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Tech: make preview the default

Jack Campin 02 Apr 12 - 02:42 PM
wysiwyg 02 Apr 12 - 02:43 PM
Geoff the Duck 02 Apr 12 - 03:40 PM
Artful Codger 02 Apr 12 - 04:02 PM
Bert 02 Apr 12 - 04:02 PM
Jack Campin 02 Apr 12 - 04:20 PM
Bert 02 Apr 12 - 04:26 PM
JohnInKansas 02 Apr 12 - 04:44 PM
Stilly River Sage 02 Apr 12 - 04:44 PM
Jack Campin 02 Apr 12 - 05:14 PM
Artful Codger 02 Apr 12 - 07:46 PM
Jack Campin 02 Apr 12 - 07:57 PM
Artful Codger 02 Apr 12 - 09:30 PM
Tootler 03 Apr 12 - 07:53 PM
Jack Campin 03 Apr 12 - 08:48 PM
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Subject: Tech: make preview the default
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 02:42 PM

Would it be possible to allow users to set the preview option here as the default?

I quote often use HTML text styles or URLs that can go wrong. Usually I check before posting, but sometimes forget to click the Preview button. I would prefer it if I had to unset the preview option manually.

Could this be an option saved in a cookie?


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: wysiwyg
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 02:43 PM

What a great idea!

~S~


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 03:40 PM

And a big sign that says

DO YOU REALLY WANT TO POST THIS?

Quack!
GtD.


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Artful Codger
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 04:02 PM

Good idea, but the problem I anticipate is that many posters and virtually all newbies are oblivious to what Preview does, and in the same way that many never use it now, they wouldn't know how to unclick it. Better might be to convert Preview into a button on an equal par with Submit, so it's not two-step operation to preview (or switch from previewing to actual submission). I think this would be more intuitive to everyone, and you wouldn't have to worry about the remembered state of the checkbox--the system would do whichever you selected, end of story.

Combining Jack's suggestion and mine, an initial post might only display the Preview button, so you'd at least have to preview once. The Submit button would only appear as well on a preview page.

It would also be great if the previewed text appeared in a frame using a forced UTF-8 encoding, regardless of the user's native encoding, which would apply, as at present, to the rest of the page (particularly the edit box)--presuming this dual-encoding approach is possible. This would make more apparent when people were submitting raw high-bit characters that only appear correctly to most (or just some) users, instead of using the proper HTML character references; see Entering special characters. Most of the bad characters would then show up as diamonds or question marks or some other "huh?" marker--currently, they preview correctly to the poster. Note that forcing the whole page to UTF-8 would be a faulty solution, but I'll spare everyone the geek speak explaining why. Instead, Max can take this suggestion under advisement and we can return to discussing Jack's proposal.


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Bert
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 04:02 PM

I don't think that it would be very easy to implement. The preview option allows the Browser to interpret what you have typed. To make preview the default would surely entail writing a browser simulator.


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 04:20 PM

I didn't suggest making it the default for everyone - I suggested puttng the option in a cookie so the user could make it their own personal default.

It shouldn't be at all difficult to implement, lots of sites do similar things. It doesn't require any kind of simulation: you simply get the "Preview" box starting out ticked in every thread display, if you want it that way. No more complicated than that.

I'm not suggesting this should be forced on anybody who doesn't want it.


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Bert
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 04:26 PM

OK. I see what you mean.


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: JohnInKansas
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 04:44 PM

So just putting a tick in the preview box as a default, so that you'd always get a preview unless you deliberately and subversively "unticked" it before hitting the GO button might work?

But then some would think one "GO" should get it done, and they'd curse about being stuck in preview, probably while mouldering into dust waiting for the threads to appear again.

My only annoyance with the Message Box is that my cursor keeps disappearing so that when I type somewhere it shows up somewhere else.

The biggest annoyance with Preview is that once the Preview is opened you can't go back to check whether you've misquoted someone's post in the thread. (I never remember to open the thread twice in separate tabs, of course.)

Maybe the "Submit Message" button should always go to preview, and there should be a "THIS TIME REALLY SUBMIT" button next to it?

(This is gonna require a lot of thought.)

John


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 04:44 PM

I don't think it would be that difficult, just make the default setting to have that radio button toggled. You know, like when software giants send up updates to their programs and when you look at the "I accept" page it has pre-toggled acceptance of shit like the Yahoo toolbar or subscribing to some newsletter that you don't want. If they can do it, Max should be able to do it (and it's something a lot of people want!)

SRS


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 05:14 PM

So just putting a tick in the preview box as a default, so that you'd always get a preview unless you deliberately and subversively "unticked" it before hitting the GO button might work?

