Have you noticed your latest widgets, footer and regions?

Have you noticed your latest widgets, footer and regions?

Less is more. That’s been the guiding principle of our redesign efforts. We’ve covered a lot of ground already, and now we’ve tackled some more. We’ve updated the footer, and improved several widgets. No less than eight new regions are available for our users. It’s a gradual roll-out, so we’d love to hear your feedback. But first, this is what you’ll notice. And love, hopefully.

Fresher widgets

Fresher widgets, cleaner footer.
Fresher widgets, cleaner footer.

As of today, your widgets will feel a bit different than before. We’ve decided to bring them a bit more in line with the recent redesign. The difference isn’t significant, though. It’s a bit less cluttered, which makes it a bit more simple to use. This is what we’ve done:

  • Widgets icons are optional now. You can still add one if you want to. Go to settings.
  • When you double-click the header of your widget, you can edit it immediately. This was always possible, but now it will highlight the widget, instead of placing a green border around it.
  • The Context menu should feel more spacious.
  • All widgets have the same feel now. Especially the widgets with tabs (email, RSS, todo).
  • Most of our widgets now have a Done button, to end the edit mode.

Rather than working endlessly on a completely redesigned version of start.me, we prefer to publish as soon as we’re ready. Even if it only concerns a rather small feature.

This way we can use the feedback of our users to improve our product. And yes, this is a genuine invitation!

New footer

After improving the header, we had to touch the footer. It couldn’t be helped. We know that not everybody will be happy with the changes we’ve made. A transition is never smooth, and we know how much our users like to keep their screen as clear of clutter as possible.

That’s why our previous footer had to go. It was a little tab labeled start.me, that was always visible. When you clicked it, it opened a footer with no less than 27 links.

Now it’s a single bar with no more than six links.

When you have only one or two widgets on your page, it will be visible, but when you add more widgets, it will scroll down: out of sight, out of mind.

Eight new regions

New regions all over the world.
New regions all over the world.

The other day we were looking at our traffic, and we found out we were really a global company. We had many visitors from the usual suspects, like the USA, France, Russia, and even the Netherlands, our home base. The data suggests that users from no less than 240 countries have visited us in the last year. Imagine that!

The languages they use appear to be no less than 651, an even more staggering number.

We also found, that there were some significant regions we didn’t really serve with localized News feeds or with an adequate translation. So we’ve made the first step by adding no less than 800 News feeds to 8 new regions to start.me.

We’ve added the following regions:

  • Algeria (.dz),
  • Egypt (.eg),
  • Iraq (.iq),
  • Malaysia (.my),
  • Mexico (.mx),
  • Nigeria (.ng),
  • Saudi Arabia (.sa),
  • United Arab Emirates (.ae).

Now you can easily select one of these countries if you like.

Click the User icon,  and select User Preferences.

Select your country in the User preferences pane.
Select your country in the User preferences pane.

Then, when you hit the Add button, you can choose Browse and select the news category you’re interested in.

The results will show localized feeds first, in alphabetical order, and then some relevant international sources. This way you’ll always have plenty of sources to choose from.

For Arabic speaking countries, we can announce that we’re working hard on the translation of our entire site. It might just be ready soon.

Good or bad, we’d love to hear your thoughts about these improvements. Find us on Twitter (@startme) or write to support@start.me. Or leave a comment!

Stefan van Dierendonck

Stefan van Dierendonck

For many years Stefan has been active as a blogger, building and maintaining his own and other websites. He is also the author of two well-received novels. Wherever possible, he tries to combine modern technology with literary or at least pleasantly legible content.


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10 Replies to “Have you noticed your latest widgets, footer and regions?”

  1. I like the new header & footer design (exept the big “share” button in the header). But what’s really annoying is that there are no search suggestions while typing anymore 🙁 . I hope they will come back soon, maybe with more than 3 suggestions than it was in the past.

  2. “When you have only one or two widgets on your page, it will be visible, but when you add more widgets, it will scroll down: out of sight, out of mind.”

    So in the event any user uses more than two widgets the footer is not visible — got it!

    So in my case (and probably every other user) the footer does not exist — because that is what I get. 🙂 🙂

    I’m getting more and more confused why you guys make changes 🙂

    There is a common motto: If it works don’t fix it!

