timestamps are coming back to “Answers” too; that should have happened when they were added to “Comments”, but they work slightly differently so it’s taking a bit longer. Probably Monday morning for those.
I hd a few suggestions re comments and I’m glad to see that one appears to have been addressed. Remaining in the comment panel after you post a comment.
A couple of other suggestions:
* Add a skip to the comments link at the top of a post so that when you come back to a post to see new comments you don’t need to scroll through the orignal post
*You added a way to upvote a comment (helpful). I’d like to see a way to downvote as well to be able to address comments that are irrelevant, misleading, false, etc.
* add a delete comment feature — I might make a comment in reply to someone and then find out that’s it’s been better covered elsewhere. Or I’ve calmed down after posting a contentious comment and would like to make amends:-)
@ GBOAC — Thank you! We really are trying to get everything addressed as quickly as possible.
For your other things:
• There is currently a comment icon in the byline (in yellow, right under the title), and one in the left rail of the post on desktop. We’re going to add a jump right from the blog page as well, as we know people like to come back to comments
• We debated “unhelpful” a lot, and may add it in, but our intention was to try and promote a more positive comment experience, hence the emphasis on noting if things are “helpful” versus enabling a dogpile of negativity. If a comment is misleading or false, please just report it!
• We’ll research deleting/editing comments. I hear you, there are just restrictions with how WordPress treats these things that make it complicated — it might be something we can add for logged-in users of a certain status level eventually, but isn’t something that can be a free-for-all.
I just noticed something that reminded me of this thread–One of the comments acutally showed a “-1” helpful score. Does reporting a comment cause a negative weight? I was curious so I clicked helpful and it went to zero.
@ Gaurav — Not typically, I think that’s a side-effect of some of the cleanup work we were doing. A glitch was allowing some users to mark a comment as helpful infinite times, and that’s been fixed.
We also deleted some Obvious Troll accounts, along with their history, so when those were subtracted it may have caused some comments to look negatively-helpful. Should be clearing up shortly.
@Tiffany, completely unrelated, but can we have more posts from you and the other team members? They’ve become increasingly rare, and while OMAAT = Ben, it’s nice to have a bit more variety (especially the high quality posts from you, Travis, Andrew, etc.).
In terms of redesign, one thing I miss is the ability to navigate to older/newer posts. It’s nice to be able to quickly see the headlines of the previous/next posts without having to go back to the homepage. (I’m using the /blog page, as I prefer the chronological order.) Thanks!
@ Tennen — That’s very kind, thank you. It’s honestly not an intentional shift as much as the realities of life+business+COVID. As I’m sure you can imagine, keeping multiple travel companies alive during a pandemic has been a more-than full-time occupation for me, Travis and Steph and Mike have been similarly occupied with their own businesses, and so forth. We’d all like to write more, and Ben especially would like to have help on the writing front, so the intent is to get back to that as things settle down.
Noted on previous/next! It had become a bit of a mess on the old site (as Ben would reuse a URL for an IHG promo or whatever, so it would say the “previous” post was something from 2012 when that obviously wasn’t the case), but let me see what we can do there.
Hi Tiffany, it’s very nice that you have finally set up a dedicated feedback channel, but there are definitely a number of issues that I hope will be ironed out, not least the way I got to the Q&A forum in the first place. I could never find it anywhere in the navigation. I happened to randomly search for Air China, and the first six or seven results were all Q&As, and only when I clicked the X button (I’m using an iPhone) did the Q&A forum appear. Hopefully you can add a link to it in the top navigation bar.
Secondly, Sharp Grotesk is a very nice and flexible font (literally!), but I almost never want to read it on my comparatively low-res Windows laptop. As so many others have pointed out, the shapes of the lowercase I and G are mangled at small sizes. Maybe that’s why you chose Sharp Grotesk because, unlike with most other fonts, the uppercase I actually has lines on the top and bottom, but that advantage is nullified by the lowercase I which is indistinguishable from a lowercase L on anything but a Retina Display or equivalent. I know it is very expensive to licence a font, but this is causing too many issues for many readers. Maybe you should consider changing it, which is a shame because the font is lovely otherwise.
Another gripe that I have is that all post categories seem to have been removed. Earlier, posts had up to two categories on top. While it had its flaws—for instance, a post involving the UAE and Israel could have only two categories, say Emirates and El Al (but not Etihad)—it was still a nice way to see what an article was about. Now that has mostly disappeared. I say ‘mostly’ because, ironically, when you click on a post about, say, the Aegon Mykonos fiasco, you will still be able to see the Marriott category on top (Home > Insights > Marriott > post title), and even click on it, which will show you the 10 most recent Marriott posts. (Unfortunately, loading more posts does not work, which is a different matter. For that matterm accessing most older posts by search is extremely difficult now, if not impossible.)
