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  1. #1
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    Lack of :active and outlines on links makes it harder for me to use the forums

    I know this has been 'inherited' from a new vbulletin 4.x skin but are there any plans to bring back these very basic usability features in the new forum? On every web site when I click a link or choose "open link in new tab/window", the clicked link gets a thin outline around it and often it changes colour (css :active declaration). When I press the back button or close the tab and return to the previous page, the link stays outlined and with a diffent colour, which makes it easy for me to see immediately where I clicked last time and where I want to click next.

    Very often I open a forum page with a long list of topics and I visit each of them one by one to see if there's anything interesting and then come back and go to the next one. In the new layout when I come back I'm lost - I use a large screen monitor and I'm staring at a long list of topics not knowing which one I visited last time. I have to spend a couple of seconds reading and searching for the last clicked topic and after having done this a lot of times I'm tired.

    There have been lots of rants about the lack of usability of the new layout and I don't want to get into that - but is this one thing that hard to modify? I suppose it's just a question of removing the outline: none declaration and adding some nice a:active and this would make a lot of difference.

  2. #2
    Galactic Overlord gold trophysilver trophybronze trophy
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    Hi there,
    We actually have made numerous changes to the current styles (thanks for TimIgoe) and I plan to test it all on our staging server asap before rolling out. Hang in there - it's coming, I promise!

  3. #3
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy
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    Thanks, that's good news!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lemon Juice View Post
    I know this has been 'inherited' from a new vbulletin 4.x skin but are there any plans to bring back these very basic usability features in the new forum? On every web site when I click a link or choose "open link in new tab/window", the clicked link gets a thin outline around it and often it changes colour (css :active declaration). When I press the back button or close the tab and return to the previous page, the link stays outlined and with a diffent colour, which makes it easy for me to see immediately where I clicked last time and where I want to click next.

    Very often I open a forum page with a long list of topics and I visit each of them one by one to see if there's anything interesting and then come back and go to the next one. In the new layout when I come back I'm lost - I use a large screen monitor and I'm staring at a long list of topics not knowing which one I visited last time. I have to spend a couple of seconds reading and searching for the last clicked topic and after having done this a lot of times I'm tired.

    There have been lots of rants about the lack of usability of the new layout and I don't want to get into that - but is this one thing that hard to modify? I suppose it's just a question of removing the outline: none declaration and adding some nice a:active and this would make a lot of difference.
    I havent experienced this problem, you want visited links to be marked better?

  5. #5
    Programming Since 1978 silver trophybronze trophy felgall's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by clickthroughrate View Post
    I havent experienced this problem, you want visited links to be marked better?
    The request relateds to the active link - not the visited links. It is useful when you go back to a web page to be able to clearly see which link it was that you made active in order to end up on the page that link took you to. Basically it tells you where you were up to in the page before you last left it. Distinguishing the visited links wouldn't necessarily tell you which was the last active link.
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Guru bronze trophy
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    Yes, that was about styling active links, not visited links - and about outline around clicked links. However, now as I see it the situation becomes more difficult because browser developers seem to abandon this useful feature. When I use 'Open link in new tab' Gecko browsers have always put a dotted outline around clicked links and set them to the :active style so that when I went back from the new tab to the original one, the clicked link was still in the outline and was styled like an active link (for example red) - so it stood out easily. In Firefox 8 they got rid of the outlines - they appear only after I click a link AND come back using the back button. And still this doesn't happen always. When opening in new tab, there is no outline at all and the active style is applied only for a short time so it's no longer there after a while. Among other browsers only IE applies active styles long enough to be useful and uses outlines.

    I don't know why but sometimes I feel like the web technology is going backwards and usability is thrown out the window: browsers removing outlines and active styles, getting rid of status bars (Firefox, IE, Chrome), removing location bar drop-down history (Opera), removing hourglass cursor while page is loading (Firefox), removing application menus by default (FF, Opera, IE), messing with UI and placing reload and stop buttons in some obscure locations, web sites suppressing all things that make web pages usable (styling of vbulleting 4 forums), removing all kinds of useful options and settings aka "dumbing down" (Firefox), removing "http://" from address bar (Firefox), and the list goes on and on... Does this mean I am not able to adapt to changes? I just can't understand why people have to mess with things that work and are useful... Sorry for the little off topic!


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