Housekeeping: More TTAG Fixes on the Way

Made in the shade (courtesy The Truth About Guns)

We’re still getting comments and emails from readers re: our new look ‘n feel. Top of the list: lose the all-white background and ditch the stupid font. Dan’s sent a “hit list” – including these and other tweaks – to the developers, who will either jump right on it or take the weekend off. As TTAG ME pointed out in his previous post, the changes were largely driven by our need to monetize the mobile and tablet versions of TTAG, which are rapidly overtaking the desktop version in terms of page views. Rest assured we will continue to do everything we can to make reading TTAG easy, intuitive, aesthetically pleasing and, above all, rewarding. Meanwhile, thank you for your patience and understanding.

comments

  1. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    Great photo. I laughed…

    1. avatar John L. says:

      What photo? All I’m seeing (android 4.1.2 on a Motorola droid maxx) is the headline.

      1. avatar Sam Schifo says:

        I wasn’t seeing the photo either. I’m using Chrome on Windows and I had AdBlock on; apparently it blocks photos now on TTAG.

        1. avatar John in Ohio says:

          Yikes! I can’t see the photo on desktop either. If that isn’t fixed, it’s really going to suck.

        2. avatar Oddux says:

          You should consider putting an exception for TTAG in adblock (click the adblock stopsign icon and hit disable for thetruthaboutgunsdotcom). I don’t know if their ads pay by views or clicks, but if you support the site, turning ABP of for it is pretty simple and helps them pay for their hosting/bandwidth.

    2. avatar TheBear says:

      Me too! 🙂

      And @ RF: Thanks for listening.

    3. avatar SigGuy says:

      I’m on android and the picture loaded here. What browser are you using?

    4. avatar rlc2 says:

      “Just a tea spoon of sugar makes the Tavor go bang, the Tavor go bang,
      in the most delightful way…”

    5. avatar The500SWRush says:

      Please keep working on the instant bacon delivery system. If the beta can only produce raw bacon, that is ok. I can take my AR out, wrap the barrel in bacon, and shoot until it is cooked (BTW AR Bacon is great). Keep up the great work TTAG, I am almost as addicted to this blog as I am BACON.

    6. avatar Matt G says:

      Red jacket prolly makes a rail mounted adaptor for that umbrella…

  2. avatar SigGuy says:

    Is that a picatinny attachment for the umbrella?

  3. avatar Oliver2w1 says:

    tactically tactical operationally operating magpul umbrella

    1. avatar H says:

      We need this accessory.
      That must be the pre release prototype.
      I love the camo fabric! You can hide in plain site at the bingo tourney. Then there are the occasional beach invasions (shown).

      One must always be prepared for that rare downpour if you’re stationed in Washington or Oregon.

      Sun protection while deployed is another benefit.

      However the best kept secret is that this umbrella can be had with the Tavor hand loop that makes for the true concealed/open carry balance.

      1. avatar Oliver2w1 says:

        I grew a beard just looking at it….

  4. avatar mrvco says:

    Hopefully they do something. Things look rather generic now. A bit like those click-bait placeholder product “review” sites for RotM consumer durable goods that are SEO’d to the top of the search results.

  5. avatar Kevin L says:

    Good, I liked the mobile version a lot more pre update, but I was one of the people pushing for comment reply reform, so be careful what you wish for I guess. Anyway, thanks for listening to our feedback!

  6. Now that is a piece of kit that just makes sense! Shooting in the shade. I might suggest one of those ball caps that allows you to hold two cold beverages and drink from a straw as your next upgrade.

    Awesome.

    Robert you know the old saying, “You can please some of the people most of the time, most of the people some of the time, all of the people none of the time?”

    It never ceases to amaze me that some people bitch and moan over a source of information that is ABSOLUTELY FREE to them.

    These were the same kids that whined when mommy packed them a baloney and cheese sandwich in their lunch box but forgot to put in cookies.

    There you go.

    Ignore the whiners, press on, brother!

