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

Posted on July 18, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, About ATP
Total Views: 32209

Adil Najam

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

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 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 responses to “ATP 3.0: New Look, New Feature, Same Old Stuff”

  1. MZ Khan says:

    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

  2. ATP Team says:

    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.

  3. ATP Team says:

    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.

  4. MZ Khan says:

    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?

  5. mazhar butt says:

    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 !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *