Email of the day on site improvements
Comment of the Day

December 23 2013

Commentary by Eoin Treacy

Email of the day on site improvements

¡°Just a quick note to say well done and thanks to you and the programming team for the tremendous progress since the new site went live. Having myself been involved in 24/7-all-hands-to-the-pumps live IT projects, I appreciate the effort that's been made! I also appreciate that you continue to be receptive to user feedback to help iron out the quirks and improve the user experience. Thanks for listening!

A key benefit of the new site is your ability to show inline charts within your commentary. Previously, a dual-monitor setup was needed to avoid interrupting the commentary flow (ie to simultaneously view comment and related chart). This very simple improvement is a great boon.

You've recognised that subscribers who visit the site daily benefit from a different UX than "passers-by". Perhaps efforts on this front could be continued, reducing superfluous content that might hinder regular users. Using different devices for website access, a few things that have struck me are as follows:-

- PC (5:4 monitor aspect ratio) : On the homepage (Comment of the Day), actual subscriber content (ie. the stuff that changes daily and I want to read) doesn't begin until almost 3/5ths of the way down the page, due to whitespace and the scale of menu and header areas. Compare this to the BBC News homepage where actual content commences before the end of the first 1/5th of the homepage.

- Tablet (Android/Nexus 7; Chrome): Regarding the homepage issue above, if used in landscape mode, no subscriber content (ie. none of the actual Comment of the Day) initially appears on screen - it's only after scroll that any of the actual commentary appears. Granted, landscape on a 7" tablet may be an unusual use (although see below - there's method in the madness), but in portrait mode the actual content doesn't appear until the bottom 1/3rd of the screen, so still not great.

- Tablet (Android/Nexus 7; Chrome): I mentioned above the great benefit of the inline charts. Inevitably these appear quite small on a 7" tablet screen. To get a closer look I switch to landscape mode on the tablet and pinch-zoom in. This helps a bit, but the zooming result in quite a lot of the screen real estate being taken up by the now-supersized black top 'MENU' bar, green RHS popout 'feedback' bar, and black bottom popout 'Contact us!' bar, which rather obscure the chart. It's easier to try this out and see for yourself than explain! Perhaps something could be done to help with this? A similar issue (black top menu bar dominating) can occur in the Chart Library with landscape mode.

- All platforms: For subscribers, could the 'Chart library' option in the black top menu bar just take us directly into the Chart Library itself? Currently, clicking/tapping this just produces a single drop down menu item ("FT Money Chart Library") which must then also be clicked on to access the actual Library. It's an unnecessary additional click on PC, but on tablet (Android/Nexus7; Chrome) this extra step often causes a problem: the drop-down menu item is hard to click on, with the result that the user (i.e me) is often taken to the 'About the Chart Library' page rather than the Chart Library itself. I can end up going around in circles, unable to reach the actual Library, just jumping between the homepage and the 'Abolut the Chart Library' page. Since the 'Chart library' option in the black top menu bar only displays one option, having a click/touch of this top menu item navigate directly to the Chart Library would both save time and avoid the Android problem described above.

- Contact us / Feedback: on the site, there currently seem to be 3 different mechanisms for contacting you:
    - 'Contact us'in the black top menu bar;
    - green RHS popout 'feedback' bar;
    - black bottom popout 'Contact us!' bar.
It's not at all clear to me which of these should be used for what purpose. Are they all needed, and if so, what should they be used for? If there's functional overlap, or their presence is not always required, could they be hidden on some pages so as to avoid screen real estate being eaten up?

Thanks again for listening. There seems to be more than light at the end of the migration tunnel, and it's great to see such rapid progress now being made.


Eoin Treacy's view

Thank you for taking the time to test the site on multiple devices and to share your first hand impressions. All of these are logical suggestions and we are already working on a number of them. Creating a service where subscribers can genuinely feel like they have a part in shaping development of a world class product has always been David¡¯s and my ambition, so thank you for your patience during this teething phase.  

The black bottom popup was introduced as an instant messenger system in the initial days of the site and we will be removing it at the end of the month. As for the feedback and contact us sections, we will be rationalising this feature relatively soon. 

One click to the chart library and removing superfluous content for subscribers is a priority which we are working  on. You will now notice that the font size has been enlarged, links are bold and in blue and italics in quoted copy have been removed. 

With regard to the Chart Library we are in the process of downloading an additional 2800 securities to fill any holes that may exist in subscriber¡¯s Favourites lists. 

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