back to article You wanna be an alpha... tester of The Register's redesign? Step this way

Here at El Reg towers, our backroom boffins have been toiling away improving our proudly Perl-based homegrown online publishing system. Among their latest work is rejigging The Register's website so that it looks spiffing on desktop and mobile, automatically adjusting the layout depending on your device's screen size. Whether …


  1. Aladdin Sane Silver badge

    I volunteer as tribute!

    1. caffeine addict

      Tributes are usually virgins...

      Sorry... I forgot we were all in the tech field. There will be enough of them around.

      (This makes it awkward that I'm about to go test it myself, doesn't it? Ah, balls.)

      1. onefang

        "(This makes it awkward that I'm about to go test it myself, doesn't it? Ah, balls.)"

        Blue balls perhaps?

      2. -v(o.o)v-

        IPv6 support?!

    2. J. R. Hartley


      I always use the desktop version on my mobile (Galaxy S8). Works really well actually. Is this still going to be possible under the pointless new redesign?

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge

      4-wide panels good; needs better 'NoScript' compatibility, non-flat buttons

      Please don't even REMOTELY fall into "the blackhole of scripting nightmares" (and the UNNECESSARY bandwidth consumption that comes with the CDN and 3rd party scripting bloatware library downloads) that too many OTHER sites "feel" they "need".

      Using 'NoScript' caused most of the graphics to "not display". Please test with NoScript and its default settings, and make sure the appearance is the same. If it's because of "a bozillian different servers" are feeding content, please stick to ONE server (or at least one URL base), or maybe two at the most, and no use of scripting to load graphics. Most browsers are smart enough to keep connections alive. You don't need 'many parallel servers' to feed content efficiently for a single web browser. (so please don't head in that direction either, thanks).

      Less 'bandwidth intensive' is _ALWAYS_ better! (even if it's not YOUR bandwidth that's affected)

      NOTE: I _ALSO_ suggest fixing ad banners so that they NEVER have script in them. That way, they'll still work when people use NoScript. IT professionals SHOULD use NoScript, and practice "safe surfing". They should understand just how *INSECURE* scripting is (meltdown, spectre, 0-days, bitcoin harvesting, yotta yotta) and NEVER run scripts on anything but the MOST trusted of web pages, and even then, by specifically allowing for it "just for this session". With _THAT_ kind of very security-minded thinking, you'd expect MOST 'El Reg' users to NOT allow scripting, not even for El Reg. So make your ads work WITHOUT the script. Then we're ALL happy!

      New column design: 4-wide instead of 3-wide: easier to scroll article titles. I like it.

      HOWEVER, putting non-size-compliant panels (including ads) and THEN cramming others to make 'em fit: not so much. It breaks up my ability to eye-scan the page for interesting things to read. In other words, it GETS IN THE WAY. Things that GET IN THE WAY simply *ANGER* IT people. But you knew that.

      And pseudo-random panel size changes are WAY too similar to a "the Metro" tile screen. That's enough to HATE it, right THERE!!! Think about how SOME people actually take it upon themselves to gripe at *ME* for using things like CAPITAL LETTERS for emphasis (I do this to break up monotony and stress points). But, at least the text itself doesn't change size.

      "The Metro" and "Tile Screen" and "Start Thing" are _NOT_ "modern", no matter how many millenials whine and call people like me "luddites".

      The existing 3-wide panel design _does_ waste a lot of screen real estate. So going to 4 wide is good! Changing panel widths at semi-random to put an oversized ad panel in there? not so good.

      And, finally:

      The 'subscribe' "button" at the bottom looks like a flat red rectangle. How about some 3D skeumorphic effects to make it look like a BUTTON instead? That's right, I want to START a REBELLION against the 2D FLATSO! (I gotta try). FYI I use 'bitmap image' buttons for my stuff. The files are usually very small, and you can make 'em look like "whatever" that way. Hand-draw in the 3D skeumorphic, maybe with a vulture watermark, some ALL IMPORTANT 3D skeuomorphic features, and voila! [your own articles and research show that flat rectangle buttons make for BAD UI cues - can't recall the article, it was from about a year ago]

      There's supposed to be a shadow effect in CSS but it may not be supported in all browsers. However, using a "bitmap button" works every time it's tried.

  2. Zog_but_not_the_first


    It only seems five minutes since you last did it. That said, everything seems like that to me now.

    1. m0rt

      Re: Again?

      "The last time we rejigged the appearance of the site, opinion was highly divided. "

      No shit.

      I have just gotten used to this design and you are DOING IT AGAIN??!! WHY?!

      You been taken over by some ex-google UI/UX designers?

    2. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Again?

      Umm, did you consider GDPR when doing this?


