back to article Did the width move for you, darling?

Some years back — it might even be ten — The Reg went live with a major site overhaul — by mistake. Some contract techie pressed the red button, it all switched on and the first we knew about it was when we woke up, saw the new site had magically materialised and we had to start swimming for our lives. I now thank that dork, …


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  1. nick hilliard
    Thumb Down

    Screaming rubbish

    There is no IT angle to this story. What is it doing here? I am removing The Register from my bookmarks. Please cancel my subscription. I am also dissatisfied with today's weather. Please make the weather the way I like it. Goodbye.

    Oops, wrong article. Sorry.


  2. David Evans

    I like it...

    And people who who moan about fixed width are usually techie anoraks anyway. Oh, wait...

  3. toddmori


    I am pretty happy with the redesign, and I have noticed and appreciate the standard ad slot being removed from the middle of the stories and comments. That was probably my biggest gripe with the old layout. I am not sold on the fixed width, but we shall see how that pans out.

  4. Ian McLaughlin
    Paris Hilton

    Windows Mobile IE?

    Doesn't get laid out well on Windows Mobile IE anymore.

    Paris never suffers this issue.

  5. Viktor
    Thumb Up

    My 2 cents

    I like the new design and I'm also happy about the good old comment icons.

    But how about bringing back the old favicon? The new one is just horrible to look at.with high resolution.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    It sucks. :-)

    Well, the new design stinks, but we'll eventually stop grumbling and get used to it. Just like that enforced change to the new Facebook.


  7. Anonymous Coward


    "If you want to tell us, constructively, where you think we might be going wrong or how we might improve things, please go ahead."

    Oooooh "coooonstructively" is it now...


    I will *demand* that you change the format of the site to one that is asthetically pleasing to me only. I believe that everything you are doing is wrong and I - again - DEMAND that you appease me! I will be APPEASED!

  8. amanfromMars Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    NeuReal Man .....

    How very refreshing that someone actually values change and can even change it after it has been provided, as easily as thinking about it.

    Drinks are on me. What are you having?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Too many ads?

    I don't see any ads when I'm at home, which kind of makes me feel bad as I know you need the dosh!

  10. Chris Miller
    Thumb Up

    Please leave the fixed width alone

    I like my browser with a width of around 1080 pixels (on a 1920x1200 screen), in part so that I can view sites that display 1024 width pictures. The 960 width of El Reg seems to fit rather well.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Name names....

    RE The Case of the Butchered Icons... Whodunnit?

    Paris, I missed her.

  12. James

    bollocks...I need an amusing title

    I was more than mildly surprised when the reg suddenly changed its clothes! Can't say I'm bothered by it though. New looks, same old hacks writing the stories. And that's why I come here.

    Not because you look pretty,. but because you're a bitter, twisted booze filled journo with all the inegtrity of a wannabe actress offering hand jobs in LA. That's what I love about you el Reg.

  13. Danny
    Thumb Up

    Exact same format for articles and front page?

    I think the pain is really when you try to READ the articles when it comes to fixed width, forced font. I'm reading this page today from a Vaio with a nice wide screen and a 3rd of it is grey and it's a lot harder to read than before because of the tiny Ariel font we're stuck with.

    Do you really have to use the same style sheet for the articles you use for the front page? And seriously, using a non-serif font for something longer than a paragraph?

    The overall look isn't bad but someone needs to go back to graphic design school and take the class on use of white space and fonts again.

    Oh, and thanks for bringing back the Odds & Sods link. It's the only decent entertainment I get during the week.

  14. Robert Moore


    Gets a place of honour on the front page. I am happy now.

    What took you so long.

  15. Law
    Thumb Up

    Comptetion time!!

    I think we should have a proper comments icon competition, where we can upload or email you images of logos, then you filter out the sick ones, put them up on the site (the sick ones obviously), and we get to vote for the top 8!! :D

    Oh - and first prize should be the smut loaded phone that the oz woman was so upset about last week!

    Somebody has stopped doing weekly comments articles too, and as a result people have been less creative - so quality is going down. So we need that regular feature back too.

    On the fixed width side of things, I've never tried it, but couldn't you just have a javascript button or link that enabled/disables the fixed width - so people have a fairly easier time of viewing the site, temporarily at least, with viewing the site in wide-screens/smaller-screens.

  16. Bo Pedersen

    yes but

    NOW I have had to subscribe to the BOFH notification service, but of course have to use my home email

    which means I wont be able to read it in the peace and quiet of a boring afternoon, I will have various commands being delivered by wife 1.0 at home.

    and as I am a blerk, multitasking I leave to women and windows.

    so BOFH in main news when released TA! :)

    otherwise its not that bad, and will probably sort out those wierd overlapping problems on old computers running win2k at training centres :)

  17. John Boyarsky
    Thumb Up

    Headline colors


    Overall the redo is OK.


    As a Reg Vulture since 1997 I miss that all the headlines are in BLUE.

    IN today's page there are 7 stories in blue. The first headlines I read.. Then there is this grey box my eyes gloss over because the change signals to me "ADVERT---IGNORE ME!!!"

    Then on the right are the "top stories" again links in black and ignored as "not typical Vulture".

    Otherwise it reads & works OK. I have no other gripes or comments.




    Fairbanks, AK

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up


    I Agree with the right hand editorial stuff (like peak oil or other recent stories there) and overall like the new layout. I can see fewer stories in my browser than I Could before, though, which means I have to scroll to check what's what!

  19. Anonymous Coward

    I like it.

    Looks far neater on my iPhone now, and more useable. I like it.

  20. Mark
    IT Angle

    Constructive criticism

    If you're not a web designer, how do you know what is possible? All you know is what you don't like.

    If you go to a fancy resturaunt and try some weird sounding meal, you can't tell the chef "you used too much lemon grass and you shouldn't overhead the pan before cooking else you caremalise rather than cook" unless you're a chef yourself. All you can get out is "It tastes like shit".

    Take the non-constructive criticism. You don't have to change to obey it, but if you take away all the bits people say they don't like, what's left is what they DO like.

  21. bluesxman

    My only real gripe ...

    ... is that you've done away with the comment count that used to adorn the top of the articles (much like the one that's still there on Reg Hardware ... and why doesn't it directly link back to the main site?).

    Oh yeah ... new the "flame" icon sucks. As does the Jolly Roger one.

    Other'n that, all fine here.

  22. D@v3
    Thumb Up

    looks fine to me

    not everyone fears change. As for the fixed width, and small screens issue, still looks ok on my iPhone, granted it's not the smallest of screens out there, but a damn site smaller than most.

    The ad's are kept out of my way, the good old icons are back, and there is nothin wrong with the new icons that have stayed, all in all, good job.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Viktor: "how about bringing back the old favicon? The new one is just horrible to look at"

    Agreed 100%.

    It's vile and really poor quality.

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    People don't like change...

    ...But to keep things fresh, you need change otherwise it becomes stale.

    Another thing about change, it makes you look for things and you might notice stuff you never seen before in the old format.

    So change is a good thing. Makes you see more of the site.

  25. sektah


    I rather like the redesign ; it's not radically different to the old site, and feels a bit cleaner. One or two minor quibbles aside (fix the anti-aliasing on that masthead!), it's gone very well indeed.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Change the winning team...

    This redesign reminds me of when I stopped visiting Tom's Hardware. It was not because the quality of the content slipped, it was because, after a redesign, it was too inconvenient to find what interested me.

    I guess I can sabotage much of your redesign by substituting my own stylesheet. Opera is convenient for sites that try to impose things on me. The whole idea behind the way the web was made, is that the user should have total control of how the pages are displayed. All the broken websites we hate are run by designers who try their utmost to sabotage that feature and behave as if they were printing stuff on paper. If they are so anal about their design, then give them a letterpress and some molten lead.

    One thing which irked me even with the old design, is that you could not always get back to the front page by clicking on the vulture. Sometimes, you got trapped in some ghetto where most of the articles were uninteresting. I would even have accepted the ugly new logo if it had been consistent and always led me back to the front page.

  27. Barry
    Thumb Up

    Annoying ads...

    ...seem to be gone! At least for the moment. I found myself speed reading the top of the articles just so that I could scroll the annoying and distracting Flash ads off the screen as quickly as possible. I was so intent on avoiding them that I can't even tell you which ads they were; so much for effective advertising!

    Overall, I like the redesign better than the previous layout (although that was a *great* improvement from the one before, where the article titles weren't in fixed height cells -- shudder). Some people will always complain about change; to them, I say, "Good luck with that attitude in the IT industry."

    amfM, make mine an Old Fashioned.

  28. John Savard

    One Unfortunate Thing

    On the browser I normally use to visit The Register on my home computer, instead of three columns of articles, I just get one very long one. Apparently, The Register is now using newfangled HTML features that are not compatible with my old browser which I use for most surfing (as it has Java and JavaScript turned completely off). I can just bookmark your site on one of the newer browsers I also use for visiting more trusted sites, of course, but I always think it's a pity when sites move away from good old HTML 1.0 for no particularly good reason.

  29. Skip
    Paris Hilton

    The site changed? Memory of a goldfish etc etc

    I've got used to it now. You listened to your readership on key things (comment icons, Odds & Sods) and even chose a lighter shade of grey for the bars at either side* as I hoped for in a previous comment. And who knows how the fixed-width thing will turn out? But I guarantee this - if you change it all again in a couple of years, lots of people with lament the loss of the (new) old look. C'est la vie.

    *Or I could be wrong and you left it exactly as is, in which case I just got used to it (maybe the red mist was fading by that point) and all is good with the world. Would be nice if someone from the Reg could confirm if it was lightened otherwise it will prey on mind, leading to sleepless nights and much tossing and turning...

    Paris because she also... oh it's far too obvious.

  30. Albert Waltien
    Thumb Up

    Praise the Lord

    Love the fixed width. I have to work off-site once a week at a wide-screen monitor. Ever try to read a page where the line-o'-type is half a yard long? Sheesh!!

  31. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: The site changed? Memory of a goldfish etc etc

    Yes. Toning down the grey looked like an easy win for us, so we did it. That better?

  32. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Fixed width.....

    I really dont mind the fixed width on my work lap top but at home there seems to be a lot of wasted space.

    I am not a web designer but wouldnt it be possible to have a tick box to select your fixed width and font size requirements or is this beyond the realms of possibility?

  33. Peter Barcroft

    Good comeback...

    ... but I still think you are going to lose the argument on fixed width. Back in the dark old days of the early 90's when having a work machine with a 15" 1024x768 screen was considered luxury maybe 800 fixed width was a good idea, but for crying out loud, you can buy a 20" Widescreen monitor for less than £100 which has a resolution on 1680x1050 which means that 50% (ish excepting scrollbars etc)) of your screen is given over grey nothingness.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Fixed width

    Everything else I don't care about - but the fixed width problem is very important to me.

    It used to be that most media sites were fixed width (and narrow too) but slowly the situation is improving as sites are designed for the greater range of widths being used.

    I would switch to another site to protest this change but I'm too lazy.

  35. jonathan keith
    Paris Hilton

    Right hand big stories

    It took me a while to work out what my biggest problem with the new design is. I'm so well trained these days at unconsciously filtering out right-hand column images, on the assumption that they're just ads, that I miss all your big, expensively researched stories.

