Wednesday's lunchtime links

Written by Adrian Holovaty on August 21, 2002

Digital Web magazine has started a new column about information architecture. The inaugural column gives a good history of information architects' role in the Internet as it exploded in the late '90s. David Wertheimer's column this month is also worth a read.

The folks at WebWord stumbled upon and have been discussing my DHTML-based comment system from a usability standpoint. Some like it, some don't. What do you think? Does the comments box need a more obvious "close" button? Is the on-the-fly comment view annoying or hard to use? Right now, I've set it to dynamically load comments when there are four or fewer; otherwise, clicking "Comments" will load a new page. Has that confused anyone? I'm always interested in hearing what readers have to say.


Posted by anonymous on August 21, 2002, at 7:04 p.m.:

Cool feature

Posted by Jay Small on August 21, 2002, at 7:41 p.m.:

I'm sure I deviate from the general Web audience (in fact, lots of people through the years have referred to me as "deviant" :-) ... but this was just about the easiest-to-figure-out comments system I've encountered within a blog-type presentation.

I wouldn't change it unless you receive specific negative feedback from your stable of regular visitors -- after all, the site is focused on customer experience issues, so your customers by association are most likely to be skilled at finding their ways around.

Posted by anonymous on August 21, 2002, at 7:44 p.m.:

I like it

Posted by christina on August 21, 2002, at 7:59 p.m.:

I think you do need a "close comments" at the bottom of the box. Another issue you may not have thought of is providing permalinks to a comment.. but maybe you dont' want to offer this feature?

Posted by Ike on August 21, 2002, at 8:11 p.m.:

I like it a lot, and it totally speaks for itself. I think this is waaaay better than to constantly go back and forth between pages. It's understandable that people might not figure out how to collapse it when there's no 'close' button --- maybe you could use the little apple'ish arrow that tilts?

Posted by Adrian Holovaty on August 21, 2002, at 8:46 p.m.:

Permalinking comments is a good idea. There's no reason not to. My thinking in the past has been: Since comments are usually only a few lines long, linking to them individually using a target tag would be useless, considering they're close to the bottom of the permalinked page, and targetting a link that's declared within the last "screenful" of a page is pretty much meaningless. (If that makes any sense.)

I think the solution would be for me to make a separate page for each permalinked comment, just as each permalinked blog entry gets its own page. That's easy to do; I'll just have to think of an intuitive, usable URL scheme to use -- perhaps /blogcomments/YY/MM/DD/TTTTname/ or /blog/YY/MM/DD/TTTT/comments/TTTTname.

Posted by Mike Sivertsen on August 23, 2002, at 6:25 a.m.:

Perhaps you could use the insitu expand/collapse JavaScript feature I found at Zeldman's site recently. Works good.

Click on the Essentials link.

Posted by Mike Sivertsen on August 23, 2002, at 6:44 a.m.:

Good work! Not having to use a database is very cool and makes the whole discussion system approachable by more bloggers.

I like what you have done here because there's no page hopping and the comments and article can all be printed at once. Couple it with the in situ capability for opening/closing the comments (as I mentioned earlier) and you're 90% there.

What would be optimum IMHO is an article/blog commenting system that lets readers insert a comment after every <p> tag in the original article. Pretty similar to newsgroup capabilities and allows a thread related to original content to be closely monitored on a paragraph level. Of course end-of-article threads as you have here should also be possible.

Posted by Alex on August 24, 2002, at 9:26 p.m.:

I like it very much as it is.

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