RowThree Finds a Way [ver. 6.1]

EDIT: So we’ve revamped things again. This time it’s sort of a hybrid of the old and the new. Gone is all of the java and crazy comment links and we’re back with a little bit more traditional linking system.

Again, there may be some oddities at first, but over time they’ll get wrinkled out. Hopefully.

Not sure exactly which evolution of the third row this is, but 6.0 sounds like a reasonable iteration. One thing is for sure, it’s a significant change! It’s still all of the same great(?) content, but we’ve skimmed down the scope and look of the site to be as streamlined and minimal as possible. Gone is the “old west” look and in with the flat and sharp. Many might have some initial reservations about this new look/style, but we welcome you to just play around with it and hopefully embrace it. It isn’t rocket science, but it’s quite unlike the usual functionality/aesthetic of most movie (or any) blogs out there.

We’ve abandoned the traditional scrolling list of posts and everything on the sides. It’s a simple, clean landing page with just a logo. Rollover the logo to see all of the latest posts and podcasts broken into their subsequent categories (one of which is “all posts” so you’ll never miss a thing. Once you’re in, you can navigate the topics via the menu at the bottom of your screen or the large left/right arrows on either side. To return to the main home screen, simply “X” out of the display window or hit the temporary “HOME” button at the top of the screen.

There is bound to be a few kinks and wrinkles in these opening few days and if you find any, feel free to email the admin about them. Most of the older posts might look a little strange and/or not all that handsome, but all posts going forward should be streamlined with the rest of the site aesthetic in mind.

We’re hope you’re able to get used to the new layout and color scheme. Hey, at least it’s not in 3D!





50 comments

  1. I’m going to be quite blunt and say I’m not too crazy about this website, which may look pretty, but isn’t exactly the most user friendly.

    The least attractive thing is having to select from a menu to get to the content. That should be readily available for the user the second they browse to the site, especially for a blog like Row Three.

    I’m not a fan.

    • It also seems that the new template seems optimized for someone using a touchscreen/tablet and not an “old fashioned” laptop like I use. I really don’t like how everything is in a small box in the centre.

      Ironically, the site still has the old mobile template (just took a peak on my iPhone).

    • Gerry

      This is the second time I’m trying to leave this comment as it didn’t register first time.

      I totally agree with Sean.

      Can’t you introduce a button that brings up the old layout, albeit with the new crappy colours?

      This is worse, much worse, than the high def digest redesign. I hardly use that sight any more.

      • Gerry

        This new design bugs me so much I spelled site ‘sight’.

  2. I actually agree with you Sean.

    That said, all content is literally only one click away.

    I find it annoying when I get to a site and just see words all over the screen. I think with time we’ll get used to it. It’s just that right now we’re used to the way WordPress is traditionally used. As wordpress gets more sophisticated, we’re going to start seeing more and more diversity with these blogs.

    • I’d rather have a bunch of words when I browse to the site than absolutely nothing, expect the Row Three logo in the centre.

      This is a fancy design just for the sake of having a fancy design. If it wasn’t broken, you shouldn’t have tried to fix it.

      • If you want to straight to the ‘new content’ on the site, use this link as your landing page, Sean:

        http://www.rowthree.com/#!/category/all-posts/

      • In some ways it was broken though Sean. We’ll talk more about it in the Cinecast – easier to get point across while talking rather than typing.

        Also, in almost all facets of life, I hate change just for the sake of change. But when it comes to web sites, I believe they should be updated regularly to fit with trends and features of the time.

  3. That’s another thing I’d like to fix Sean. The window is a little too small. But I design everything with my “regular” laptop and a secondary monitor.

    I use a small Chromebook to double check things.

    Site is definitely NOT designed for a mobile device. It’s slow and not very intuitive. That’s why the version on the phone is the same as it was before – though I need to change the colors and logo on the mobile version.

    • I should also add that posting replies to comments is a bit of a pain, which me something not even being able to scroll down to the submit button.

    • Also it’s VERY obvious that this template is meant to be used with a touchscreen (just look at those giant arrows).

  4. I’m afraid I have to agree that it’s not user friendly, and not in the “This will take some getting used to.” way. It actually seems to have introduced more work in the process of navigating content.

    There’s a saying about usability. “The most common user action on the web is to flee.” Change for the sake of change or “better” visual design that is not user friendly gives more reasons to flee.

    It was very difficult to even put up this reply. I couldn’t scroll to the submit button. I had to scroll back up and then scroll down and suddenly it came back. I copied and pasted this comment, reloaded and tried again to see if it would happen again. It did.

    Adapt the overall look more a more blog-driven format and you’re golden.

    • I’m not quite understanding this complaint. Could you be more specific for me? As I’m typing this I can see the “submit” button right below this text. So not sure why you have to scroll to see it.