      "country_code": "826",

      "city": "london",

      "latitude": "51.5154",

      "ipAddress": "MYIPADDRESS",

      "appnexusId": "0",

      "dma": "826044",

      "uuid": "63573e4609b6875bd32c1502b4328fc1db5641b5",

      "longitude": "-0.092461"


      Not really sure you should be harvesting this ..

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: Again?

        ooh! now i know what Lattitude London is at !

      2. caffeine addict

        Re: Again?

        It's all come from information your browser supplied, so hardly personal info. If you're worried about that level of identification, tor and vpn are both over that way...

        1. Mike 137 Silver badge

          Re: Again?

          " information your browser supplied, so hardly personal info"

          It doesn't matter where it came from. If it's collected by the Register and is capable of identifying a living person (on its own or in conjunction with other information the Register holds) it is definitely personal data under the GDPR.

          And note that even a dynamic IP address can be personal data (Patrick Breyer v. Bundesrepublik Deutschland C‑582/14 2016).

      3. caffeine addict

        Re: Again?

        Not that it's in any way accurate anyway. My (unprotected) IP address makes my location bounce between London, York, Carlisle and somewhere in the west country (if I use PlusNet), London, Rugby or Swindon (IIRC, if I use Virgin) and London, Ireland (just "Ireland"), Cambridge and Welwyn if I'm at work. Even Three frequently gives me an IP address outside the UK if several streaming services are to believed.

        1. macjules Silver badge

          Re: Again?

          My IP is clearly identifiable as my company via a simple ARIN lookup and the Lat/Long co-ordinates pinpoint the originating office. (Well, enough to localise it)

  3. Ol'Peculier

    Oh boy, I remember the furore of the last redesign. Lob the grenade and one... two... three...

    1. Ralph the Wonder Llama

      Oh yes. We all remember the Last War *shudder*

      1. Korev Silver badge
        Big Brother

        But haven't we always been at war with Eastasia?

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

          But haven't we always been at war with Eastasia?


    2. Steve Evans


      Don't mention zee vor!

    3. Morrie Wyatt

      Pie Iesu domine, dona eis requiem

      Four shalt thou not count, nor either count thou two, excepting that thou then proceed to three. Five is right out.

  4. wolfetone Silver badge

    My Comments

    Not sure what the craic is with the article boxes, some are equally spaced across 4 boxes, then the row underneath have been shrank down so you could fit, maybe, 5 under neath?

    Like the idea of the most read section being bigger. Although I think the articles are a bit lost further down the page.

    If you're going for this card format of articles, it'd be better to have them differentiated better. So like I said with the Most Read section, I know where it starts but does it continue to the bottom of the page?

    Finally, it needs more cowbell.

    1. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: My Comments

      Yeah, when a row of boxes doesn't have a full row, the boxes actually shrink. The boxes should stay the same size.

      Oh - and can we have the tombstone icon back please? Pretty please?

      1. Mark 110

        Re: My Comments

        On desktop: Feels like there's way too much whitespace - alot of downward scrolling needed. If you have gone full responsive design, why isn't the site filling my browser width? I can only see 9 articles before I have to scroll. On classic I can see 10 even though you've wasted a 3rd of the space with a picture of some chips. You don't really need all that space for those background adds do you?

        On mobile: I can't really tell the difference.

        My tuppence.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: My Comments

          Why all the little grey lines everywhere? Pointless boxing out of articles. The brain/eye will create lines and boundaries out of aligned whitespace.

          1. Martin an gof Silver badge

            Re: My Comments

            Why all the little grey lines everywhere?

            Seconded. Not too bothered about the occasional isolated line, but putting boxes around everything (particularly around the small stuff - a box around the main story is ok) makes it all a bit messy.


            1. Dave559 Silver badge

              Re: Little grey lines

              I'm fine with the little grey lines on the current new home page. However, personally, I think that after the first few lead articles, I'd still prefer no more than three articles across, it results in a bit too much horizontal eye scanning to glance through the headlines for my liking otherwise.

        2. Marco Fontani

          Re: My Comments

          On mobile: I can't really tell the difference.

          That might've been due to a blunder on my (Apache config) part - as we have an "edition switcher", mostly for mobile, which allows you to always see the mobile site if you've got that cookie set; and the "redesign cookie" wasn't taking over.

          It now is, so... even if you've got your edition preference set to mobile, you should be seeing the new homepage if you've opted into it AND are looking at "www", not "m".

          1. Mark 110

            Re: My Comments

            Cool that worked. I'd move the first ad below the first story if I were you though - or have a smaller ad - not a nice experience just seeing the masthead and huge ugly boring ad when you access the page.

            (HTC11 - Firefox)

        3. Doctor Evil

          Re: My Comments

          "On mobile: I can't really tell the difference."

          P-l-e-a-s-e don't dick with the mobile version! It's just fine the way it is.

