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Recently we redesigned the Dilbert.com web site and added a ton of features, such as animation, deeper archives, mash ups, and more. The reaction from readers has been fascinating.
 
www.dilbert.com
 
Let me get this out of the way: I realize the Beta version of the web site has lots of issues. It’s overloaded with Flash, slower than it needs to be, and the navigation is confusing. We’re fixing most of that over the next few weeks. I apologize for the inconvenience.
 
The fascinating thing about the responses is that it revealed three distinct types of Dilbert readers:
 
The first group is the ultra-techies who have an almost romantic relationship with technology. For them, the new site felt like getting dumped by a lover. Their high-end technology (generally Linux) and security settings made much of the site inconvenient. Moreover, the use of Flash offended them on some deep emotional level.
 
The second group objected to the new level of color and complexity, and the associated slowness. They like their Dilbert comics simple, fast, and in two colors. Anything more is like putting pants on a cat.
 
The third group uses technology as nothing more than a tool, and subscribes to the philosophy that more free stuff is better than less free stuff. That group has embraced the new features on the site and spiked the traffic stats.
 
For you first two groups, if you promise to keep it to yourselves, we created a stripped-down Dilbert page with just the comic, some text navigation, and the archive: www.dilbert.com/fast. This alternate site is a minor secret, mentioned only here and in the text footnote to the regular site as “Linux/Unix.”
 
The main site will be getting a Flash diet that will make it speedier soon, so check back in a few weeks. That’s where all the fun will be.
 
Enjoy.
 
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+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 28, 2008
I had to subscribe to get the Sunday strip to scroll - no arrow appeared before. And I REALLY hate giving date of birth like comment above. It is completely unnecessary - there is no remotely unsuitable content on the site so why do it?
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 28, 2008
My computer is 2 months old, I have a DSL internet connection (3000 kb), so that is reasonably fast. I use Windows Vista and IE7. The new site took about 30 seconds to load. That is very slow. I am using the fast site if I just want to read the new comic. I'll check on the new site every now and then.

And, as brinkequthrie said, the site crashed IE a couple of times, not only in the animation section. That has not happened on any other site so far.

I like the strip in color, it is much better. I like the animation too (as long as it doesn't crash my browser). Also I think it's good that the comments can be validated.

I suppose you present the comic in Flash BECAUSE you want to make the copying and pasting more inconvenient, I couldn't think of any other reason. That's O.K. with me, but please make it faster.
 
 
Apr 28, 2008
Well, I must admit I am part of the 2nd group. Even though I consider technology as just a tool, I enjoy having my daily Dilbert strip simply and quickly. I enjoy colour as well as b/w. So... big fan of Dilbert, but not a big fan of the new site. Waiting impatiently for the site to be fixed and more efficient (or back to the good old one).

Anyway, thanks for the fast version of your page. But as foop mentionned,the sunday strip is not very comfortable to read: possible to use the old wider 725 pixel version?
 
 
Apr 27, 2008
Scott, if you get your new blogsite rolling, we'll all be a lot happier in life. I like what you've done here.

QF's Blog: http://irrationaltheorist.blogspot.com/
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2008
IMHO the new flash site just isn't. Flash and colour are the opium of tea swilling management. B&W says it all.
Thank you for atleast giving me access to the "fast" site - it will just be our secret...
 
 
+2 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2008
I won't flog the same old issues (why use flash for a still image?). The question I have is:
why do you want our birth dates as part of registration? Don't we have enough problems with identity fraud and related security problems without adding yet another site that wants to maintain a database of our personal data?

I love the strip, been reading it for years, and where I live (Australia), online is about the only way to see it! Don't force us to expose personal data (or lie about it) just to read a strip. I don't think you require this of people who buy your books or read newsprint versions of the strip. At least, they didn't ask me for my birth date when I bought your latest book. Is this just Dilbert showing support for the Patriot Act? ;-)
 
 
Apr 27, 2008
Not a big fan of the new site - seems I'm not alone. I'm glad there's the "fast" section for Linuxers, although I don't think a user's OS necessarily will dictate if the enjoy/don't enjoy the new site. Personally I'm disappointed with the use of flash - the strips are essentially static images, nearly the most simple thing you can put on a website, no need for flash. I don't like the colours either - makes the cartoons overly fussy. They're perfectly funny in black and white, colour adds nothing.

Just so I'm not accused of holding back progress - if you do want to keep using flash, why not do what so many sites do - give the user the option of using/not using flash. Not that difficult. Then again having seen the current mess the webdevs have made of a perfectly fine site...
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2008
Thanks for the fast version! One issue, though: the Sunday strip seems uncomfortably small at 560 pixels wide. I found the old 725 pixel wide version easier to read.