      Maybe it’s a glitch on a different browser? I’m using the latest Chrome right now. I’ll take a look in IE and Firefox and see if there’s something weird there.

    • Oops. I see what you mean. Not sure what this glitch is, but I’ll get it worked out.

  5. Thanks Goon. I’ll look into the reply thing when I get home. Not sure what you mean exactly or what the problem might be.

  6. I’m pretty impressed with the design. I agree some of the leaps forward in user experience might eventually have to be sanded down a bit – but in terms of generating a site that doesn’t look or behave like the last ten years of movie blogs, this is pretty deft.

    I don’t think anticipating the uptick of tablet/touch screen usage is a mistake. By 2016 this will all look incredibly ahead of the curve…

    • Not sure if this is an issue others are having, btw, but my browser is having trouble finding the “bottom” of comment threads. Can’t get to the bottom of the box office show at all – too long?

      • I noticed this too. When I click on “5 comments” at the top of the page, it simply reloads and I’m still at the same place. I’m pretty confident that this is something I can fix in the next day or so.

  7. I see now what you guys mean. I had some problems too. It has something to do with the URL including the comment number and missing the java code (#!).

    If you reload the article with just the article URL, it seems to work fine.

    Also, making the comment box smaller seems to possibly help too – drag the little doo-hickey in the lower right up a bit

    This is unacceptable. I’ll try to fix this asap.

    e.g.
    this works:
    http://www.rowthree.com/#!/2014/06/08/rowthree-finds-a-way-ver-6-0/

    this doesn’t:
    http://www.rowthree.com/2014/06/08/rowthree-finds-a-way-ver-6-0/#comment-159698

  8. The new design looks quite nice, but I also definitely find that usability has suffered. Especially for reading comments, which for me is probably half of the content I come to the site for.

    It’s not very friendly scrolling through just small amount of content and long posts like the Mamo summer content become quite problematic. Links to new comments don’t work, so the user has to scroll around and figure out where the new content is. Taking away the regular scrollbar for JavaScript controlled DIV scroll means no searching content. Example, searching to see if who got it right that The Fault in our Stars was going to be a big release.

  9. Andrew you killed it on the new design, I’m loving it.

  10. I’m surprised people are complaining about usability. I find the comments and posts as easy to find and use as always. The only big difference navigation-wise is not having the recent posts at the side of the screen, but they’re only one click away. The only thing I’d like is for the window to be a bit longer. It’s kind of cramped as it is.

    • ” The only big difference navigation-wise is not having the recent posts at the side of the screen, but they’re only one click away.”

      Aren’t you… proving the point that it’s not as usable? Every time you add an extra step for a user to access content, you are losing eyeballs. User retention drops when there’s nothing else for them to immediately jump to.

      I can say the site looks much better on a desktop did it did when I saw it first last night. At home I use a laptop and the squeeze of the content window into that space means I have to scroll to even get past the header image. Users like scrolling, but tight spaces that require constant scrolling and an inability to scan further down the page… lose eyeballs. Being able to scan further down is especially important when (as Fabb mentioned) we are dealing with comment sections or returning to previous conversations.

      Andrew, if you do tinkering and can see if the blog window can respond/expand to different resolutions, it may be worth the time. As it is I look at the big arrows and think of all the stuff I could be looking at there to keep me on the site. I hope you’re not taking this as me ragging on your work. I just want you to keep eyeballs! Especially mine!

      • Not at all Goon, I really appreciate the productive feedback. It’s way more helpful than, “This site now sucks ass.”

        And I agree with you 100% about the size of the window. Horizontally it is actually much bigger than the old version of the site (which means we can embed larger photos/videos now). It just looks smaller because it’s in a window and not sprawling across the page.

        Vertically is the problem I’m having. It has to be responsive to the size of the monitor/browser one is using, rather than relative to the size of the actual page.

        I’m working on some other smaller tweaks, but it’ll get there. I hope people stay on long enough to give it a chance.

        Kurt and I will discuss/defend a little more on the Cinecast tonight. Also, Edge of Tomorrow yay!

        • I’ve gotten a bit more used to the redesign over the past couple days, but I’m still not too crazy about it.

  11. Finding the scrollbar a real pain on ipad, and so instead just scroll on page but you have to scroll in just the right spot for it to scroll but it does it in small jumps, which is very problematic for long comment threads. Overall I like where this is heading. I think it needs something to grab you immediately, as is, deceptively looks like a consulting services webpage, or something business related. What about something like they have at Film Junk, where there is a widget that automatically scrolls through main posts, something to jump out at you so you know this is about film.

    anyways, my Religious post is forever spammed and I get emails sent to me about it, finally clicked on one to see the original post, and here it is: http://www.rowthree.com/tiff/tiff-review-religulous/ Not sure if this is a glitch, but funny to see the old old version of the site.

    • The reason it’s the old old old old version of the site is because John (the original admin) setup a completely different version of wordpress/database for TIFF that year. That’s why all of the links still work and it is navigable.

