Cake
  • Log In
  • Sign Up
    • If you're not on the first page of a Google search do you get seen? Yes, maybe, but obviously nowhere near as much if you are on page 2, 3...10

      I maybe looking at this wrongly, but it seems like more than a few sites/ socials/ outlets know this and have adjusted their initial view of their first page design of their sites to show you more without having to look much further than the first page.

      I have noticed more than a few newer websites be just one page so all the reader needs to do is scroll, not click through multiple pages.

      Basically people are lazy, clicking and scrolling is time consuming, but just tapping you spacebar to move your screen down a notch is 'easy'...if they don't find this do they move on to somewhere that's more visual and takes less time to find what they like.

      ___________

      All the following screenshots were taken this morning of home pages to show what I'm saying.

      When I go to the first/ home page of Cake I see maybe two conversations -

      ...but if I take the same screenshot from a few random places, Apple news for example, I see nine articles without scrolling

      Yahoo shows me at least 12 I can click on

      ADVrider shows me four...

      NY Times shows me over 20 options to find the story or topic I want

      I saw @Dracula post last night, this one below. It's not the point he was making, but could some of what he's saying be down to not having the topic in front of you and have to go searching for it and have to take time getting past stuff you aren't interested in?

      I love the simplicity and minimalist look of Cake and its layout...but is it that, the layout allowing great potential topics disappear off page one, never to be seen again keeping readers and responders staying around and interacting more, simply because or the lack of access.

      I personally find myself clicking on more stories on a news site if I can see them right there, no searching, no scrolling, no clicking a magnifying glass to open a search and having to type and hope my description matches my target search...how about you?

      I see @StephenL constantly referring to previous older conversations in his replies to keep good ones fresh, which I hope makes people say to themselves I forgot about that one, and click back to it, or generate new readers.

      Searching is easy but does the average reader do that very much on Cake?

    • If I DO go searching - https://www.cake.co/discover then I have a few topics in GIANT bubbles, which I have to click to see some more giant bubbles, and in some cases get to the bottom of the page to find another page.

      Should the more popular topics be bigger bubbles to make them stand out?

      To me it seems the icons are unnecessarily large taking up real estate making me work too hard to find what I'm looking for

    • It is an incredibly complex animal to enable infinite scrolling on Cake, according to the architect who oversaw the code development. I’m not a professional coder so I’ll share the response I got when I asked a similar question a year ago. I think you ask an incredibly insightful question @rtwPaul that deserves further discussion, but I think it’s helpful to give you some background first.

      <><><>

      When Cake first launched publicly we used infinite scrolling for the feed, but we switched to traditional pagination because we felt it was a better experience overall.

      The problem with infinite scrolling is that it's easy to do it badly and incredibly hard to do well, for a million little reasons. Most websites do it very badly. Twitter is pretty good, but far from perfect. Facebook is...well, let's not talk about Facebook. 😬

      Cake still uses infinite scrolling in conversations because it has a lot of benefits there that (mostly) outweigh the drawbacks, but we stopped using it for feeds because it wasn't worth it there.

      Our infinite scrolling code is by far the most complex code in the codebase. I've personally spent probably hundreds of hours on that feature and I'm still not satisfied with it because there are so many tricky edge cases that can hurt the user experience more than helping it if we're not very careful.

      Source: Q on Infinite Scrolling

    • As I understand it, @rtwPaul is not asking for infinite scrolling without pagination, but instead about a front page layout that is completely different from just being a "list of content teasers" all in the same size.

      News sites often have a main column, but also sidebars or inset boxes for special categories or "highlights". Something like this might actually work well for Cake with its already existing sort modes and filters.

    • Paul I think you are quite right. When browsing over other sites there seems to always be a myriad of topics which pop like stars in a clear summer sky. I used to actually love Digg's old interface that spawned a constellation of topics that were all connected and 3D, moving around in space.