    1. avatar Zachary marrs says:

      Do you work for GM? “Nah, ignore all those people who have criticism”

  7. Good God, people, get a grip.

    I find the black on white EASY to read on my laptop and even more so on my tablet and/or smartphone.

    If you are still using Grandma’s IBM desktop, maybe you have a point.

    But, really? Really? REALLY?

    Get over it.

    As much as RF’s editorial position police bugs me, can we at least give the man a break here?

    He is providing what is clearly the best firearms blog site on the Internet!

    Stop bitching about the format in which he chooses to present it.

    If you don’t like it, then stop reading it. Develop your own site. Populate it with as much information as he and his team provides every SINGLE day.

    I triple dog dare you.

    1. avatar Richard In WA says:

      Thanks, but no. I like TTAG. I’d rather provide polite feedback to make the site more enjoyable and hopefully more successful. A lot of people pointed out the font as being hard to read. Its better on mobile but on my laptop it was straining the eyes. What good is TTAG doing if it pushes away old readers and deters new readers with the basic UI?

    2. avatar PaulTMcCan't says:

      I think Paul enjoys the site because he likes to see EVERYTHING in black & white.

      1. avatar Avid Reader says:

        Oohh. Hold on while I get the popcorn. . .

      2. avatar Matt in FL says:

        That was… amazing. I think I actually formed a tear at the pure beauty of it.

      3. How utterly emasculated is the person who made this comment.

        1. avatar rlc2 says:

          He got ya, Paul…lighten up Brother, its all in good fun…

        2. avatar Oliver2w1 says:

          I like the the new changes with the exception of add placement……but because I’m so sensitive to change my tears have ruined my tablet….Obama is sending me a new one

    3. avatar Chip Bennett says:

      Hey, Paul! Something we agree on: I’m perfectly fine with black text on a white background. Maximum legibility. I’m more interested in the content. Function over aesthetics (but then, that’s probably partly why I went into engineering…)

      1. avatar Matt Richardson says:

        Personally, I like the black on white much better than the previous color scheme. Not a fan of the font though, going back to a gothic sans-serif would make me a happy boy. Roman and serif fonts get tiring when viewed on a screen versus in print.

        While the roll-out is fresh and things will improve, the mobile version of the site is a disaster right now and the ads are pretty intrusive. I think I’ll go back to exclusive desktop viewing of the site.

        1. avatar Gene says:

          Is that a vote for Comic Sans?

    4. avatar Duzt says:

      some sites allow the readers to choose from a few color templates is that something that should be considered? im not reading on a lil laptop but on a 30 inch desktop monitor and im young with good eyes. gives us the old color color format a black and white for the old folks and maybe one or two for fun.
      i have to turn down the contrast alot in order to read ttag now to prevent skin cancer…

  8. avatar Gunr says:

    The only complaint I have, and it is minor, is the elimination of the border line on the left; next to the comments. Makes it more difficult to sort out the reply’s when there is a long staggered column.

  9. avatar mrT says:

    I get that running a site of this size cost a pretty penny, and a constant penny but the experience suffers greatly from the ads. I want you to make money, I want you to make money going forward because the content has value to me.

    I would pay for the content if I could get it ad free on my mobile device or computer.
    Provide a fair number and I will pay for premium memberships. My clicks are worthless today as I block all ads via the browser, so you would actually gain another paying customer.

    Thoughts?

  10. avatar Frank Masotti says:

    Loose the black and white color sceam in the css file. Go back to red or something like hat.

  11. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Love the Tactical Umbrella! I assume you have the model that releases when you shoulder the rifle.

    By the way the site is cool too!

    1. avatar Richard In WA says:

      Tactical umbrella. The REAL shoulder thing that goes up!

  12. avatar boardsnbikes says:

    Was the font designer intoxicated? This font wanders all over the place.

    1. avatar Sam Spade says:

      I must not be seeing what you’re seeing. Palatino Linotype is one of easiest reading fonts ever developed. Better than most of the sans serif typefaces.

      1. avatar Matt in FL says:

        I don’t have anything against serifs per se, but this particular font does weird things with lowercase m’s, n’s, and r’s. The top left corner of each of them has a little “flag” that on my screen looks out of focus, like they’ve got a little piece of fluff caught on each and every one of them.

