Most of you seem happy with the new version of the site. It still needs some tweaks. Part of that is due to the fact that we could not run some plugins in a staging site. And one of the plugins (for comments) crashed the site in a major way and had to be disabled until we can debug or rewrite it.
The thing you need to do RIGHT NOW if you are having problems is clear your cache. If you have a cached version of the site, it can interact with the live version in nasty ways (I had that happen on the staging site). So that really is essential.
Broken/light font. One fix that has completely ended readability problems for some readers on older PCs (some of you are getting font that is very light and/or broken looking). And I mean completely.
The instructions vary depending on what version of the Microsoft OS you are using, but they aren’t hard. See Windows fonts are poor quality and not smooth.
It is also possible you disabled font smoothing, which is the default. For instance, bob reports:
So, I went into win 7-
Selected “smooth edges of screen fonts”
That did solve it.
Others with older win machines may have unchecked that box too.
Small font. Another complaint we have gotten from some readers is that the font on the new site is small. This is extremely puzzling to us because the new version of the site replicates what the old site had exactly on text font except for the two changes described below. Neither seems capable of producing itty bitty font for some people. And we didn’t get complaints in our last preview prior to launch.
For the moment, please make your font size large in your browser (you should have a way to do that in the controls, it typically displays in the address line area).
One fix some of our readers use with ALL sites and they like it quite a lot is NoSquint (number three in this article). That give your more ability to tune sizes.
Now more detail on the few changes we did make. The template tells your machine what fonts to use. On the default sequence, you are supposed to get Optima. Optima is a highly readable and very pleasant font. Mac users will see the site in Optima, since that’s installed on all Macs. It is NOT commonly installed on PCs. So the style sheet then has a default sequence: “If no Optima, then Calibri. If no Calibri, then…”
On the old site, Arial was the next font after Optima. I think Calibri is actually more readable, but to eliminate the font default sequence as a possible culprit for the font size weirdness, we’ll revert to the old site sequence for a bit.
We also eliminated black black as the text font color and went for a very slightly off black. That is actually supposed to be easier on the eyes than a pure black. Some sites use off black for the main text, see Yanis Varoufakis an example. Syracuse.com even uses grey text.
So if clearing your cache and making sure font smoothing is enabled properly does not resolve the readability issue, please tell us what operating system and browser you are using.
Our options then become:
1. Licensing Optima so you all get it downloaded with the site. This is not commonly done (licensing fonts) because sites are charged a monthly fee based on traffic and it would be a not trivial number in our case.
2. Having Kristen implement a way for you to adjust the font size in NC only. This seems like a lot of work when from what I can tell, these toggles are not that common, hence most readers don’t know to look for them, so new readers probably won’t either. And you can achieve much the same result with TruSight. But if we have enough readers still reporting problems after trying these remedies, we’ll move to Phase II.
Other known issues. This is on our list:
1. Font size when drafting comments too small
2. Too much white space (vertically) in comments area
3. Links in comments area pale grey rather than orange
4. Feature for reading out posts got lost and needs to be restored
5. Some HTML tags not working properly (for instance, we use bold and italics for our author taglines in cross post; the bold weirdly seems not to work in those cases).
We have a bunch of minor aesthetic fixes, we’ll spare you those (for instance, the old title headers were bold. Kristin made them not bold. But if we make them bold, it looks weird not to have “Recent Items” be bold too. I also think there needs to be a little more white space under “Recent Items” and the dot points should be indented).
Reporting on Problems and Suggestions
First, please be sure you have tried the remedies above if you are having problems.
If you still have problems:
1. Tell us what OS and browser you are using
2. Tell us what the problem is
If you have a suggestion, label it as a suggestion and tell us that too. If you made a suggestion on a previous post, don’t hesitate to copy and paste it here. It is MUCH MUCH easier for us to have everything in one post so we can create a punch list (and conversely, we might miss your input if it is spread around on a bunch of posts.
Thanks for your patience and help!