    It's a genuine effort to realise that they're there, and then look for them, and it frequently doesn't happen. Hence my having to go all the way through to Odds & Sods > BOFH for my weekly fix today, even though it's plastered across the front page. Couldn't see it for looking.

    My suspicion is that it's not a useful place to put those stories, as they'll be overlooked frequently. There's some traffic analysis for you to do...

    Other than that, not nearly as disastrous as it might have been, and generally well handled by the Reg team. Go and buy yourselves a few beers - it can't have been a particularly easy ride this week. Cue Paris icon...

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Fixed width

    I like it, it means I can reduce the window and hide most of the graphics thus reducing the liklihood of the PHB spotting that I'm reading El Reg and not working :o)

  37. Jack Sprague

    New Format Still a Downer

    Its been a few days, and the Reg has relented on two of the issues, but still insists on 'fixed-width' as a pillar of their new look and feel and control. I don't care fixed vs. variable EXCEPT for the effect it has on my scrolling requirements. THIS NEW FORMAT SCROLLS TOO MUCH. I know that most readers have their desktops with the fancy scroll wheel, and that may make things easier. BUT scrolling on my laptop is still a keyboard thing, and going down ALL the time, to sort through the main page, or to see every story, is just BAD DESIGN. Especially when you have limited yourself to the big gray sidebars for 'look and feel' reasons. Usability for the readers (ME!) is at least as important as the new ad-space, and I feel VERY shortchanged.

    Going from unhappy to FLAME.

  38. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: My only real gripe ...

    Seems like a harmless enough request. I'll see if I can find out if there's a reason why we didn't put the count at the top as well. Although OTOH, as we make cracks about encouraging people to comment before they've read the article, maybe having post comment there at all is a bad move.

    There is a link back from Reg Hardware, but it's tiny (small vulture), and it's not on the front page. We'll do Tony some kind of trade at the border when we put a Reg Hardware link back into the Reg front page. (-:

  39. Thomas Guymer
    Thumb Up

    My Thoughts

    I think the font size and font choice is absolutely fine, don't worry about it.

    As regards to the scrolling, I don't mind that at all, I think you've come up with a good way of doing it - similar to the BBC infact as you've got some stories at the top, a bar of editorials or popular stories then a bunch of less well read / less important stories below. I think it works well.

    ...and the constant width? As a web designer I know the pros and cons of a fixed width -vs- dynamic width in a page layout - I think you've chosen well.

    Above all: it looks good!

  40. Daniel Turner

    Fixed width!

    I very nearly stopped reading the reg with the new fixed width thing, and I still dislike it. I am delighted you restored the comment icons and the odds and sods link though :D

    I find it harder to read stories now, they seem to vanish quicker! Unless your publishing more and pushing them aside :/

  41. DZ-Jay

    Well, I like it

    I think the redesign is nice and serves its intended purpose. I find the stories easier to follow throughout the day, in a logical manner (I still don't get the old sorting order whereas stories seemed to jump around randomly). Regarding the fixed-width, I do tend to disagree with its usage, given that it wastes space on large screens. That said, I am not particularly annoyed with its implementation on El Reg; I find it rather comforting, in the way it forces the site's organization and cohesion.

    I still don't see any ads (must by my AdBlock and NoScript at work--attaboy!). Perhaps that in itself enhances--artificially--my perception of the layout. As I said before, I reject and oppose all ads in principle: I refuse to be subjected to them in any medium, to the extent that I can prevent it. But, as I also have said before, I will be more than willing to pay a reasonable subscription fee to gain access to the site, provided it does not bring with it additional navigation surveillance, or such common intrusions. I generally enjoy The Register and understand and respect the staff's need to eat (and occasionally drink beer). And I am most definitely not a "freetard".

    As for the comment icons: Bleh. I never used them, and tend to ignore them when others do. I find it too Web 2.0-ish and social-networky for my taste. Thus, I don't care for them either way. But, of course, that won't stop me from criticising them: The old ones were too crude and cheesy; the new ones are too cute and cartoony.

    Overall, I like the new look and hope the content continues the old tone and spirit of "biting the hand that feeds IT."



  42. Nazar


    Arr!! Fixed width is fer soft, sea swabbing bilge rats! Ye be making th biggest mistake of ye lives! Be ye damned to Davy Jones' Locker fer hiternity ye lubbers.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Control freaks!

    "gives us greater control over the look and feel of The Register"

    Wanting more control leads to an arms race where people install extensions and adjust preferences to get it back to how they want it. The user will always win this arms race eventually because the browser has the last say about what appears on the screen. You need to relax and accept that you can only describe your preference for how the site is rendered. I really don't think that you need to rely on "control over look and feel" to keep the loyalty of your readers; quite the opposite.

  44. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    Windows mobile..

    .. really needs fixing.

    If only 'cos there's no AdBlock on WM5-IE, and so you have a much higher chance of getting geeks to see ads if you can encorage them to browse on their mobile!

  45. Michael McLean
    Thumb Up

    I Like it

    I like the redesign, look s alot cleaner, i never have my browser maxmized so it fits pretty damn well on my browser. as someone said i dont come here for the looks i come here for the flaming and the smart arse comments.

  46. The Avangelist
    Thumb Up

    What's wrong with people

    I don't get it I really don't. As a designer, I sympathise with the worries and all that, but you sit and look at something every day you get bored with it.

    I think the site looks great, and anyone who complains about anything that isn't a bug is a bloody gibbon who should go back to playing on myspace and reading real papers.

  47. TrixyB
    Thumb Up

    Renders better on my K850i - Much faster too

    Yes I read the register on my phone... we are all geeks here! (mostly)

  48. Mad Hacker
    Thumb Down

    Fixed Width Justifications

    Ok, so you've explained why you fixed the width on the title page (better control over your complicated layout) Not sure I buy that (could we at least see an example of how crappy the front page looks in a dynamic width layout?)

    But could you at least make the articles dynamic width??

    Of course, you could do something more annoying, and replace the gray area with advertisements so those of us with widescreen monitors would actually see more ads then those with low res monitors.

  49. Joseph Haig

    No comment

    I liked the old and I also like the new.

    I think the Facebook comments were references to the fact that they have recently changed their layout amid much wailing and gnashing of teeth from the users.

  50. Anonymous John

    Stories no longer seem to have links

    back to the home page.

    Coat please, and where's the way out?

  51. Anonymous Coward

    Still missing a trick

    All well and good, but you could join the 21st Century and use alternative styles sheets for different widths - or please, please, please from my knees, a fluid width version so that anyone not crippled by a microsoft browser can select one of several stylesheets from the browser toolbar.

    Otherwise carry on as you were - although I do miss the old penguin too.

  52. Liam
    Thumb Up

    hmmm - comments but generally better for me..

    font size too small? i use 1920 x 1200 on a 24" monitor - works fine for me!

    as you say fixed width lets us designers know what things will look like for everyone. i hate % widths as most people are too dumb to figure out how things will scale (see my previous resolution) it makes the content column about 18" wide! why should all websites look shite just for the freaks who use the web on mobiles?

    also its much harder to squish the window up to see just content when im not supposed to be 'researching', but working :) before i always had massive adverts and a tiny content column. not to mention 1/2 your adverts didnt float properly so covered up large sections of text

    the icons are baaaad.. they look like a child did them with crayola and someone scanned them in... surely you must have a proper designer there too?

    @ "And seriously, using a non-serif font for something longer than a paragraph?" - wtf? serif fonts look like shit on a PC unless they are larger and anti-aliased (cleartype in windows for instance) - serif fonts are only ever any good in newspapers where the type is tiny...

    @"The overall look isn't bad but someone needs to go back to graphic design school and take the class on use of white space and fonts again." - yeah - go find a designer who agrees with you on that one... there could be more whitespace but never, ever, ever!!!! use serif fonts on the web... noob :) (unless for higher px/pt fonts - eg <h1> tags)

    or for those luddites who cant read sans-serif fonts, how about a handy little font changer on the site? its a piece of piss to do in css and let the user decide which font they want to use...

    @"The whole idea behind the way the web was made, is that the user should have total control of how the pages are displayed." - what bollocks... how many corporate companies would flip if they thought you could hack their design to change widths and colours! the pages i design are designed to look like that (albeit im a damn site better designer than the reg 'designer' [more coder than designer methinks] blokie) but thats beside the point.

    @"as it has Java and JavaScript turned completely off" - wtf do you expect? shall we just lose all the cool new features us designers can use because dicks decide to turn shit off? frikkin' luddite! :)

    @"Love the fixed width. I have to work off-site once a week at a wide-screen monitor. Ever try to read a page where the line-o'-type is half a yard long? Sheesh!!" - amen brother :)

    i think its not a bad redesign - still looks 10 years old to me to be honest tho! not exactly a web 2.0 site! (god i hate that term lol)

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I love you, Reg... can do no wrong. (Except for introducing fixed width, which is shit...)

    Paris, because of her fixed thickness...

  54. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    F**k me, I go away for a week and look what happens...

    Well, at least it's not as dire as the new Facebook layout.

    1. Bring back the links to all the other Register sites like Hardware, Channel etc. so they are clickable from the front page.

    2. Change the comment icons back as it looks as though some of the new ones have been cribbed from the MS Word clipart library... or drawn by a child - you can decide whichever is worse.

    Other than that... seems OK to me, as long as El Reg remains commited to content over style rather than vice versa, I'll remain a loyal reader and commentor.

  55. ArfinGreebly

    * Sigh *

    Well, I suppose I'll get used to it, as depressing as it is.

    Though it gives me a pain in the diodes on my left side.

    I kind of liked the old Reg logo. The comfort of the familiar vulture.

    Oh, well.

    Not that it matters.

    I'm not getting you down, am I? I wouldn't want to get you down.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Other Other?

    Ok, so I know what The Other Place is.... but what is The Other Other Place?

    Anyone admit to knowing?

  57. StillNoCouch
    Paris Hilton

    Yeah well, I'll get used to it

    Things change ... that's cool. There's a lot of complaining going on ... mostly by people whom don't seem to have anything better to do than complain.

    I think it's just fine ... different, but cleaner (sort-of like when my girlfriend takes a bath) -- I have to fall in love all over again !

    So where can I post my photos and videos ?

    Can I IM other REG'ers ?

    How do I put aweful soundtracks on my comments (Abba anyone?)

    Paris: She cleans up well too

  58. Scott Simpson

    Redesign? I like it. Good show.

    Change in anything familiar makes most folks, me included, itchy. When I first beheld the "new" Reg, I thought all the normal, knee-jerk thoughts: "Type's too small!" "Fixed width?! How quaint." "More ads? Eeeek!" etc.

    However, being a designer myself, I took a second look and realized that most all the changes were definite improvements. It was also refreshing to note that El Reg listens to its readers and actually pulled the plug on a few of the more irksome re-design "features" that had attracted the most ardent flamethrowers among the readership (perhaps that should be "scannership" or "superficial-glance-then-off-to-the-comment-boxership").

    I say, "Bravo! Well done." I, for one, like the new look, and remain,

    Loyally yours,

    Scott Simpson

  59. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Re: Headline colors

    I agree with John Boyarsky, except with his spelling. (Can you have "colors" and "grey" in the same post?)

    "IN today's page there are 7 stories in blue. The first headlines I read.. Then there is this grey box my eyes gloss over because the change signals to me "ADVERT---IGNORE ME!!!""

