So what do you think of the new look AccountingWEB

You will all have noticed that AccountingWEB.co.uk has a brand new look and feel. But the change is more than skin deep. There is a huge amount of new functionality. Do you like it? Can we improve it, and what else would you like to see?

Comments

Pages

So what do you think of the new look AccountingWEB

ianbaker2003 | | Permalink

Not nearly as easy to read as the previous format, which conveniently grouped the text of articles. New version appears "Open Plan" and is tougher to make out what you are trying to read.

Logging in

Anthony123 | | Permalink

I could no longer log in and the only email it recognised is one I ceased to use 7 years ago (even though emails have been sent to another address since then). It would also not recognise my user name.

I have had to create a new account which is tedious. I also miss seeing the straightforward lists of items - it all seems very jumbled up at present but no doubt one will get used to it.

tellingd's picture

New site

tellingd | | Permalink

Looks like a text only page with some hyperlinking - I assume this is an intermediate stage?

The absence of adverts is nice - how is the site being paid for now?

Euan MacLennan's picture

Out with the new!

Euan MacLennan | | Permalink

The new layout is appalling with narrow newspaper-type columns, which makes it more difficult to read the text and requires considerable use of the scroll wheel to get down the pages, only to find that the page contained only 10 items and you have to open another page and another page.... The fancy boxes which surround the text waste a lot of space.

I do not like my comments or questions being identified by my user login (remaclennan), rather than by my name (Euan MacLennan).

And it is so slow - the most persistent comment on my screen is "Waiting for www.accountingweb.co.uk ..."

3569787's picture

New layout

3569787 | | Permalink

Absolutely terrible!!!!!!!

Took me 20 mins to navigate into a position that I could write this comment.

If you keep this style, I will soon depart!

Change for change sake - that's all I can think.

Becky Midgley's picture

Keep 'em coming

Becky Midgley | | Permalink

Hi folks

Thanks for your feedback so far - we are watching, reading and taking note!

It may not be possible to reply to you all individually about your feedback, but rest assured we will be taking comments on board and doing what we can to overcome any issues. The beauty of ths layout for us is that we can be more reponsive. So keep your feedback coming, good and/or bad, we want to hear from you! And the beauty for you, as you will all see once you get used to things, is that you can be more involved with each other by way of dedicated groups, private messaging and audio/video content.

Importantly, if there are any technical issues, please let us know either by commenting here or by email, or if you fancy a chat then give us a call!

Contact details here

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

AnonymousUser

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

Yes, it seems that there is a trend emerging - well, you can expect teething troubles. It appears that my initial member registration was logged at the trainingzone site rather than aweb, and under the old format it migrated, but the migration does not happen under the new. It is disappointing that my earlier posts have been re-signed AnonymousUser, but also worrying is that if I enter AnonymousUser in the search engine it does not come up with any hits.

To my mind the layout format is a minor issue. Some may prefer it. I personally would like to get more information onto a single screen, but it may be one of those cases where you always prefer the familiar and familiarity grows with time.

For me the proof of the pudding will be in the effectiveness of the search engine. I am encouraged by the ability to sort and filter results, particularly sort by date. Haven't quite yet worked out how to limit the sort to (eg) the Any Answers area. I would like to be able to search by poster name but I guess that sorting or filtering post search does the job after a fashion. I am disappointed that there is no secondary "search within results" feature that allows you to enter new search criteria that is applied only to the posts returned by the previous search run. Again, sorting and filtering help, but they are more limiting. I would have expected an "advanced search" link, separate from a "quick search", such as you get on Amazon when you want to look for a book and you know various parameters such as author, publisher, title etc.

I haven't yet given the search engine a good run for its money. The way that it is organised certainly looks like an improvement while at the same time it looks like it remains inferior to a wheel that has been (better) invented or designed many times over in alternative bulletin boards. Will be interested to read the experiences of others in using this.

