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Ben E

New Panbo website: what's good, what's bad?

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I'm going to rein in my enthusiasm about Panbo's new website because right now it would be good to get pure feedback. Do you like the new elements (rough written as they may be at this point)? Is it readable on all your screens, big and small? Where is it broken?

39 Replies

  • I like it, Ben(s)! I always thought the olde layout wasn't big enough in the main area - the posts. It took me a minnit to find the new little blue "number of comments" button - now that I know what/where it is, it's fine :)

    I just tried the "staging" site on my iPhone 6 - the only issue I can see is that the text under each article is VERY light - whether it's a color/shading issue or a font problem, I'm not sure. Clicking on the article does not change the problem. Headlines, ads and other areas look fine.

    73 DE Hartley
    S/V Atsa
    (aboard by Friday, I hope - but not in the water yet..)

  • These answers are provided from using google browser from a computer with a wide display.

    What's good: It feels more modern, Editor blog is more prominent.

    What I dislike: I have to scroll down to see recent comments, before learning if people commented against the articles I am interested.

    What is broken : Forum button does nothing.

    What could be better: Put a navigation bar to the left of where it says "Panbo Features" by default, In the navigation bar put Blog, Forum, etc. (e.g. move your existing navigation bar there). By placing it here it will allow users to realize more quickly that the center screen is under the control of the navigation bar.

    What could be better: Feature to prompt users to jump to the forum based on recognizing a question they can help answer. Perhaps take the 3 most recently updated forum posts, and show them on the right margin where Press Releases are, then move the press releases down.

    Question on existing Panbo site bug: Is the comment box bug fixed? I am referring to the bug where I push submit for my comment, and it asks me to login ... where up above the comment box it shows "Thanks for signing in, Dan Corcoran (b393capt)(sign out). Clearly it knows I am logged in to be able to show my name. To clear the error I have to copy my comment, click sign out, then login, then re-paste my comment.

  • Hartley,

    Thanks for your comments and for taking a look.

    I agree about the text contrast. It was actually pretty bad on desktop but worse on mobile. I've switched text colors so there should be better contrast on all platforms now. Take a look and let me know if it looks better.


  • Dan,

    Many thanks to you as well for taking a look and taking the time to post.

    Funny, I was hit with the bug you mentioned in trying to reply to Hartley's comment. That should indeed be fixed in the new version.

    I'll get the forum link fixed momentarily.

    With regards to recent comments... I'm open for ideas about organization but let me tell you a little about what we're trying to accomplish. The Editors' blog is new. It's an answer to the fact that with the current long features and single post roll we don't really have a place for quick-hit posts. The Press Releases on the other side are also new. We want to make sure people see those new features. We also have an obligation to our advertisers to make sure their ads are seen, so much we really can't bury them at the bottom.

    Are you seeing the nav bar in the header? It's dependent on screen width and it's possible it's not being displayed for you. If you're seeing it and feel there should be a nav-bar in the main content area I might need more info on your concern.

    For now the forum is going to be a hold over to the old forum. Once we've got the main site migrated we're going to tackle a newer more modern forum. With that we should be able to do more about pushing people towards answering unanswered posts.

    Thanks again and keep the feedback coming.

  • Hi Ben,

    Better - still a bit light on my iPhone, but much more readable than before.

    73 DE Hartley

  • Yes, I saw the navigation bar on the top right side.

    Considering the cool feature to change the center pane content, I believe it makes better sense to put navigation bar just over the center pane and indicate on the navigation bar what center pane option is currently selected by using shadowing on the option, e.g. home(features), editor, etc.

  • Thanks, Dan (and Hartley). Have you checked the preview site recently? We didn't go for the idea of moving the nav bar, but did make some changes that hopefully emphasize the "cool feature" of 3 center column content choices. Please see what you think.

  • Hi Ben E,

    It looks pretty good to me - the "light text" issue seems to be fixed for my Firefox browser, and looks OK on my iPhone as well. Just one comment - the "Panbo Features" Header would look better with a bigger font (it kinda disappears at it's current size).

    I was up in Virginia working on Atsa! A bit cold & wet, but got my new (rebuilt) e7 installed, and it worked perfectly! [One advantage of having an older system is the availability of cheaper hardware]

    73 DE Hartley

  • And a question, Ben - I notice that the comment header refers to a "registration" process vs the current "sign in" -- are there changes coming? I find the current system annoying as I have to re-sign in every time I come back to Panbo.

    73 DE Hartley

  • Hi Hartley, Readers will have to again register or sign in with FB or similar, but once done I hope commenting will be improved and also subscriptions. Unfortunately, my talented webmaster launched his boat yesterday, but I've been pounding away in the new Press Release and Editors' Blog sections if you want to take a look (yes the links need a better style).

  • I'm back from diagnosing failed breakers on the boat. There will be a registration system and the ability to manage your subscriptions to various topics. We are striving for much greater consistency in the functionality than the current system is delivering. I'm still working through some of the details so it's a bit of a more to come once it's all ironed out.


  • Ahh, the joys of Spring commissioning! We're hoping to have Atsa back together sometime in April after a full winter of major rebuilds (water tanks replaced, new bow thruster, overhauled generator, etc.) - I'm sure we'll have some similar issues to sort thru.

