12/5/2021 forum software upgrade

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MarcR
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12/5/2021 forum software upgrade

Post by MarcR »

Tonight, beginning at midnight EST (5am UTC), the forums will be unavailable for about an hour while we install a software update. In addition to the usual underlying benefits of keeping software up to date - security, performance, compatibility with evolving standards - there is one change that all of us will notice, and one that will affect a few of us.

New theme. The overall appearance will be different. Our aesthetic sensibilities remain the same, so don't expect a sea change. The color scheme is similar but simpler, and there are some minor layout changes.

Tapatalk. We're not going to support Tapatalk going forward. If you don't use Tapatalk to access the forums from your mobile devices, this change won't affect you. If you do use it, web browsing is your only mobile option going forward.

Because this is a classic "who moved my cheese" situation, I want to explain why. A decade ago, mobile web browsers were a clumsy way to access forum sites, which were optimized for traditional desktop devices. Tapatalk offered an easy solution - forum site operators could install a server plugin that exposed forum data - accounts, forums, topics, posts - to Tapatalk, and forum members could interact using Tapatalk's mobile app. In return, Tapatalk could market its own services and those of third party advertisers to Tapatalk-using forum members. And as anyone here who has logged in with a mobile web browser knows, Tapatalk uses the server plugin to woo those members to its app with an annoyingly difficult-to-dismiss banner ad.

As an advertising-averse site, ApoE4.Info has always been an awkward fit for Tapatalk, and the mobile web has worked well with our forums for many years. The new theme optimizes further for mobile devices, and we decided not to include Tapatalk's plugin in the release we're installing tonight.
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MarcR
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Re: 12/5/2021 forum software upgrade

Post by MarcR »

This is complete. Please let me know if you see anything amiss.
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Julie G
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Re: 12/5/2021 forum software upgrade

Post by Julie G »

MarcR wrote: Sun Dec 05, 2021 10:24 pm This is complete. Please let me know if you see anything amiss.
Nothing amiss, my friend. It looks great. Please know how much your work is appreciated.
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SusanJ
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Re: 12/5/2021 forum software upgrade

Post by SusanJ »

MarcR wrote:This is complete.
So far, things seem to be going great.

I second Julie's comment. I've had lots of years overseeing complicated computer projects. Know first hand the amount of work behind the scenes to make sites work well. Deep bow of appreciation.
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thumperama
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Re: 12/5/2021 forum software upgrade

Post by thumperama »

After a long hiatus, I’ve been visiting and reading again. Forum appears to operating well. Thanks for taking care of things!
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MarcR
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Re: 12/5/2021 forum software upgrade

Post by MarcR »

Thanks all. Was a fun project with lots of learning. Welcome back, thumperama!
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Re: 12/5/2021 forum software upgrade

Post by circular »

Thanks to everyone involved for keeping the website optimized and otherwise running a great organization!

I am wondering whether, since the website update, everyone else sees a serif font in their message windows? From a user interface standpoint, serif fonts are traditionally thought to be better suited to print matter than online reading. Non-serif fonts are easier on the eyes online. Is this a setting that was changed in the update? I don't see a switch to serif fonts anywhere else in my browser. If it's a website setting, I wonder whether others prefer the old non-serif font as well.

Thanks.
ApoE 3/4 > Thanks in advance for any responses made to my posts.
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Re: 12/5/2021 forum software upgrade

Post by MarcR »

While it is common for sites to use sans serif fonts exclusively, many also use serif fonts. We're in good company: scientificamerican.com, quantamagazine.org, nytimes.com, goodreads.com, and substack.com are a few of the many content-oriented sites that use serif fonts extensively.

Font choice is more about branding and aesthetics than it is about readability. In my view, using serif fonts in our logo (Adelle Condensed) and for most of our content (Lora) underscores our traditional values. In a world dominated by sharp-tongued repartee, alternative facts, and trolls on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and a million other forum sites, we promote thoughtful, polite discourse accountable to scientific research and principles.

The 2016 design standardized on two fonts - Open Sans (sans serif) for titles and headings and Lora (serif) for paragraph content. The implementation was imperfect, and the words we typed in compose windows were Open Sans rather than Lora. Only via the Preview button could we see our words in the font used for our PMs and posts. The recent design retained the prior font pairing and corrected a number of oversights including that one.
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Re: 12/5/2021 forum software upgrade

Post by circular »

MarcR wrote: Mon Jan 03, 2022 8:01 pm While it is common for sites to use sans serif fonts exclusively, many also use serif fonts. We're in good company: scientificamerican.com, quantamagazine.org, nytimes.com, goodreads.com, and substack.com are a few of the many content-oriented sites that use serif fonts extensively.

Font choice is more about branding and aesthetics than it is about readability. In my view, using serif fonts in our logo (Adelle Condensed) and for most of our content (Lora) underscores our traditional values. In a world dominated by sharp-tongued repartee, alternative facts, and trolls on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and a million other forum sites, we promote thoughtful, polite discourse accountable to scientific research and principles.

The 2016 design standardized on two fonts - Open Sans (sans serif) for titles and headings and Lora (serif) for paragraph content. The implementation was imperfect, and the words we typed in compose windows were Open Sans rather than Lora. Only via the Preview button could we see our words in the font used for our PMs and posts. The recent design retained the prior font pairing and corrected a number of oversights including that one.
Marc, thanks so much for taking the time to explain that. It's no surprise that since I've been abducted by lovable but high maintenance, aging family for five and a half years, I hadn't caught up with the new thinking. Recently I read elsewhere that serif fonts used to be less readable on digital devices due to lower resolution screens. Indeed, my laptop is seven years old, while I just upgraded my phone from iPhone 7 to iPhone 13 Mini. The new phone does appear more crisp in serif fonts. Focusing on this also brings to my attention that my eyesight is slightly changed, not to where I was aware of it consciously, but enough to notice when I pay closer attention, and that is likely affecting my comfort reading serif fonts on screens. All this reveals that I'm a circular abductee with poor eyesight. What is the world coming to?
ApoE 3/4 > Thanks in advance for any responses made to my posts.
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Re: 12/5/2021 forum software upgrade

Post by circular »

By the way, I love the little blue decorative "online" banners :-D
ApoE 3/4 > Thanks in advance for any responses made to my posts.
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