        1. avatar Ken Hagler says:

          It can be hard to find a font that looks good on any device. The new font looks fine to me on my MacBook Pro Retina, but when I fired up Internet Explorer on my Windows PC, it looked terrible, just as you describe.

          It’s better to use sans serif fonts on a site that needs to be readable even on low quality browsers.

  13. avatar John L. says:

    While I appreciate the need to monetize page views, and to clean up some glitches on the mobile / tablet version …

    The site is now almost unusable for me on my phone, in part due to the large ads that can be mistaken for content, and in part due to the apparently vastly expanded “click and trigger a pop-up” regions. Since accessing it via my work computer would be ill-advised, this means I won’t be accessing it nearly as much.

    As Paul pointed out it’s free, but that doesn’t do me much good if the irritation outweighs the enjoyment.

    So here’s a thought – how about an ad-free subscription version? What do you say, RF? What would you consider a fair price to get an ad-equivalent income from someone who reads pretty much every day?

    1. avatar rosignol says:

      There’s a website that basically handles the billing side of things, http://www.patreon.com/. A couple of the webcomic artists I read use it, haven’t heard any complaints.

      The problem I’m having with the mobile sites is the comments. Indenting to indicate replies is a bad design decision for small screens, you end up with a lot of unused whitespace on the left, and a stack ‘o words crammed on the right edge.

  14. avatar mud says:

    I keep getting an audio ad playing in the background on the home page. Also, the texasgunfest.com link is busted.

  15. avatar Tom W. says:

    I believe the appropriate term for the pic is tacticool,….
    Visit the site everyday. Keep tweaking.

  16. avatar MiketheHopsFarmer says:

    Do you know why Drudge is THE news aggregator of the internet? His layout is simple, effective, AND IT NEVER CHANGES. Follow his lead and TTAG may survive. But after 2-3 years of this nonsense, I’m not coming back. Sorry guys, it’s no longer worth the aggravation. I might check back in a couple weeks to see if you’ve settled on something, but the old mobile site was near perfect. Should have just thrown some ad banners on that template, you’d have kept one more habitual reader….

    1. avatar mud says:

      More compact layout of text so I can see majority of new feeds without having to scroll is good.

  17. avatar Chip Bennett says:

    So, the background fix is as easy as putting the following in your Theme setup function in functions.php:

    add_theme_support( 'custom-background' );

    Then you get the WordPress core custom background feature. I’d be happy to help, if your devs decided to go out to the range today, or something. 🙂

  18. avatar Randy in Indiana says:

    I liked that the old mobile version just showed me titles instead of text and photos. It had problems, but it was very clean. I don’t mind the ads, but I don’t like the content to be cluttered.

    But everyone is a critic, huh?

  19. avatar 0351 says:

    Hey ho anything goes, thanks for the content. While it’s I tend to like darker colors, this doesn’t bother me. Already used to it.

  20. avatar BobS says:

    While you’re fixing the style, please also consider improving the responsiveness and load time.
    There are any number of website performance analysis tools available; here’s one that makes some good suggestions:
    https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/pagespeed-insights-by-goo/gplegfbjlmmehdoakndmohflojccocli

  21. avatar John in Ohio says:

    Now that my eyes have stopped bleeding, I’m going to miss the font and B&W color scheme. Thanks for the hard work and good content, TTAG! 🙂

    1. avatar John in Ohio says:

      (ARRG! Every now and then the revamped site eats my reply or something because the text doesn’t show up, even hours later. Below is my original post. The editor was acting flaky so I copied and pasted it just in case it disappeared later.)

      Now that my eyes have stopped bleeding, I’m going to miss the font and B&W color scheme. Thanks for the hard work and good content, TTAG! 🙂

  22. avatar George William Herbert says:

    I prefer the new layout on my phone, much easier to read. Black text on the white background for the win.