    Advert filtering is not a conscious process. I can't help it. I can't tell my subconscious that this is new-look El Reg and the rules have changed. Anything you put in a glossy box *will* be ignored.

    I don't want to use something like AdBlock because then you don't get paid and I'd much rather we defrauded the advertisers together. Please do what you can to make ads look glossy and actual content look serious.

  60. Solomon Grundy

    Fix One Problem - Create New Problems

    Well, thanks for at least acknowledging your readerships thoughts; that's a rare thing in today's world. When do we find out about the icons people suggested from the other article.

    I guess we're stuck with fixed width huh. It really blows that you're forcing your readers to override your design work with 3rd party plug-ins. Oh well - the new gray is nicer though :)

    But to the point of this post - something you guys have done is really screwing with Firefox (3.0.1 on XP SP2). Upon opening multiple tabs pointed at El Reg - the browser is locking up 6 of 10 times - requiring a forced exit and session restore. It doesn't do this with IE. Not sure what it means but it's most certainly an El Reg problem cause other sites don't cause the lockup either: I know cause I tested before I mentioned it to you.

    The icons are still fuzzy too. No self respecting online commenter could use a fuzzy icon you know.

  61. Rob

    Well said

    And overall, you've done a good job and weathered the storm quite well.

    At the end of the day if people like the content you all produce, then unless the design is so bad it's making people vomit or get a headache they'll stay. Except the proper retards who love cutting off their nose to spite thier face.

    And in the words of Johnny from the Fantastic 4... flame on

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    FWIW, I like it

    but would prefer it if there was a list of the comments, rather than just a count. Sometimes you can tell the quality of the comments just by the headlines...

  63. Dick

    Still confused after all these days

    If it's such a great design why do some pages look so different? There's the grey gutters front page and pages like this article in which the text isn't totally unreadable, but then in reg hardware this article also has the same fixed width but the text is miniscule, and then htttp:// today is still the old format.

    Sorry John Lettice, I think you're still a few leaves short of a salad.

  64. Edwin
    Thumb Up

    @John Boyarsky

    I agree completely (well, 1999 for me).

    It would also be nice to see the titles of the first couple of comments again - it's how I decide whether or not to grace the twaddle of the great unwashed with my readership.

    Or something.

    Have a good weekend,


  65. Steven Hunter
    Thumb Up

    Only complaint I have... that I think the right-most column should instead be on the left. All that stuff on the right seems like it's in the wrong place. Just my $.02 (£0.0109)

  66. Michael Corkery

    I like it

    the redesign isn't a huge functional change, only the fixed width really makes anything appear *that* different.

    keep the content up to scratch and you'll keep the readers. No doubt you'll pick up new readers who like the style to replace the very few who actually stop reading over a surface redesign.

  67. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Still one minor niggle, sorry.

    I still can't see what I'm typing in the "Comment" text box. Having looked at the HTML and CSS I suspect that the problem is at "#comment-form .body textarea { ... color: #000; ... }" in the stylesheet.

    There isn't a color attribute for the email, password or title textareas, and I don't have a problem with those, they show my standard system text color.

    My desktop is a high contrast light on dark affair, so having black text in any text input area makes it all but invisible.

    I realise that this is pernikety, and that I could work around it, but I'd still rather not have to, accessibility is a big deal for me these days, and it's never ever been a problem I've experienced with the Reg until now.

    I'd be extremely grateful if you could remove that one font color attribute, as I use the comment facility often (probably to excess, in fact).


    PS, bring back the dead vulture !

  68. Darkwolf


    Is that really amanfromMars?

    His reply just made to much sense.

  69. V

    some little things....

    Any chance of the "share this page" link not appearing a few seconds after the rest of the page has displayed? The movement takes one's attention away from the article, which is annoying. Like a flashing graphic on every page...

    Also the masthead text is - well - fuzzy... Is the vulture moulting over it? It is also squashed.

    Lightening the grey sidebars is a big improvement.

    If the second google ad block (not sure what other people are served - I am in Japan and see google) was in a different colour to the first, you might get more clicks on it.

    Text size is still an issue, but that is fixable with a local stylesheet. (Though given the effort you are making to get people to view more article pages, reducing the text size on those pages was a curious decision.)

  70. Heff


    And yet there are cheap and skeezy punters like myself who read the reg on 15" flatpanels rescued from a skip, because the Delicious Display™ is currently running whatever is sexy in the games industry. In this case, the width is perfect for my much-abused Acer.

    Im against fixed width in principal, however. I spend so much time using other peoples machines, in hotels, airport terminals, Jesusphones, laptops etc that its nice not to have to fuck about with your res settings just to read exactly how dumb M$s latest ad campaign is.

    OTOH, having been involved with the rework of major portals before, I _love_ this level of feedback you're giving to "customers" (are we still customers when we dont actually buy anything?)

    Kudos on the re-work. Well handled, a tidy job done of it generally.

  71. Anonymous Coward

    @ the too much gray crowd...

    For those of you complaining about the huge amount of gray space on your monitor... have you considered not viewing the site as a full size window on your monitor? Am I the only one that uses a large hi-res monitor for displaying multiple windows at the same time?

    Really, there are not many sites out there that need or look good on full screen at high res.

    P.S. - Bring back the real pirate and flame icons, please.

  72. Mark

    Mental Ad Block

    As previously commented, you currently have a row containing a single story, then two rows containing 3 stories. Below this is a row containing 2 "featured?" stories, outlined in grey.

    I don't know about you, but over the past 13 or so years, I've developed a habit of mentally filtering "banner" ads. This row of 2, grey outlined stories is sufficently like a banner ad that it takes a special effort to actually read them.

    Perhaps this is working as intended, and is designed to get people like me to turn off the mental ad block when reading The Reg. Perhaps it's not, but since I just admited I don't even see the ads you have, you realize that I'm not clicking on them, and therefore a freeloading bum whose opinion you don't care about. Or perhaps you'll agree with me.

  73. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Control freaks!

    We only want to be able to control some kind of reference design of the site, and we've absolutely no objections to people using extensions to make it display in the way that suits them. Matter of fact, if there are fairly straightforward things we could do that would make it easier for them to do that, then we'll be happy to do them, tech resource permitting.

  74. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Still missing a trick

    That seems possible to me. But we do need to be sure that any alternatives we introduce don't produce a major maintenance overhead for us. We're a small outfit, and we've got to use our resources carefully.

  75. Squits

    Typically of this generation

    People complain about having to scroll, ffs use a mouse-wheel.

    Is it too much to ask to have to exert all that power to go 'come here' on your mouse.

  76. NHS IT guy
    Thumb Up


    Well I for one welcome our web 2.0 overlords....


  77. Andrew Kaluzniacki

    10 Years - no one told me when to run...

    God help me if it has been 10 years since the last change, clear still I have no prospects if I have time to read this rag.

  78. Joakim Gabrielsen
    Paris Hilton

    Good stuff

    I took a few days to get used to the redesign but I like it. Not sure about the font size, in this age of hi-res monitors it seems smallish. Or I'm getting old which would be even worse.

    Oh, and Paris and her boys finally look like themselves again. Good on you.

  79. Martin Gregorie

    Largely a good makeover

    I like the change from two side columns to one, though maybe it would be better on the left. Like another correspondent, I've missed things because I didn't look at it until the last day or two.

    The single change I'd most like to see is for all text to have its size and typeface default to the browser settings. If the user has left the browser defaults unchanged (s)he won't care what's used, but those of us who do have preferences and/or visual disabilities have set our browsers up to match our needs. I for one would prefer El Reg to respect those preferences.

    Headlines: I'd prefer any clickable text to be blue, changing to red once its been read and to stay in descending arrival sequence unless promoted to be a lead story, because this makes finding new stories a lot easier. The main column is fine - just extend the scheme to the Most read/Most commented box too.

    Fixed width: I'm happy with that, but I swapped my old 800x600 laptop for a shiny new one with 1280x800 resolution shortly before you changed the layout. If I was still using my old laptop or a netbook I'd be less happy.

    Graphics: Thanks for returning to the old icons - I didn't like the new ones. I also think the old favicon was better than the new one. One minor request: Please consider adding an 'Icon help' button alongside the 'Preview' and 'Post' buttons. There is plenty of room for it, it will benefit newbies and remind us older hands of the intended meaning of some of the less used icons. BTW, I preferred the dead vulture to the tomb stone.

  80. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Mental Ad Block

    I guarantee you that we do not specifically design features in order to combat mental ad block. We got an acceptable response from the ads on the old design, and we hope we'll get the same from the new. Generally we tolerate freeloading bums, although we prefer it if they don't encourage other freeloading bums in our columns.

    Your self awareness in any event indicates that if you are a freeloading bum, you are a thoughful one. We like that.

  81. Mark Greenwood

    Mental ad block....

    I hadn't even noticed the ads on the right hand side. My mind is now attuned to filter out any graphics on a news site, unless they look like photos. So this means (a) you can put up as many adverts as you like and it won't bother me and (b) you can put up as many adverts as you like, but I won't click on them. I like them being in one column as it makes them even easier to ignore, so well done :)

    As for fixed width - have you tried reading it on a mobile browser, eg iPhone? No, nor have I. I wonder what it looks like?

  82. kam

    Re: Re: The site changed? Memory of a goldfish etc etc

    "Easy Win"??? Careful John, you're beginning to sound like middle management.

    On the whole it looks ok. I've gotten used to it. Regarding the fixed width issue, how about having a user configurable width? drop a cookie onto the system and away we go, no?

  83. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Fix One Problem - Create New Problems

    Well, I just opened a bunch of tabs on the same configuration and had no problem. Let me know if you mean more than 26, but otherwise it seems to me it'd be a difficult one for us to reproduce.

  84. Dan Wilkinson
    Thumb Up


    It all looks a bit Joomla, but hey, if they got rid of the old front page where the order of stories changed all the time for no apparent reason, and had old one stuck at the top for days etc, then I'm all for it.

    I get more upset when changes, but then whenever I have the urge to check out the "man marries goat" story, I alway think how crap the old layout was after all.

  85. Doug Franklin
    Thumb Down

    Small Fonts Bite

    Please go back to using fonts sized based on my browser's settings. The small font sizes in the redesign SUCK!

    Oh, and BTW, a page rendered in a web browser is not a printed page and you just flat don't have and shouldn't try to exercise pixel-perfect levels of control over it.

    I've been a Reg reader for a long time but the redesign has made it hard enough to deal with that I probably won't be much longer.

  86. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the frog is being boiled

    I suppose I'm starting to get used to the new format ... still prefer the old one though.

    Main issues still are

    1) fonts/spacing on front page are too large so get less than half the stories on "first page" (n.b. and I'm on a 1900x1200 monitor!) ... a bit of tuning with stylish will clear this up. Given that other people are complaining about font being too small then maybe there's a need to have a customizable font size ... seem to think this is handled as an "accessibility option" on other sites

    2) right column feels too wide and dominant ... I wondered why it was there as it had so little in it ... until I realized that adblocker was removing the stuff I didn't want to see :-)

    3) still undecided about the fixed width ... but on positive side my standard browser window is only a bit wider than your page so now I've getting used to it the fact that I get a narrow grey borders on either side of the white page gives the impression that its almost like a printed page I'm reading.

    as for the "(other)* place" ... read both and think the other other place has the best front page layout of the 3 ... pity it doesn't have the articles to back it up yet

  87. DZ-Jay

    I do have one suggestion

    I guess I spoke to soon before; I do have a suggestion: The "Top Stories" block does not particularly stand out to me. Basically, I did not even noticed it there until I read your article justifying the changes. I guess it could use a different color for the hyperlinks. As they stand, they are indistinguishable from regular text (i.e. they're black, although bolder), and do not really attract my attention in any obvious way--that is, as compared to the regular stories, which have larger, blue letters in their headline along with a sub-text line.