    You folks take the approach to float a wider header so it’s always available yet you’re aware that “out of sight, out of mind” is a plus factor. And all you guys had to do is provide a toggle to either “fix” or “float” the header which would have addressed the issue.

    You folks change a Discover Widget to add a “more” banner that remains white and therefore fails to bend with a users theme color. Did you guys consider how obnoxious the white “more” banner at the bottom of the widget would be for users with darker colored widgets? (or perhaps it didn’t cross you collective minds and since a darker widget color was not tested for this was overlooked). It seems you get the concept to a void obnoxious

    You folks change from a Weather Widget that fails to render the selected city about 20% of the time but at least renders relatively accurate temps to a Weather Widget that does not produce accurate temps at all (more specifically the lows).

    As I’ve mentioned so often TEST TEST TEST before going with a change!! — Please.

    I want you folks to do well — if for no other reason that you’ve produce in general the best start-page on the market. But making changes w/out considering all ramifications of a change is not helpful.

    I’m offering constructive criticism with good intentions — I hope my suggestion are taken the way they are intended. 🙂

    1. Hi AI, Thanks again for your comments, suggestions, and advice! We really like that you’re using our start.me service, and we also very much appreciate your input. We can’t always implement your suggestions or change our design because of it, but still, it’s great to know our work is being watched and commented upon. And now for some of your comments: the header will remain as is, for now. The footer will perhaps change a bit, but only when there are a few widgets on the page. For most users, with many widgets, there will be no changes at all. Your suggestion about the Discover widget isn’t very clear to me. You could make a screenshot, and send it to support@start.me. This goes for all of your suggestions, by the way. You’re always welcome to comment on our blog, but whenever you want to share more personal information, please consider our support desk. This also goes for problems you discover with our Weather widget: please contact our support desk. They’re always ready to help you out.

  3. I enjoy the blog and the continued improvement of the site.

    Thank You for all the hard work.

    Michael J Hennessey

  4. I use a lot of RSS widgets, most of which have the setting to “show all in one list” turned OFF. Now all of my Feed Titles are in ALL CAPS. For one thing, now they no longer “fit” the space of the widget the way they did before. Is this something I can change? If not, what is the logic behind forcing feed titles to be in all caps? If I had wanted my feed titles to be in all caps, I could have simply TYPED them that way.

    I also use a lot of muted shades on my pages. Now there is a BRIGHT BLUE “selection” line under the selected feed. Can I somehow change this to black or grey or white or anything other than this bright shade of blue that clashes with everything else on all of my pages?

    I do like one of the recent changes to the header – the dark translucency is nice. However, I do agree with many other commenters about how obtrusive the Search bar, Share button, etc are. I did try turning off the header, but I don’t want to lose the top bar that shows the links to my other pages. Too bad you can’t disable just the floating part with all the clutter.

    I thoroughly agree that “less is more”, and the simple-but-customizable appearance was what drew me to Start.me in the first place. The original Start.me header started out with a very minimalist design – a Search bar & a simple lozenge-style menu.

    1. Hi Tina, Thanks for commenting on our latest changes. You’re correct: we’ve changed the RSS Feed titles to Small Caps. They’re supposed to be just about the same size as regular letters, so they shouldn’t have impacted a lot. You can still change the name of your feed, to make it fit. We made this change, to harmonize the appearance of all different widgets that use tabs, like the Todo widget, the Email widget etc. The blue accent color might stand out, we understand. I’ll pass on your message about making it possible to change the accent color, but for now, it will remain the same. I’ll do the same with your other suggestions. We can’t promise to change our design right away (we should give it some time to see the real impact on our user base), but we’ll keep your suggestions in mind. Thanks for using start.me!

  5. To answer your article title: no. In fact, I can’t find a way to see the homepage in english. For whatever reason, the developers thought it’s a good idea to set the language based on ip address and give no way to change it later on.

    1. Hi Cristi,

      Thanks for commenting on our latest blog article. We’re a bit confused, however, about the problem you describe. Yes, we’ve set up our service to base the language of your interface on your IP address. This is just for convenience since we want to offer a personal and localized experience. You can always change this later on, by clicking the user icon and selecting ‘More preferences.’ If you still experience trouble, please contact our support team for assistance.

      Have a great day,

      Stefan

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