  23. avatar Frank says:

    Former Fortune 500 website designer here… you will never please everybody and most people can not articulate what or why things work. If you follow surveys, polls, opinions on design you’ll end up with a Pontiac Aztec website design. White backgrounds and black serif type is going to be the easiest to read, especially for an aging audience. You need a larger, scalable header and an informative tag line… your top banner ad shouldn’t be overpowering the site itself lest you do look like an adfarm. Establish a hierarchy of information, let people know where they are ASAP, drop an ad space on top to gain the space to establish your brand more forcefully, you’ll make it up in clicks. Finally, the generic ads for stuff like Jos Banks puts us off and lessens your credibility… be selective on who your advertisers are and build the brand rather than squeezing the last $ of revenue. Good luck

    1. avatar Toby in KS says:

      So don’t put an ad top center? Like Drudge? Or it will look like an ad farm?

  24. avatar Jay1987 says:

    The site crashes on Android browser 2.3.6 had to download One by Tencent & it’s still a little sluggish. Oh also please kill the white background and half a million ads I understand yall gotta make some money but the number of ads on the homepage is just a hair excessive.

  25. avatar Soccerchainsaw says:

    If he were a real ‘operator’, that umbrella would have been camo….

  26. avatar Joseph Quixote says:

    One thing that absolutely needs to be fixed is that I can’t see who is commenting after the initial persons comment in the threads. A bunch of anonymous postings makes NO sense.

  27. avatar Phil COV says:

    I like the ability to comment and reply in the mobile version. The “threading” of replies could use a bit of work. Background and font doesn’t bother me.

  28. avatar former water walker says:

    It got better than the other day. And the “tacticool umbrella” is clearly showing up in my Kyocera Event 3g Virgin Mobile phone I paid 15 bucks for at Bestbuy. And I do 90% of comments & internet surfing with this ultra cheap reliable phone. BTW rev-if folks want to b##ch they’re gonna’ b##ch-you sure do.

  29. avatar Sheepdog6 says:

    I love the change. The font, the colors, the ads, the tactical umbrella.

    Seriously, if some of you can’t take the way it looks and are deciding not to come back because of this you seriously need to find another hobby. The Truth About Crochet might have some good ideas.

  30. avatar Dev says:

    I use the Dolphin browser on my Galaxy S4, I like the new look.

    1. Looks great in Chrome on my Galaxy S4.

  31. avatar tirod says:

    Just tried it on my Tracphone with Opera Mini – looks better than most webpages re-rendered for the phone.

    Gun guys don’t have a clue – the big screen lap top takes a different web page than phones. Going to the four inch field means dumping a lot of content and who pays for it? The sponsor. You Don’t Cut His Commercials Off just to make style points. It would be like telling your major firearms sponsor you don’t want to wear his shirt at a competition. Not Happening. They will simply find another shooter and you can find a part time job to make gas money to the few events you could make next year.

    This place exists entirely because of Other People’s Money – sponsors. Be glad the staff can even get your hobby to load on the phones at all. Of course, it implies you have a lot of spare time to read it – on the job? A lot of us have to wait until we get home to access things – reading things on a smart phone all day can quickly get you promoted to Customer.

    However you like to read it, the costs of building two separate pages – one for the normal web and one for phones – is double. So, the internet is moving this way, to cut costs. Like it or not.

    You’re just seeing the tip of the iceberg – there’s going to be a landslide of changes that will likely completely alter the look of the internet across the board.

  32. avatar rlc2 says:

    Works fine on the kindle…

    I definitely appreciate not having to periodically scroll down and recheck “desktop” despite having that option checked on settings. The old format was the only website that rest to mobile, on the safari browser built in.

    I find this font to be a bit small, and the white to be a bit too bright, but I can always resize and change on this end.

    Concur on simplicity, and same look, tho. I’m sure there are constant tweaks behind the scenes as software and devices evolve, but there is something reassuring about being able to get to the story, without fiddling with all the rest, and I like the rolling story on left, and familiar tools on right, search, etc, when I need them. You could put tabs on top to the right if that would help KISS, imho. Then I only need to go one direction, than two.