    2. Alister

      Re: My Comments

      Please, please please! can you put a link at the BOTTOM of the comment pages which lets me go back to the main articles page, so I don't have to scroll all the way to the top to get back there.

      1. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: My Comments

        Or what some sites have, a "top of page" link/floating(discrete!) button.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: My Comments

      "Like the idea of the most read section being bigger. "

      I never really understood the point of a "most read" section anyway. I'll read the stories that interest me. Why would I specifically want to be guided to read the same stuff lots of other people are reading? Just because a story is popular with me any people doesn't mean I want to read it and it will be in the list of stories anyway.

      1. Mint Sauce

        Re: My Comments

        Because these days everything MUST be 'curated' - you're not smart enough to just look at a list of things and decide for yourself what's interesting. Well, that's what just about every major website thinks these days, anwyay. <mutter> I remember when everything around here was green (screen).... gophers for goalposts... </mutter>

  5. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

    I HATE IT!!!!!11!!!111!!

    Nah, all seems fine to me so far. Will have a go on Mr iPad sometime later today, and see how that compares.

    Needs more blinking coloured text though.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: I HATE IT!!!!!11!!!111!!

      ...and an animated "under constuction" gif

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: I HATE IT!!!!!11!!!111!!

        And the <blink> tag added to the allowed html for comments.

        I promise not to abuse it...

        1. Adam 1

          Re: I HATE IT!!!!!11!!!111!!

          No, *I* promise not to abuse it.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: I HATE IT!!!!!11!!!111!!

          "I promise not to abuse it..."

          ...and so does his wife!!!11!!!1!

  6. Mike 125

    Oh no...

    "rejigging The Register's website so that it looks great on desktop and mobile, automatically adjusting the layout depending on your device's screen size."

    Ok, but please don't commit Windows 8.

  7. QuiteEvilGraham

    How about...

    If there are comments on the article, and you click on the comments icon, it takes you directly to the comments, not the article itself?

    1. GlenP Silver badge

      Re: How about...

      Exactly what I was about to add. Often I go back to look at the comments on an article later in the day.

      1. Tony Gathercole ...

        Re: How about...

        Me too

        1. Teiwaz

          Re: How about...

          RE: Jump to comments button.

          Then there's all the sages and wise-men who leap immediately into the comment box without having read more than the article title (or merely just skimmed it, and jumped to comment on what they thought it said).

          I do try to read the article first, but with articles like yesterdays mostly verbatim drivel from ISPs, it was self defence to leap to the comments after a paragraph or two before I started bleeding from the ears.

          1. Nick Kew

            Re: How about...

            I do try to read the article first, but with articles like yesterdays mostly verbatim drivel from ISPs,

            It showed in your comment. The ISPs were in fact talking good sense: they don't want to do the government's dirty work any more that we want them to.

            OK, I only skimmed it too.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: How about...

      I was going to ask that. But then thought, that does encourage people to go straight to the comments having only read the headline. Which is bad, but also a punishment for any site that has clickbait headlines. El Reg tends to be more guilty of punning than clickbait - which is fine.

      On t'other hand, it's good for looking at a comments thread again. Also there has been the odd article that I'm entirely uninterested in, but wish to post congratulating the subbies on the quality of thier punning.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        Re: How about...

        how about some more threading in the comments section?

        1. Def Silver badge

          Re: How about...

          And notifications when someone replies to your comments, or comments you've replied to.

          1. Nick Kew
            Thumb Up

            Re: How about...

            Yes please to a proper revamp of comments.

            Better threading: a relatively minor Good.

            Notification of replies: yes, has merit. Just don't do anything stupid like email them: a notifications box I can click when on the site will do nicely.

            Highlighting of new comments: definitely useful. Could be a "since last visited this discussion" for logged-in users.

            1. Jamie Jones Silver badge

              Re: How about...

              And if the beancounters need convincing... I know I miss a lot of comments I'd usually read - I usually read all the comments on an article after reading the article, but never see any further comments - other than checking to see if anything I've written has had a reply.

              If there was proper comment threading/marking/notification, I'd be reading the comments far more often, and as the hacks have already done their job at that point, any ad revenue from then on is just free money, earned from the invaluable contributions of the commentards!

              My way of seeing it: If you think about the bog standard 'web forum' you have categories, containing a few forums. Within each forum, you have posts, and replies to post.

              I invisage each el reg article would effectively have it's own "forum" - within that forum, you'd have the posts and replies just like in web-based forums.

              Then people can follow threads, see new posts since last visit (*still threaded* - the 'see recent posts' option that exists currently kills all threading), and replies to their posts and have online or email notifications set as they see fit.

        2. Unep Eurobats

          Re: more threading in the comments section

          Definitely. All too often the replies to the first comment effectively become the comment thread, sometimes taking it down a tedious off-topic rabbit hole that causes interesting top-level comments further down (eg mine) to be denied their due number of upvotes.


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