  88. AFH100
    Thumb Up

    As bad as you may have found it...

    in the redesign-ghastliness stakes this is small beer compared to the table-tastic UGC mind-trawl that is 2008's Playlouder (playmadder? playatwebdesign from insane first principles etc etc):

    vs old (wayback version so images missing but even so...)

  89. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: As bad as you may have found it...

    As I mentioned earlier, if it's good on an iPhone it's a total accident. If we'd tried to get mobile versions right at the same time, we'd never have shipped anything. I just had a quick look on one though (fanboy, you got me...) and reckon it could be worse. Hopeless in anything but landscape, front page text small enough to force me to take my glasses off (the Guardian's the same these days, but the FT still works), navbar busts on story page (bugger) but story page readable, and width seems to fit nicely.

    Personally, BTW, I find the way the New York Times and AP apps present on the iPhone neat (NYT load time's a pain though). There might be something in that direction.

  90. Anonymous Coward


    The teeny-tiny font wouldn't be so bad if it responded to the 'zoom' command. I'm partially-sighted and the ability in Avant/Orca to zoom is incredibly helpful, but all it does on New!Reg is expand the background. The worst thing is that iZoom just won't work on the site since the redesign, so I can't even have it super-huge or even read to me anymore. Wah!

    I need my Reg Fix.

    Disgruntled Geekette.

  91. Nicky

    Well I like it

    Frankly the old design was laid out like a 1998 Geocities page. I think the redesign is more functional and nicer to look at in general, and I also think nerds need something to bitch about and The Reg has more street cred than facebook.

    Skull for talk like a pirate day, of course.

  92. John

    Favicon and fixed width *pujke*

    The width *is* too conservative there is no question about that from what I see on my screen and others have been saying all week.

    I'll repeat a request from earlier in the wek I made that you return to the old favicon please, one or two others are also asking the same, this new one just doesn't make its presence known, the grey on grey really isn't working on the tab bar. If you simply must change, how about using the staff writer icon from the comments, that should stand out nicely (the red button with white vulture)

    The other stuff is ok, the Top Stories box is nice, not a bad idea really so good job.

    No icon as you don' t have one that suggests "I can live with most changes, but implement my suggestions now dammit, kthnx"

  93. Doug Southworth
    Paris Hilton

    Love the new look

    And for anyone who simply can't deal with it, we don't need you here. If you haven't figured out that change is part of technology, in EVERY aspect, then it's time to box up your Commodore 64 and get off of the internet.

    Paris, because she can't use a computer either...

  94. Paul
    Thumb Up

    Week view

    Thanks for bringing the Steve Jobs icons back ! Overall I like the new design however the weekly view isn't split by section any more which I find makes it a pain to use especially when I'm sneaking a quick look at the register when I'm supposed to be working and just want to concerntrate on the particular sections that interest me and ignore all the hard-core stuff !

  95. Jodo Kast
    Thumb Down

    Web Design Feedback

    The new design: It's old school; try a fluid layout. You're not working with "print" media so get over your misconception that you have control. All you do is force visitors to turn off via browser controls, or override you.

    Your CSS file has errors for too many browsers.

    The main page: you have to scroll down quite a bit. Nothing was fixed. You have a finite area to work with, nobody will scroll if they don't want to.

  96. Mad Hacker
    Thumb Down

    @ Albert Waltien re: Praise the Loard

    Praise the Lord

    By Albert Waltien Posted Friday 19th September 2008 15:10 GMT

    Love the fixed width. I have to work off-site once a week at a wide-screen monitor. Ever try to read a page where the line-o'-type is half a yard long? Sheesh!!


    Uh, you know you can always resize the window to the width of your liking? Oh let me guess, you run everything in maximized and can't handle more then one app or window being open at the same time.

    Great, we found your fixed width target audience el Reg.

  97. Christopher Martin

    Too wide, and not wide enough. Also, who cares.

    Most of the width complaints seem to be that it's too tiny on large monitors. But I find it funny that there's another problem - it's too wide to display on tiny netbooks, especially ironic because El Reg covers them so extensively.

    All in all, though, I don't understand the complaining. Yes, I'd expect better from any "tech" oriented website. But really, this is a design flaw that the majority of the web exhibits. We're using to dealing with crap pages like New Reg. It's stupid, but not worth bitching about.

  98. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Middle articles

    Your effort to some articles stand out half way down the page backfires for me. Anything halfway down the page that breaks the established formatting is, by my brain, an ad. So the two articles on that "enhanced line" are ignored by me. I have no desire to start having to read all ads more carefully to notice that some are not ads, so I won't be reading those articles.

    *Goes back to aggressively ignoring all advertisments.

  99. Nebulo

    I must be missing something here

    Given the way so many of us miserable bl00dy users have been complaining, surely you could do it like csszengarden, and give us a whole *range* of designs, selectable from the front page? I'd even let you leave a cookie in my box to remember which one, if you did that. (OK, I already do, but there's a point to make here.) Never mind designing new road signs for old folk, you could have competitions for the prettiest Register site designs from all those css-literate readers.

    And the folk who hate lines of text a yard long ... er, your modern browser has a little button to un-maximise it ... works really well ...


  100. Piers

    Facebook comments...

    um - mine was just a piece of humor 'cause facespacebook thing had done a redesign within the last five mins. Maybe that's why the facebook comments seemed so random They were, really.

  101. Anonymous Coward


    Ah yes, I forgot you have ads on this site.

  102. Chris Adams

    Fixed Width solution proposal

    I would suggest that those who do not wish to see lots of wasted space when viewing at high res exercise their ability to change the vertical/horizontal display properties of the browser to suit by resizing the fecking browser window! The bits of desktop or other open widows that you'll see are not that distracting!

    The only problem with FW is on smaller screens/mobile devices that cannot change browser width (Jesus Phone and iTouch exempted, for instance) and are fixed at a lower res. As long as the wraparound that occurs does not break the flow of the story or otherwise stuff up the site (Right hand features column I'm looking at you!) then it's all good.

    Anyway, beer o clock.

  103. M Room
    Thumb Down

    My Gripe

    It may only be me or my computer but I find it terribly annoying.

    Every time I go to an article or back to the home page, the page flashes up immediately followed by something like a two to three second pause and then the page re-aligns its self.

    I get frustrated as have either to wait for the full page to sort out or try and find the line that I was reading and start again.

    This is the only site where I have this problem - I have a 10Mb connection and usually everything is instant.

  104. Anonymous Coward


    Of all the things I have seen this week with the changes and remarks, the two i have missed are:

    (1) No sweet moderatrix

    (2) No FOTW (now really, with all the changes?)

  105. Andy Taylor

    I've just worked out why the site looks wrong

    It's the masthead - has The Register and logo and underneath "Biting the hand that feeds IT." but aligned to the right of the top line. Having this on the left hand side looks strange.

    Either left justify the second line or put the whole thing in the middle and I'll be happy.

    Increasing the font size in Firefox looks fine.

  106. Mike Perrin
    Jobs Halo

    It's the amateurish touches that grate

    ... for instance, the fact that every comment icon has to be enclosed in a little teensy weensy grey border.

    Which means each icon is smaller, less legible etc because it has to have a border... AND a line of white space inside so you can see the border! Which detracts from the icon itself, especially if the icon is round, whereupon the border just GRATES.

    Are you scared that the icons will be eaten by marauding text? Or that freed, they will go on the rampage and crawl up to the masthead, batting at passing planes?

    And as previously remarked upon by others, why are you taking crapulous bit-map art from the nineties and then ANTI-ALIASING it? You should be BURNING this trash.

    If you notice design, there is probably something wrong with it. So do us all a favour, go to, have a good look round at the GOOD stuff and then (metaphorically speaking) grow a pair and do something better. An icon is not a picture, it's a symbol, remember?

    " The main problem with Microsoft? They have... no taste" (steve jobs in interview)

    Steve Jobs, because he got Susan Kare to do the good stuff

  107. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

    You have more control over style?

    Which twit made the text colour in the comment textbox black, but did not set the background colour? My style sheet sets all backgrounds to dark blue because I find bright text on a dark background far easier to read. Noddy's guide to style sheets insists that if you change one colour, you must change them all. Other sites can get this right, so when some berk inflicts obnoxious colours on me for a specific selector I still get colours with a reasonable contrast. I wasted 5 minutes fixing this in my style sheet to make commenting less painful.

    Rest assured this will never happen again. I would switch over to Lynx if it had tabbed browsing. (Lynx ignores all style sheets.) Next time I will experiment with dcop so I can get tabbed browsing in lynx by opening another session in konsole.

  108. NoOnions

    Fanboi alert icon?

    We (I!) need a cartoon-looking desk fan with an exclamation mark through it. After all, there are enough posts attacking any article about the XBox 360, by PS3 lovers, on this site. No, I don't own a XBox 360 (I'm a PC and Wii owner). I'm seriously thinking about getting a XBox 360 this year and may well get a PS3 next year for the blu-ray player (when I get a new HD LCD TV).

  109. Solomon Grundy

    @Re: Fix One Problem - Create New Problems

    I hope that's not the extent of your testing for everything....

    I just had some of the guys at the office play with it and it's a valid issue on multiple computers, operating systems, and users - but only crashes Firefox (we only tested IE 7 & 8, current Firefox, and Opera though).

    Final stats are better than 15% browser lockup with multiple tabs opened - lockup occurs on loading new pages. I don't know why it's happening but it is. Just thought you'd like to know.

  110. Matt

    Mobiles are borked still

    "we need to unbreak the mobile platforms the new design seems to have broken"

    I remember that this was an issue with the last change of el reg too, but it got sorted fairly quickly.

    My Biggest problem from windows mobile is that now we have a page that has a few lines of stories then acres and acres of blank space (If it's set to view desktop).

    If it's set to Best fit then it's 3 stories scroll for 2 mins, 3 more stories, scroll again for a bit.

    How am I supposed to read the reg on the move if I can't see what stories are available?

  111. Schultz

    So so

    I would be happy with a more legible font for faster reading.

    Also, I like the idea of not having to scroll down the whole page because it saves me time if I don't have to scan every last headline for those less than thrilling stories.

    Make my life easier and I'll love you, or else ...

  112. Rockandrollsuicide

    <Control> + Mouse Wheel Up*

    Now stop whining about the fixed width / font size!

    *Probably doesn't work in IE.

  113. Anonymous Coward

    The other place

    I aint going to visit the otherplace after reading an biased and quite rubbish article, that frankly peed me off!!!!.

    new layout is ok, I will adapt.

    Britney, because she will adapt, and Resisting her is futile.

    See what I did there did ya did ya.

    Ill get my coat.

  114. RickS

    New look?

    Must confess that I'm still not comfortable with the new design. The answer was a simple change of homepage to The Inquirer. I'll still read The Register, but I want to be prepared for the new look to assault me when I choose, not immediately upon the browser loading!

