Suggestion: Site Layout And Navigation

I would like to thank everyone who has worked on this site.

I am very impressed.

I would like to make a suggestion.

I know it is a volunteer effort and resources are not unlimited.

However, when it become feasible over the future, you might want to consider two versions of the site, one for conventional web browsers and one for mobile device users.

I often don’t come here despite being impressed with the idea behind the site. I find the layout and navigation of the site to be too difficult. It seems like it is set up to imitate a mobile device environment. That is confusing if you are not on a mobile device and/or if you don’t use mobile devices a lot, if your world doesn’t revolve around them. Hey, I try to do the right thing and be in the present moment mindfully when I have spare in between moments, I’m not glued to my phone. :slight_smile: I don’t get much practice with my phone unless I am waiting at a restaurant for someone.

The idea of an environment that is the same on a PC as a mobile device is enticing, but it doesn’t work. Microsoft and Ubuntu tried that and failed with their desktops.

It is two different environments. Snow boots and sandals are both useful types of footwear, but neither are universally usable foot wear good for all conditions.

Most sites have two versions of their site ( same content, same code, different CSS ) for whether or not it is being accessed through a computer or a mobile device. Please consider cobbling that in over the future.

Thank you for being gracious and reading my suggestion.

:grinning: I suggest you check out the SC Next category, where we are discussing the details of the next version of SuttaCentral that we hope to launch at the end of this year.

Thanks for the kind suggestion. As Ayya Vimala, has pointed out, our efforts are focused on the new version of the site, which implements Google’s material design guideline, which apply across all form factors.

I am curious though. I use the site extensively every day on a desktop; in fact a large 28" screen. It works fine for me, so i am wondering about what specific things you’d like to see that would make your experience on a desktop better.

And just as a practical point, I’m not sure if you’ve done any development, but responsive design is hard. It’s hard enough to get something to work well in just one way, but to make it work well across multiple different platforms is a real challenge, as is evidenced by the fact that, even after many years, many major sites don’t have responsive design. So we made our job easy by focusing on a single column design, which adapts to page width. This keeps things as simple as possible. Any other approach—and I’m not sure what might even be considered a better way—would require orders of magnitude more complexity, coding, and design.

That is just it. If I used this site everyday I would probably learn the UI. As an occasional user, when I come here to look for something I get confused, give up, and go somewhere else.[quote=“sujato, post:3, topic:5649”]
which implements Google’s material design guideline

That could be a source of troubles. Like many people I have found the periodic Google/Gmail/Google Services UI changes to be counterintuitive. I’m on Gmail and Google Services every day for work, so in time I learn. Even given that I still dread trying to find my files on Google Docs. I don’t think Google really knows what they are doing as far as easy UIs go. I think they have some high paid designers trying to justify their jobs with gratuitous[quote=“sujato, post:3, topic:5649”]
And just as a practical point, I’m not sure if you’ve done any development, but responsive design is hard.

[quote] UI changes that make the users work to do what they could already do before.[/quote] I did and I agree. The way out of that is keeping it simple and focusing on one environment ( desktop ) like the old Access To Insight site. You don’t need fancy complicated UI artifacts to do what is done more simply with established web UI conventions. The star of your site is your content and your expertise in the Dhamma, not the UI.

Plain text environments don’t convey intentions or emotions very well. My apologies if my notes may have inadvertently come across as crabby. I appreciate someone as busy as yourself, doing a ton of work for people, for free, is willing to hear me out.

Have a great week


No need to apologize. But you still haven’t said what exactly you find difficult. When you come to the site, there is a search box at the top right, and a menu in the top bar. If you want the suttas, you click suttas, and a menu appears. Then you click on the place in the menu you want to go to. I really just don’t understand how it could be any simpler or more intuitive.

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I am often stumped when trying to find who the translator is. For me, this is the second most important piece of info after the title. Since I am not on very often, I forget that I need to click the menu button then metadata. I know that translator is metadata, but somehow it seems like it should be more prominent. If not at the top of the translation, then at least at the top of the sidebar. I realize that doing that at this point may be difficult/impossible/go against the concept of the side bar.

The whole problem with user experience is that the designers of the site are the most frequent users so it is hard to imagine what the rough spots are.

Much gratitude to those designers, though, of course.

The issue of the exposure of the translators has been raised a number of times, and it will be resolved in the upcoming site upgrade.