Has ET changed it's default settings for how a page opens?

6 replies

kimshep

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Oct 2014

Total posts 385

Just wondering whether a default system setting change has been made at ET in the past few days?

Issue: Opening any new article works fine and displays properly. HOWEVER, if the new article allows discussion, the discussion text is completely hidden by default. In other words, if the article has several contributions from readers, these are all hidden until you click on the (right-pointing) red 'arrow' at the left of the start of what would be the discussion area.

Clicking on this right-pointing arrow changes it to 'down-pointing' arrow and reveals all commentary that has been submitted as discussion points.

It's a small point but one that I personally find annoying. Since the site was revamped from AUSBT to ET, I have not seen or experienced this before. Note: the arrow has always been there from memory - but has never been activated to my knowledge. It is just plain annoying to have to click on this in every article you open. -

Note - a bit of further experimentation. If a topic is clicked on from the scrolling 'ET - Live' panel, it automatically takes you to the article with the discussion points fully revealed. If opening an article, this is not the default.

Is there a specific reason for this change? Can this be fixed ? says 'Bob the Builder' :-)

David

Member since 24 Oct 2010

Total posts 1,008

Hey Kimshep - yes, this is one of a few tweaks we've made in recent days with the site's mostly-mobile audience in mind (although it also has desktop-relevance). The thinking is that for readers who come in for an article and then have to scroll through comments - especially when there are a lot of them (which is the case with many articles, including the most popular ones), and many comments are quite long - makes it harder for them to simply scroll through to the next article.

We believe that not everyone wants to read the comments - I'd say it's the articles that l people come for - so ‘hiding' comments by default makes it easier for readers (again, especially on mobile devices) to see and explore more articles, while readers such as yourself who want to see the comments can do so simply by clicking the button to expand the comment view.

This change isn't set in stone, but that's the thinking behind it.

Last editedby David at Nov 10, 2021, 08:42 PM.

kimshep

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 Oct 2014

Total posts 385

Originally Posted by David

Hey Kimshep - yes, this is one of a few tweaks we’ve made in recent days with the site’s mostly-mobile audience in mind (although it also has desktop-relevance). The thinking is that readers who come in for an article and then have to scroll through comments - especially when there are a lot of them (which is the case with many articles, including the most popular ones), and many comments are quite long - makes it harder for them to simply scroll through to the next article.

We believe that not everyone wants to read the comments - I’d say it’s the articles that l people come for - so ‘hiding’ comments by default makes it easier for readers (again, especially on mobile devices) to see and explore more articles, while readers such as yourself who want to see the comments can do so simply by clicking the button to expand the comment view.

This change isn’t set in stone, but that’s the thinking behind it.

Thanks for the explanation David - it is appreciated.

I can understand the logic (from the point of phone users). However, as a member with a desktop, a laptop, a notebook, a tablet and cell phones, I personally never use a cell to view this site. It would be my finite last choice, by all measures.

To the contrary, it is also possible for those that do use cellphones to view on the site, to hit the 'compact' button to zoom straight past the comments by using it.

I would hope that this thread attracts some commentary on reader preferences and your subsequent monitoring of site usage.

David

Member since 24 Oct 2010

Total posts 1,008

Hey Kim – well, given that mobile users are the clear majority at ~70% compared to desktops/laptops at ~30%, it'd be logical for a default setting (such as 'comments collapsed') to favour that majority, while the smaller audience segment of desktop/laptop users can still hit the 'expand' button to see comments if they so wish.

XWu

Member since 09 May 2020

Total posts 118

I wonder if your metrics can differentiate mobile phone vs mobile tablets.

99.9% of the time I view ET via tablets, 0.1% by desktop and 0% phone.

I find the comments section interesting and the new drop down comment section fidgety via tablet use

markpk

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 29 Nov 2013

Total posts 448

I'm one of the 30% who read ET on a laptop - I did notice comments were now collapsed by default - not really an issue for me once I'd worked out the change (I did think originally that comments had been turned off completely).

I guess it's one of those damned if you do and damned if you don't type scenarios for the ET team. Personally I'd keep focused on creating awesome content...

David

Member since 24 Oct 2010

Total posts 1,008

Originally Posted by XWu

I wonder if your metrics can differentiate mobile phone vs mobile tablets.

99.9% of the time I view ET via tablets, 0.1% by desktop and 0% phone.

I find the comments section interesting and the new drop down comment section fidgety via tablet use

Hi XWu - the traffic software doesn't directly differentiate between phones vs tablets, although it reports screen resolution and with a bit of work that can be used as a proxy for phone vs tablet, but it's clear that phones are the number one viewing platform by a long chalk, which is why we're putting some work into optimising some aspects of the site for mobiles (including some things that'll benefit all users, such as loading speed).

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