  115. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: @Re: Fix One Problem - Create New Problems

    Now play nice. You told me what your problem was, I used the configuration you gave me to see if I got the same effect, and I didn't. So what am I supposed to do next? If I have a dozen people reporting an issue, then I likely have a problem. But I haven't, not that problem.

  116. Charlie van Becelaere

    The Other Place?

    What kind of Web 2.0 site is this? If you're going to mention another place, you ought at least to have the decency to include a link. As to the Other Other Place, I'm not interested, unless they've gone all Web 3.0 on me.

  117. davebarnes
    Thumb Up

    I like it.

    I prefer fixed width. 960px is OK with me.

    Still don't see any adverts.

  118. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meeeehhhh ...

    New one is nothing very special and neither was the old one. Both a bit unattractive. Still, I think there does seem to be more scrolling than before.

  119. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    the font thing

    In the FireFox browser, there's a setting to "Allow pages to choose their own fonts".

    I don't allow that of course, being some sort of control freak. So the Reg font looks the same for me this week as it did last week.

    Further control freakishness: I have the background color set to #333333. That makes "five nines" of websites look appalling. Reg looks sweet :-)

  120. Captain DaFt

    Flabber truly gasted

    But seriously, you think this: Looks better than this: ?

    (You're probably still kicking to get a midi file added too, aren't you?)

  121. Ed

    @Captain DaFt

    Um..... Yep

  122. Paul
    Thumb Down

    Don't like it.

    Why not? Well I used to be able to open a page and READ just about the whole lot easily. Yes I have a 23 inch flat screen on a resolution of ohmygod x youreyesmustbegood (for screen real estate). I used to find that most stories would load up and be easy to read.

    Now I have to scroll scroll scroll... Why? on the my normal settings half the page is grey gutter and a third of the rest is reserved for your adds. I guess I could increase the font size to a more comfortable level, but then I'dd have to scroll some more.

    If I want to keep reading el'reg I guess Id better do some jiggery with the CSS. If I do that I think I'll make sure ads dont come up either

    Why do people insist on new layouts that make stuff harder to READ, pretty (Yes) Readable NO.


  123. C. P. Cosgrove
    Thumb Up

    Chris Cosgrove

    Do try and keep this a secret, but I quite like the new lay-out. It did come as a bit of a surprise, but I got over it quite quickly.

    Keeping leads to what may be considered 'more important' stories at the top of the page is a good idea, especially for dumb dumbs like me who haven't quite sorted the art of searching your archives.

    I think you do need to consider your font - apart from giving a rather 'dense' impression it could be made more eye-friendly. It may be that all it needs is an extra point or two between the lines to make it easier on the eye.

    On balance, in favour.

  124. Steven Knox

    Oh God, more crap about fixed widths.

    @Chris Miller: "I like my browser with a width of around 1080 pixels (on a 1920x1200 screen), in part so that I can view sites that display 1024 width pictures. The 960 width of El Reg seems to fit rather well."

    You're joking, right? You're not actually stupid enough to not know that if El Reg was set up in similar style with non-fixed widths it would look ALMOST EXACTLY THE SAME ON YOUR BROWSER AT THAT WIDTH, are you?

    I advocate for non-fixed widths for two reasons, and two reasons only:

    1. So that the page adjusts itself to screens/windows smaller than the one the web designer happened to use (so that we don't [often] have to use a horizontal scroll bar.)


    2. So that the page adusts itself to screens/windows wider than the one the web designer happened to use (so that those with wider screens get more content for their investments and don't have to use the vertical scroll bar as much.)

    My problem with your explanation, Mr. Lettice, is that I happen to develop web sites, and I know that you can have BETTER control over your site with non-fixed widths, if you know your CSS properly -- and you immediately score points with geeks like me, too.

    Having said that, I find the new style of the Register to be easier on the eyes than the old style, and even with fixed width formatting, it's better than most of the sites out there. So, I'll probably just spend a few hours with Opera's Dragonfly working on a user-mode CSS fix for the site to satisfy my unholy obsession with percentages.

  125. tom

    Large Fonts Edition

    Fonts too small to read on your monitor? Let me fix that for you.

    You'll need greasemonkey. Links and such at the root url Fixed-point-size fonts are one of those things that just keep popping up. :)

    Pirate, because it's a script to hack el reg, well, sort of. Actually it's kinda blah, as piracy goes.

  126. scotchbonnet

    My Lowly Opinion

    I like the general thrust of the redesign, save the fixed width coding. I sprang for a 24" screen for a reason, and you've just negated the value of that particular purchase - at least for the time that I spend every day on this site.

    One suggestion I'd like to proffer is that you make your comments threaded, or offer the user the choice of viewing the comments either sequentially or in threaded format. So much silly-ness goes on in the commenting section, it would be more enjoyable if I could avoid whole threads of nit-picking, name-calling and nonsense.

  127. E Haines

    Gray bars?

    Apparently those complaining about fixed width and huge gray bars are running their browsers full-screen. Who does that anymore? Time to leave the '90s, methinks....

    As for "the font's too small" about using a real browser where you get to set a minimum font size? I don't go smaller than 14 points, and while a few bits and bobs overflow their intended space and therefore look bad, mostly it's fine.

  128. Dave

    Wide and Narrow Versions

    It ought to be possible to run a wide and narrow version side by side, at least so that those with the small laptops don't have to scroll, and so that those with wider screens get a decent amount of information in one go. The BBC manages to have high and low graphics versions of their pages, so a decent CMS ought to cope with it.

    As I said before, I haven't objected to the fixed width because I seem to have defaulted my browser width to slightly more than said width. Had it been the other way I would have been more upset.

  129. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not super thrilled

    longtime reader (8 or 9 years i think) firsttime poster. Not crazy aobut the fixed width. Would be easier to live with if ads weren't nearly as wide as the three columns of articles. In a time when most people are switching to widescreen monitors i think the narrow width looks too y2k.

  130. skeptical i

    I guess I'm the only one ...

    ... who thinks the new heart/ wuv icon (<--) looks like it has a new- fangled 'leccy socket in it? Or just the only one $adjective enough to mention it?

  131. Michael Kean

    All websites too small these days...

    When you get a new laptop with 15" 1440*900 display, almost all pages are too small by default these days - especially the text size.

    The power to fix this is in your hands :)

    If you have Internet Explorer 7 or Firefox, just hold down Ctrl and press + or -

    The page magically becomes bigger or smaller. The grey bars disappear into oblivion.

    Other solutions:

    1 - Use the NoSquint addon for Firefox to set a default text and full page zoom for any new site you visit.

    2 - Use the Split Browser plugin to split your browser in half. (Also useful if your other half is a slow screen reader.)

    3 - If ads are offensive, use AdBlock Plus addon in Firefox to block 'em. This might offend The Reg perhaps, but since the advertising industry has abused us with computer-exploiting ads, I don't feel too guilty. Flashblock adds safety to this as well. If The Reg (or any other site for that matter) was really worried about AdBlock they could just copy the ads to their own domain rather than using a third party, thereby bypassing the block, and taking suitable liability if they publish a rogue ad. Admittedly the ads on The Reg are rarely if ever offensive.

  132. tony trolle

    The sun

    just checked they must of done a redesign a while back too. (I checked page3 also)

    Both red at the top though.

    Maybe the fixed width is to do with Vista's side bar set to stay on top of the developers screen. lol

  133. Tim

    Doesn't work on Opera mini on blackberry

    I click on a link, and it just reloads the whole page....

    And I'm working on a privoxy rule to change it from fixed width to fluid. :)

  134. Richard Silver badge

    I *hate* fixed-width websites. All of them. with a passion.

    You've rebuilt this site for a precise pixel width.

    If anybody has a monitor any size other than 1024 pixels wide, they either see the adverts on the right vanish into scrollbar land or they end up with ugly grey bars down the side.

    Furthermore, the usual LCD resolution monitor one can easily buy today is 1280x1024.

    1024 pixels wide has gone the way of the dinosaur - the only people who have that particular size are those who have kept using older monitors, or those on the larger EeePCs.

    I've waited until now to post anything because I wanted to give the new site a try. Most of it is fine

    I don't mind you moving a few things around, and the new graphics are OK. (I'll never say 'good' because I dislike logo redesigns on principle - they have a large cost and it's impossible to determine if they have any benefit)

    BUT! Please scrap the fixed width. It's bad in applications, and it's worse on the internet.

    The only people who use that particular design concept in the sphere of IT are idiotic control freaks who think that a 'web page' is just like a 'printed page'.

    While you probably are control freaks, I sincerely hope you're not idiots.

    Let the articles flow. The readers are here to read your written words, not stare at big grey bars!

  135. Richard Silver badge

    I used to see 30 stories without scrolling.

    Now, I only see 17 stories, plus the six in the "Top Stories" box.

    Scrolling is a pain on anything that doesn't have a scrollwheel - like a laptop for example.

    I'm sure it must be possible to have the 'cells' containing the story headers stay the same size, but re-stack into the correct number to fit the width.

    One other suggestion:

    - The "The Register" logo in the page footer. Can it link back to the title page?

    The main thing I disliked about the old style was that I had to scroll back to the top to get back to the title page if I'd followed several in-story links.

    Now I have to scroll considerably further. (my laptop also has no home key.)

  136. Anonymous Coward

    It's growing on me

    now that the crappy icons have been tossed.

    However, please do something about the grey menu bar under your masthead. At 1680x1050 the lettering is badly pixellated.

    Also, can't you make the entire masthead a link to the homepage, rather than just the bit that says "The Register"? It would be that little bit less fiddly.

  137. Rebecca Putman

    So far, so good

    I was a tad surprised when I first saw the new layout, but as redesigns go, this was one of the cleanest and least disruptive I've seen. I'm comparing this to the Dilbert and GoComics redesigns, which I quit the Dilbert website after trying for a week to like it - or at least get used to it. GoComics I've gotten used to; not my favorite, but tolerable.

    ElReg's redesign is far and away better than those other two. I don't really have an opinion - yet - about the fixed-width thing. It's not bugging me.

    One question, though, since you brought it up: what is "The Other Place"? This is akin to being told "you will have no other gods before me" and I didn't even realize there *were* other gods - now I want to know who they are and where to find them! =) Not to worry, though; I love the Register and I'm staying.

  138. Brett Harris
    Thumb Up


    How about making the El Reg logo at the bottom of the page a clickable link back to the home page then I can hit that to go back to the main/new topics rather than tart about. Also a "Back to top page"

    Unless there already there and I cant see them for squinting.

  139. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: My Lowly Opinion

    We had threaded comment on the roadmap last year, but we pulled it because there was quite a bit of coding involved, and we had other urgent projects that needed attending to. I think we'd still like to have threaded, and to generally make comments more forum-like, but financially that's a difficult one to justify. Revenue from the comment section isn't that big, and as advertisers seem to have some kind of issue about having their products next to people cracking dirty jokes and swearing at each other, it's not an automatic gold mine.

  140. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Suggestion

    I just passed that one up the line. Seems to make sense to me.

  141. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Another negative vote

    Several days in, and I am still finding it an uncomfortable experience to read the new site. The original styling was a good example of how to build a clean, fast, minimalist site that looked high quality. The new site looks like those early attempts by print media specialists to make an online newspaper.

