ATP 3.0: New Look, New Feature, Same Old Stuff

Posted on July 18, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, About ATP
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Adil Najam

Computer Transport Pakistan StyleAs promised, we now have a new look for Paksitaniat.com.

For the last couple of weeks, a small group of us have been working frantically – nearly around the clock – on reworking the look of ATP with the goal of making the user experience better without changing the essential feel of ‘Pakistaniat’ at the blog. We hope it has worked. Please let us know.

First, let me express my gratitude to the many who have contributed to this effort. Like all things at ATP this was a collaborative project and everyone in the team and our many readers contributed immensely with their ideas. My thanks to all of them. We have tried our best to incorporate the various ideas that people shared in response to our post on redesign.

The work itself was overseen by a small group of three – me on behalf of the ATP editorial team with ideas about user priorities, Awab Alvi with technical advice, design ideas, and setting up the test site, and long-time reader BD who lead the development of this custom theme from scratch. Later Schajee also provided many useful insights and ideas about the test site as it developed. The vast vast bulk of the work here is really of BD. And our deep deep gratitude for him. He has literally put in hundreds of hours. Developed a custom theme for us, written a bunch of new plug-ins just for ATP, and overall just been a delight to work with. I spent countless hours on skype with him talking through ideas, and there was not a single one – even amongst the ridiculous ideas – that he balked it. From the entire ATP community, my heartfelt thanks to BD.

This is, as regular readers know, our third design incarnation. We started as Pakistaniat.wordpress.com on June 11, 2006; then moved to a new design and our own server on September 1, 2006; and now this is ATP v3.0.

We have tried to keep the ‘feel’ of Pakistaniat that has been nurtured over the last year but made a number of changes that, we hope, people will like. These include:

- A less cluttered but still information-rich look.

- A different look for the front page from the post pages.

- Less intrusive and more integrated advertising.

- The comments section now shows 12 comments at a time, in multiple pages, but with the option to ‘Show All.’

- A ‘splash picture’ on the front page instead of a running ‘header’.

- A ‘Random Post’ button that shows up at the top of individual post pages and will take you to a random post from the past (this is my personal favorite and I have been playing with it for hours remembering the journeys we have been on together).

- Within the Single Post pages – at the top of the pag, near the post title – you will find some useful features including the ability to email the post to friends, go back to the front page, or click for a randomly generated post from the past.

- We now have a new area we call ‘Notice Board’ at the top of the right side (rectangle spanning the two columns) which we will use for breaking news, features, polls, etc.

- Two columns on the right now has designated uses.

- Right-most column will be exclusively for posts from the pasts, with visual heavy look, organized around a set of P’s – People, Poetry, Politics, Places, Polls and Pakistaniat. Hovering on a picture will tell you what it is about and clicking will take it to related post. This is not done yet, but very soon this column will become dynamic — i.e., the pictures and links will change each time you click on them!

- Middle (or left-) column is nearly entirely text and has all types of information about what is happening on the blog.? Popular features like ATP Disucussions, Most Commented Posts and Top Hit Posts have been retained. The Related Posts section will now appear only on the single-post pages.

- We have added a few new features that we hope you will like. One is a list of Top Commenters (with most comments) that appear on that front page. Also, in a new section on the front page called Blogistan we have a live real-time set of links to new posts on otherblogs that we have linked. This replaces the Links section and will now give you a view of what is actually happening in the Pakistan blogsphere at that moment.

- You will also see a Feed Bar (green buttons) towards the top of the page. This includes a link to the blog Feed that you can subscribe to, a subscribe by email option, and a count of (a) number of feedburner readers, (b) total number of posts on the site, and (c) total number of comments on the site.

- We also have a new Archives page where we have tried to make access to past posts easier by category, by author and by date.

These are the major changes. There are scores of other small things also that you will discover. We do not intend to make major changes to this now, but will be tweaking things and adding a few new features (like the dynamic right hand column) over the next few days. We hope that the site is also faster now (or at least no slower despite all the new features). Importantly, we hope that there are fewer CPU outages (which had increased greatly recently and was the motivation for these changes). We will keep an eye on this and will try to fix things over the next week or so as they appear. Please excuse us if there are any hiccups in this transition. Rest assured, we are working on those.

