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Suggestion: review & tune site for small screens

"Mobi" is designed for those folks who will be updating their journals from the trail. It's also a great place to get 7-day plain text weather forecasts. Tell us how it's working for you.

Suggestion: review & tune site for small screens

Postby brianle » Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:32 pm

Side note: I looked for a good forum to post this and would suggest a catch-all "postholer site" forum for things that don't relate directly to journals or to maps.

This particular suggestion certainly relates to journals, but it goes beyond.

I think that going forward you will have more and more people using mobile devices to keep up in various ways on the PCT. I switched here from trailjournals.com as in at least brief testing this seemed easier to use on a small screen, but it's by no means easy.

One example is your snow page --- it would be great if there were a way to glean the essentials from that on a small screen. My experience was that I either couldn't get what I wanted, or if I could (?) it would be a frustrating experience. My smartphone screen is 2-1/4" x 1-3/4", FWIW.

I realize that to make a complete "mobile friendly" site isn't a trivial undertaking. This site already works better than many many others in this regards. I'm suggesting that some limited testing be done to identify the relatively high-value/low-implementation-effort stuff that can be done, and then you can perhaps advertise that yours is clearly the best trail journal site for navigation by mobile devices ...

I also realize that it's a lot easier for me to sit back and think of work for you to do than for you to implement it, test it, and be willing to stand behind it. With no renumeration.


Brian Lewis
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A New Mobile World

Postby postholer » Fri Apr 18, 2008 5:33 pm

(I've created a new forum)

Your suggestions are very valid and mobile journals is one I've given a fair amount of thought to. I know what I want it to look like, I just need to make it happen.

Recently, I've made some big behind scene changes in a step toward doing some cool stuff. One of those things is addressing the needs of the mobile user. Hikers are THE mobile users and stand to benefit a great deal from the technology.

While I wouldn't expect anything in the very near future, mobile is a hot item. Journals will be the first priority, then maps, etc.

What would YOU like to see? What do you think would be useful?

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Postby brianle » Fri Apr 18, 2008 10:22 pm

What would YOU like to see? What do you think would be useful?


Well, your no advertisement policy is a huge advantage to start with ...
And I like the fact that a cookie remembers me so I don't have to log in each time.

Okay, first off, almost half (upper half) of the screen is the menu. The words "Postholer.com" at the top are larger font than needed. I hope the menu could be tightened up and perhaps --- IF you are able and willing to offer modal behavior and alter your response to small screen devices --- perhaps some menu items could be eliminated for the mobile user, with a toggle available somewhere lower down to switch to "normal" mode.
Hmm, and/or maybe just have a show menu/hide menu toggle??

Just the general layout --- how much white/unused space there is, font size choices, modifying these could utilize the very limited screen real estate more efficiently perhaps.

One suggestion separate from this topic: I'd like the "journal search" box to remember my default trail (PCT for me), so I don't have to select it each time. For the mobile user, drop the "OR earch by name" option.

If I opt to look at other peoples journals, the top ~half of the screen is again used up by the "postholer.com" and the menu, then a goodly chunk (too much) by "Journal Search results" with white space around it. Then a bit more than a screenfull is the current demo info. For the mobile user I'd eliminate the graphic and tighten that up to about a single line.

It would be good to have an option for the mobile user to see detail rather than summary results, but with no pictures, and again, the details laid out more space-efficiently. As it is, "summary" is much more space efficient, but offers too little information, whereas "detail" offers enough information, but is too space inefficient. My current preference is the latter, but really prefer the best of both.

Actually, I think this is a "generally true" thing too, not just for mobile users. In summary view, I'd like to see not just the login name, but (on the same line) the date of the most recent entry, perhaps also the total number of entries.

When I look at someone's journal, much the same thing. A particular issue there is the basic data table that you have --- it starts with "View/Sign my guestbook" and has name, city, state, ... daily summary, etc. On my device at least, in default orientation, that takes up maybe 75% of the screen width, and just a few words get weirdly put along the side of it until I get below it and can see the meat of the text.

Slightly weird is when I look at someones entry with a photo and it tells me to click the image to see it full size, when the image as-is nearly fills my screen ... :D

Another area I suggest a focus on would be the process to review and edit an entry. Add/edit really involve the same thing, but I can add an entry via email if I choose; given that ability, the concern then is having confidence that my entries look okay (for normal, full-size-screen viewers too), and modifying them as needed. True, I can keep my emails cached and just modify and then resend the email, so maybe this isn't a priority after all ...

Still, when I look at an entry I've already made, the body text shows up in a tall rectangle with separate scroll bar that for some reason only takes up about 1/3 of my screen, with unused white space to either side.

Hmm, another side note: I just noticed that when I submitted an entry via email, it ended up being marked as "during trip" (whereas I would want it to be "pre-trip"). While I recognize that the email option is less likely to be used when not already on a trip, it would be nice to be able to override that in the email syntax somehow.

Oh, and per previous --- would be nice to be able to get the gist of snow reports via a small screen.

Please accept all of the above as input, and not criticism (!). Your site already does a whole lot of stuff well. Overall, things do lay out pretty well on a small screen. I like the fact that if I change font size via my browser, it actually changes size. The speed feels pretty good, even when graphics are involved. Etc etc!



Brian Lewis
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Journal WAP

Postby postholer » Sat Apr 19, 2008 3:11 pm

Thanks for the feedback Brian!

The WAP version of postholer would look absolutley nothing like the WWW version. It would be menu-driven as much as possible.

You wouldn't see the top banner *at all*, nor would you see journal images, entry text and entry info all in the same window.

Further, the web server would determine would kind of device is attempting to view the site and give the appropriate WWW/WAP version of the site.

As you're aware of the design should be dictated by the device. What works for the web just doesn't work for a WAP device.

Thanks again for the feedback!
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video

Postby chaseat99 » Thu Nov 06, 2008 3:08 pm

Any plans for video support like Facebook or many blogs? They do mms video or larger files from pc. Maybe I could just do utube and post the link. Just playing around
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Re: video in journal

Postby postholer » Thu Nov 06, 2008 6:54 pm

Embeding video into your journal is just a matter of putting the correct html (object tag) into your journal entry. One journalist has done it with youtube. It's very straight forward.

chaseat99 wrote:Any plans for video support like Facebook or many blogs? They do mms video or larger files from pc. Maybe I could just do utube and post the link. Just playing around
chase pct 09


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