BETA has been updated (after user feedback)

BETA has been updated (after user feedback)

About three weeks we launched a new BETA version of start.me. That version featured an all new design and some cool new features. We were pleasantly surprised by the enormous amount of feedback we got! Most of the reactions were of the ‘I like it, but…’ kind. Today we are launching a new version of the BETA, in which a lot of the feedback from our users has been addressed. And we believe it got better because of it.

So what has changed? We mainly tried to simplify things, making it easier to use start.me and with less clicks.

No more edit mode

Since the early days of start.me there was a big ‘Customize’ button that would switch the app to ‘edit mode’. Although this explicit edit mode certainly had its benefits, we felt that it actually made adding and updating content on start.me pages a little more cumbersome than necessary. So we removed it.

With this new BETA version, everything can always be edited. Widgets can be moved just by dragging their headers. Pages can easily be sorted using drag-and-drop. And most of the other editing functionality is grouped in convenient dropdown menus. Every widget has such a menu,  making it easy to find out what you can do with a widget.

Some widgets, like the Bookmarks and RSS widgets, now have their own edit mode. To add a new site to a bookmarks block, simply switch the widget to edit mode by selecting ‘Edit bookmarks’ from the dropdown menu (or by double clicking the widget’s title). When you are done editing, just click the green button and everything will be back to normal.

Only when you want to add or remove items from a widget will you need to switch to ‘edit mode’. If you just want to change the order of some bookmarks or move a bookmark to an other widget, just drag it. It’s that easy!

We got a lot of requests from users to reduce the amount of clicks required to navigate between start.me pages. With the last update, we introduced a dropdown menu to switch between pages. That turned out to be inconvenient for a lot of people. That is why we reintroduced the page list on the top of the page.

We added a convenient dropdown menu to the page list that allows you to quickly add pages and widgets. And of course, pages can be reordered by just dragging them to another position.

The original page dropdown menu is still there, but got a major facelift. We made the menu larger and added some convenient editing options to every page, accessible through a dropdown menu. In the future, we will be adding some exciting new features to the pages menu.

Many other small improvements have been made. One especially worth mentioning is the changes we made to the RSS widget. We introduced a convenient new way to switch between the various feeds displayed in a widget, saving you clicks and giving better overview.

We are quite happy with the changes. But of course, what is most important to us, is that you are happy with them. We very much welcome your feedback and will try to incorporate as much as we can in the weeks before the official launch.

Michiel de Wit

Michiel de Wit

Michiel is CGO and co-founder of start.me. He is a software professional with a lot of experience in developing enterprise grade web applications. He is a certified Scrum Master and a great proponent of modern software development practices.


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49 Replies to “BETA has been updated (after user feedback)”

  1. Wow… I am impressed guys!! Thanks for bringing back the “tab-navigation” in the news widget. Any plans to offer another a “full article view” so I can stop using my current feedly reader?

    1. Actually, we are planning on some even cooler things for RSS. So stay tuned! You won’t need your RSS reader anymore…

      1. Agree :). Tab-navigation was the only reason I was not happy about Beta version. Now it’s great :). Thanks a lot :).

  2. Impressed indeed, nice !

    Just FYI, I somehow have partial french-english translation for some options
    (‘edit feeds’, ‘refresh’, ‘paramètres’, ‘rename’, ‘supprimer’ )
    (‘nouvelle page’,’add widget’, … ‘my pages’)

    In fact, in my case, I’d be pretty ok having all UI elements in English, as long as locales/encodings are well managed for foreign RSS feeds or titles.

    Giving the option to choose the locale for UI could be a nice-to-have.

    Or … if you have a FR translation file that I can help you with … I’d be happy to.

    1. We currently don’t have a French translator available, so that is why the translations are incomplete. Your help would be much appreciated! Drop me an e-mail at michiel@start.me and let’s see how we can help each other!

  3. Any chance of having a setting that would either enable a constant edit mode or require explicitly starting the edit mode?