So, for now. Sit back. Relax. Enjoy the ride. And let us know what you think about it.

54 Comments on “ATP 3.0: New Look, New Feature, Same Old Stuff”

  1. Lal Salaam says:
    July 18th, 2007 2:08 pm

    Love the new look.

  2. Stranger says:
    July 18th, 2007 2:10 pm

    Wow, what agreat look. Elegance in simplicity. Everything to the point. I am still catching my breath.

  3. July 18th, 2007 2:14 pm

    Thanks….. So am I !

  4. Akif Nizam says:
    July 18th, 2007 2:21 pm

    love it !

  5. Adnan Ahmad says:
    July 18th, 2007 2:27 pm

    Beautiful! Much needed changes.

    ‘Power comes from becoming change as opposed to resisting it..’ recently read somewhere.

  6. Sharique says:
    July 18th, 2007 2:30 pm

    Its fabulous…much better than the cluttered 3K2 you had previously. I just love the way you have posted previous articles in the sidebar.

  7. Suleman says:
    July 18th, 2007 2:34 pm

    Nice look! The thumbnail images on the right are a nice visual touch and th larger font is preferred.

  8. July 18th, 2007 2:42 pm

    Simple but attractive. The most needed thing which has been implemented is pagination which would make loading efficient. it took 2.61 seconds to load the main page(Source: FireBug extention for FireFox). Last time I mentioned loading time which was too much for a webpage. Though advertisement banner keep occupying room :-)

    last but not least, the new comment policy pic of “Moochar” police wala is hilarious and appropiate. :-)

  9. Ibrahim says:
    July 18th, 2007 2:56 pm

    Salamalikum,

    Not to spoil the party or not to recognize the effort, but sorry I’m not that enthusiastic about the new look. However, it could be just that I’m not used to it. If you ask me, the top part is too goddy, too big. It was also disappointing to see that you did away with the blogroll and the addition of blogistan doesn’t make up for it. Is there any chance of restoring the blogroll?

  10. MQ says:
    July 18th, 2007 3:11 pm

    Looks as if someone just turned on the light in my room. I like it!

  11. WASIM ARIF says:
    July 18th, 2007 3:19 pm

    Owais & Adil Bhais

    Fantastico I say!

    Feimanallah

    Wasim

  12. Anwar says:
    July 18th, 2007 3:23 pm

    Congratulations.
    Simply beautiful!

  13. July 18th, 2007 3:29 pm

    Folks, thank you for all these wonderful reactions.

    BD and I are monitoring the site and changes in real time right now and we do note that a CPU breakdown just happened. This is to let you know we are trying to figure out why that is so and what to do about it. So, just to confirm that we are working on it ;-)

  14. Indscribe says:
    July 18th, 2007 3:33 pm

    Really looks beautiful. Couldn’t find a single fault. We were all addicted to the old look but yes with growing number of posts and other features, it looked cluttered. Now it’s very fresh, original and looks different from any other blog.

  15. Kruman says:
    July 18th, 2007 3:46 pm

    Good job! The pages load a lot faster now.

  16. Ali Raza says:
    July 18th, 2007 4:26 pm

    Great new design, looks amazing;
    May I suggest a section in the website for Overseas Pakistanis who want to visit Pakistan, places, restaurants, recommendations, information etc
    Also a section to recommend websites relating Pakistan.
    Kind regards

  17. Ghaus says:
    July 18th, 2007 4:32 pm

    Excellent Look ! I was just going to write to Adil Najam, that he should change the look, but when i came to this site, it was already changed. Nice work guys !

    Ghaus Iftikhar
    Pakistan Uncut Blog

  18. Asma says:
    July 18th, 2007 4:43 pm

    Really Nice … Good work BD … and took so less time to load.