    • Good point about it not looking like a film site. Though I thought the ticket and the background being a theater would be a giveaway, but I guess I see your point.

      Scrolling posts at the top of the main page is the kind of generic thing I’m trying to avoid. All wordpress templates have that. I’m looking to be different and stand out amongst those blogs.

      • There is a reason all templates have that. It works.

        • Nope. Because it is what is safe and easy.

          Bloggers are bloggers. Not programmers. So they take what is free and requires very little know-how – and all of the free templates are basically the same because they too require very little development. If they require extensive amounts of development or creativity, they usually cost money and/or someone on the inside with some knowledge of programming needs to be on hand.

          • As someone with a college diploma in programming, I take issue at your assumption that bloggers are not programmers. :P

          • Of course, I graduated in 2003, so my programming skills are a little out of date (though I can look at code and generally get an idea what it’s trying to do).

          • Well, as someone who makes a living developing websites, generally you want the content front and center. The current design is very app like version of the site.

            Still, my problem is the JavaScript driving scrollbar inside this window. This kind of format was very popular in the late 1990′s and early 2000′s. Back in the days of DHTML and sites being done all in Flash. It would look cool but because of the usability problems, it wasn’t used that much anymore.

      • Tweaking the splash page would probably help. A Larger logo and a larger font for your Mission statement would get more eyeballs drawn to it. Maybe tweak it to say “Where armchair directors talk film” or something that makes the point of the site a bit more obvious. But even that kind of depends on your aesthetic preference.

    • Yeah, because the scrollbar is all JavaScript driven, you won’t get a natural scroll on tablets or any touch devices.

  12. I’ll still having problems scrolling with my scroll wheel in Google Chrome, but other than that, it’s been growing on me. It’s always startling when such a dramatic change is made, but overall, with a few tweaks, I think this can make R3 stand out among the movie blogs.

  13. I say keep the logo box but would recommend tucked between it and the tabs you have even a slim box version of what Film Junk has with the constant refreshing image/title of new posts (could even make it monochrome if you want to keep a certain aesthetic)

    Tried again with ipad last night, the scrollbar is a nightmare. If you click on it, it actually goes the opposite direction requested, and if you just flip through the page itself goes so slow.

  14. You need to make some adjustments on the mobile colour scheme. Currently it’s nearly impossible to write comments via mobile (since it’s black text on a dark blue background).

  15. Wow the mobile site looks great! I mostly visit using my mobile phone so I’m not sure what the drama was with the full site, but the mobile theme looks pretty slick

  16. antho42

    Here the thing– I think you should look at qz.com’s website. That is the present and the foreseeable future; it works well in a tablet, smarthphone, and computer. And they have been successful.

  17. antho42

    Yeah, this is too alienating; http://qz.com/ is a good template. I decided to not comment right away, as design changes takes awhile to get used to. But even with all the time, and despite some modifications, this design is too cold. First of all, it goes against the minimalism doctrine that has swept the world. And despite the mobile revolution, minimalism has increased, not decreased. In terms of the color paletter, it is a bit too 90′s cyberpunk; it does not have a timeless feel to it.

    • I’m all about minimalism. But minimalism does not automatically = good looking.

      That site you linked to is one ugly site (no offense to whose ever it is). Also, all they have is a series of text posts with social media. This site is designed to be much more interactive and has far more content divided amongst a range of categories and authors.

      So that is fine for that site, but if a movie site I went to ever looked like that, I’d never go back. Ever.

  18. All I have to do now is come up with a logo that fits a little better up there.

  19. antho42

    OK, the mobile site is good; although not a fan of black font on grey background when writing a comment. Make it white font.

    • I’ve been trying to get that to happen and can’t quite figure it out yet. Though unlike what Sean said above, it’s not “nearly impossible” to see. Just kind of annoying.

  20. This is more like it. Nice work. I must admit, after being one of the few positive commenters on the previous design, I had started to hit a lot of the glitches and it was beginning to piss me off. This new design seems to be the best of both worlds and looks pretty slick. I haven’t run into any bumps yet although I’ve only been using it for about 5 minutes :)

    The only thing I think could still do with a tweak is the new logo, it doesn’t quite do it for me. It’s hard to put into words why, but I think it could be improved. Not much help I know.

    • I’m with David. I’m digging this design tweak and it’s definitely working better on my laptop and Chrome browser.

    • Thanks David! Yup, the logo sucks ass. I’m going to be working on something – Kurt already has a few ideas.

  21. Digging the latest changes, and no odd glitches (at least that I’ve noticed)

  22. This new version of the site looks awesome. A nice updated design but without all the problems from the previous version. Works quite nicely on a tablet as well. I’ve just tested an iPad that I had at hand, but I assume the way this version of the site is set up that it works just fine on other tablets.

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