    I notice that as of this morning my emails regarding new comments on Panbo are coming from "[email protected]" instead of "[email protected]" :)


  • Ben Stein's latest entry was separately posted on the new site and includes some image galleries that may or may not be cool?

  • It looks good, Ben E - the pictures are big enough that you don't need to click on them to zoom in. BUT - if you do click on them, they're a bit bigger in the original version! (I looked at the article in both versions)
    Just for fun, I tried to "Register" in the new version post, but it didn't work :(

    73 DE Hartley

  • Thanks, Hartley. So the "Register" button at bottom of left column did not take you a WordPress branded registration dialog, or the latter did not work?

    Also, many of the images on the new site are larger than on the old site, but they don't go to full size on first click. It's similar with the screenshot galleries; there's a big version, than an even bigger one (if you can find the command)

  • Hi Ben E, I clicked on the highlighted "Registration" at the upper left corner of the new comment block. It popped up a box that asked for my name and email, which I filled in. It then told me it was sending me an email, but none ever arrived.

  • Hartley, If you have a chance that should now be fixed, would you mind trying again? You'll need to re-register.


  • OK, that was interesting.. new page, and I went all the way thru registering, which seemed to work OK. Then I tried to comment, but it sent me to moderation (?) when I logged in, it did not return me to the comment section, but rather was telling me my profile was empty (which it wasn't).

  • Thanks Hartley, a newly registered user's first comment always goes to moderation.

    The profile being empty thing is wordpress being too cute for it's own good. It wants you to fill out a public profile. It's unnecessary and I'll see about disabling it altogether.

    I very much appreciate your sticking with it and providing all the feedback.

  • Hi Ben S! OK, lemme see if I can get in now :)

  • Hmm - it still sent me to moderation.. I just added a profile picture as an indicator of whether it knows who I am.

  • Well, the second & third also went to moderation, tho it definitely knows who I am.. :)

  • I'm betting it's the picture, Hartley.

    But actually I can see all three comments in the admin queue, all marked "Awaiting spam check" and I should leave them be as this is new Ben's project (such sweet words).

  • And it's fixed. Sorry about that. The spam filter wasn't working so it panicked and did nothing. I deleted all your test comments (and mine) but if you post another one it should make it's way right through and be posted.


  • If I try to register from scratch on the new site, it shows I exist already. If I use the password from the old site the password is not accepted.

    Before I go reset my password or anything, just wanted you to know in case you want to fix it and have me try again.

  • Looks like you got it, Ben S!

    Now to go see if I can break something else!

  • Break away, Hartley! I'm particularly interested in what you think of new search engine and display of older entries. (I do know that backlinks go to old Panbo, but if they work now, they will apparently work with migrated entries once we pull the switch.)

    Dan, I know that new Ben imported all the entry notification email addresses from the old system so that notifications won't stop, and also you can see that all old comments made the data migration (I think). But I'm pretty sure that no passwords from old Panbo or Feedburner subscriptions migrated because they were never available to us. So maybe you uncovered a problem already, but I doubt you can cause any irreparable harm.

    Where is that new guy anyway?

  • I left a comment about how the new page is dealing with pictures (which he is likely aware of) - I'll try a look at an olde article next.

  • I'm right here... It's an hour earlier in the midwest you know ;-).

    Dan, you've encountered an edge case. You're one of about 12 users that were created when we migrated the old site over because you authored articles on the old system and we had to create an account so your byline was properly carried over. Go ahead and reset the password. If you have any troubles doing that drop a note here or email me at [email protected].

  • If anyone wants to try out backlinks and make sure you can load an article you can take any link from panbo and just change the 'www' to 'staging' so:


    which is then magically transformed to:

    and loads. If I've done my job correctly.

  • I tried that, Ben S - seems to work flawlessly. I do note that clicking on links in older posts leads you to the older-style entries - I assume you're going to do some sort of mass address update when the cut-over comes? :)
    Sorry I've been so intermittent here - I had surgery on Monday on my ear, so I'm sitting around causing trouble - but I have to go lie down at times to let the world steady itself, and lose lock :).

  • OK, this is funny.. I left the first comment on Ben's blog post, then went away and came back - not seeing my post, I looked and it wanted me to log in, so I did (with my new registration stuff, which is nice) - and posted again, with a note about some pages in the registration process. Coming back after dinner, I note that my second post is on Ben's blog post - but my first one is showing on the sidebar :)

    73 DE Hartley

  • You have me confused, Hartley. Your latest comment on the new site starts, "Hmm – well, OK – while my earlier registration survived, my status didn’t 🙂 One micro-note: I’m running Firefox, and..." posted 2018/03/30 at 3:03 pm

    Your 2nd latest comment over there is dated 2018/03/25 at 11:41 am

  • Hi Ben,

    Yeah, I think I must have goofed.. I made a short comment, which vanished when I posted it, but the content was so similar to your post title, I mistook the sidebar entry for it - instead, it has probably vanished into the machine. Not a problem.
    The new subscription works for my replies to "main page" stuff, but I still need my olde Moveable Type login for the forum (every time!)

  • Yeah, but this creaky old forum will get 'frozen' soon. New Ben is at work on new one that seems to integrate nicely with the new site.

  • Grandissimo!

  • Oh, and Happy Easter!

  • Testing new old Forum while logged