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This new forum layout is...horrible!


#1

Is it just me, or is this new forum layout a big step backwards?

Why are there letters in coloured circles? Are they M&Ms for bald people? Are we supposed to remember what each one means - like some sort of secret code for the hair-cognoscenti?

What’s with the vertical timeline on the right side - can’t we just scroll up and down like a normal website. Does this gimmick really help use-ability?

And why is there so much white space everywhere. It forces us to scroll and scroll and scroll to read the messages.

This site used to be so alive and dynamic. But now it seems dead with hardly any recent postings. I suspect much of this has to do with the strange new forum layout.

May I respectfully request to the Hairsite Administrator that you seriously reconsider this forum design - remove the silly visual gimmicks, and reduce the amount of white space.


#2

@Follicular Appreciate the feedback.

The colored circles are avatars that help users easily identify who are the participants in a particular thread. If you upload your image, that will help users identify and recognize your posts more easily.

The white space is just cosmetic changes that I believe can be adjusted. I will find out more about that.

The old platform can only be viewed on desktop computers. It was built on technology that are almost a decade old and it is becoming more and more difficult to obtain support for the old platform. Nowadays over 50% of the users are accessing our site with a mobile device; we have no choice but to upgrade to a newer format that can keep up with a changing environment.

What you see is not a done deal yet. We are constantly tweaking and making adjustments to fine tune the layout and functionality etc.

Thanks
HairSite


#3

Thanks Hairsite, for your considered reply. I wish you all the best in your design evolution - these things are not easy to do well. Your site has always been one of the best (perhaps THE best) site for suffers of hair loss. You provide a good service too many people.


#4

I have to agree with Follicular on most of his points. The new format is great for mobile use (and that’s a good thing), but I still access Hairsite about 50% of the time on my PC, and the new format looks terrible on a PC screen. Way too much white space, font is tiny, not enough contrast between font and white background, and you can only see initial posts in a thread, as opposed to the whole thread. I think the circles with letters inside don’t really help-- it’s a very weak substitute for visualizing the whole thread and all the posters’ names.

Sad, it appears what happened is the creators of the old forum template have stopped supporting it.


#5

Change is never easy, but the messages are still clear.


#6

Dr. Cole, the format may be clear, but it’s not nearly as enjoyable to use as the old one was. I realize that for HT doctors and clinics, and their patients, the HT forum is self-sustaining: much of the posting of pictures and case studies on this site is at the behest of HT clinics, or through close cooperation between HT doctors and their patients. This stuff is the “bread and butter” of HairSite. On the other hand, some of us prefer forums like HM and Stem Cells, which has nothing to do with HT clinics. We post about new developments in research and science; not because we’ve just had a HT. So there is no other “outside purpose” or “outside influence” causing us to post.


#7

@roger_that we will be making a few changes in the next couple days, it’s trial-and-error, hopefully it will make a difference for you.

If you only wish to access Hair Multiplication or research related posts, you can access that forum category directly via the Hair Multiplication tab on the home page, this should bypass other categories.

Most of your requests are cosmetic changes which I “think” can be implemented and we have been working on it ever since.

The only one request that we unfortunately will not be able to accommodate is the THREADED view layout (from the old forum) which turns out to be an enormous undertaking. Programming for the old platform is totally incompatible with what we use nowadays; we could not find a reliable and experienced developer who is willing to take on such a project. Sorry,


#8

Thanks for the information, HairSite. I look forward to whatever changes can be made to make the forums better. It is a pity, though that you will not be able to re-establish threaded discussion view layout. In my opinion – and everyone should take this seriously as I and some others have been here since the beginning of HairSite in the 90s – that was the main “draw” for the HM crowd to come here, from the beginning. We enjoyed the heated discussions and we were able to follow the discussions in real time, by seeing each post in the thread, who made the post, and watch the discussion as it developed. It was easier and much more fun to participate in.

Other people have different reasons to visit HairSite. I understand that. There is the whole “HT community” who are closely followed and encouraged by their HT surgeons, like Dr. Cole and others. For that community, the close relationship between the doctors and patients is the most important part of their HairSite experience. I see that these doctors watch the HT forum very closely, and probably encourage their patients, on whom they’ve operated successfully, to share their experiences, as a form of “advertising” (I am not criticizing this; they have a right to do this and it is genuinely informative for HairSite’s HT community.)

