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tut comments on LW 2.0 Open Beta Live - Less Wrong

22 Post author: Vaniver 21 September 2017 01:15AM

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Comment author: tut 21 September 2017 04:24:08PM 6 points [-]

:-(

I do not have the patience to read anything on that site. Or alternatively, my computer is too old and my screen too low res. But I am not sufficiently committed to LW to buy new hardware just to maybe be able to see it. Is there any possibility that the old site might remain up, maybe as some kind of accessibility thing for people who can't use the new one?

Comment author: rhollerith_dot_com 25 September 2017 01:23:22AM *  11 points [-]

I can corroborate that the scrolling is painful on sufficiently old hardware (and two of the not-home not-work places I most like to hang out in these days have hardware that is sufficiently old).

Scrolling for example is painful near the bottom (in the comments) of the recent article on the Cambrian explosion on a Core 2 Duo running Windows Vista, in Chrome. In particular, it takes whole seconds for the text to appear. (Till then the view port is blank / white.)

But even when I'm using reasonably fast hardware, my reaction to any signs that the text on a web page is not being produced "the old fashioned way" (and the new site certainly has such signs) is to ask myself if I really need to continue using the site.

Even a site's use of a font I don't recognize I provokes that reaction in me.

Why? Well, it is a sign that I will run into further irritants. Some actions will work slightly differently from the way I am used to with the result that I have to stop concentrating on the reason I came onto the web site to figure out scrolling or searching in the page or making sure the right pane on the screen has "keyboard focus" or how to change the size of the text. Or I will have to figure out how to undo the effects of some action I took accidentally.

If you're reading this and cannot relate, then maybe that is because I have cataracts, so a large text size is more important to me than it is to you. Or maybe it is because I have a 57-year-old brain and some chronic health issues so that it is harder for me to retain what is in my working memory when things jump around on a page in ways that my brain cannot predict.

Or maybe it is because I prefer the kinesthetic sensory modality which makes me care more about subtleties in the computer's response to various "attempted manipulations" (e.g., attempting to scroll or to use the pointing device to select an extent of text) of the web page.

The new LW site is not doing anything that many many other web sites are not also doing, so this is a comment about modern web sites more than it is a comment about the new version of LW.

I realize that this comment is rough on the creators of the next version of LW since it is negative feedback, but not actionable negative feedback (since they've already implemented a particular design). I considered refraining from publishing it, but went ahead because writing this comment, then observing how many points it ends up with is by far the easiest way for me to find out how many LWers share my frustrations (and knowing that is even more useful to me than knowing how many in the general population of internet users share my frustrations). I won't make a habit of complaining about it.

Comment author: tanagrabeast 26 September 2017 05:52:57AM *  3 points [-]

Even a site's use of a font I don't recognize I provokes that reaction in me.

Speaking of font difficulty, the new font doesn't render well on my desktop (Windows 10, Chrome, default font/size, 1680x1050). It comes out looking poorly aliased, or maybe just not fully black. I compare to another serif-heavy site like nytimes and the latter just seems so much darker and crisper, even at similar sizes.

On my older MacBook Air the LW font is not as ugly, though it still seems less than fully black.

Comment author: Dustin 21 September 2017 04:39:01PM 0 points [-]

What, specifically, is the problem you're having that requires patience? It's not using any notably weird/esoteric/advanced technology...

Comment author: tut 21 September 2017 05:37:31PM *  7 points [-]

I don't know. What it looks like on my end is that scrolling takes time. It is as though my browser has to do some shit to figure out what the text is, instead of just displaying it like on a normal page.

So I read a line, hit down arrow, nothing happens, I start reading the next line etc. After a while the page starts jumping around like it's doing all the down arrows at irregular intervals. Ok, that's annoying, so I stop hitting down arrow and instead read the 1-2 paragraphs that are on the top of the screen, then hit page down. Nothing happens, hit page down again etc. So I scroll back up to where I was, hitting page up once at a time and waiting for the page to scroll like it's twenty years ago and I just downloaded a large picture. Then I read the part of the text that I can see, hit page down again, sit and wait until it reacts, notice that I don't understand what I'm reading, notice that that's because I skipped a paragraph because it was behind the hoverboard, hit page up to find where I was and then try to scroll down part of a screen using the scrollbar. Nothing happens. I wait a while. The text starts to jump around again, because getting no feedback I scrolled a long way. Then I gave up.

I don't remember what the article was about, I didn't actually get to the meat of it. On most sites I would have given up and forgotten it ever existed after the first time that page down didn't work instantly.

Comment author: Elo 21 September 2017 05:51:13PM 0 points [-]

What os, browser and add-ons are you using?

Comment author: tut 21 September 2017 06:28:28PM *  1 point [-]

Firefox 55.0.2 32 bit, on Linux Mint KDE. No relevant add ons (adblock thing, EFF badger thing, greasemonkey but not with any scripts that should load for this page, pop up blocker thing).

Comment author: IlyaShpitser 25 November 2017 07:44:29PM 1 point [-]
Comment author: Raemon 21 September 2017 07:23:25PM *  1 point [-]

We'll be doing a lot of work to optimize the site experience. (Right now, I don't have the sort of issues you describe, but it does take an unacceptably long time to load the comments on a page, for example). I expect some of that to help with these sorts of issues.

It wouldn't be practical to have the old and new sites running in parallel (they don't communicate with each other easily, they'd basically be two separate sites and part of the whole point is that this current site has too many underlying issues to make it practical to maintain), but if it's still having issues running on older hardware we may figure out some kind of "accessibility mode" that renders less complicated stuff, possibly with fewer features)

(I expect the people currently working on it to not get to that sort of thing for awhile because there's a long list of things that need doing fairly urgently, but it's worth noting that it's open sourced, so anyone who has time to fix an issue that's bugging them is welcome to do so)

Comment author: elharo 23 November 2017 02:56:37AM *  0 points [-]

Sorry, but it is. Simple test: open a page and view source. Do you see HTML or do you see a big chunk of obfuscated JavaScript?

Browsers today are wicked fast at rendering HTML. They are ungodly slow on anything that replaces HTML with JavaScript. A text-heavy site such as LessWrong is very well served by pure HTML with a small scattering of JavaScript here and there. LessWrong 1.0 isn't perfect markup (too many divs and spans, too little semantic markup) but it is much better designed for speed than 2.0.