Steve Roth's picture

Anonymity

Steve Roth | | Permalink

We have had a number of people concerned about anonymity. Obviously we do not want to put a barrier in the way of anyone who wants to contribute to the community, so we have turned off the author function while we find a solution that will allow you to post anonymously if you wish. We will get on to this as quickly as possible. In the meantime, if you want to make your identity known, please add your name to the foot of your post. Thanks again for your input.

Steve Roth
Managing Editor, AccountingWEB.co.uk

carnmores's picture

its not all bad

carnmores | | Permalink

mind you i havent seen it all

i am sure we will get to love it

provided notto much crap is put in the way

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

@ Steve

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

You might mention that if members are concerned to keep their user ID anonymous then they should not upload an avatar, as you only have to mouse-over the avatar to identify the ID by way of an automatic popup label.

Paula Sparrow's picture

Not keen

Paula Sparrow | | Permalink

I've been sat here looking at the site on my laptop for about 10 minutes and my eyes are starting to feel strained, I think there is too much white space and probably needs breaking up.

I prefered the old system of having the most recent posts at the top of the list. If you are just starting with a thread it's fine to have the earliest posts first, but when you keep coming back to an ongoing one, it will get really frustraging having to scroll down through posts to find the ones you haven't yet seen.

The rest of it will probably just take a bit of getting used to.

Paula Sparrow

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

@ Steve

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

Also ..
The user login ID is emailed to other thread participants, even if you suppress it from the post.

Profile Box

Andrew Cray | | Permalink

Fresh new look to the site, i feel there is a little to much white space and areas arent as clearly defined, as with most things i will
adjust to it. (Also typing in this box it is to big for my screen...maybe i need a bigger monitor!!) Im not keen on having the profile box permanently active on every page restricts viewing to much with everything crammed on the left of the screen.

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

On reflection, I don't quite get the anonymity concerns

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

And I speak as one who favours anonymity for those with a preference.

As far as I can tell:

1) The email address of the user is suppressed from public view, which of course is good to the point of critical. Indeed the user profile settings allow the user to permit or deny contact by email without releasing the email ID. This is industry standard practice.

2) The User ID is, at least intended by design, not to be suppressed. However, there is no requirement for that ID to contain any information that identifies the individual personally. In all other bulletin boards it is entirely normal for the user ID to be a matter of public record.

3) The user's password is properly suppressed from public view

4) The user's first and last "real" names are compulsory fields in the user's profile. This is no different from the previous version of the the Aweb site, and as with the old version there is no way of forcing users to enter their actual real names in these fields. It may be be a condition of use of the site, but it is worthy of note that with the new site these fields can be suppressed from public view (or publicised) at the choice of the user in the profile options, which choice was denied under the old site. Given that the AWeb policy as expressed in this thread is to permit anonymous postings (which was actually contrary to the site conditions previously) this does not seem to be a particularly significant point.

5) The auto-signing of posts is designed in this site to be based on user ID rather than full name as manually entered in the profile. Under the old method it was the reverse. The new method appears to be superior in that the name manually entered in the profile need not be unique and therefore affords the opportunity of disguising a post as coming from another member. This was always a risk under the old site, but while I am not aware of widespread abuse of that nature (not that I would necessarily become aware even if it took place) the possibility is undesirable. In all other bulletin boards the user ID is publicly attached to posts.

6) Publishing the User ID does slightly reduce an individual member's level of security. If you wanted to hack someone else's account, and you know the user ID, then you only have to guess the password. If you do not know the user ID then you have to guess both the user ID and the password. This is not considered a major draw-back in other bulletin boards.

7) There is a potential problem where an individual may have used personally identifying information in their user ID when registering with AWeb as the old site, secure in the knowledge that it would not be a matter of public record, without anticipating that it would now become public. Apart from re-registering under a new ID I doubt that there is a solution to that.

8) Most other bulletin boards afford the user an option in their profile to pre-set a signature text string to be appended to posts. Often used for witty quotes (or self-assessed as such!). It may have been a policy decision to omit that feature on this forum, but it might have got around the current signature problems.