    Something is “aging out’ the comments, and erasing text if I happen to switch to another open tab, to copy a link, to paste back into TTAG comment field, or check facts elsewhere before I post. That could be a feature not a bug tho, for me as I am too wordy…
    tl;dr doncha know.

    Whatever you do, dont go with what usatoday and some other sites are doing, with the giant pop ups, and crap that persists in getting in the way, fancy swipes left and right…

    And using Fakebook alone for comments…would be a showstopper.
    Powerline is a great site I stopped reading just for that.

    Remember to get you an Amazon affiliate button so I can buy stuff here , and send you a couple nickels.
    Paypal button so I could hit the tip jar in a surge of generosity for the starving wretches locked in the garret.

  33. avatar rlc2 says:

    I’d even, horrors, pay a monthy small paypal subscription, if you ever had to go that way.

    Maybe for extra content, y’know pay more for israeli supermodels, or
    to have content user filtered; like ban MDA articles?
    Ok, that last part was jk.
    Ms Watts is no supermodel, and to suggest she should be, is just MISOGYNIST!!!!
    and to be honest, ther is a certain sick fascination, like creeping by a car wreck on the interstate, to see what she comes up with next…am I a bad man for saying that?

  34. avatar John K says:

    This new layout is pretty bad. Is there an option to display a desktop view. Didn’t I used to be able to post a comment without scrolling to the bottom of all the other comments?

  35. avatar Matt in Germany says:

    I cannot read this site on my iPhone any more. Out of five total page loads, I’ve been forwarded to some other website by an ad four times. I don’t mean some other tab opened up with a different website, I mean I had to hit the back button just to read TTAG. Four out of five. So thanks but no thanks.

    ETA: Not to mention the ridiculous font, can’t tell what is an ad and what is TTAG content, etc.

  36. avatar Southern Cross says:

    The new format works fine on the PC browser but my phone (Android 3.x) only displays the standard web version and not the mobile version. This makes the site unusable on my phone because of bandwidth and layout.

  37. avatar Johannes P. says:

    Using Chrome on Mac OSX 10.9.4, with the new upgrade I’ve lost the ability to see links unless I hover the mouse cursor over the words. Much less likely to follow a link if I don’t know it exists.

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      On it.

  38. avatar Toby in KS says:

    I don’t mind any changes I have seen so far. However, the best change I haven’t seen yet (because I cannot see, or hear it right now) is the absence of auto-playing video ads!!! Its the BEST!

    Is this a fluke, or is this for real?

    1. avatar Robert Farago says:

      For reals.

  39. avatar Shwiggie says:

    I’m on an LG G3, so screen size, resolution, and brightness are not problems. As much as I hate black on white while reading things online (adjusting brightness down to reduce glare is bothersome, and white on black is better for battery life), this is not as big an issue as the intrusiveness of your ad structure.

    In-line ads are one thing…aggravating, but par for the course. But I will not continue to visit a site that straight-up hijacks my browser to forward me to an ad page or the Google Store while I’m trying to read something. As much as i enjoy this site, it is not worth putting up with that garbage.

  40. avatar Gordon Wagner says:

    The font is ok, but not a robust presentation for this kind of material… the small x-height, it’s an older serif cut. I’d say consider something relatively modern and sans serif. The “color” of the serif type is a bit unwelcoming, and the white background you’ve already heard about. Everybody’s an art director. Some of us really were art directors, but everybody loves to second guess design. CAN YOU MAKE THE LOGO BIGGER? <— just a joke!

    Q: How many art directors does it take to change a light bulb?
    A: Does it have to be a light bulb?

  41. avatar Fix The Feed says:

    PLEASE fix the Flipboard feed!!!

  42. avatar Rich Grise says:

    Please also lose the autoplay ads. Ads, I can live with, but not ads that make noise when I’m in the middle of something else.

  43. avatar JeffR in IL says:

    NOTE: the copyright footer still reads 2013

  44. avatar DJ9 says:

    The latest tweak (overnight Aug 10-11) to the new format is looking great to me. Light gray background and new font are a breath of fresh air. Thanks for listening to your readers, even if we get a bit whiny on occasion.

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