I know it is a long and difficult process to redesign, but otherwise I am very much in favour of the new look that discards the safe and pleasant but ultimately boring Open Sans, though the replacement is too radical.
Hope you will be able to fix these!
One more thing I would like to add, since I cannot edit (hope you will bring that functionality to Q&A): I see that for some of the most recent trip reports, the airport (such as BER) or the origin and destination airport codes (e.g., ZRH to MIA) have been written, like TPG does/did. I would be so happy if this were rolled out to other trip reports too!
As an avgeek, I have always felt it sad that the flight numbers in the trip reports never mention the airline code (for instance, a Turkish flight is always written as ‘Turkish 753’, never as ‘Turkish Airlines TK753’), and of late even this has stopped with the pandemic-era trip reports. Nor is the aircraft registration ever mentioned, unlike on other sites. But this is one small change that would immeasurably gladden the avgeek in me, and I hope you will be able to introduce airport codes to all the trip reports soon!
Oh, I see now that the Q&A forum is buried under the Insights section, with a small title under a big picture on desktop. No wonder I missed it earlier! Still, this is another UI/UX thing that you can consider: a small title below a big picture is not a good idea for legibility.
Sorry for overwhelming you with so many questions!
@ VT-CIE — Understood!
The Q&A is where it is (and named as it is) because as you’ve perhaps surmised, it’s not quite ready for prime-time. Once we have more of the functionality in place, we’ll make more of a splash about it, but moving from forum software to a wordpress integration is cumbersome to say the least.
Post categories are still present (in fact, we’ve added much more granularity to them, and added about 600 categories to the 400 we already had). Only the Primary Category is surfaced in the breadcrumbs, and we are looking at how best to surface the others. Great point.
And yep, we are going through and adding that metadata to all the old reviews. I don’t know that Ben will change how he writes flight numbers, but the other info is getting added as we speak.
Like the new site but ever since you launched it my daily email doesn’t come through to me 🙁
I have even added my email to the email list on the site but that didn’t work…hopefully there’s a solution, cheers
@ HOWIE50 — Yep, as I noted above, the newsletter is a separate and ridiculous disaster. Working on that one, and know it’s super annoying in the interim.
Hi Tiffany–I’m sure this has been a massive undertaking and I’ve been trying to just get used to changes before knee jerk reacting.
I would second MSS’s comments on the Q&A section. Though I don’t spend as much time as I used to (and would still like to) here, being able to see read posts and new updates would be great.
I also think burying the Q&A under insights does it a disservice. It’s one of the few places to find non-judgemental responses and I think it deserves a spot up top.
I might also consider reverting to Ask Lucky or Ask a Question. Q&A sounds like FAQ to me–I’m not sure I would recognize that as a discussion forum off the bat.
While I appreciate the old forum software had some problematic back end issues it did seem to offer more robust formatting/picture sharing/direct messaging/options. I hope those will be reintroduced at some point. I think the forum needs a little more than the article comments.
The comments on a pane at the edge is a cool touch but to me it feels like a solution to something that didn’t need tweaking. You read the article and then you scroll through the comments is a pretty established convention on most websites. It would be great to offer the option to sort comments by helpful/new/old etc that users can choose.
If the format can’t be changed back then consider pulling in the whole thread in featured comments? Right now a response to a comment might get pulled into the three featured comments but lacks context without the post before or after.
I’ve always struggled to understand the movement towards bigger graphics at the top of articles and it’s been a pet peeve. I’m sure there are good reasons why many websites have adopted this layout but it drives me batty. I’m reading the articles for Ben’s content but now when I click on a post I see an ad, the horizontal nav menu, giant picture with post title, another ad and then just the beginning of the post title. And this is on my desktop with plenty of real estate. It pretty much means that I have to be scrolling right off the bat. It would be nice to have the content front and center.
I like it generally but there is too much variability from device to device along with the i/l issues that have been mentioned a few times. If you have the ability to consdier other options I would try.
Last (I promise :)): Logo:
Too me, it looks too much like a transformers logo turned on it’s side or two fingers in a pincer movement. I think it’s a cool idea but may be tweaked to show more of the forward fuselage or something.
I’m sure you’re swamped right now and have more features to roll out so hopefully some of this is helpful.
@ Gaurav — Very helpful, as always!
The plan (once it’s ready for more attention) was to title the Q&A as more “Discussions”. How does that resonate for you? It won’t be buried then either, we just didn’t want to get ahead of ourselves with it, while still keeping it “available”.
