The Robot Co-op

How we over did it

April 13, 2010 · 14 Comments

About a year ago we had the bright idea of creating the template for “How I did it” stories. And over that year, tens of thousands of people who have completed a goal have taken some time to share how they accomplished their objective and share some advice with others. Awesome. But in building the feature, we frankly over did it. Our solicitations for “How I Did it” stories confused some people who thought they were mandatory (we think we’ve already fixed that problem). And we parked the stories right at the top of the page, where they didn’t change or update very often.

We’ve been hearing more and more from members of 43Things that they are, frankly, just not digging those How I Did It stories parked at the top of the goals pages. So we are going to test some new designs that get those ever-useful accounts of how a goal is accomplished back in the flow with the rest of the content on the page. By testing, we mean some people will see the current page, and others will see the new one. It will probably take a couple weeks to dial in just what change we think will work best, but all the tests will involve getting more timely content higher up on the page.

Whenever we test something out or make a change, there is always a period of adjustment. By testing things we are trying to make sure that what is working on 43 Things doesn’t get broken in the process. We will do our best to make the site better and you can help us with your feedback.


Categories: Uncategorized

14 responses so far ↓

  • smartstuff // April 13, 2010 at 11:24 am | Reply

    Hooray! This is a brilliant improvement! I can’t wait to see it!

  • absnasm // April 13, 2010 at 4:46 pm | Reply

    Good call! I am so sick of reading my own whiney story about dropping a chocolate cake, it’s not even funny any more!

  • Chris // April 14, 2010 at 3:33 pm | Reply

    Great news!

    I don’t mean to criticise because the site is wonderful, but I’ve thought that it lacks a layout, maybe some more definition between sections on a page?

    Just an idea :)

  • Chris // April 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Reply

    Just a quick idea, because I’ve noticed one of the changes already.

    How I Did It stories are great when you want to read them, so usually you are looking for them…

    Under the goal name, there could be a few links “Recent entries” “How I Did It”. When clicked they could jump to the relevant section… then How I Did It stories could be further down, beneath all the recent entries and out of the way?

  • flutterbyyou // April 15, 2010 at 6:57 pm | Reply

    PLEASE put the names of people back under their pictures… I don’t always know their faces and people change their avatars sometimes on a daily or weekly basis…and when they are answering a question or commenting, I don’t know who I am talking to… it’s very annoying to have to always click on their pic and go to their profile just to see who I am having a conversation with

    • joshp100 // April 19, 2010 at 11:27 am | Reply

      You don’t have to click on the avatar to see who’s talking. You can see the user’s name next to the title of the entry. Comment & Question threads are unchanged, with the user’s names under the avatar.

  • Todd Schoonover // April 19, 2010 at 8:07 am | Reply

    As usual with change comes a need to adapt and accept. One concern that I have with the new layout that I’m seeing (and one that others have voiced here: ) is that you can only see the most recent entries now under a goal. Unless you go to a specific person who has that goal and look at their entries directly, you can no longer page through the history of entries. That’s a shame because many goals have lots of meaningful entries under them that people will no longer see.

  • Joe // April 19, 2010 at 10:44 am | Reply

    Hey Todd,

    The links to older entries were accidentally removed and will be back later today. In the meantime, you can use a url like: and substitute the goal ID you want to read for the “47″. Sorry for the trouble.

    • Todd Schoonover // April 19, 2010 at 1:15 pm | Reply

      Thanks for the update Joe. I figured that was the case from earlier upgrades where things disappeared until they were noticed to be gone. Thanks for adding this functionality back in for us. You Robots put a lot of effort into these sites, and I know I appreciate it.

  • LunaNueva // April 21, 2010 at 11:00 pm | Reply

    I like the layout change, thank you. But there seems to be a few things you took out. I see a couple back in there, but the one I still see missing is the one where you see the people who have completed the goal, as well as the ones willing to help. You can see people *doing* the goal, but not the ones who have completed it.

  • smartstuff // April 26, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Reply

    Nice change of placement on the “year in review” button. I really like the year in review (please don’t get rid of it!) but having it more subtly up by the message/subscribe/block is an excellent good place for it!

  • vex // April 27, 2010 at 11:55 pm | Reply

    Hmmm, why has the “write an entry” changed to a new window/layer? I fail to see the benefits. Before, I could easily scroll up and down the page to look at other entries, but now the new layer moves as I scroll, covering other content underneath. If I could at least move the layer around, it would be better, but it doesn’t work. Can you please explain the reasons for the change?

  • vex // April 28, 2010 at 12:01 am | Reply

    Oh, and now I can’t copy the content under the “write an entry” layer. If I want to achieve the same functionality I had before, I have to open a new page, navigate to my goal page and click “write an entry”, while still having my original page with other entries open in another tab or window. So why didn’t you just make the “write an entry” open in a new window instead of a layer? I’m really confused by reasoning behind this. It looks to me like it’s less functional than before so why the change?

  • Todd Schoonover // April 28, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Reply

    Hi guys. Thanks again for continuing to enhance and evolve this site. A couple suggestions or things I’ve noticed:

    1) Since the changes, I’ve noticed the site is slower than normal. It appears to be an issue with the linkage to google . Or at least that’s where the delay appears on my end.

    2) I thought I’d mentioned this before, but I don’t see it in this thread (though Luna mentions it above). Unless there are more than 12 people who have the goal, there is no link to show you everyone with the goal nor for those who have completed the goal. I know how to get to it directly, but it was easier when the link was right on the page like it is when there are 13 or more people.

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