      That is the key of what makes it quite absorbing and whether (arguably for some) we want it or not, attracts us to spend more time and get absolutely attracted and stimulated to pursue various topics, so much so that before we know it we even start pouring our minds and words into conversations. In other words, other front end may be allot more conducive to engaging user activity. Sure, search works, but we're not talking research work here, rather a socially attractive, mentally stimulating offering of topics and ways they may correlate leading from one to the other. I think one of the difficult things with Cake is that it tries to be all things to all people.. And so we end up with disparate bits of internet talk, and occasionally some of them so involved that loading a 99,999 pages does not work smooth any more.

      I am not sure how other's consciousnesses work, and how they like to have their information served, but I feel I may have a "spatial brain" when it comes to perception, and when I say spatial I do not refer only to geometry, but also sounds and thought, if I may call it that.

    • there are a lot of sites I have ended up going down a 'rabbit hole' - youtube and advrider are really good examples, and a few news/ info sites. I don't find it so much on Cake, but it should be because there are so many great topics on here...buried

    • I know what you mean, same for me. I actually have to control myself or else can spend hours on some sites without even realizing it. Part of it is the quality of content which really comes from people actually involved, but other part comes from having it presented and being so inviting. .. I'd vote for a GUI that is 3D which automagically develops the constellation of topics some interrelated, and moves on the screen / spins around when you drag it or click on any specific node...

    • Regarding "rabbit holes", I'd like to add YouTube as another good example: Whenever you visit the site, there's a list of recommended videos for you to watch. Whenever you view a video, there's a list of videos that will be "Up Next" if you don't disable autoplay. On top of that, each video creator can add links to other videos to the end of the one you've just watched.

      For what it's worth, I like the fact that Cake isn't designed to trick you into wasting more of your time than you actually want - but I think there's some middle ground here.

    • I do like the minimalism of Cake, but now that you mentioned it, there is a lot of empty (wasted) space. The home page at least could be filled up a bit more. On mobile a single column of content isn't a problem, but on a big monitor, the empty space becomes more evident.

      Like you showed on several other sites, having more content on screen can help with discovery. Here's YouTube as another example. In one glance I can see 10 videos already. There's also a strip of suggested topics on top (new addition) which makes filtering content by topic much easier without needing to search.

    • in your eyes what would that middle ground be, just one specific page to see more options or a few more options per page?

      Just text or a visual as well, or maybe somewhere you could check a box for the options to be fed more things you like or not so you had your own personal interactive version?

      Maybe have a set limit of referrals so you don't got too far down that rabbit hole?

    • in your eyes what would that middle ground be, just one specific page to see more options or a few more options per page?

      This is a hack that I’m about to suggest. It’s not ideal, but if you access Cake on desktop, or on android like @jpop and using a browser, this could get you what you want.

      Did you know that you can view all of the conversations for each category?

      Click the below link and you’ll see all of the active conversations for the

      Creatures category.

      You could set up each category in a different browser tab or add to your favorites. It would be a lot easier than following all of the topics in Motorcycles, for example, in order to not miss any conversations in your For You timeline.

      Again, this is a hack and not a long-term solution, so toss or use this suggestion as you choose.

      Here are links to the most popular categories:

      Motorcycles Photography Entertainment Politics

    • A good question that is hard to answer. So, answering the opposite question first. :)

      I think it would no longer be middle ground if the site was optimized to always show you yet another conversation, especially while you haven't even finished interacting with the one you're currently on.

      This is something that many feed- or timeline-based products are very good at: You scroll and scroll, leaving likes here and there, but before you might start an in-depth interaction with one post, you already see the next that distracts you - and if you've scrolled down far enough to lose track, a reload will often shuffle the feed to show you stuff you haven't seen before so that you won't easily come back to the one piece of content you wanted to interact with earlier. This leads to interactions becoming much more shallow on average.

      With that in mind, I think it would be middle ground to do what you suggested: show a good (but not overwhelming) variety of content upfront, and perhaps even make it more attractive to view some other content than during a previous visit. However, once a user chose to view one or another piece of content, don't show immediate distractions in form of links to other conversations. These could appear further down the conversation page - and where they appear, they should probably invite the user to view conversations they haven't seen before.

    • Right I was thinking more on the first page you see, simply to see more options, once you are in your topic, the static from other options is greatly reduced on the pages after.