    ATP Rocks – Just now a bit more :)

  19. July 18th, 2007 5:02 pm

    Hats off to BD for literally pulling it all off, he started this theme from scratch and I am impressed at what came through – Brilliantly done.

    The Muchar Image on the comment box is appropriate and funny

  20. MQ says:
    July 18th, 2007 7:32 pm

    ATP: Just curious. What does the new button “number of readers” mean exactly?

  21. July 18th, 2007 7:40 pm

    UPDATE
    1. On some browsers (not most) the videos may not work. We are still working on that. FIXED
    2. We are also working on the code so that on clicking on a particular commenter in ‘ATP Discussions’ you are directed to that exact comment, instead of the beginning of the said post.
    3. We should soon be instituting a dedicated ‘Feedback’ page so readers can communicate with us better, including on post ideas.
    4. MQ, the number of readers on Feedburner reflects, I think, how many people read the ‘feed’ for the blog in the previous 24 hours.

  22. Zia says:
    July 18th, 2007 10:10 pm

    Adil
    Congrats to you and the team!. I think it seems nice.
    Onething I miss in the new one is Pakistan specific picture on the header.
    You guys have done an admirable job by providing such a nice online place.
    Thankyou!

  23. Pakistan Zindabad says:
    July 18th, 2007 10:45 pm

    I dont feel much difference.

  24. tina says:
    July 18th, 2007 11:58 pm

    This looks great. Wonderful job, Dr. Najam!

    Days of Rage, Letter from Pakistan at the New Yorker:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/07/23/070723fa_fact_dalrymple?printable=true

    Here it all is in a nutshell. Wonderful analysis, wonderful writing. Give it a read. However you will notice that hope for the future is notably absent with the exception of Asma Jahangir, who is described as “naive”.

    The synopsis of the writer seems to be: no way out for Pakistan. However I will leave others to their own interpretations.

  25. July 19th, 2007 12:20 am

    Amazing stuff Adil and Team!!!! its a great design and a great change………..

    however, a small request, can u revert to the old font size…. this font is too big for standard websites and makes the normal text appear to large…….. just my suggestion!! Else all new features loook good, esp Blogistan since i pretty much use ATP to check Pakistani blogs…. u guys are now the CNN of Pakistani Blogs, reporting live, 24/7…… hey that could go into a good advertisment someday!! LOL

  26. zakoota says:
    July 19th, 2007 12:55 am

    The look is nice overall but I think the banner should be made more attractive and creative, its rather too simple for ATP.

  27. ME BHI PAKISTAN HOON TU BHI PAKISTAN HAI says:
    July 19th, 2007 1:09 am

    It is nice and probably a bit more relaxed, and I must thank the ATP administration for their efforts. But other than the presentation aspect, if we also try to modify the contents a bit, that probably would help.

    Firstly: If Adil bhii can post his NEWS articles on ATP that would give us a chance to convey our thought to him and all other readers.

    Secondly: If we have a section for Quotes of the day, and give readers the chance to comment on those quotes and how can we help from these quotes in bringing about a change in our society.

    Thirdly if we can discuss some renowned personalities not necessarily Pakistani but westerners who have helped in shaping the present developed world and how those personalities can help in shaping a better future for Pakistan.

    Fourthly: Sections for IDEAS which can help us give us our identity as a nation, whom other nations can look forward to. Like Muhammad Younus has been accredited all around the globe for his poverty eradication efforts in Bangladesh.

    Thanks

  28. July 19th, 2007 1:44 am

    big fonts are one of the features of Web 2.0 applications and Blogs come under web2 category;)

  29. Cameo says:
    July 19th, 2007 2:54 am

    allaaa

  30. Shehzad A says:
    July 19th, 2007 3:15 am

    Looks awsome! much easier to navigate, and friendlier on the eyes, Thank BD, Adil et all. Your efforts are much appreciated!

  31. jyoti says:
    July 19th, 2007 3:19 am

    Well, i prefer content over design… on that score, old one was better than this:(

  32. Nihari says:
    July 19th, 2007 8:56 am

    One of the best designed blogs on the net! Congragulations to Adil and team for all the great work!