    After this change I now seem to always have an ‘Add Widget’ thing cluttering up the page. More importantly, I also sometimes accidentally reorder the widgets. I use mouse gestures heavily, and If I happen to start some of them on the start.me page and at the top part of a widget it sometimes moves things around. Since start.me is my new homepage that’s where I normally use the most mouse gestures.

  4. hiya
    the improvements you have made are a lot better thank you
    it makes manoeuvering the home page a doddle
    well done
    sounds like the new editions will be as useful too
    keep up the good work

  5. I love how the beta is evolving, nice job! There’s just one thing that’s bugging me, the Refresh button of RSS widget got moved inside of the dropdown menu, which means more clicks 🙁 I click Refresh way more often than edit the settings or anything else, is there any chance to get it back on top? Maybe next to the dropdown button?

    1. Actually, clicking the refresh button should not often be necessary, as the widget automatically refreshes every time the page loads.

      1. I keep start.me open in one tab all the time for fast access to RSS feeds and bookmarks. And while refreshing the entire page requires just one click, it is considerably slower than refreshing just the RSS widget.

  6. This takes up more space on screen, particularly on a smaller mobile, so whereas previously I could see two columns in landscape mode, now I can only see one which means a lot more scrolling. I don’t dig the recent changes to the edit button. Firefox is behaving strangely which meant I couldn’t see the Edit Bookmark option for quite a while, though I did like the earlier Beta with the button on top left

  7. First, I just have to say that I love this service and it has completely changed the way I keep up with bookmarks – and even how I use the internet overall. Please continue to develop your already excellent product

    As an initial observation about these newest changes – I’ve noticed that the new ability to “drag and drop” bookmarks and widgets without an edit mode can interfere with browsing on a touch device. I’m noticing that trying to scroll the screen on my ipad can inadvertently pick up and re-order bookmarks, since there is no longer a “locked” setting. To avoid this, I have to be careful to scroll by touching the background space between the widgets, where there is not a lot of screen space to navigate. How about placing an overall “lock” toggle button to avoid unintended widget edits?

    Thanks! And overall this is a great service!

  8. I generally like the new look – simplistic and efficient (i rely on page refresh to update my feeds, but this might not be a viable option on slower connections, as mentioned earlier).

    As stated in previous mails, one of my feed providers is having a hard time setting the correct timestamps, but when they correct it, it just shows up as another entry in the feed reader. This means that because you just add updated entries in a feed, i will have one entry sticking to my feed for months. Why do you need to cache rss feeds, and why wont you at least let me clear the cache for a feed. below is a screenshot of the code casuing the problem:
    https://db.tt/Yn1wsnjh

    BR Frans

    1. There are many things we want and will improve when it comes to the RSS widget. I will have to ask you for a little more patience, but improvements are under way!

  9. I really love the change and don’t want to use the old version of start.me anymore. But I would appreciate if you could change the following things, so the startpage ends up perfect:

    – I now recognized what annoyed me about the new startpage after reading the comments here: The space between the text lines is really a little too much, it looked better in the old version. This might also apply to some widgets as for the weather widget where is too much space between the symbols (or you just need to add one day)

    – There are still icons missing for some of the websites.

    – The website is a little bit slow.

    – The bottom area with ‘set to startpage’ etc. is too big

    And I hope that you are ablte to implement the ‘Show Pictures for all RSS feeds’ feature in the next update which now perfectly fits into the settings menu of the awesome new RSS feed widget!
    If you fix those things and add more customizing like colors and stuff I dont wanna ever leave the startpage for surfing.
    Thank you so much!
    Best regards

    1. Thank you for the feedback. I am happy to be able to say that we are currently working on all of the issues you mentioned!

      1. Oh and the add widget seems to be kinda redundant since you can just add a widget by pressing that + in the tab-bar. So it would be nice if you could remove that too.

        Sorry for the doublepost.

  10. The latest version is a big improvement over past ones. Really liking it. It’s clean and very functional. Excellent job.
    Thanks for re-enstating the tabs. Just one comment, while the instant edit works well on desktops (ie, non-touch) I find it not working so well on the smartphone. Scrolling the page very easily results in moving a block or bookmark.
    Perhaps a setting to enable/disable that? Or maybe not auto edit on touch devices?
    Cheers!

