The New But Not Improved FetLife Feed

25 05 2011

OK, I am giving my ideas about the FetLife feed on my own page.  I have made some changes to the graphics to protect the innocent. (As if any of my FetLife friends are innocent, LOL.) Before I launch into the negatives, lets talk about what they got right.

FetLife Feed, version 4The first thing that I like is that we now have continuous feed. That means that when you scroll down, you don’t have to click to continue.  That is neat and is a big improvement. Speeds up my perving of FetLife.

Status Bar Version 4I also like the change of placement for the upload links. They moved them underneath the status bar. Makes them more handy. More handy means more stuff uploaded.  Might be better if they were a little brighter, but overall they are an improvement over the old one off to the side.

The next thing I like, at least in theory (it is only available to premium paying members so I haven’t had a chance to try it out yet), is the gag feature. This allows you to put friends who overshare, or who wanted to follow you (but you didn’t care if you saw their stuff) in a kind of timeout, where you don’t see their stuff. You can also customize your feed where you may only want to see group activities, or you don’t want to see writings.  Again, this is a pay for play feature, so I have no real opinion on this.

SideBarNow where did they go wrong?  Well frankly this was the ugliest update that I have seen to date on their site.  Normally John Baku shows a great deal of care and love for a site design.  And I did see him try here.  But something went horribly wrong.  The layout of this design reminded me of a Visual Studio design, and that is no compliment.  I particularly do not like the layout of the sidebar, the font size is too small, particularly for us older members.  My eye sight isn’t what it used to be.

I also have a major functional issue with the new group listing to the side.  The groups you lead, as you will notice in the picture above are all nicely laid out, like the old feed was.  But now the groups you are a member of are all in a scroll bar.  Why John, why?  I am in soooo many groups.  They all do not all show up on one screen, and it is almost impossible to use on a mobile device.  I have noted a lot of complaints from Blackberry users in particular.

One more glaring mistake is the omission of the link to support FetLife.  For some reason, they have decided to replace that with links to services that only paying members can use. Instead of seeing a friendly message asking for a support, you get a “Fuck you you non-paying bastard” feel every time you click on gag, or one of the other symbols (like the @ symbol at the top).  John, please put back the nice message. Stop turning me off with those links.  I understand that FetLife needs to make a buck. Servers don’t run on free.  And John Baku and company need to pay rent, buy food and buy remote controlled cars. But seriously, you think that annoying your users is a good way to make that money? Stop it.

OK, those are my thoughts. But I would love to hear what you think. Let me know, in the comments.

MV

Update

James and John have sent me some feedback based on this article.

From James:

 @JamesGolick Tweet

@JamesGolick Tweet

@JamesGolick Tweet

My response was pretty simple to James. The continuous scrolling has to go.  I mean besides crippling groups on my home page, what if I want to read the stuff at the footer?  I have to go through how may hours/days worth of material? Or I have to leave the home feed.  Not a good solution.  Back to the drawing board with this one.  I suggested that they could replace the click (or at least add to it) a mouse over to the area you used to click, and that would solve the issue for everyone.  the feed wouldn’t be continuous, but it would be usable.

From John I received this message:

@JohnBaku Tweet

I suspect that that he may have been referring to the “What’s popular” feed that launched this week. Meh, not that impressed.  Still don’t see the need to screw with people’s feeds like they did to add it.  Could have easily been added as another tab.

And the tech support thread has been screaming with people having issues with the new feed.  Too much Java script for older machines and buggy code for others (probably more to do with mobile devices).

Yep.  Great planning to put your customers through the “Madness”.
MV

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5 responses

25 05 2011
Telia

I agree, it doesn’t take much to adjust certain links so they simply don’t appear if they’re not something you can use (and I’m a supporter). I don’t like sites that are fixed-width and overuse JavaScript… John is getting close to the edge with JS. CSS is an absolute mess, there’s no need for such a huge library for a site that has a relatively simple design.

My issue is that the stuff you see on the right is on the left for me and goes below my feed. That dropdown menu for groups I’m a member of can’t even be used. By the time I scroll down to it, the continuous perving kicks in and bumps the group list down again.

Aesthetically, some things are better, others have become harder to read. The arrangement seems to be on the right track but floating and fixed-width issues still make it pretty ugly. I’ll be happy if they let us retain the option to use the old layout… which is less than a simple click for me since the link for it is below the continuous perving point. I have to go all the way up to the address bar and change it to v3 manually (womanually?). Woe is me :p

25 05 2011
bgtreasure

Nice review! I’d like to hear your thoughts on the Fet app have you tried it?

27 05 2011
Candy

Can anyone help, since Fetlife have come up with this new feed, i just cant login. My login details are fine, as ive logged in on a friends computer, just my computer wont let me login, and its only FetLife I’m having the problem with. Thanks

28 05 2011
MasterVoid

@ bgtreasure BG, I haven’t checked out the app for 2 reasons. 1) I don’t have an android device. I am a firmly committed iPhone guy. And every day I am more happy I stuck with it. And 2) Since FetLife doesn’t use oAuth or xAuth, I am not thrilled about sharing my FetLife credentials with people I don’t know. Since I don’t know the coding team, I don’t trust them. Not saying that they are doing something bad, but there are too many examples of untrustworthy apps on the android market.

@Candy Try using http://fetlife.com/groups to login. It may be that your feed is broken. This will at least allow you to get onto the site. Also, you may want to email support@fetlife.com and ask them to help fix you.

2 06 2011
Candy

i will try that, thanks for your reply xx

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