Profile Links on Mobile Devices December 13, 2014 12:04 PM   Subscribe

The number of times I've intentionally tapped the profile link of a thread poster on my phone: 0. The number of times I've accidentally tapped the profile link of a thread poster on my phone: an embarrassing amount, uncountable in modern number theory. Can we do something about that?

No offense to mefites who have extensive profiles, but when I'm browsing the blue or green on my phone, there has never been a time where I was in such a hurry to see the profile of someone who created a thread that I felt there needed to be a link to it on the main page of those sites. However, there is such a link, and it is often dangerously close to the super useful link that takes me to the newest comments within a thread.

Is there some way we could get an option to turn off poster profile links on the main sections of the site? It's fine for them to exist within the threads themselves, but I would be really grateful to not keep fat-fingering them when I'm just trying to open a thread.

Bonus Question:

If I'm viewing MeFi with the Modern theme on a computer, my actual account name is used in the top green box (as a link to my profile). However, on a tablet, that same green box simply says "profile". What's up with that?
posted by tocts to Feature Requests at 12:04 PM (20 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Sorry, I don't think we're likely to disable links to profile pages. I know misclicks are a drag on mobile devices, but being able to view a poster's history and profile information is a big part of the way the site works.

What's up with that?

As the site changes width, the top bar changes to accommodate the new size. At some widths, including many tablets, the profile link changes from the username to "profile" because that's all that will fit in the space. At an even narrower width, the word "profile" changes to an icon. At very wide widths, you get the full username and the icon. You can test this on a desktop browser by changing the width and watching how the top bar changes.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:07 PM on December 13, 2014


I get that hiding profiles entirely is a no-go, but I'm curious why they need to be available from the front page. This could simply be due to how I use the site, but I so rarely look at profiles, I would not care at all if I had to actually open a thread to reach a link to the profile. And, like I said, maybe it could be an option (greasemonkey, etc, aren't really possible on a phone).

It would be interesting to know if there's actually any significant number of users going to user profiles direct from the front page on a regular basis.

Also, regarding the word 'profile', interesting. Clearly it's not taking username length into account, because 'profile' is (in my case) longer than just using the username.
posted by tocts at 12:16 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


It would be interesting to know if there's actually any significant number of users going to user profiles direct from the front page on a regular basis.

I just took a quick look at our stats and most referrers to user pages are from the front page. It makes sense, because the traffic on the front page is several orders of magnitude higher than any particular thread. About 70-80% of traffic to profiles comes from the front pages.

Clearly it's not taking username length into account...

True. When you get to the point where six characters or so are all that will fit, most usernames will be truncated to just a few letters and a "...". Instead of doing that we felt like "Profile" would be an ok compromise even though it means folks with very short usernames get the same thing.
posted by pb (staff) at 12:33 PM on December 13, 2014


I click through to user profiles a LOT (for I am a nosy so and so), probably sometimes from the front page but I guess mostly in-thread. But I have to admit that despite having sausage fingers I don't think I've ever clicked through accidentally. (Now I'll probably do it all the time...) Just my 2p.
posted by billiebee at 12:35 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


You can test this on a desktop browser by changing the width and watching how the top bar changes.

Control Shift M in Firefox, which is a lifeshave for quick and dirty "how will this look on a mobile device" testing.
posted by MartinWisse at 12:56 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Just chiming in that I do this too. But disabling the profile links on front page posts does feel a little extreme.
posted by bleep at 3:47 PM on December 13, 2014


seconding what bleep says. I have small fingers and usually click the profile multiple times before getting to the comments. I think a simple spacing change could probably resolve it.
posted by tofu_crouton at 5:56 PM on December 13, 2014


I zoom in before clicking the comments.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:00 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Which is to say I have fat fingers as well.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:00 PM on December 13, 2014


You could always click a post title to get to the comments. It's a bigger target.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:13 PM on December 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Did you just add in that line break, pb, or did I never notice it before??
posted by bleep at 8:40 PM on December 13, 2014


Either way I like it.
posted by bleep at 8:40 PM on December 13, 2014


No, I didn't make any changes.
posted by pb (staff) at 8:49 PM on December 13, 2014


Yeah, I click titles rather than the "# comments" link to avoid this issue.
posted by ocherdraco at 10:02 PM on December 13, 2014


I'm looking at your profile right now.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 11:24 PM on December 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I also do a lot of these misclicks, generally just before the train goes into a tunnel or mobile blackspot and I'm left staring at a profile page instead of the thread I wanted.

I think if it would be good if only the first few characters of a username were clickable, so people with very long usernames don't become enormous click targets.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:25 AM on December 14, 2014


pb: "You could always click a post title to get to the comments. It's a bigger target."

What post titles? There are no post titles.

1/7/13 NEVER FORGET
posted by yaymukund at 10:39 AM on December 14, 2014 [5 favorites]


Regarding clicking post titles as a solution, the problem there is that the post title leads to the top of the thread, not to the new comments. Depending on the size of a thread, that can be a minor thing, or kind of annoying (e.g. lots of scrolling on a mobile device).

(also I'm all over the place with post titles, with some of my MeFi-access devices still on Professional White sans titles, some on Modern sans titles, some on Modern with titles. My MeFi experience is a land of contrasts.)
posted by tocts at 5:32 AM on December 15, 2014


yaymukund: "What post titles? There are no post titles.

1/7/13 NEVER FORGET
"

[SuperMetafilterHistoryPedantry] Metafilter got post titles on Nov 12, 2002. [/SuperMetafilterHistoryPedantry]
posted by Chrysostom at 11:46 AM on December 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yep, I just do the 'reverse pinch' zoom which is a handy technique for all sorts of sites as browsed from a mobile device.
posted by destructive cactus at 3:33 PM on December 17, 2014


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