However, HM and Research fans have a completely different reason for coming here. I can give my experience. In the 1980s, my father had a hair transplant and it was absolutely abominable. Most of his scalp – both the donor area and the recipient area – was destroyed so badly, he had to us a “Hair System” (hair piece) for the rest of his life. It was a bit of an unusual hair replacement system because it actually had to hide not just the front of his scalp, and the top, but also much of the rear portion which had been scarred badly by the HT surgery, and where he had lost considerable hair due to the bad surgery.

The experience of watching him has always “scarred” me, because it turned me off completely to the idea of hair transplants for myself. My hair loss is considerably less than his, but still I am about a Norwood 4.

Now, I realize that doctors like Dr. Cole and others will say that there have been so many advances in HT technique since the 80s, that I shouldn’t worry at all, that everything will be all right and I should go in and have a HT done on myself. But the emotional trauma of seeing part of my Dad’s life ruined by poor HT surgery, has completely turned me off to the idea.

That is why I am 100% interested in HM research, stem cells, and all cell-based solutions (like Replicel, Dr. Tsuji, etc. are working on), as well as the somewhat less likely prospect of some kind of chemical/drug solution (like PGD2 inhibitors from Dr. Cotsarelis or JAK inhibitors from Dr. Chiristiano.)

For a long while, HairSite was THE place to come for those people interested in Hair Multiplication, Stem Cells, and other cutting-edge research based cures. HairSite is still a great place to come for those discussions, but I would say now that these format changes have been made to the forums, and threaded discussions have been abolished, HairSite has less of an appeal as a discussion space.

My key point here is that for those in the HairSite HT community (doctors and patients), you have an overriding incentive to come to HairSite for your discussions which has nothing to do with the forum layout. The HT surgeons and clinics associated with HairSite are actively encouraging their patients to post here and share their results as a community. So the HT posters have that big outside impetus to keep posting on HairSite. The doctors are expecting their patients to post, and the patients want to keep open communications and relationships with their doctors. There is a huge cross-incentive at work. It’s like a marketplace of information for the HT community, and as we know HT surgeons are very competitive with one another. The natural competitiveness of the HT industry is a natural


#9

Part 2 of my post …

…impetus for these surgeons and clinics to actively encourage their patients to post here. They even have a major financial incentive to get their successful patients to continue to post. And they fear they will be financially hurt if this forum is not available for their successful patients to post. The economic competitiveness of the HT business keeps the HT forum here chugging along. Doctors would be furious if their patients were not able to post, or if the forum became unusable. Fortunately, the changes made by HairSite in these forums don’t make the forums unusable, and so the HT patients can continue to post, the doctors can continue to benefit, and everyone is happy.

But the HM and Research fans have no such outside incentive going on here. The research companies, the drug companies, Dr. Cotsarelis, Dr. Christiano, etc., have minimal interest in how many HairSite users are posting on the HM forum about their work. They have no real financial incentive to have an active forum here, because their research is not based on currently selling something in the marketplace (like HT doctors’ success is based on continuing to generate new HT patients). If and when the researchers’ studies are successful, they will sell their products or techniques in the marketplace and their financial success will stand or fall based on the viability of their products alone – because they are not competing with 10,000 other competitors who provide exactly (or essentially) the same thing, like every HT doctor and clinic is.

So, for the HM and Research fans here, the appeal of this forum is based COMPLETELY on how engaging the forum interactions and discussions are, period. We have no one else prodding us to post. No researchers are monitoring this forum everyday because their competitiveness in the marketplace doesn’t depend on what we say on this forum (unless the person is trying to hawk some short-term “get in, get out” scams – like we have seen here a number of times. But those people usually disappear quickly.)

That is why, for the HM and Research community, the layout and capabilities of the forum are critical. Bottom line is, if it’s not “fun” to post here and follow the discussions, people will post and discuss less. I think we’re already seeing that on the HM forum and I’m very sad about it.

I still think HairSite is great, I still think overall, it’s the best hair loss-centered website out there, but the loss of threaded discussion layout is definitely a real loss.


