Sneak Peak: Help Us Preview The RealJock 2.0 Beta

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 3:37 AM GMT
    Hello RealJock.com members...

    As many of you know, here at RealJock.com we've been working away behind the scenes on the soon-to-launch new RealJock 2.0. Well, we're pretty much done with the hard part (a complete architecture and design overhaul), excluding some of the bells and whistles like the ability to add music and video to your profile. For those of you who want to preview the beta, please read about it and see the link at the bottom of this post.

    NEW IN THE BETA: NEW DESIGN, ADD HTML TO YOUR PROFILE
    1. We've overhauled the design and architecture of the site with the goal to make it faster and simpler.
    2. Add HTML to your profile. We've made the character limit on the About Me, Guys I'm Looking to Meet, and other sections of the profile virtually unlimited and now allow you to add HTML, images, embedded videos, etc. This is the first step in getting a bit more "Web 2.0." To see a couple of examples of some of the literally thousands of cool things you can now do, check out:

    Jeff's profile (includes embedded photos, videos, live links and other HTML: http://staging.realjock.com/jeffinsf

    The RealJock profile (includes embedded photos, tables, a slideshow, and links): http://staging.realjock.com/realjock.

    We hope that this new format will allow you to create much more fun and interesting profiles. That said, please note that any HTML you add to your profile on the beta staging site will be stripped out on the live site until we switch over to the new site next week. You will be able to see it on http://staging.realjock.com.

    COMING NEXT WEEK: MUSIC, VIDEO, LIVE LINKS, BACKGROUNDS, AND MORE
    On profiles you'll see tabs for music and video. These aren't live yet, but we're working on adding them even as you read this! When we put the new site live, you'll be able to upload your favorite workout music files, embed your favorite videos into your video tab, and put up live clickable links to your favorite web sites. We're also adding the ability for you to personalize your background with colors and images.

    WHAT'S WITH THE NEW ADS?
    One of the goals of our redesign is to make the site profitable (salaries? us?). To accomplish this, we have reduced the total number of ads on the page to two but increased the size and placement of those ads so we can attract top-quality advertisers. Right now these ads are all Google Adsense ads. Once we finish this redesign, you'll begin to see other ads as we ramp up our premium ad sales and reach out to advertisers. We know some of you wish we didn't have any ads, but please understand that we need them to keep the site running.

    READY TO BETA?
    If you're ready to check out the beta, click on the link below. You'll be able to use the site from this link and communicate with other members as you do from the current version of the site.

    http://staging.realjock.com.

    HELP OUT. SEND IN YOUR BUGS
    We are sure there are still bugs in the system (how's that for confidence?). If you notice anything amiss, please use our Help form to send us notes on what's wrong. When you send in bugs, please include the following:

    1. The type of computer you are using (PC or Mac)
    2. Your operating system (for example, Windows XP, Mac OS X)
    3. The browser you are using (for example, Internet Explorer 7, Firefox 1.7)

    We appreciate your help. Thanks for being part of the RealJock.com community!

    The Gang at RealJock
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 6:00 AM GMT
    Well just checking out the beta version and it does look great. The only concern I would have is that it is going to start looking like myspace profiles that are just all over the place and sketchy and that there is so much crap on them no one even bothers reading the profiles.

    Usually when I look at a profile here I do read the about me section whereas when it is a bunch of pics and random html crap I tend not to read it as much like on myspace.

    Bigmuscle is a site that has some html and it doesnt look that bad but a lot of profiles still have a lot of crap on them. I think it is pointless to be posting pics of whatever in the about me section like in your examples. Why put pics of beckham up on it. I dont want to see that. I want to see pics of the person whos profile it is. I dont want to watch some random video from youtube. I want to watch a video of the person whos profile it is.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 7:15 AM GMT
    To be honest, I don't like this new look. It's not as user-friendly. It's difficult to see guys' stats immediately.