    This is the web. Page width should be MY choice, not yours. My desktop is 5120x1600, so you can imagine how frustrating it is to have to keep scrolling up and down when all that width is just wasted.

    Worse, however, is the amount of aliasing on all the text. This site now looks ragged and unprofessional because of the poor quality of the fonts and logos at that size. In the current economic climate, you could hire a decent web designer for the price of a tea-boy, you don't have to carry on letting the tea-boy design your site for you...

  142. Hamza

    Let me off, I want to be sick

    Good grief, there'd be fewer negative comments if they'd brought in national service for males aged 18-40 with 3 or more computers. Why don't the Anti-Fixed-Widths form a union and elect a single spokesperson? Divided you'll never conquer.

    And 'doesn't work well on mobile IE'??? Show me a non-crippled, non-made-for-mobile site that does! (whatever happened to El Reg Mobile btw?) What did you think they wrote Opera for?

    I think the redesign's ok, but dude - it's just a website. And what's with people saying 'the front page sucks, i'm not going to read El Reg anymore'? It must have a lot of value to you then. And I've got 3 letters for you: RSS.

    I've had enough of you geeks, I'm off to become an accountant.

    PS I tried posting this on Opera mobile but the submit button didn't work. lol. And it is even more screwed up on Mobile IE but seems to load much faster...

  143. John Griffiths
    Black Helicopters


    As a web-publisher myself I'd like to ask the ad blockers just what they're trying to achieve.

    I'm not talking about obnoxious roll-outs and interstitials, just ads which sit on the page hurting no-one and paying the bills.

    You'd like to have no web-content to read that isn't subscription based or Government funded?


    Have you thought about this?

  144. Anonymous Coward

    Ugh. Font size

    For the "Oh, just press ctrl and +" or "Install this script" crowd, some of us can't. I'm sorry, but on a 32" monitor the text should be legible without resorting to hacks. Ctrl and + doesn't work, like I said above it just zooms in on the white background. The 'zoom' command in the browser controls does the same thing. I'm limited to which browsers I can use because of the software I need to run alongside them. Firefox and Greasemonkey crash when used with iZoom, so I'm stuck with Avant or Orca. Those two usually do a great job of enlarging the text so that I don't need to use text-to-speech, but that doesn't work on the Reg. Sadly the TTS doesn't seem to like the new layout either, so I get a few garbled words from it, then has made accessibilty go the way of the dodo.

    Reg-starved Geekette (with some help, natch)

    Looks like the Web 2.0 revolution real

  145. Anonymous Coward

    Ugh. Font size

    Damn. Last bit should've said:

    "Sadly the web 2.0 revolution has made accessibilty go the way of the dodo."

    Bad guide dog!

  146. Michael Kean

    @Richard (Laptop Scrolling)

    "Scrolling is a pain on anything that doesn't have a scrollwheel - like a laptop for example."

    Many people don't know about the scroll wheel built into most laptop trackpads. In most cases, if you put your finger in the far right edge of the pad and move it up or down, it triggers a scrolling effect.

    On most laptops, this requires having a synaptics utility running in the system tray - which usually happens at startup.

  147. DZ-Jay

    Re: Freetards

    Ok, I'll bite.

    I refuse to be subjected to advertising, out of principle, and avoid it to the extent that I can. I, personally, would have no problem with no web-content to read that "isn't subscription based or Government funded". Why does everything have to be ad-supported? So that you feel you're getting something for free while being subjected to subconscious brand persuasion? Talk about freetards.

    If it is worth the ticket price, I'd gladly pay it--and I have repeatedly said that I would happily subscribe to The Register if there were a subscription-based, ad-free, navigation surveillance-free version. (If there is, I apologise for missing it, and would appreciate if you could point me to it.)

    Nobody has the right to push advertising on anybody else, and contrary to common believe, there is no unspoken social contract between the publisher and reader. Just as I am free to read a book--even freely distributed pamphlets--in any order that I like, skipping which parts I want, so to I can skip any parts of a web page I do not want or like.

    Next you'll tell me that I cannot walk out of the room or change the channel when a commercial break occurs while watching a television show. I have no obligation to watch the ads. And to that end, I tend to avoid commercial television, and subscribe to commercial-free channels that I do enjoy. Most of the time I just watch DVD videos (which I have legally purchase, since you ask).

    The Register publishes their web site, and they chose advertisement as their source of income. With this comes the risk that some people will not enjoy the ads, will not be swayed or influenced by them, or will skip or even block them. I did not participate in this decision. If they decide to refuse me entry to the site because I do not want to view the ads--which is their prerrogative--or if they frankly tell me flat out that I, as an ad-blocker, am not welcomed, I'll oblige them and leave for good.

    It'll be a pity, though, as I do enjoy it much; I read it every day and tend to pass links to my friends and colleagues (some of which do not block ads).

    If it makes everybody feel better, in lieu of a subscription option, I can certainly, voluntarily, send a yearly cheque to the editors, of a reasonable amount that would cover any revenue that my page views would have generated had I accepted the ads. Really. I think the Register is worth some money. El Reg editors, just say the amount.

    I am not a "freetard", I just do not like advertising as a matter of principle.


  148. Werner McGoole
    Black Helicopters

    https please

    Wouldn't now also be a good time to introduce an https:// URL for The Register, so the spytards can't track us all?

  149. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Freetards

    We prefer not to talk about ad blockers. We are currently in a position to be able to tolerate them, and we'd like to keep it that way, so we try not to do anything that might encourage them, and it'd be a help if you good people out there would do likewise, OK? But what you do in the privacy (hah) of your own browser is your business. EOM.

    As for subscription versions, we really don't see that kind of twin track Reg as being feasible. We might or might not be able to sell enough subs to make it worthwhile from a revenue point of view, but we'd have to police it in some way, and that really isn't our style. More importantly, you tend to create problems for yourself when you do this. You'll remove some, maybe lots or even all, of your better off readers from the advertising demographic, so your ad inventory becomes less valuable. Along with this you might find yourself accepting more aggressive advertising in order to encourage more subscriptions, or simply because you need to in order the recoup the ad revenue you lost because of the demographic shift.

    I've no problems with subscription only titles, but twin track seems to me a mess I'd be smart not to get into.

  150. Russell Odom

    Re: amanfromMars

    > Is that really amanfromMars?

    > His reply just made to much sense.

    Even a stopped clock is right twice a day ;-)

  151. Law

    RE: Freetards

    You reminded me I forgot to unblock ad's for El Reg after a reinstall of adblock recently, so thanks for that! :)

    I don't mind supporting sites I use regularly (like El Reg) by unblocking their ads, so not all adblock users are out there to leech off ad-based sites, and many understand how these sites are paid for. But like pay-for sites and services, I choose very carefully who I give mine (or the advertiser's) money to - so by default it starts off blocked, then unblocked if any good.

  152. Daniel

    Re: Freetards

    I understand where you're coming from, so I'll just say this once more, and then drop it from here on out. Have you considered that many of your readers who appear to be using "ad-blockers" are actually running script blockers? I know that I'll happily let static images or text advertisements through, but I run with noscript - a firefox extension that has been recommended in some of your own articles. As a result, I can't remember the last time I actually saw an ad on the Register. Just something to consider.


  153. Anonymous Coward

    The re-design

    There's nothing wrong with fixed width per se, but if the page is fixed width then the article titles need to be set so that the date/time stamp runs to a line below otherwise, you end up with lines of text overlapping. Either that or variable text size of the article titles and date/time stamps (which of course, would look bloody silly).

    There might not be any more or less add's, but having adverts that are nearly the same size as the text part, overwhelms the articles precis!

    I could try to get used to it, but I don't really think I can be arsed! It's less effort to pick up on the articles at digg (though I'd rather read them at the reg as I was reading it long before digg).

    Also, as you're unlikely to change anything back, it's really just a case of "whatever"!

  154. Josh

    Quit your whining...

    You all are acting like a bunch of pissy little thankless brats. Its The Register, the best damn techy site around and its THERE site not yours. I've been coming here for years and the old look was great but getting a little "old hat". They made it the way they want it and I for one will sit down, shut up, and ENJOY IT, as I always have. Since when does a bunch of opinionated twinks on the internet get to demand someone change. Thats like walking into WalMart and demanding they move the sporting section to the front of the store, and do it now. GOOD JOB BOYS! Site looks great! The rest of you nay sayers, shut it.

  155. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Finger fiddlers scroll, Treckies just hit the Space Bar for page down.

  156. Anonymous Coward
    Black Helicopters


    Yes, darling, everthing's fine now, but has been always. Didn't notice much change. Should I be more observant?

    A request,.....I'd like to read more acidic comments on the IT industry as a whole. I've always had the impression that some of those BigShots were self-appointed to give us the impression that they were just visiting this planet to help out a bit. I'd say they're in need of an attitude adjustment.

  157. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Page too wide

    Fixed width sucks, and your 880-odd pixel wide page is already too wide for my screen.

    > And as some of you think the width we've chosen is

    > too conservative, we'll do a reality check on that.

    Does this mean you're gonna make the stinking thing even wider? Great...

  158. BlueGreen

    Another thought - ratings

    Aside from us raising fixed width again and you ignoring it.

    When reading down sometimes many score of reader's comments I'd like to be able to pick out the gold from the dross. Too often it's a restatement of "phuck phorm" or something about nu-labour becoming a police state (or summat similar) and all that. Some kind of rating system would be valuable so I can get the most info in reasonable time. I understand slashdot has this though I never use that site.

    Possible? If done, perhaps you could also impose some kind of filter so only those of a rating higher than I set will show. Maybe asking too much there.

  159. John Griffiths

    @ DZ-Jay

    So it's your "right" to use El Reg's bandwidth and server resources to take free advantage of the work of their reporters while stripping them of the means to pay for either?

    Fascinating philosophy you've got there.

  160. pat

    second time ariound, dear?

    sad... welcome to the real world where the most popular are also the most complained about.

    worked with harry potter. he also the most banned as well as most popular.

    so go with a 'I for one welcome our new "blank ' overlords.' section.

    FOR THE SECOND TIME. (already)

    and pay me well for this too.


  161. Trevor
    Thumb Up

    The re-design is good.

    I for one, like the redesign. I thank you for the return of our traditional "comment icons," I really disliked a lot of them. Paris is "iconic" to the Reg, as it the coat, and frankly, aManFromMars would have looked naked without his alien.

    That said, The rest of the redesign seems good, well thought out, and makes sense. Thank you for the time and effort you put into listening to the comments and complains of yoru readers. For the record, El Reg is one of the very few sites i have in my "exclude from ad blocker" list. Apart from the fact that I want El Reg to make muchos wonga, and they deserve my clicking on a few things now and then...El Reg doesn't have horrible, bandwidth eating flash ads. I read my morning news in a VM. VMs are muchos big time bad for flash.

    Overall, eveyrthing is good, awesome, and fantastic. Please continue in the direction you ahve been headed.