Geoff
 
 
Apr 27, 2008
ANIMATION feature causes IE7 to crash. Every..time.
 
 
Apr 27, 2008
will you re-enable the spanish section?
 
 
Apr 27, 2008
I was one of the type 3's, but after trying to fast page it is good if I just want to quickly check today's strip and move on. If I want a more involved experience the new features are great. So I think I will be using both depending on what I my current goals are for visiting the page.
 
 
Apr 27, 2008
Thanks for this post, Scott. I am not using your fast link.
 
 
Apr 27, 2008
Hey, what's up? I just registered to add my little comments. ^_^ Well, I like the site, and the flash. I have a standard, or, what my boyfriend calls a "dated computer", and cable internet, and I am wondering where all the 'slow' is said to be. Thanks for tolerating all the angry comments from everyone, because a lesser developer would have quit entirely by now and simply revoked the site from everyone. Dilbert is awesome, and the animations are the best!!

~Gemini
 
 
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 27, 2008
Scott,

I'm one of the guys using linux, and I liked the new features.
But I also work with web development, and it is just that some stuff are slow or limit your audience unnecessarily.

For example, why a flash to display your strip on the front page? It is a simple image!!!
You can have all the exact same features you have there without having to load a flash control.
Also, when I open the page here, it displays the old strip, then it hides it and shows the flash version. Very odd...

Also, the animation is something that doesn't make sense to limit for windows and mac. It is flash.. flash is supported anywhere you go. Youtube and other sites runs fine on my PC with videos and stuff. Google has lots of advanced functionality that runs anywhere, and even Hotmail displays fine here on Linux Firefox. For some reason, your designer choose to use a control that was created by dumb people that don't know how to code properly.

Really, you don't need to create a stripped down version of your site. You had nice ideas, you just need someone who knows how to create websites for global use, not for windows only.

Everything you have today can work anywhere with the exact same design and functionality. Just tell the company you hired that you want your site working anywhere. If they say they can't because it is a technology limitation, just fire them and hire another. They just don't keep up with where the web is going nowadays.

By the way, please bring back the old sunday big strip format. This thing about clicking on an arrow to see more is ridiculous for a comic strip.

Thanks.
 
 
Apr 27, 2008
Ah, once more, technology advances. And thereby makes everything slower.

First, the good: I like the color. I think the mashups option is neat, though I'll almost certainly never do anything with it. The rest of the aesthetic design is fine -- not really my style, but it's clean and easy to work with.

Sadly, that leaves the bad. I can't get the second set of panels on the sunday comics except by clicking "reload" -- which loads the image first, so I can read it one panel per reload before flash comes up. Everything is SLOOOOOW to load, which sucks. Even if you leave everything else the same, PLEASE don't make us use flash to see the daily comic! It just doesn't work!
 
 
Apr 27, 2008
I hate the new flash website, I won't bother coming back, I had to "register" as we all have done and I don't see the point, the new site wobbles all over the place, disappears then reappears, we don't all have the latest computers at our disposal, Its a shame, actually today's (27th April) says it all for me, there was even a flash survey on the first page I came to which said "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" I really liked the humour, never mind, perhaps now I can find something better to do with my time. Bye you morons,
 
 
Apr 27, 2008
It looks like you hired the pointy haired boss to manage your "Update" of the site....!

"...we created a stripped-down Dilbert page with just the comic, some text navigation, and the archive: www.dilbert.com/fast. ..."
Yessss, but:
You forgot to mention that you provide just the tiny low-qualitiy thumb-nails on the /fast-page! How cheap is this?!


And for the full blown version of Dilbert: where's the old fashion option to save a strip (not the thunbnail) on HD? Do you really want us to fiddle around with fcuking grabbers to do so? Remember, you can't right click in flash-fcuk and choose save as!
 
 
Apr 26, 2008
Oh wait, never mind, I can do it like this each time :)

http://www.halfbakery.com/user/quantum_5fflux
 
 
Apr 26, 2008
Being the golden opportunist that I am, and I've learned much great things from you Scott, how do I make my dilbert blogger name link to my personal website like as on your old blogspot? Or is that not allowed?
 
 
+1 Rank Up Rank Down
Apr 26, 2008
Scott,

Don't listen to all these techno-weenies. You will NEVER satisfy them. I am a techno-weenie and I am enjoying the new site immensely. I think I am addicted to the mashups. I love the animations too.

That said, there are a few glitches - like I can't submit a mashup from firefox. Can't see why. Works in IE. Otherwise it all works flawlessly and I'm sure the BETA glitches will be worked out soon.

All in all - EXCELLENT JOB ON THE UPDATE!!!!
 
 
 
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