    Also, there's no "Home" button.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 7:54 AM GMT
    As a web developer, I've gotten tired of the web 2.0 craze. Realjock 1.0 had a great personality--entering the world of "2.0" by adding HTML abilities, music, and videos, shows Realjock lost his personality and is just trying to be like the other guys out there. This site had great integrity because it was clean and didn't have those abilities. Men were limited in what they could say (lengthwise) so they were forced to choose their words carefully. Almost every page on the new site is cluttered, and I can't imagine the clutter of surveys, pointless images, and slideshows that may come. The focus is no longer on what men had to say, which really removes the personal factor this site has established in contrast to the rest out there.

    Realjock is one of my favorite websites, because I've found that the people are rather genuine and the advice is consistently good. I'm afraid taking the focus off the content will potentially alienate the strong member base much more detrimentally than the new members glitzy abilities might allow. MySpace is annoying enough--Realjock was my break from all of that. It is a perfect niche social networking site. The men come here because they are gay, and because they are interested in fitness as it is a part of their lifestyle. Though the Web 2.0 philosophy is user-interaction and community, videos and music aren't direct tie-ins to that. Videos and music work well for MySpace, whose large base is built upon the fact music artists could post their music, allowing underground and local bands to get recognition. Maybe allowing Realjock members to post their individual workout plans, or join workout "pools" would fit more in line with a niche Web 2.0 community.

    I've loved this website for being different, so it's sad to see it becoming much of the same. The new layout is a bit too cluttered (although the headline image rollovers on the front is a good change . . no more waiting for the right one to show up :D ) and the dual Google rectangles next to each other on profile pages is a little overkill. I'm not criticizing ads at all--I'm saying placing them right next to each other is a little pointless . . it just makes me more likely to visually ignore that area . . space them out a bit . .

    Also, why are inbox messages still read in a textarea box? I'm glad you increased the size of the box, but that's a really annoying design choice and gets the way of the flow of communication.

    Realjock stood out amongst the crowd for its contextual integrity. I know you have great intentions, and sound really excited about the changes . . I empathize as a web developer myself . . But this overhaul is overdone.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 7:58 AM GMT
    Also, though it's a cool feature to watch someone's stats roll out onto the page the first time you click "View more stats", it'll be really annoying to have to click it on every profile I look at. It's a really weird design choice to save space by hiding this information when you've removed length limits and allow HTML. Save your member's clicks for your ads . . not for accessing hidden content.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 8:03 AM GMT
    Sorry for the multiple posts . . this will be the last one, but I am impressed the thumbnails on profile pages rearrange their placement as the photo preview changes size . . cool attention to detail. :)
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 8:33 AM GMT
    skotlake: But this overhaul is overdone.

    You nailed it.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 10:16 AM GMT
    PLEASE .. just don't become like MYSPACE !!!!

    Looks good. Slick. easy to access more info.

    Thanks guys.
    RJ Rocks !
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 2:17 PM GMT
    Thanks for the feedback guys. First, don't worry, we have no intention of becoming like MySpace (unless Rupert Murdoch wants to pay us $600 million...kidding)! :-) We're just adding (in a controlled capacity) the ability for people to add more than just photos to their profile. We think "a little" Web 2.0 is good, but we agree that a lot of Web 2.0 is not so great. But we appreciate what you're expressed and will be sure to keep it in check.

    Sounds like the jury is in on the "More Stats" drop-down. We'll lose that before we launch, we thought it might drive people nuts.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 4:48 PM GMT
    Hey Jeff...I like it so far. As Peter pointed out, having a list of someone's Forum posts at the bottom is really a good feature, for those of us interested in some of the discussions there.

    Oh, and to the post-er who mentioned the lack of a "Home" button...just click on the RealJock logo at upper left....that's always taken you home and still does.

    Thanks, Jeff, and all you guys working behind the scene. This is the best site of it's type, IMHO, in the "gay" world.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 5:38 PM GMT
    The only feature I'd like is the ability to change how the list of forum topics is sorted. Having the list frozen in order of when topics were created means always having to scan the entire list to find topics with new posts. It would be so much easier if the list could be sorted in order of most recent activity.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 12, 2007 6:18 PM GMT
    Yes, paradox, I agree. Once a Forum topic disappears from the list on the front page, it's difficult to find it...since the categories are often similar.