  162. Alan Ferris
    Paris Hilton

    Can you make it bigger, please

    The font is much too small

    Paris, I bet she knows how to deal with that problem

  163. Astarte

    Font Size and Links

    Font Size:

    Having read so many adverse comments about font size I assume I must be one of the few, primitive life-forms still using IE7. I've no experience with other browsers but in my XP Pro setup using Ctrl plus Scroll wheel changes the overall size and therefore font size quite effectively - sufficient for my needs anyway


    I notice, at least on my system, nouveau El Reg no longer marks a link as Visited (in red) unless the link is opened to replace the current page. Previously the link was also marked as 'Visited' when opened in a new window or on a new tab. Since I tend to open links in a new window (from the Context menu) I find, when I return to the source page, that I have no reminders as to which links I have used. It would be nice to have that facility returned.

    Keep up the Good Work. I guess you can't please all the people all the time.

  164. daniel hobson
    Thumb Up

    its all pretty good

    except you missed out one thing! the giant picture on the main page saying "sorry, no fat chicks!"

  165. DrewHew

    My 2 pence

    I've submitted this before, and I'll ask again (I know I'm not the only one)

    1. Show first set of comments under articles (as was done on the older version of the site). This usually piques the interest of the reader(s). There have been many occasions where I've enjoyed the comments section more than the article itself, and a preview of the comments often dictate whether or not I click on the 'comments' link.

    2. FLAME ICON SUCKS!!!!!! (As profound as I can muster) (Hehehehehe - I just saw that you changed it back to original, oooooooop! sorry 'bout that!)

  166. Henry Wertz Gold badge

    I like it...

    I like the changes. They aren't jarringly different on the desktop but look nice. The "Add your own comment" area looks nice I think, I like the change to it.

    I'll tell you for sure, the new layout is MUCH nicer on my cellphone -- it's a VX9800 (with a WAP browser) so the layout's all shot either way, but the article is much nearer the top than it used to be.

    To be honest, I personally thought the new icons were fine too. But, *shrug*, I guess people are used to the old ones so OK.

  167. chestylarue

    Size matters

    Mmmm. Your fixed width is just right for me, but then I have been in a committed relationship with you (albeit rather one-sided) for some time and any perceived drop in your performance just moves me to reassure you that I am in this for the long haul and together we can get through this. It happens to everyone.

  168. Dave Silver badge
    Gates Horns

    1 1/2 constructive comments

    1: I liked the way that old reg gave a flavour of the comments at the end of the article. It only took up five lines.

    1/2: This point isn't for Reg to act on, but if I can't raise it here...

    If many sites are fixed width, maybe browsers can have a feature where the browser is MAXIMISED to to the width of the page, and no more. Having said that, my windows are always in a mess, so I'm sure that some combination of discipline/keyboard shortcuts/third-party apps can help me here.

    Off-topic warning:

    Oh, can we have a screaming Balmer icon?

    Evil Gates because my new XBOX has scratched my only game and they want to charge me a tenner for a replacement disc. WTF? Surely piracy is bad because it is stealing IP. If I've paid to use said IP in my home within the termsof the licence (I.E bought a game to play it) then surely I deserve another copy of the IP for fair cost (if I return the damaged orginal, of course)? I don't understand why MS are giving legitimacy to the console hacker's/freetard's excuse of enabling 'back-ups'. Grrr!

    I'm glad Blu-ray won, 'cos scratch-proofing of the disc is mandatory part of the format.

  169. Moss Icely Spaceport

    Goodbye and thanks for all the fish!

    No not really.

    I like it!

  170. 49125

    @ Captain DaFt

    That clinched it for me.

    My entry point to the Reg has been the weeks headlines since, well, forever. Opened up the cached version and my eyes stopped hurting. Grouped by industry / sub industries, plenty of white space where it's needed and clear & obvious date changing. The new Week page is simply a massive block of text, caps and boldness to me, with the repetitive Reg sub-section link meaningless and a waste of space. Speaking of wasted space, once the top stories and white papers finish on the right third of the screen, there is about 10 pages (in 1280x1024) of .... nothing. The perfect spot to allow the story teaser to extend into. You know, starting next to the headline. And hey, all within mandatory the fixed width constraint.

  171. Geoff Mackenzie

    The new design

    Broke my web scraper. Fixed now though.

  172. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Stop complaining, all of you...

    I for one will welcome our new fixed-width overlords

  173. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Surely I'm not the only one .....

    Who got frustrated by the lack of a clear "Next Page" link at the bottom of a multi page article? Sure it's at the top of the page, but that's not where you are when you need it! I actually gave up on the first article I read after spending the better part of 30 seconds looking for what I thought "should be here somewhere????" and went back to the home page to read something else. Only when I happened to notice it at the top of the next multi page article, did I see it.

    I realize that this puts me in the "total idiot" category, but really, for those who read the reg BEFORE they have their coffee, have a little pity!

    Oh and thanks for the old icons back. Paris for the "duuuuuuhhhh" factor of this post.

  174. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Multi-page articles

    Please could you put something at the bottom of each page to say 'continued' or 'next' or something. At the moment, you just get an article that stops suddenly. If you suspect that there might be some more to read, you scroll up (quite a long way, thanks to the fixed width) to find the little links that hint there may be more to come.

  175. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Multi-page articles

    I think what you're seeing there is a bug. The links should be at the end of the article, but in some case (IE 6, we think mainly) it shows up at the top, slightly munged. I'm told we've fixed it, but the fix might not have been rolled out yet. Today, I hope...

  176. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: My 2 pence

    I think we at least considered having a mouse over preview of comments. Would that do the trick for you? We killed off the list of first comments as part of the general page de-cluttering exercise. I think we've still got some tidying up to do down at the bottom of story pages, so we can reconsider as we do that.

  177. Hegelworm Messerchmitt

    Collapsible right DIV?

    Can I have a collapsible div#right-col please? With a corresponding $_SESSION variable to remember that I don't want to see it again in the same browser session.

    That would be super-duper and give us back the nice broadsheet-esque front page.

    I suppose I'm pretty used to the new design already. Just miss the chunky-ness of the front page; a bit like going from a mountain bike to a racer. Speed is good though - I've been quite taken aback by just how fast the pages load now.

  178. Len Goddard


    I'm disappointed but not surprised by the "like it or lump it" response.

    I won't scream that I'll never look at the Reg again, but I do know that I've been looking at it less simply because it is now so much more difficult to read. I used to read it between other activities but with the new layout it is far more difficult to visually re-acquire a point in the middle of an article when you glance away from it.

    Fixed width was a bad idea, but badly implemented fixed width is a bit of a disaster. Is there no way you can have a preferences button to drop back to something like the older design?

  179. chrubb

    he's been a very naughty boy...

    "In publishing, a redesign is well up there with moving house, getting divorced and sticking hot needles in your eyes on the scale of things you don't want to do but know you're eventually going to have to"

    Why do you feel feel you are eventually going to have to stick hot needles in your eyes? - its certainly not on my list of 10 things to do before i die.

  180. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Disappointed

    It really isn't my intention that this sound like 'like it or lump it'. We're certainly not going to go back to the old design, but we don't intend to try to restrict everybody to reading The Register in a single way. We're noting what you have to say here, and we're considering what we can and can't do in the way of alternative views. And maybe some kind of view switch button is feasible. Say, we could think of it as an 'all the stories' view that just gave you them wallpapered in order, laid out rather like the old front page but minus the story weighting we used to use for that... Certainly sounds like an option to me, but we need to consider the labour overheads. If an alternative view can be almost entirely automated from our end then it's feasible, but if it generates more admin and support work then it's less so.

  181. Martin

    Font size?

    Why can't I just change the font size?

    Normally, I manage fine - but I'm over fifty. And sometimes, at the end of the day, when my eyes get a bit tired, I just think - you know, I'd like to increase the font size on the web pages.

    And I can't.

    You're hardly alone in this. But in these days of trying to increase access to disabled people, it seems a bit poor to take away my ability to change the font size of the articles. Hell, I'm not disabled - just a bit old - and you're making it harder for me.

  182. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Almost fine for me

    No really. The layout is fine, I can still find my way around, I'm okay with it, really.

    But fixed width ? "greater control over the look and feel" ?

    In a word, BOLLOCKS !

    Fixed width has nothing to do with controlling the look and feel, and everything to do with making a computer screen behave like printed paper. Makes the managers feel better because they think their "control" actually has an impact on how I peruse the site.

    Well it doesn't. And you could have just as much control by fixing the width of the side columns and leaving the center column proportional - that way us users that read other publications than The Sun could continue using our widescreen TFTs to their maximum extent.

    Fixed width ? EPIC FAIL.

    For rest, carry on. I'll be back.

  183. Chris Bradshaw

    re "And eat, of course, we need to eat. "

    ^eat^drink (Ask a Unix guru)

    I automatically skip over the gray bar as my brain interprets it as an ad. I have to actually push myself to read it...

    Otherwise, fixed width is unpleasant but I'll get used to it...

  184. Len Goddard

    Re: Re: Disappointed

    John, that sounds much more positive than anything that has been said before. TBH I can live with the front page if I have to - I find it far "busier" and less visually attractive than the old layout but as I generally only want to see the headlines it is workable, although I'd still much rather have all the featured stories together at the top than have two of them breaking the screen flow in the middle. However, the individual story layout is not good for me. I'm currently using ctrl+ to increase the font size to something I can read without too much discomfort, but that means far more vertical scrolling and completely screws up the front page - I can only see a small proportion of the stories at any one time.

  185. James Anderson

    I like it!

    Only problem is it took me 5 minutes to work out how to get to the next page of an article.

    On my ancient work browser IE 6.0 the "1" "2" "Next" buttons get overlaid by the "Track this Item" link resulting in a confising blob with lots of misleading "tool tips"

  186. Paul

    Did the width move for you?

    Well I'd Have to say NO, its still fixed, therefore it doesnt move!

    Thats the problem.

    I have a solution, free of charge...


    And to quote yourself John:-

    "we need to unbreak the mobile platforms the new design seems to have broken. We should also be looking at how effectively we cater for smaller screens and very large screens"

    Yet again, I have a solution, free of charge / gratis / do it now I beg you...


    Is any of this getting through? or is El-reg going to continue on ignoring the 100's of requests in comments for exactly the same thing? This may be a flame, but its a flame with a purpose, and one that deserves more than "tough, we 'fixed it' and were not admitting it was a bad idea"

  187. Brian Varnell
    Thumb Down

    A navigation suggestion

    Overall the redesign is fine w/ me. It just took me a few days to get used to it. One thing however that bugs me only slightly is how navigation and my current location within the site is shown.

    I would suggest that the navigation bar (ie Harware, Software, Music, etc) should highlight which section I am currently viewing. I understand that this is shown via (more) text preceeding the first article on the page, but in a world where (page) real-estate is at a premium, why duplicate text that is already present in the navigation bar. As I stated, just highlight the item on the navigation bar to show which are of the site I'm currently browsing.

    Just a suggestion. thanks

  188. Swee' Pea

    Right Site? Other Moderator?

    Other than wondering if I had reached the right site, I see no reason to complain. The previous Register format looked out-dated years ago. So what? It was easy to read and worth it. I don't think the new format is particulary up-to-date looking but then, that's part of "Biting the Hand that Feeds IT" -- no gloss, no hype, just deliver the goods. Just like "Playboy" I read "The Register" for the articles.

    As for all the griping, I bet if Sarah Bee's byline were on the article, commenters would be cooing over fixed widths and fonts. Perhaps your next format change should accompany a gender-related staffing change.

  189. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    The font seems hard to read.