#10

I think this forum is light years ahead of the older one, I am checking in more frequent now because it is so much easier to use. In the past I could only check what s going on when I had my 15" desktop computer with me, but now I can read up on all the posts wherever I go without even opening the browser. There s no comparison.


#11

@roger_that you are saying because research fans have different incentives to come here so a different board layout is needed. does that even make sense? Check out these very popular cancer research boards out there, they all look more or less the same as what we have here.

https://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/cancer-chat/

https://community.breastcancer.org/forum/83/topics/851164


#12

@TKS, I see you only registered on HairSite on November 27, after the new format was put into place. Does THAT even make sense, that you would question my opinion so quickly without having really used the old layout?


#13

The unfortunate fact is that the HM & Research Forum is now almost dead. Look at the stats - hardly anyone visits. It used to be THE place to visit for cutting edge developments in the baldness community. A big part of its success was - as Roger says - the threaded layout, which enabled readers to engage in a lively discussion.

I appreciate there are challenges in integrating mobile and desktop platforms, but it is perfectly doable - without destroying the HM & Research forum.

The new design may ‘look better’ from a purely visual perspective - but it is not as useable, fun, engaging, lively, or interesting as the original. It just feels FLAT and artificial.

I would also be cautious about overstating the performance of the rest of the HS site. The Hair Transplant forums, for example, are driven by what is known as ‘cohort pressure advertising’ - whereby HT doctors feel that they cannot afford to be left out of the discussion. So you won’t hear much criticism from them about the site design. Also, it is not sustainable - in the long term - for a forum to be driven by advertiser needs (fears) rather than the readers.

Although the HM forum is just one of many at HairSite, it is also one of the most important because it examines the FUTURE of this industry. A single, effective breakthrough in this area will revolutionise the industry. The audience for this forum extends beyond the group of die-hard HM posters - it also includes hair transplant candidates who will often check this forum to see if an alternative is on the horizon. The HT doctors monitor it too - for the opposite reason - to see how much longer they can work before a breakthrough becomes available.

Once again, I stress that I am not trying to be critical - just constructive. I have watched your site since its inception - first as a lurker, and then some years later as a poster, and I hope that HairSite can reclaim its former glory.

But for this to happen, you must fix your design by:

Removing the silly gimmicks (ie coloured M&Ms, sliding side bar etc)
Reintroducing threads (or a version of them)
Eliminating the extraneous white space (thus reducing the need to sroll)
Keep things simple
Create the feeling of a ‘conversation’ rather than a notice board for advertisers.


#14

I have no problem with the new layout, I like it.


#15

roger and follicular are right. ive been coming here since 2002 the avodart days


#16

Let’s vote and get this over with.

I love the new forum, it’s about time, I can finally read and post using my tablet without having to constantly enlarge the screen.

+1 for new forum.


#17

@helpmeout Funny, I never had the slightest problem having to enlarge my screen. I use everything from an iPhone to a tablet to a laptop and desktop. It’s normal for text to appear smaller on a smaller screen. Plus, in case you didn’t notice, the old forum allowed you to toggle back and forth from threaded view to full forum view with just one click. If you wanted to enlarge it a bit from there, you could just shift your display to landscape view. Now, we’re stuck WITHOUT the option of a threaded view at all.

I think if we’re going to have any vote on this, it should be done in an organized way, with a formal poll… Not people typing “+1” in their posts.


#18

I am not new, I have been posting for many years in the old forum under the screen name YM.

Your argument that discussion boards for research fans must be in threaded view in order to thrive is absurb. How do you explain the tens of thousands very active research boards out there that also adopt a very similar layout as this one ?

This forum is a big improvement, everything flows so much better on both big and small screens, I vote to stay with the new forum.


#19

Tens of thousands of research boards have all adopted this format?? Have you checked all of them? If you know this then your job must involve nothing but checking research boards all day.

As Follicular pointed out, the HairSite HM and Research forum is now almost dead. People are avoiding the board because they don’t like the new format. You’re not seeing their posts because they come, don’t like it and leave. You want to have a vote? People are voting with their silence.


#20

Please help preserve the integrity of the users database; do NOT create a new account here if you already have an existing account from the old forum.