In conclusion, almost all other bulletin boards publish the user ID as a matter of routine, and the user when registering would, again as a matter of routine, choose an ID that contains no personally identifying information. AWeb is close to unique in comprising among its members a significant proportion who are actively against the notion of anonymity. In most other bulletin boards anonymity is much more jeolously guarded as a principle, and yet no-one questions the publication of the user ID in those forums.

So I would be interested to know what precise objections there are to the policies adopted on this site, justifying the suppression of signatures to posts.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

Quoting in replies

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

My experience of most other bulletin boards is that it is fairly standard practice for the reply page to contain a "Quote" button, so that if you were replying to a specific post you could automatically quote passages from the original post in your response, which would be formatted within a quote box to make it obvious that it is a quote.

Here is an example:

http://forums.bridgebase.com/index.php?showtopic=32583&view=findpost&p=3...

Was this facility excluded by design? It is certainly not a new idea.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

Anonymity again

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

The user ID of the original poster to a thread is not suppressed. Only those of the replies are suppressed. Whatever the merits or demerits of the policy (of suppression), this inconsistency is not ideal in my opinion.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

ANY ANSWERS AND OTHER GRIPES

J.R.BOX | | Permalink

Any Answers seems to be relegated to one or two small links. To me, this is one of the most important areas of the site and should be given much more prominence. Also, when I posted a response in Any Answers my name or those other respondents were missing ??. Can we please see who we're talking to.

Also, I hope it's not a ` snob ' thing, but in ` my profile ' you can only select membership from the CCAB institutions. Where's the IFA ?

Anonymity

malcolmcoles | | Permalink

I can see why people might want to be anonymous. But the interim solution (everyone anonymous) is unworkable isn't it? How can you follow a thread if you can't work out who is saying what? Expecting everyone to post their name isn't a reliable workaround.

RebeccaBenneyworth's picture

Anonymity

RebeccaBenneyworth | | Permalink

We think that we have a workable solution, which would allow poster to remain anonymous if they choose, and also to allow the "historic" situation to be resolved. We need to test this and absolutley tie it down but we think we will be able to come back to members on Monday with solutions. We do not intent to force an early resolution on members if significant member intervention is required so timing remains flexible, subject to us not wanting this to be left in limbo indeterminately.

Rebecca Benneyworth
Editor, AccountingWEB

Is this an improvement?

Anonymous | | Permalink

How about adding a new form to post feedback - instead of loads of text that takes a long time to read whether someone has already raised the issue.

Adding dates to search results would save a lot of time.

Agree with lots of other comments re lack of readability; time wasted; not user friendly etc.

Why so much emphahis on 'flag as offensive'?

Anonymous | | Permalink

Surely it should be the final option and not precede 'reply/comment' options after each and every post and at the top of each page.

Re: Why so much emphahis on 'flag as offensive'?

Paul_S | | Permalink

I agree. In it's current position, my mouse is automatically drawn to it. It's occupying the logical position for the Reply link.

It should be well away from the Reply link; I'd suggest right over on the right hand side.

Hard to read

Anonymous | | Permalink

I agree with Paula's comment, my eyes are starting to hurt! The page is too far spanned out, I lose my thread easily, and I would prefer the latest post to be at the top, not bottom.

Of course, having so many posts complaining about the new layout doesn't help!!!

Personally, I liked the facility that was removed a couple of years ago where when you clicked on a thread, it changed colour, so you could easily and quickly see which ones you'd read.

Logins are a pain

istephens | | Permalink

Under the old system one's login details were retained between sessions. Now one has to keep logging in, even just to read.

Please revert to the old system.

I cannot think of a single improvement that has come with the new look site. The old site was great.

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

Re. logins are a pain

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

I had diametrically the reverse effect. Under the old website I had to re-login each session in which I wanted to post, despite that it picked up my identity from a cookie and appeared to suggest that I was already logged in. At least with the new site it remembers my cookie in full and logs me in automatically. I suggest you check your browser security settings, which may have been set to disable retention of login details.