But then some would think one "GO" should get it done, and they'd curse about being stuck in preview, probably while mouldering into dust waiting for the threads to appear again.


I am not suggesting it should be the default for everyone. I am suggesting that users should be able to make it their PERSONAL default, which is the sort of preference you can record in a cookie.

My reason for wanting it is that I often write HTML in posts and that can go haywire - you want to always check before sending. Other people might be dyslexic and need to have everything spellchecked before sending. Others might appreciate a bit of impulse control. It should be the user's choice.


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Artful Codger
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 07:46 PM

What's wrong with what I suggested?: have one button for Submit and one for Preview. No need for a remembered setting, the choice is always there, no confusion about how to switch modes.... To make Preview more prominent, the buttons could be stacked (Submit under Preview). Wouldn't this be sufficient reminder for those who DO want to preview in most cases--as well as reminding others that previewing would be a good idea?

Making the Preview checkbox initial state sticky would entail rather more development, since Max would have to add some option to the Personal Profile stuff, similar to the option controlling whether to display BS pages. In contrast, the page logic already has some sort of fork that says "preview or submit", so changing this to respond to different button actions instead should be trivial. (As a simple hack, the current checkbox could be hidden, and the two buttons could simply set or unset the checkbox state before entering the existing logic that responds to that state. That would be a simple way to test-drive the behavior before making cleaner, permanent code changes.)

I dislike the preferencee option because it would only be available to logged-in members, and many wouldn't be aware of its existence, as they seldom check the personal options page. I can't think of a clean way to provide this option to everyone, and even if it were done somehow, the dependence on a cookie would make it unsticky between sessions for those who, as a matter of routine, have their browser delete most cookies each time it exits. (Guests have no real need to retain Mudcat cookies between sessions, so are unlikely to make an exception just for this option--and the less tech-savvy wouldn't suspect cookies were even involved.)


As for the problem where you can't reference the other messages from the preview page, there's already a simple solution: use your browser's Back button to return to the original page; your entered text should reappear in the message entry area just as it was before you (last) hit Submit. I do this quite frequently.

If you've already made edits on the preview page, and only then discover you want to refer to other messages, try this:

1. With focus in the entry area, type (on Windows) Ctl-A (select all text) followed by Ctl-C (copy to clipboard). On Mac, it's Cmd-A, Cmd-C.

2. Click your browsers Back button, returning to the original page.

3. Click on the edit area there (to give it focus), then type Ctl-A (select all the old text), Ctl-V (paste, replacing the old text with the new).


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 07:57 PM

No. I don't want the choice. I want to be required to see what I've done, with no possibility of mistakenly rushing to submit something unexamined.

If people don't want to be members, they can expect to lose out on features. They already do. And guests are much less likely to post stuff that needs extensive proofreading.


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Artful Codger
Date: 02 Apr 12 - 09:30 PM

Preview isn't just for extensive proofreading or verifying embedded HTML. Even simple posts benefit.

If clicking Preview were as simple as clicking Submit, and indeed appeared where Submit does now, I doubt anyone, including you, would be in danger of overlooking it. How much hand-holding should the system need to do?? Why should such a useful enhancement--if it is that useful--be limited to members (and only when logged in as members, rather than when they visit Mudcat from other machines)?

In any case, why keep the less-intuitive Preview checkbox instead of giving Preview the same status as Submit? Your solution, aside from being more involved to implement, ignores the larger issue of encouraging previewing in general, and complicates the interface rather than simplifying it, with little substantial benefit.


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Tootler
Date: 03 Apr 12 - 07:53 PM

Having two buttons labelled "Preview" and "Submit" seems pretty standard for most message boards these days.

When I was tutoring for the Open University, the system for sending messages to your students through the Tutor page of the OU website initially took you to a preview window by default. At the preview page, you had two buttons "Back" which let you go back so you could edit your message and "Send" which did just that.

If preview were the initial default then you don't need the preview checkbox, just a single button labelled "Preview Message" with two buttons at the preview page for further Preview and Submit. I must admit I like the idea of two buttons rather than a Submit button and a checkbox.


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Subject: RE: Tech: make preview the default
From: Jack Campin
Date: 03 Apr 12 - 08:48 PM

If preview were the initial default then you don't need the preview checkbox, just a single button labelled "Preview Message" with two buttons at the preview page for further Preview and Submit. I must admit I like the idea of two buttons rather than a Submit button and a checkbox.

I would be happy with either, though that suggestion has two drawbacks:

- it would take a lot more programming (up to Max to decide if it's too much)

- it enforces the same policy on everyone (which is bound to make some people unhappy; my original suggestion leaves the read/post user interface looking exactly as it does now if you don't want to use the feature).


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