It's a very HOT Christmas down here in Sydney. First, as I write this, we're reaching some +35C (that's about +95 American-degrees, which I guess went through some dramatic inflation sometime in history) and second - we're bound to have a busy working week. We need to deliver full release of Dolphin 7.1 ASAP and we also work on a bunch of improvements at BoonEx.com. You would have noticed a lot of changes by now, and more is coming, so it is time that we'd explained a few things...
The new layout/design of BoonEx.com is intended to make everything more legible and focused. Fonts are larger, side menus are gone, a lot of unnecessary pages and blocks are removed. Initial change turned out to be a little drastic for many (c'mon, we're preserving your eyesight!), so we've also introduced a "smaller" version that automatically applies on smaller screens; we've re-adjusted fonts and margins a bit, and we've streamlined navigation and UI in general. Ultimately, we want users to be able to focus on any current page content better and get to their main action paths quicker and more intuitively.
Updated forums got rid of yellow highlights for Premium Members (we're going to introduce another, more beneficial perk shortly); larger font-face and bigger white-space margins create better accent on individual posts and separate them more evidently. Same as most of the other parts of BoonEx.com site Forums now utilise 100% of the site width.
Now, Market is undergoing a lot of changes. Mainly, we are trying to achieve uniformity between listings to make them easier for buyers to evaluate. Think about it as of a difference between the old MySpace and old Facebook. We've removed most of the HTML-tags support within the listing and added dedicated area for screenshots. There is at least one detrimental reason for this change - screenshots may come in various sizes, often larger than available space within the Market Post, and Vendors have different ways of handling this issue, thus creating very different experiences for buyers. It is much better to keep all screenshots in one, well-defined zone, where they can be easily found, in every product, in one same place. Screenshots open in a full-size pop-over when users click on thumbnails.
This change may seem like an added limitation, but in time it should really help to improve user-experience. Many "stores" recognised this as a preferred format - iOS App Store, OSX App Store, Google Play, Amazon, etc. - all have only plain text description field and dedicated blocks for screenshots and meta information. Let Vendors insert their own rich-HTML content and you get a messy mish-mash of MySpace/eBay-like listings that are just all too different to digest. Anyway, we've decided to leave older listings as they were, but when Vendors post new ones, or edit the old ones, HTML will be stripped out of the description. Only these most basic text formatting tags will be supported: b, i, u, a, ul, ol, li, pre, table, td, tr, tbody, tfoot, thead, dd, dl, dt, em, q, s, strong, sub, h1-h6.
Among other improvements in Market you will find new rating system which shows not only the resulting product rating, but also a graph of amount of votes per every rate level. Now buyers will be able to tell whether the product is all "3-star" or half 5-star and half 1-star. This can make a difference.
Action buttons, like buy/download, prices and Vendor info are now more prominently displayed, and, again, product page occupies 100% of the site width.
Besides layout changes that are generally in-line with the rest of the site improvements, we have removed blog posts of anyone besides Boonex team from main browsing pages in Blog. This is to remove the confusion about what the Blogs and what Forums are for. Blog is for BoonEx News and for members' posts that are not intended for engaging others to start a conversation. Thus, members can still create Blog Posts, like, say, their own news about extensions updates, or development plans, but those post will be visible on their own profiles only. They can also be linked to within a conversation in Forums, when it's relevant.
"Websites" section has been sacked. Unfortunately, it brought more managing overhead than benefit. It had to go. Big THANKS to the moderators who helped to keep it running and took their time to check submissions, talked to members and kept it clean.
Member Accounts, Connections (Friends), Tickets, Notifications, Licenses and other parts of the site have also been changed and are still being adjusted. Any feedback with specific suggestions would be a great help!
So, The End of The Old is here. A few more things need to be done to make sure The New is all nice and shiny, and that's exactly what we are working on, Christmas or no Christmas.
And yet, it's one of the year's most magical days when I hope most of us can hug their loved ones and say - "Merry Christmas!".
Be happy and stay tuned!