BTW I second the earlier comment about dates in the search results. It is nice to be able to sort the results now by date, but would be nicer still if the posting dates were displayed as well.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

Re: Logins are a pain

istephens | | Permalink

I am using Firefox with cookies and password retention enabled, same as I did on the old site. I assumed the new behaviour was deliberate.

RebeccaBenneyworth's picture

Log ins

RebeccaBenneyworth | | Permalink

Posting as member not Editor : Rebecca Benneyworth

I have exactly the same situation as Clint. On the old system on this computer I needed to log in every session to post - once I was logged in it seemed to know me for the rest of that session. On the new platform I seem to be recognised by cookies and never need to log in - I haven't changed anything at all, so clearly there is a difference in the way that the log in cookie is handled.

I'll talk to the real techies to find out whether there is a solution or not, but I suspect that as in many computer scenarios it will be difficult to idenitfy the precise combination of settings which makes this a problem / not a problem.

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

"Best Reply" - thread formatting

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

Those who have started a new thread will note that, as thread originator, they have the opportunity to select from among the responses a reply which they judge to be the "Best Reply". The act of selecting this option has two effects, one benign and the other (in my opinion) undesirable. The benign effect is that the thead carries a flag highlighting that a "best reply" has been selected. The malign effect is that the response thus voted is removed from its natural sorting within the thread and entered immediately under the original post, regardless of the date and time stamp on the message, while the remaining posts are left in date/time order (Whether top-down or bottom-up sorting is better is another argument).

The content of the best reply may refer to other messages in the thread, and subsequent messages may also refer to the best reply message. By all means colour code it or highlight it, but I think it is best to leave the ordering in date/time order to preserve continuity.

In a similar vein, if you go to other forums such as Shout99, the thread tree is organised so that you respond to specific posts within the thread and it is clear to whom you are responding. In this site, each message in the thread has a link to respond to that particular message (as opposed to the original post) but the messages are not enthreaded in branches but all appear as a single one-dimensional listing of posts. That may be intentional but I am unconvinced that it is optimal.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

SITE HAS LOST ITS SOUL

J.R.BOX | | Permalink

Where's everybody gone ?. Previously you could join in on a number of highlighted topics in Any Answers. Now all I ever see is the original posting and no comments. The original Any Answers focal point seems to have been replaced by a myriad of topics and threads that seem totally isolated and ignored by the regulars. I now feel absolutely disassociated from the whole process.

Stewartainley.aol.com's picture

IFA

Stewartainley.a... | | Permalink

Yes I wondered about this are members of the IFA not worth a listing?

Gina Dyer's picture

Soul still intact!

Gina Dyer | | Permalink

You should still be able to read comments on Any Answers questions. I don't quite understand what the problem is in this case.

Please feel free to email us on editor@accountingweb.co.uk with further details of the problem and we will try our best to rectify it for you.

Kind regards,
Gina Dyer
Deputy editor

sorry folks - so far i am disappointed

Anonymous | | Permalink

It takes so much scrolling to find anything - the pictures aren't neccessary, and take too much space and they just makes it harder to navigate.
Is there a page anywhere which tells us what ( and where) the fab new functionality is ?

Gina Dyer's picture

Sorry to hear that

Gina Dyer | | Permalink

Sorry to hear you are disappointed with the new site. We are taking on board members' feedback and we're working to improve things based on what everyone is saying.

Click here to view our 'take a tour' page which explains all the basic functions. Feel free to post again if you have any questions, or you can email us on editor@accountingweb.co.uk.

Many thanks.

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

Now that you have restored the anonymity functionality ...

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

... as a feature embedded within the posting options, you might wish to consider removing from the top of the Any Answers main page the narrative

"If you wish to post a question anonymously please email the details to member services and we'll post it on your behalf."