    I agree with some of the other posters, the new font is hard to read. I'm not certain exactly what the difference is. Even when I increase my font size there is something about the layout that makes my eyes kind of achey when reading the longer articles. I'm finding I'm spending more time at /. or Wired for my tech news than I am on The Register. Previously The Register was my main tech site. I'm finding I usually only hit it once a day instead of every few hours.

    It isn't because I "hate" the new design, it is because the new design is physically painful to my eyes. Paris because it looks like she's got a headache from looking at the page too!

  190. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Multi-page articles

    Please, could you put back the 1-2-3.. links at the top of the article (in addition to those at the bottom)?

    I found it convenient (particularly when surfing from work) to know immediately if I was about to enter a 6-page article and decide if I read it now or save it for later.

    Today it's only when I finish reading the first page that I realize there are n more to come...

  191. Charley

    Re:Re: Multi-page articles

    and maybe also not put the comments link on every page, just on the last one? Two reasons:

    1. It should cut down on the number of RTFA comments.

    2. I might not miss the fact that so many of the articles are multi-paged, click to read the comments, get 1/2 way through them before I realise *I* haven't RTFA, go back to to where the train of thought got derailed and try to pick up the thread again, go "Oh sod it!" and go look at something else.

    Seems a waste to have the good articles that I've been reading here since last century if 1/2 your readers miss most of them.


  192. Charley

    Re:Re:Re: Multi-page articles

    Also, some dark grey numbers in a slightly less dark grey box on a slightly lighter grey bar isn't exactly Hi-viz.

    Is it a case of the carpet matching the drapes?

  193. John Lettice (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Re:Re: Multi-page articles

    I did a count on this years ago, before we ran comments. I haven't checked again, but I doubt the numbers are much different. The number of readers effectively halved from page to page, so 50 per cent page two, 25 per cent page three, etc. This isn't really a consequence of splitting articles across multiple pages, as you get a simlar effect with long articles, it's just harder to measure.

    Only putting the comment link on the last page certainly has its attractions, but I'm not sure about it. Say you diligently read all the way through, go away and think about it, then return to the article in order to make a comment (I know, in my dreams, but I like to think the best of people). Mightn't it be excessively stalinist for us to insist that you have to go all the way to the last page in order to make that comment?

    BTW, I've never personally been keen on multipage articles, but there are arguments for them, and I believe there are even people who like them. I think we ought to make it more obvious in our labelling that Print is effectively also the single page button. So change it to Print/View as single page.

  194. Tim Williams

    Censorship & Choice

    I note that you censored my last demolition job on fixed width page designs. Perhaps I hit a raw nerve with that one.

    Firstly I am a web designer myself and in my experience fixed width page designs are rarely needed and are often simply the last resort of an incompetent designer who can't cope with idea of a flexible page width. There may be a few specific cases where a fixed design might be justifiable, eg a page with a very small amount of content which would be unlikely to fill even a very small screen, but I can't think of any reason to use a fixed width for a general site design.

    Furthermore, you state that you used a fixed width in order to give yourselves more control over the page, however, by definition, by giving yourselves more control you have to take it away from somebody else, ie us the poor users who now have to adapt our browsing preferences to fit in with what you think is good, when a flexible width design would have enabled everybody to make there own choices.

    To all of those who think the fixed width is good because it fits in with you style of working, that's great, but for the rest of us we have lost the ability to choose. I ask you, is it so difficult to just resize your browser window if the page isn't a comfortable size for you ? I think I might start a campaign to have The Register fix it's width at 1580px, which fits nicely with what I want, but probably doesn't suit anybody else.

    In the meantime, my greasemonkey extension for Firefox (available on the userscripts website) is fixing the problem, although it has forced a change in browsing habits, since I prefer Konqueror to Firefox, I now have to start up a separate browser to use the reg, so my visits are likely to become less frequent since this requires extra effort. I may even drift off entirely, as a long term reader (8+ years) that would be a pity.

  195. Charley

    Re:Re: Re:Re: Multi-page articles

    While I can see your point about drop off with each extra click, it may be worth checking the numbers again and seeing if they still stack up now that comments are enabled. It may be that the comment feature is motivating more people to read all the way through (if they realise it is a multi-page).

    Of course that may not be the case, but I'm sure it'll be worth the exercise even if to check your own views on multi-page stories.

    As for the Stalinisation of keeping comments till the last page, if you went along with the AC above my comments and also put the page links at the top, that would seem a fair compromise, Comrade.

    And maybe in the grey box, on the grey bar you could use red numbers, just to show that creeping capitalism hasn't gotten out of hand at Vulture Central?

  196. Tony Rogers
    Thumb Up

    New Style

    Looks good to me.

    Well done

    Keep on truckin'

  197. Thurstan R McDougle

    Good, bad and ugly, hopefully constructive.


    Pretty enough if a little busy at times (but not compellingly pretty!).

    Article order not changing about (very good).

    The week in summary puts the section in a column to the right instead of wasting tons of vertical space as it did before (much better!).

    It also does not group the articles by section (also much improved).



    On the week in summary the date breaks could be more prominent (minor niggle).

    Takes too much scrolling to read an article or comments (fixed width issue).

    Font size is too small for my eyes, since I read each article in a new tab I have to resize every time I open an article! (You should (perhaps must under DDA?) respect the users overall font size preference and so should never have used a fixed font size, at least for the main page contents.)

    It took me a couple of days to notice the multipage article page buttons (grey on grey on grey does not stand out that well. Maybe they should be blue text as that is your standard link colour?).

    On a web site all direct content links should have a single common link colouration (like blue/red for unread/read) but the most read and don't miss links and the page buttons are not coloured like that. They don't even change appearance once visited.

    On multipage articles there is a next button (when appropriate) but never a previous!



    Borders around comment icons jar with me.

    I find the new heart icon is infuriatingly twee.

    "Biting the hand..." is fuzzy.

    Just discovered, I cannot put extra blank lines in a comment to cause it to separate sections in it (hence the . lines above)

  198. Chika

    Thanks for reminding me!

    I did say that I'd reserve judgement until after I'd let Netsurf loose with it.

    Just fire up my Risc PC...

    Hmm... well, it isn't perfect but at least the designer didn't try anything really stupid so it's readable. I'm still not convinced by the fixed width argument but I guess I'll let you off as long as the bozo behind the icon change is suitably chastised.

    In public.

    By the BOFH of our choice.

  199. rick buck

    refreshing, & HOW!

    How refreshing that you actually give us a voice, and actually listen to our bitchin', instead of just "Changin' It, and Saying "Screw the you think, and That's it!". While I will add a complaint, Why is'nt "El Reg" in my mailbox 7 Days a Week?...I love it so. And the fixed width still bugs me, as if a half a yard long stream of a LARGER FONT!!! does not bother me, and I too look at it on a wide-screen, though I CAN DOWNSIZE THE FRAME, so I can read "El Reg" and actually do work in the other half of the screen too. THAT IS what I miss, and the Larger and not so "Society Proper" Font. Please give me the ability to multitask with the full frame, w/a slightly LARGER/More Unique Font. (El Reg is unique and original, so it deserve a unique and different font, not the same ol' crap that the man uses!). That is what I miss. Thanks again for not turning a tin ear, as deep down we all love you. the unknownsoundman

    Mine is the coat with the "El Reg" hardcopy in it!

  200. 49125
    Thumb Up

    Week looking much better

    More vertical white space, less caps. Thumbs up.

    Still much wasted space on the right hand side though, which could reduce page length.

    Request: put (state appropriate) back and forward icons either side of the "The Week in Summary" header. The archive functionality is great, but one easily accessable click to go back/forth a week is even better.

  201. Ed

    Yet another fixed width comment

    Overall, I think the new site look is ok - but the old look was fine, also. I come here for the content, not the look, and that's still good.

    Fixed width tends to be problematic, however. As it happens, you've randomly hit my viewing situation well; I have just a bit of grey on either side (apparently, 64 pixels minus my scrollbar width, whatever that is.) But it's something that either works for someone or it doesn't work for them. People aren't going to go out and get a new monitor and/or video card just to be able to read el'Reg comfortably.

    With the new layout, whenever my wife decides to nick my laptop, I'm not about to bother browsing in from the Linux box - it being limited to 800x600 and all.

    Of course, I'm sure that particular stat doesn't bother you much, given that I mostly just come around weekly some time around Friday - especially since I'm states-side, and therefore not subjected to most of your ads.

  202. Ed

    Re: Freetards

    I'd just like to second Daniel's comment. Noscript for the win.

    I used to run adblocker as a poor man's noscript, before I knew of noscript.

    Now, I run noscript, although I still have adblocker configured, with a minimized list of sites (basically, if an advertiser has ever opened up a new window to show me ads, they're in my adblocker list. Otherwise, they're not.)

  203. Herby

    After a couple of weeks, it kinda grows on you

    But other weird things exist. I miss having the first 5 comment titles at the end of the article. One always strives to get in those first few to show off that they have important things to say. In addition, I use "no-squint" that makes fonts bigger (it works quite nicely!) for those who need higher power spectacles each year. Sometimes it has a really bad side effect of making things overlap when they shouldn't. Of course the fixed width stuff feels strange, but as I said, it grows on you.

    But, all in all, as the main content hasn't changed (or its literary style), I'm content.

  204. This post has been deleted by its author

  205. IT Department
    IT Angle

    Re: Freetards and fixed width

    Calling ad-blockers (or script blockers) "Freetards" is in itself retarded/ignorant. I direct you name-calling cretins to these articles:

    You may thank me later.

    NoScript (with the Flash blocker turned on) is probably your best bet. In Opera, I stick checkboxes to en/dis-able JS/plugins in the status bar. Presumably a lot of the worst sort of idiots here have privileged access to network resources on the setup you're reading this on? You should be sacked for incompetence.

    Fixed width sucks. I can't see why any reader would prefer it. If you like a narrow column of text (yes, I have read Nielsen and others about "newspaper + columns") then resize your browser window. Or am I missing something?

    IE 7 (which I seldom use) does a terrible job of scaling a page anyway, so The Reg looks horrible on many PC's. FF, Opera and any decent browser do it better, but I still have to resort to trickery to read El Reg in an `unbroken' view.

    PS - Why does the comments system insist on double line spacing my links?

  206. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Freetards and fixed width

    You know what 'cretin' means, don't you?

    Truly sorry about the spacing issue. We'll pay it the attention it deserves.

  207. IT Department

    Re: Freetards and fixed width [part 2]

    Ooh, flamed by the Moderator! How exciting.

    > You know what 'cretin' means, don't you?

    Yep. That's why I used it. Would you like to put an <irony> tag around that? I note you didn't object to my use of "retarded". I suspect a personal issue here...

    Shocking that you've made me resort to quoting the Wikipedians, but they're accurate enough for this:

    "The term cretin refers to a person so affected, but, like many similar words, such as spastic, idiot, lunatic, retard, etc., it has also been hijacked and become a word of abuse" and "Irony is a literary or rhetorical device, in which there is an incongruity or discordance between what one says or does, and what one means or what is generally understood."

    Alles klar?

  208. IT Department

    Re: Freetards and fixed width [part 2]

    While I'm on the rant, have at ye:

    But never mind that the new layout is b0rked, kindly return to flaming instead.

  209. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Freetards and fixed width [part 2]


  210. IT Department


    Date duly noted on my wall calendar...

This topic is closed for new posts.