  33. okha_jatt says:
    July 19th, 2007 9:21 am

    Nice. New site is much faster to load and easier to read. Just a short suggestion, is it possible to change the sequence of comments to bring the latest comments on top?

    I personally did not like the idea of top commentators because even if you write only two or three words as if in a chat it still counts as a comment and is not representative of the “real” comments.

  34. ayesha sajid says:
    July 19th, 2007 10:04 am

    bright and beautiful !!
    like some one said …. it seems someone turned on the lights.

  35. Nihari says:
    July 19th, 2007 11:30 am

    Great look! Looking foward to continued contributions.

  36. MQ says:
    July 19th, 2007 11:36 am

    [qquote] like some one said …. it seems someone turned on the lights. [/quote]

    Ayesha,

    That was not some one. It was MQ!!!

  37. Saad says:
    July 19th, 2007 1:53 pm

    One word: Wow! It looks simple and yet extremely attractive. I still can’t believe that I’m looking at a Pakistani website :)

    Brilliant work!

  38. July 19th, 2007 9:16 pm

    Folks, just to let you know that the problem with comments should be fixed now. On clicking on a particular comment in the ATP DISCUSSIONS section, you will now be taken to THAT comment (with the page showing all comments). That should save people some navigation time and clicks.

  39. Shahran Asim says:
    July 20th, 2007 7:09 am

    I am pleasanty surprised with the new changes. Congrats to whole ATP team.

  40. Daniyal says:
    July 22nd, 2007 2:09 am

    Fantastic stuff… love the overall design, easy to read layout and of course… the content! Congratulations.

  41. mazhar butt says:
    July 22nd, 2007 6:13 pm

    Well done. Congrats !

  42. MZ Khan says:
    July 25th, 2007 1:13 pm

    I wonder if there can be a general “bharas” (or bakwas) thread where people can take out their bharas by posting pretty much anything;

    - off topic comments on posts
    - rants
    - something on current affairs
    - comments on commentators, posters or policies, and
    - messages to the admins

    Hopefully this would reduce the off topic rattling in main forums somewhat as people would have a place to vent and have their say.

  43. mazhar butt says:
    July 25th, 2007 4:30 pm

    A good suggestion by MZKhan: I hope the administrator will consider his problem !

  44. MZ Khan says:
    July 28th, 2007 1:47 pm

    Chore kee daree main tinka..

  45. MZ Khan says:
    July 28th, 2007 2:12 pm

    A couple more items that can go in “bakwas” thread; interesting news items and interesting pictures. Some of these can become source of posts for ATP.

  46. mazhar butt says:
    July 28th, 2007 3:52 pm

    Muhawarey!
    aap fazeehat auron ko naseehat !
    Sawan ke andhe ko her raraf hara hi nazar aata he
    naach na jane aangan terha !
    chor chori se jae hera pheri se na jae !

  47. MZ Khan says:
    July 28th, 2007 6:05 pm

    Noticed a few things;

    - Some types of single and double quotes are being transformed into funny character strings. A double quote is becoming and a single quote becomes .

    - Urdu script is not allowed anymore? Makes it difficult if reference text is in Urdu and it is time consuming to translate. Previously posted Urdu text is not readable anymore.

    - [Quote][/Quote] does not work anymore. Any chance [Quote] can be bulk replaced with

    site wide for consistency?

    - No way to track back to a specific comment as before?

    A suggestions; is it possible to add a toolbar to comment area for easy tagging of quotes, bold, inserting links etc. like some other forums do?

  48. ATP Team says:
    July 29th, 2007 1:51 am

    Dear readers. You would have noticed a few technical hiccups on the page over the last 24 hours. The migration to a new server that we had warned you about finally happened over this period of time (long story about why it did not happen when we first announced it). We have now moved from ‘BlueHost’ to ‘MediaTemple’ for hosting services. We are still keeping our fingers crossed on this but we hope that this will remove some of the problems we were having with frequent outages on the site due to heavy traffic.

