Rating The ChicagoNow Blog Experience: Good, Bad, Ugly?

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What do you like -- and hate -- about the new blog layout?  I bet we all have some strong opinions and have already been hearing from some of you via email (thanks, ES!).

There are a bunch of things I like -- the fresh graphics, the ability to Tweet individual posts (if you're into that kind of thing, the ability for readers to set up little profiles and thumbnail pictures to identify themselves if they want.  There's a search bar that may actually work.

There are also a bunch of things that I don't like right now.  First and foremost, you can't see how many comments if any have been made without clicking on individual posts.  The "recent comments" box they added is great but is way too low on the page and only includes five comments.  The archive of previous posts only goes back a month. 

The ChicagoNow folks are determined to make the site work as well or better than the previous versions (Typepad, Catalyst).  Feel free to tell us what most needs work in your humble opinion.  And keep coming back to see how we're doing and say what you like and don't like. The more you read and comment here the more oopmh I have to get it to look and work even better.  

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  • From Me Either: I agree, Not Happy. This site has had so much useful information and discussion, but the new format is jarring and unpleasant to deal with, not to mention cumbersome and confusing. I feel like I've lost an old friend.

  • From Not Happy: The font size of the comments section is too small. It also takes SEVERAL more steps to actually post a comment. The last time I posted, it took me 4 times just to actually get a comment posted. I hate this new format. It makes me not to read. The "recent comments" at the side have been the same since the weekend. I also don't like the tweets included with the normal comments. I don't like this set up AT ALL! The Catalyst was so much simpler and easier to read and to follow. This site is too busy, not enough recent comments (that actually work), and takes too long to post. I am not happy!

  • CKlaus: Still getting used to this platform. So far I preferred the catalyst page. There's a lot going on in these margins. One feature I'd like is the return scroll automated when I click between main page and comments page, so you're returned to the entry and not back to the top of the page.

  • Next Post: Having to click on each article to see if there are comments makes it clunky and cumbersome to navigate. It feels like there's a bit much in terms of visual distraction on the page as well.

  • First Post: Okay, here's a complaint: there is no RSS feed for District 299. The Chicago Now RSS feed includes links to posts that I don't care about, like cute things with the RedEye staff. This makes the blog much less usable for me.

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