Incidentally, if the previous-but-one poster is referring to avatars, I personally find them helpful in zero-ing in on posts by specific individuals. In a similar vein, one of the features that a long time ago I requested of the previous site was to have the subject header colour-coded according to whether the viewing member
(a) originated the thread,
(b) has contributed to the thread or otherwise subscribed to it, or
(c) has read the thread.

That functionality has not been built into the new site although item (a) is satisfied by using avatars. Maybe it would not be generally popular, but would be for me. Items (a) and (b) could be combined into one, without significant loss, particularly since the search engine now looks to be a little improved on filtering by poster.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

Annetax's picture

New Look

Annetax | | Permalink

Changes always take time to get used to, but if your first reaction is 'oh no, what have they done' it's not a promising start!

Used to enjoy getting my Accounting Web emails and generally had a quick look at interesting questions and articles, even if I was very busy. Easy to dip into - visually interesting - no effort required - and even some humour.

Not now though.

I see it arrive in my inbox and it goes into the mental 'look at that later when I've got time' folder, never to be seen again. I think the low level of members comments confirms this - it's just too much hassle now!

Sorry, but no longer a fan.
Let me know when it's user friendly again!

How do I forward an article?

Martin Tingle | | Permalink

Am I going nuts or did there used to be that functionality? I wanted to forward soemthing today but couldn't see how.
Martin Tingle

...and the search isn't working

Martin Tingle | | Permalink

I tried searching within the discussion group for "forward" to see if anyone else had already raised the issue above. No results. Ok I think, I'll add it to this thread, a search for "Steve Roth" will find it I thought. But no still no results, so now I have no faith that the first search worked, so apologies if it has already been raised.

Also when you search you just get the results, no option to search within, no option to return to the full list (without clicking the back button on the browser).

More work required me thinks.
yours, trying to be constructive as ever,
Martin Tingle
PS If I spot anything more I think raising I'll just add it here. Must be tough for you guys trying to keep up with comments being added to lots of different threads. Hm, seems familiar? It's the issue I have with the new blog layout.

Any answers answers

Martin Tingle | | Permalink

A thread just started said you need to see the whole question when replying. Strangely that seems to be the case here but not on Any Answers. It also criticised the order of responses, ie newest at the bottom. I copy my post here for AWeb convenience.

I agree that you need to see the whole question when replying...
..and I started out where you are now about the order of the comments.
But I've come round to the new way. It's easy, once you're used to it, to grab the window pane bar at the right and drag all the way down quickly to the bottom to find the last response. Then you can roll up a few responses to where you left off from the last reading.
I think that's easier than the old method of scroll down through the question and on ...and on...until you find the last read posting and then scroll back up reading as you go.
Since we can scan in either direction but read down I now favour the new style. It does take some getting used to though.
Martin Tingle

Ok I give up where've you hidden it?

Anonymous | | Permalink

I mean the edit button for old posts I've written.
Nor can I see how to delete.
Either this all needs to be really easy for non-techies to work out for themselves and/or you need a FAQ section with screen dumps and searchable help

Thanks

Steve Roth's picture

Emails

Steve Roth | | Permalink

Following on from an earlier comment. We would really like you opinion on the new emails. What works for you and what doesn't? Are they less visually interesting and why? The redesign is not a one-off change. We will be looking for your feedback so that we can continually improve the site. I hope you will see as a positive thing.

If you cannot find the edit button, give me a call on 0117 915 8649 and we will sort it out. We will be doing an FAQ and we will be adding the ability to see the question when posting on any answers. The ability to forward articles is also on the list of improvements. We have scheduled time to deal with all these and other issues in the near future.

Steve Roth
Managing Editor, Accountingweb

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

Continuing my post from 7 messages back in this thread

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

I note that in the web page that contains the thread headers we are advised, just beneath the thread header, in faint grey script, the date of the original post, the number of responses and the number of times read.

