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Look at the pretty pictures
Published on December 7, 2007 By Zoomba In Blogging

Last month we announced that JoeUser 2 was under development.  You got a few very early mockup shots of what the site was going to look like and I talked a little bit about the improvements everyone will be able to expect.  Well, a month in and we've made some excellent progress, and we're even getting ready to start having select users test the site (more on that in a future update).

Today, I'm going to take you on a tour of the site, showing off what has been implemented so far, and what you'll be able to expect when you get your hands on the new site.  Just like the announcement article, I have screenshots to prove to you that the site is in fact real, that we are making solid progress and you WILL be getting a crack at the site soon.

The Front Page

Current Site

JoeUser 2

At first glance there are a number of major differences between the two sites.  A major goal in the design of JoeUser 2 was to make the site much more visually appealing.  The current page is an intimidating wall of text that gets crammed in pretty tightly.  The new design spaces things out, tosses in some graphics and breaks up the page better, making it easier to scan and read.

Immediately you probably noticed the change to the Popular Channels section.  On the current JU, it's a series to text links at the top of the page.  JoeUser 2 however takes a different approach.  The popular channels are still calculated, but instead of it just being a link to the article list, it shows you the most recent article in that channel, and displays the author's user icon next to the story.  Much easier to read, and it even gives you a little bit of content.

Another cool change (in my opinion at least) is to the Top Users lists.

Current Site

JoeUser 2

Instead of a text list, we're displaying user pictures.  Hovering your mouse over the image would tell you who the user was specifically.  We're hoping that the user icon will become the main tool in quickly establishing who wrote a particular article or comment.

Other changes to the front page include a 3-column layout, abbreviated featured article display and RSS feeds for just about everything.

User Tools

Currently, if you want to access anything related to your account, you do so via the box on your sidebar.  For JoeUser 2, we've moved those controls up to the top of the site, out of the way of the page itself so it doesn't clutter your blogging experience.  From this bar you'll access your account information, your dashboard, write new articles as well as log out from the site.

User Dashboard

You've seen a preview of this section before, but a lot of work has gone into improving the tool even further.

This is where you control your blog from.  You can write articles, manage your current articles, comments, check on your referrals, edit your blogroll/links list, manage your blacklist and make any necessary changes to your account.  It is going to be a LOT easier to manage your blog in the new system.

New Post Editor

The web editor used to write and edit articles was completely rewritten for JoeUser 2.

Current Site

JoeUser 2

Huge difference huh?  The focus of the page is given to the writing space, so no more scrolling when writing those really long articles, and all the options are moved off to the side, out of the way.

We've also added "tagging" to JoeUser.  Whenever you write an article, you can specify keywords, or "tags" that describe the content of your article.  So lets say you're writing an article about the 2008 Presidental race.  You may use the tag "election" among your list in the tags field.  Now, with your article tagged like that, users can search for specific tags and see all articles that match.  So you'd be able to search for "election" and find relevant articles.  When you see it in action, you'll immediately see the value.

Better Admin Tools

I know for the vast majority of you, me saying that our admin tools are 1000% better means very little.  But believe me, it will make a huge difference in terms of how smoothly the site runs. 

Admins like myself, Brad and Angie used to have to go through and delete individual spam posts, and then go and disable the account.  This was hugely time consuming especially when someone managed to spam several dozen articles overnight.  Now, we just hit one button and they're gone.  Articles, blog, account, everything and they're never coming back.

The new tools let us better deal with problems that current are incredibly time consuming to take care of.

Wow this got long, and it's really only scratching the surface of what's coming up in the new site.  I hope this has given you a better idea of what to expect and if you weren't excited before, you should be now.

Expect more information in the coming weeks about beta testing the new site before it is officially launched, and when you might be able to expect the new site to be fully live.

Comments (Page 1)
on Dec 07, 2007
on Dec 07, 2007

Hmm, you guys revamped a lot.  Going to take some getting used to, but I think it'll be pretty good.  JU could do with a bit of a makeover and maybe we'll get some new members.

Oh and:

we're even getting ready to start having select users test the site (more on that in a future update).

If you're looking for volunteers...consider my hand raised.


on Dec 07, 2007
Now, we just hit one button and they're gone. Articles, blog, account, everything and they're never coming back.

Ah! The Nuclear option!
on Dec 07, 2007
It looks great!  I can't wait.  WTG
on Dec 07, 2007
Still looking forward to seeing how things turn out and expecting great things when it is all done
on Dec 07, 2007
Now, we just hit one button and they're gone. Articles, blog, account, everything and they're never coming back.

Ah! The Nuclear option!

Speaking of nuking, just in case this feature needs some real life testing. I have the perfect account for you to "just hit one button and they're gone. Articles, blog, account, everything and they're never coming back". Let's just say it's about time he has his old broken record rhetoric of a blog site retired for him and go grab some of that SS he cries so much about before it runs out.
on Dec 07, 2007
About the article,

I think it looks pretty good and I definitely look forward to it. Just one question, it's not gonna be called right?

If you're looking for volunteers...consider my hand raised.

I second that.
on Dec 07, 2007

I am checking in after being gone for a few weeks!  What a difference a few weeks makes.

This looks awesome Zoomba.

Props.  Can't wait to use it!  (hint hint)

on Dec 08, 2007
One request -

When viewing posts in the My Replies section, there is currently no way to navigate directly back to My Replies without scrolling back up to the top of the window. It would really help to put that navigation bar at the bottom of the window as well.

Looking good, Z.
on Dec 09, 2007
Impressive! New look JU in the New Year? Impressive!
on Dec 09, 2007
oh, the tags will make me very happy! Thanks!
on Dec 14, 2007
Awesome can't wait to get into the beta!
on Apr 06, 2008
This site is very slow and often times out. That could be due to the extensive use of cookies. Storing the visited information in the DB instead of cookies would improve performance.
on Apr 06, 2008
It timed out when I tried to post the message about the site timing out
on Apr 18, 2008

I would really like an option to display the text names of Bloggers under their icons.

Some folks here don't stick with one icon and hovering over 10 icons one at a time to read a list doesn't really seem like a great idea to me.


I love the icons, but putting the text name under them just seems to make sense to me.

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