For comments, one of the challenges OMAAT has that many other sites do not is the quantity of comments. This was impacting site performance on the old site, causing all the content to load very slowly. You’ll notice that on most other sites with a lot of comments, they don’t display all the comments on first load either. Some may wait until you’re in the comment “area” to start loading, or will only display a few and have you manually load more, etc. So that is part of the problem we are trying to solve (along with it being a lot of scrolling to return to the comments of a long article on mobile). This might not be the right solution, and we’ll keep iterating on it, but definitely not a case where we were just fiddling to fiddle.
Comment sorting is definitely coming regardless though!
I like discussions more than Q&A :)!
Had a comment written, but it seems to have disappeared. If this ends up being redundant, please accept my apologies. I appreciate a topic where we can leave Site Feedback.
1) Comment edit/delete buttons.
These would be very handy. More than once I have wanted to use both.
2) Insights tab
Any reason Questions and Answers cant be on the top navigation bar like Ask Lucky used to be?
3) Featured Comments
I realize your intent is NOT to hide comments, and that there are various icons to get to all the comments. However, that is in effect what you are doing. Accepted “web standards” are that you read a post, comments are at the bottom and you can scroll through them. I dont understand why you want to promote one comment over another when there seems no rhyme or reason to said promotion especially as the overall effect is to “hide” the rest of the comments. I would much rather scroll through comments at the bottom than deal with the slide-out comments we have now.
4) Number of visible posts Q&A
I’d like the ability to see more than 10 posts when I open the Q&A section if at all possible
5) Graphics heavy
Why do we need graphics in a submenu when you click a topic on the menu bar (deals, reviews, etc). It makes the site seem busy. A simple menu of text would work just fine.
Overall, I feel (at least for me) the site update is a negative. While I know tweaks are coming and it will take time to get used to as all change does, the overall feel of the site is that it is less fun than it used to be. Everything is flashy, graphic heavy, and harder on the eyes. It feels like the site is now a TPG clone with comments. Content may still be there, but we now have to work harder to see it.
I agree with this comment: “Accepted “web standards” are that you read a post, comments are at the bottom and you can scroll through them. I dont understand why you want to promote one comment over another when there seems no rhyme or reason to said promotion especially as the overall effect is to “hide” the rest of the comments. I would much rather scroll through comments at the bottom than deal with the slide-out comments we have now.”
I’ve yet to see a post where the featured comments are any better or more interesting than any others. And I suspect if a poll was taken, most people would find the new way of accessing comments cumbersome.
Lastly, I agree with an earlier comment about burying the Q&As under Insights (a vague term) – it doesn’t seem helpful.
@ RTBones — Appreciate the feedback! Editing and deleting comments may not be possible because WordPress considers literally everything to be a “post” (and I’m sure you can quickly contemplate how it is problematic to give unfettered access to editing posts), but we are absolutely looking at everything else on your list.
One more suggestion, you or Lucky should do a blog post publicizing this thread so people can have a place to give feedback without peppering it through the comment while also being able to read your comments which provide very useful insights.
One issue I’m having: on an Android phone I can’t search anything. As soon as I click into the search field I get dumped out of it for some reason.
Is there any possibility of there being a next/previous option instead of “load more” as you scroll? I’m having the issue of looking for an older post or two and constantly losing my place, since there aren’t pages (this was a big problem on Tumblr too )
I’m sure this can’t be easy, so it’s great to see you being so proactive with this thread!
@ breathesrain — That is annoying! We will get on that.
Not major, so this can wait weeks while you sort out more pressing issues, but when you mark a comment as ‘helpful’ and are not logged in, it does not get marked as helpful straight after you login. Instead, you have to navigate back to the comment and then mark it as helpful. That’s not very user-friendly.
Hi again Tiffany, another thing I’ve noticed, although pretty small in the scheme of things… In the comment box, there is some pre-loaded text with the words “commenting guidelines” in a different colour, suggesting they are clickable. However, when you try and click them to see what the guidelines are, all the text disappears, with no indication of how to access the guidelines. That’s slightly annoying
Now that we have user accounts could users make a choice and set their default landing pages? They could choose OMAAT or /blog…
I have the blog page bookmarked and I’ve been wanting to comment that I find it annoying to have to scroll down to see the top row of blog post tiles. However now that Ben has reserved that space at the top for his sponsored post, I want to share with you how really annoying it is to have to look at that item every time I bring up the blog page. It’s a real turnoff and makes me think negatively about your site.
I know it’s not the worst thing in the world but I thought you might want to hear how I’m reacting to it.
Yes, I agree with you. Having to see that same post over and over may be the single most annoying aspect of the redesign for me.