I would also like it to discplay the date of the last response. It is just another indicator that would help me to decide whether it is worthwhile reviewing a thread that I have already reviewed in the past and have continuing interest therein. I don't want to bother going back to it unless the thread has been added to since I last looked at it, and I am not up to remembering the thread response count from one visit to the next.

Better yet would be my original suggestion of having some separate formatting flag to show threads containing unread messages, such as bold, or different colour to the thread header. I originally suggested devoting this flag to unread threads, but of course a thread that I have already read should revert to unread once a new message is added (or even previous message edited).

I don't know how it is technically achieved, but I do know that functionality of this nature is contained in other forums to which I subscribe, so its possibility is beyond doubt.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

Revisit a good friend .....

Anonymous | | Permalink

...yes, just change the end of the web address from .co.uk to .com and you get a lovely well presented web site. Click on questions and answers to get the American version of any answers. I don't care that it is irrelevant to me, it is just nice to see something like our "old" friend back.

nogammonsinanundoubledgame's picture

And continuing the theme from my earlier post above

nogammonsinanun... | | Permalink

Perhaps colour-code or otherwise flag a post to which the logged-in member has contributed that distinguishes between threads to which the last contributor was the logged-in member contrasted with those threads to which the last contributor was someone else. That way I can easily see if someone has responded to my comment on a thread without having to open the thread.

I realise that being presented with a rainbow of colours rather than the AWeb orange "brand" colour may be a bit of an eyesore, but there would be other visual effects that could achieve the same result.

On a totally separate topic, I note that most other bulletin boards and and forums allow the original poster to set up a "poll" with a number of options on which other members can vote. Here is an example:
http://forums.bridgebase.com/index.php?showtopic=32873
Personally I think that this facility would provide added value to the site. That said, perhaps adding facilities is a lower priority than other fixes at present.

With kind regards

Clint Westwood

Blogs comments...or lack of

Martin Tingle | | Permalink

It is perhaps a little early to judge but the ratio of comments to blog posts seems to have decreased. Currently the CEO blog shows only 2 comments against 5 posts. An old month I looked at was much nearer 1 to 1. I think this is because the blog format change is a backward step that is harder to read and discourages continuing a thread from a few days ago.
I don't like
1. the
narrow
text
layout
2. the separate entry per day rather than a whole month together. I think someone said elsewhere that this is usual for a blog but that doesn't mean the new layout is better.

On the other hand I do now like the order of the comments, newest last. Now I have got used to it I think this is better.

Keep at it AWeb
Martin Tingle

Richard Willis's picture

E-mails

Richard Willis | | Permalink

Steve

The old e-mails format was better! Rapidly going off the site, if only because so many of the posts are negative response to the new site and, like the European Constitution referendum, seem to elicit a 'wrong answer; we'll keep going 'till we get the right one' response.

Richard Willis

rkillington's picture

RSS feeds don't work :-(

rkillington | | Permalink

I haven't had my RSS feeds updated since mid June. This was one of the most valuable ways I had of keeping up to date with the site's contents and probably led to me visiting the site more than anything else.

Please reinstate them for separate areas as they were before.

Steve Roth's picture

RSS feeds

Steve Roth | | Permalink

We should have these back with you shortly. Also, if you have comments on the new email design, let us know. What don't you like about them? What do you like about them?

Steve Roth
Managing Editor, AccountingWEB.co.uk

Richard Willis's picture

Order of replies

Richard Willis | | Permalink

Lots of people have commented that they would prefer the latest responses at the top. I have just noticed (apologies if it has already been covered) that responses to group discussions, such as this one, DO appear latest first. Why the inconsistency?

NO, I'm wrong. The discussion topics appear latest first, whereas the responses TO the topics appear latest last. Even more peculiar.

brokne links

Martin Tingle | | Permalink
Becky Midgley's picture

Broken links

Becky Midgley | | Permalink

It is possible that the original poster (OP) has removed the threads because we cannot see them in our database. There is obviously very little we can do if the OP decides to do this except apologise as we understand this can be frustrating.

Thanks for flagging this up though.

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