    We apologize for the inconvenience caused over the last 24 hours. Some of you were still being directed to the old server and leaving your comments there. We have manually migrated many of those comments here but some of the comments posted in the last 24 hours may have disappeared as the domain moved DNS from one server to another. We apologize for this. One assumes that your comments are floating somewhere out there in WWW-land! We also realize that many of you would have been seeing blank pages that you needed to refresh to get to the page. Thank you for your patience. Hopefully this problem is also solved now.

    We believe that the DNS has now been fully propagated and all visitors are now being directed to this current new page. We also hope that this will allow readers a better user experience, especially including few if any ‘outages.’ As we troubleshoot any problems, please let us know here or through feedback if there are any problems. We are especially interested in pages that may not show, things that may be off-format and any speed problems.

  49. ATP Team says:
    July 29th, 2007 2:06 am

    First, thsi is to inform regular readers of a new feature on the blog that we hope you will life. If you look at the tiny pictures (organized around a set of “P’s”) in the right hand column you will note that they will now change with every visit (or at least many times a day). Some may be repeated each time but the overall set will be randomized and over the next weeks we will add a lot of new ones to our dataset so that this column changes each time. As you know, each picture is linked to an earlier ATP post – hovering over the picture will tell you which post and clicking will take you there. This, along with the Random Post link at the top of each post page, will allow you to check out the collection of posts from the past.

    Second, thank you to those who have left additional ideas for improvement recently. We will consider these too as we move along. The bhaRas idea is intriguing, although we sometimes wonder if there is already too much bhaRas here. But we will discuss this and the other ideas presented here serious amongst our core team. On some features like ‘quote’ in the comments, these tend to be Java-based and were removed because they were seriously slowing and clogging the site. Same is true with some of the other features mentioned. On the Urdu font we are also very worried about that and do NOT know what that happened in the WordPress Update. if anyone any any hints about what can be done to bring it back, please let us know. In relation to all of this, our key goal remains, as before, to move towards a page that is easy to navigate, quick to load, well-organized and readable, visual-based in design, and content-focussed. The last point means also that we do not want to turn this into a free-style discussion-forum. Rather, we want the blog to remain a forum for decent, civil, informed and respectful discussion. Equally, we want the discussion to remain focussed and substantive. This is why the two most important yardsticks for moderation are (a) ill-mannered and inappropriate language and personal attacks, and (b) irrelevant and off-topic comments … we get especially irked at attempts to ‘highjack’ posts and discussions or those who try to turn them into things they were never meant to be.

  50. MZ Khan says:
    July 29th, 2007 10:28 am

    Great effort covering all those personalities. A few more suggestions;

    1. Ibn e Insha (forthcoming?)

    2. (Col/Gen) Shafique ur Rehman and Col Muhammad Khan (his Bajang Aaamad was marvellous), proves a military mind does not have to be barren mind.

    3. Rais Amrohwee

    4. Cartoonist Javid Iqbal

  51. August 5th, 2007 10:22 am

    Unfortunately, there were problems with commenting on ATP over the last 12 hours and comments made during this period would have resulted in a blank page. We believe that the problem is now solved. We regret the inconvenience.

  52. December 17th, 2007 12:26 am

    This is to inform our readership that a FEEDBACK button has been added to the main menu (red/burgundy strip at the top of the page).

    Readers may use this function to correspond with ATP editors on story ideas, etc. Please note that messages from unverified emails may not be received (even if you get a message saying that your message was sent).

  53. March 1st, 2008 2:42 pm

    Based on a long-standing request from readers, we have now implemented a change to the comments section whereby the LATEST comment will come to the top rather than the earliest comment.

    We hope that this way you will have to scroll through less pages to get to the latest comments. However, the does mean that to get the context of the conversation you might want to scroll backwards to figure out what people are responding to.

  54. January 30th, 2011 1:23 pm

    I’ve been surfing online more than 2 hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

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