    I'd also prefer if the new version retains the feature that allows you to scroll through pictures sequentially. I notice that that is gone on the new version.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 13, 2007 6:50 AM GMT
    I think fewer but bigger ADs policy is smart decision that should keep the site's slick and simple design.

    Would be great if you also consider using less of a single-slim-column for content design, drop tables use CSS for positioning.

    Other then that I would like to see better forum design in the future as current is very basic and not elegant at all.

    ...any RSS or ATOM feeds generated per section?
  • DiverScience

    Posts: 1426

    May 13, 2007 8:03 PM GMT
    I would not so humbly ask for a way to let us disable music playing when we're browsing profiles (without muting our whole computer). If not I'll end up spending very little time logged in at all. I *hate* websites of any sort that play music at me.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 14, 2007 4:25 PM GMT
    Hi guys. Thanks for the thoughts.

    Paradox et al: Forum topics will be sortable in the very near future. We agree, a must-do for our favorite and fastest-growing part of the site.

    Fastprof: We'll add the slideshow back in! Whoops...

    Diverscience: Yes, music will be defaulted off. Actually, it's on it's own tab, so it's sort of doubly off. We agree. It's fun to check out new music when you want to hear it, but not on every profile. Yikes!
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 14, 2007 8:36 PM GMT
    Sortable topics will be very much appreciated. Thanks!

    Another feature on most other message board systems is that when complete URL's are posted, they are automatically rendered as clickable links. That's not a huge issue because it's no biggie to copy and paste links, and it's also possible to manually create clickable links with HTML tags, but it would be a convenient feature.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 15, 2007 9:34 PM GMT
    I feels like the large print readers digest version of real jock. However if you're committed to rolling with this, I would just like to point out that the main profile photo area is not proportional to a normal size aspect ratio (4x6, 5x7, etc). It looks like a mess of wasted space.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 15, 2007 9:58 PM GMT
    Hey Paradox. Thanks for the helpful suggestion. Great point. You actually can embed live links in forums currently using HTML tags. For example, Google.com). That said, if you want the links to automatically go live if you enter a full URL, we'll probably have to disable the HTML in forums; I don't think it's possible to have it both ways.

    I'll consult with our developer and we'll either make it live link or put up a note showing people how to add live links, either of which is pretty easy.

    Cheers,
    Jeff
  • imaxim

    Posts: 94

    May 15, 2007 11:24 PM GMT
    I'm guessing it's a bit late in the 2.0 development for this, but I was kind of expecting the next revamp would bring searchable forums and sortable mail. Is that in the plans at all?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 16, 2007 12:40 AM GMT
    Hey iMaxim. Both of those improvements are definitely on our to-do list. Searchable forums first, mail sort second. That said, they probably won't be coming until a few weeks after the relaunch due to time constraints.
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    May 18, 2007 8:15 PM GMT
    I am not sure if what I am seeing now is the new version...? It is a lot easier to read, the fonts ar bigger and more spaced out...

    Does this apply to the bugs I previously encountered while:

    1. Emailing other members: The " sign is spelled out as "quote." This makes sentences very difficult to read...

    2. The sign " " (in case if this is still a bug, the sign is plus) does not show when one posts on forums..

    Thanks..
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 18, 2007 9:38 PM GMT
    How about the ability to unsend an email once you have already sent it but the receipint has not yet read it..?

    This would be a great feature as sometimes memebers send email to the wrong memeber...?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 19, 2007 12:49 AM GMT
    Jeff, my strong preference would be to NOT disable HTML tags on the forum, even if it means having to manually code clickable links.

    BTW, it was nice to return from a trip out of town and see the changes here. The sorting feature rocks, and I like the new look.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 20, 2007 12:22 AM GMT
    ONe thing i noticed when checking out the new version is how do I know if someone is verified? I can not find it on the pages.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 20, 2007 1:08 AM GMT
    I like the new changes overall...but one VERY important feature of RealJock is now missing!...and that's the "Verified" designation on the profiles. That's one of the features I really liked about this site because it's nice to know who's REAL on here. I hope you bring it back!