30 June 2020


For what seems like several months, the Blogger dashboard has had a button announcing a new interface and urging users to try it.  Around a month ago, an announcement appeared that the new interface would soon become the standard and that the old one would be available as an option only until the end of July, implying it would be phased out after that.  Starting with this post on June 16, I switched over to the new interface, figuring I might as well start getting used to it.

Right from the beginning, there were problems.  The gaps between paragraphs were too wide.  I didn't even notice on that first post, but with the link-round-up a few days later, the problem was very obvious and distracting.  I eventually figured out how to stop this from happening, thanks to advice from a couple of fellow bloggers who know more about HTML than I do.  I later went back to that original post and changed the spacing by manually changing the HTML, but doing so on the link round-up would be a bigger job than it's worth.

After I posted that link round-up, the sidebar kept getting pushed down to the bottom of the blog instead of appearing at the side where it should; I eventually fixed this by reducing the size of the picture at the top, but I don't like needing to make pictures smaller.  With one post the following week, the same problem occurred, and shrinking the picture did not help -- I eventually fixed it by undoing a change I'd made to the HTML at the end of the post, something that seems wholly irrelevant to the location of the sidebar.

After posting the most recent link round-up two days ago, the sidebar suddenly appeared in some hideous centered format instead of left-justified, and pushed too far over to the right.  This happened a few minutes after posting the link round-up.  I hadn't touched the theme HTML.  I fiddled around with various things, but couldn't fix it.  About ten minutes later it went back to normal by itself.

Glitches aside, the new interface is more difficult to use.  In the old one, the buttons you click on to perform various operations are labeled with printed words, like this:
In the new interface, these are replaced with icons which have no words on them.  You can see what each icon does by hovering the cursor over it, but it's an irritating extra step.  I've never understood why icons you have to figure out are widely considered better than printed words you can simply read.  The preview button, which is supposed to show you what the post will look like before you actually publish it, doesn't work -- it just shows you the blog as it currently is, not including the unpublished post you're working on.  The HTML version of the editing screen appears not in paragraph format, but as an unbroken block of text which is much harder to edit.  There's a "format HTML" button, but it breaks out the block of text not by paragraphs, but by wherever there happens to be a space in an HTML tag, making it even more visually confusing.  Before publishing a post, I like to test links to make sure they open as the correct page, but in the new interface, right-clicking a link in an unpublished post and opening in a new tab just takes you to a generic Blogger page, not where the link will actually go.

The new interface is better in a couple of ways.  When you're editing an existing post, you can save changes without having to close out of the editor screen.  The stats display is more logical, though the "traffic sources" information seems to have disappeared.

But overall, the new interface still needs a lot of work before it's even as good as the old one.  I don't understand why they did this.  There was nothing wrong with the old interface.  It reminds me of New Coke.

Since the last link round-up I've gone back to using the old interface.  The last dashboard notification I saw no longer contains the note about it being phased out at the end of July.  I suspect they've gotten a lot of complaints about this.

I'll say one thing for Blogger -- they do have a history of being responsive when their user base tells them something is a mistake.  In 2015 they reversed a potentially-disastrous decision to ban sexually-oriented content -- something Tumblr (or rather Verizon, which owned it at the time) failed to do despite a massive user outcry.  I hope that here, too, they'll reverse the decision to phase out the old interface.  If it does remain available indefinitely as an alternate option, I'll just keep using it.


Blogger Jack said...

I tried the new interface too and went back to the old one after a couple days. For me, the editor part was tolerable; however, they made it almost impossible to find one's older posts. That was a dealbreaker for me.

30 June, 2020 03:14  
Blogger W. Hackwhacker said...

I'm so glad you posted this. Brother Hackwhacker and I have been loathe to even test the new interface, and your experience makes it all the more worrisome. We're not what you would call super literate in web trailblazing, so if the legacy version is gone after July, it will be a real problem for us. Nothing like fixing something that isn't broken (guess they had to have a big project for some designers to earn their keep).

30 June, 2020 07:38  
Blogger Lady M said...

I have been putting off using the new interface. I tried it once and did not find it the least bit intuitive. I just don't understand why it needs to change.

30 June, 2020 10:25  
Blogger yellowdoggranny said...

I tried it..took me 1 day to say..'fuck this shit' and went back to the old one.

30 June, 2020 11:05  
Blogger Mike said...

I too tried the new one and didn't like it. They say (somewhere) that the old one will remain available. One can only hope.

30 June, 2020 16:18  
Anonymous wjbill said...

I have an old laptop with window 7, home edition that works just fine for most of what I do on and off line

30 June, 2020 16:34  
Blogger Victor said...

Man, this comment section is chock full of great bloggers!

But after reading your complaints, I'm glad I never started a c u n d gulag website years ago, when my friends asked me to create one.

I'm horrible at tech stuff!

Best of luck on interfacing, Infidel, Hackwacker, et al...!
I luvz youz all!

30 June, 2020 21:03  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks for all the feedback. As I said, Blogger has probably been getting a lot of complaints about this, and my guess is that now they'll keep the old interface around indefinitely for those who want to stick with it.

01 July, 2020 04:15  
Blogger Sixpence Notthewiser said...

Oh, it's a pain.
I'm gonna keep the old one until they smooth out the kinks in the new one. I cannot embed anything....


01 July, 2020 04:19  
Blogger Tommykey said...

Reminds me of the saying "If it ain't broke, fix it until it is!"

01 July, 2020 12:36  
Blogger RO said...

I'm with you on this. the first time I logged in and tried to work on a post, I was pulling my hair out as I figured out what to do. I'm still getting used to it, and occasionally mull over the idea of going back to the old way. And yes, old Coke is definitely better(lol) Hugs, RO

02 July, 2020 02:02  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Might as well keep using the old interface, as long as it's around.

02 July, 2020 05:16  
Blogger Tommykey said...

Glad they letting us keep the old interface, because I have been trying to revive my blog lately.

02 July, 2020 16:37  
Blogger Nan said...

Being a visitor-only and not a Blogger user, I cannot totally empathize related to the interface "improvements." However, I have been through a few of them with Wordpress and for the most part, they have all sucked so if at all possible, I do NOT "upgrade."

Now I think I know why I recently got a notice to "subscribe" to your blog (even though I already was). It must have been related to the "new and improved" system. Interestingly, although I went ahead and "re-subscribed," I haven't received a single notification of your posts. I happened to find this one via Fair and Unbalanced.

Technology. Ain't it grand?

04 July, 2020 08:32  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

The subscription-notification system has never worked reliably. I generally do four or five posts per week (counting the link round-ups), so if you check it once every day or two, you won't miss anything.

04 July, 2020 08:58  

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