    1. Just thinking a bit more about how to fix touch devices. Perhaps detect whether it is a touch device, and then require a touch and hold (for half a sec or so) before something will be moved?

  11. This is actually worse for touch screen devices.
    On my phone i can not scroll at all anymore, it moves the item then. Also the section menu shows and disappears directly when click on.
    Also the rearranging should be enable in that menu. And that menu should become visible when click, so a sub items can be clicked. This all on touchscreen tablets and phones.

    I like the pages back again. But it is still not of any value, because i like it to open into a new tab. I made a workaround by adding bookmarks of these pages.

    I suggest to do more testing on touchscreen devices before launching new versions.
    The market on smartphones, tables is more in use than Desktop computers. Sales of desktops and laptops are down, tablets are high.

    I switched over to Start.me (startme.com) because Symbaloo.com is not working good on tablets and phones.

    1. We just launched some improvements for tablet users. Even though most of our users are still accessing start.me from a PC, we do in fact spend quite some time getting things to work as good as possible on tablets and smartphones. We plan many more improvements. Our aim is to have start.me function just as well on tablets and phones as on desktop computers.

  12. Getting better! Thank you! You guys rock… There needs to be more tweaking tho, if you guys are up to feedback… The weather widget does not really work… No place to input your location, and nothing really shows after you created the widget…
    Thank you guys! you rock!

  13. Bonjour,
    tout est OK, sauf que si l’on veut lancer la recherche sur la page d’accueil,
    je ne vois comme possibilité que d’appuyer sur ENTREE.
    Est-ce qu’on peut cliquer sur quelque chose sur la page, car ce serait plus pratique avec la souris qu’on a bien en main.
    Merci
    A bientôt

    1. Hello Patrick,

      We will make the search glass clickable, so that it will take you to the search engine. This will be live within a week. For now you can use “enter”.

  14. Please tell me how to find all my pages and widgets. I am a novice at using start.me and don’t know where to look for my information. I signed in and found a page with all the default links, but not the ones I had on the old version.

  15. How do I get my previous modifications back? ie all the web site I added to previous version???

  16. I like that edit mode has been removed and things can now be drag-and-dropped. However, when you reposition a link, either in it’s exising box or drop it into a new box, it opens that link (in a new tab which takes focus)! This behaviour is NOT good. It would be a total nightmare to reorganise a number of links with new tabs popping up with every move. Links should only be opened when you click and realease without any other action.

    1. Hello Alastair,

      The behaviour your described is new to us and we can’t reproduce this. It shouldn’t open a link (in a new window) after dropping it somewhere. What browser/OS are you using? Please e-mail to support@start.me.

    1. Hello,
      We are aware of the issue that the fonts are not always displayed correctly and we are working on this.

      We are not aware of any issues with the Weather widget. Can you try re-adding the Weather widget and let me know if it still doesn’t load?

    1. Hello Judy, A to-do list widget is on our backlog. Please expect this to be available within 4-6 weeks.

  17. My account has moved to the new startme but none of the pages I have created on startme have come with the account. I do not want to create them all again how can I gewt them back?

  18. Really miss the 3 column layout. Half the page width for one little link is excessive. Everything used to fit on one screen. Now half my content is out of sight. Might be a deal-breaker for me, though I have loved your service.

    1. Hello Vivian,

      Are you using Internet Explorer 8? We have noticed that in IE8 only 2-columns are displayed. We don’t officially support IE8, but we will fix this issue. This fix should be deployed by the end of next week. Alternatively, you can upgrade to a more recent version of IE (or another browser) and it should work normally again as well.

      Best regards,
      Luuk

      1. You are right, it is only a problem with IE8. Using Windows XP, which won’t support a newer version of IE. (Hate the newer versions of Windows and terrified to change the operating system!) Trying a switch to Firefox, which seems to be ok.

  19. I find the changes to be quite convenient. I’m wondering if there is a way to make certain widgets wider though; Web pages I’ve tried to embed are too narrow to use with ease.

    Thank you.

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