      To me its that initial search/ front page that should be more user friendly, if there's not something of interest right in front of me, I either have to start scrolling or go into search mode and I'm at least 4 clicks and some scrolling away from a topic. It's simple and easy once you know it's there and how to navigate, but for a new user would they stay around because it's not the norm nowadays

    • I see @StephenL constantly referring to previous older conversations in his replies to keep good ones fresh, which I hope makes people say to themselves I forgot about that one, and click back to it, or generate new readers.

      I have an encyclopediac knowledge of almost every conversation on Cake: today I replied to a conversation by sharing a link to a comment I remembered that I had made back in January 2019(!). Its a weird memory quirk that I have—I’ve never been tested for autism or savantism, but who knows.

      On Cake, we have regulars who check in daily and who religiously keep up with the active conversations. We also have folks who are regulars who only check in a few times a week, so my sharing of conversations—both recent and from the archives—is a way to help them not miss out. I usually get at least a couple “Thanks, I missed that/forgot about this conversation” remarks a month from users.

      If we had 10 times the amount of new content per day that we currently generate from the user community, the Interesting filter would serve most of everyone’s needs. Without looking under the hood at the algorithm, my sense is that it takes all of the new conversations from the past five days or so and weights them according to

      How old it is: a conversation starts out with X points and loses points each day since creation.

      How much engagement: A three day old conversation with a ton of engagement could rank higher than a one day old conversation with zero comments.

      As a result, if there were a hundred new conversations over the past five days, then you would see the “freshest” and most interesting conversations first in your timeline—and you’d be more likely to find a conversation of high interest to you without having to scroll or having to use the search feature.

      In essence, between your self-selection of topics of interest and the Interesting filter algorithm, you would have curation personalized at a level equal to or better than all of those other platforms you mentioned, imho.

      But right now, if you switch between the Interesting filter and the New filter, you will literally see the same exact conversations listed on the first page, with the order of the first five or so conversations differing slightly.

      A lot of the great conversations on Cake have so much depth to them, that I don’t think you can consume more than a handful of the ones you’re passionate about in one settings. (Just watching the videos and reading the articles shared by @Chris since I last visited a thread can be a twenty minute trip down the rabbit hole. 😉)

      So I don’t necessarily see the long-term advantage to redesigning Cake’s layout to a YouTube format or even an ADVRider approach.

      What’s needed is more evergreen content created by the user community, like your conversations on motorcycle gear, the panel interview with Larry Abitbol of Bay Photo, most of @JazliAziz’s conversations, and @MountainMom’s castle photo shares.

      These evergreen conversations have a shelf life of six months to infinity and are more likely to be shared on social media or to show up in Google search results. Which brings in more visitors to Cake, and more new users with a diversity of interests contributing to and creating conversations—which would address @RussP’s concerns that the community’s interests may be currently slanted towards ADVRider and Dgrin users’s interests.

    • I think there is always going to be a natural inclination towards ADV and photography because of @Chris and his involvement with ADVrider and Smugmug.

      Like I said it was @Dracula conversation that made me think of this indirectly.

      I know you only really get one or two shots of keeping a new member, and as I don't get to see the member numbers I have no way of knowing about growth.

      Maybe the design as it sits right now would be great if there were ten of thousands or hundreds of thousands of members...but as you have to click around a lot, do you or others feel some potential new members maybe be instantly put off because it's not what they are used to compared to most social sites.

      Maybe the idea of the ADVrider editorial home page on here to show a vast arrauy of topics and behind it is the original home page that we see now.

      I read of members there saying they bookmark one or the other (and individual threads) as their entry gateway...but I guess one could do that here too.

      ...just thinking out loud...

    • do you or others feel some potential new members maybe be instantly put off because it's not what they are used to compared to most social sites.

      ...just thinking out loud...

      I greatly appreciate thinking aloud from an insightful dude such as yourself.

      The short answer, from me at least, is that I do not know. You would have to do A/B testing, where half the visitors saw the current site and half saw a YouTube/ADVRider format, to know if there was a significant increase in visitors ghosting or signing up with a different format.

      Plus you’d have to build the new format and hope you didn’t alienate the folks who were happy with the way things are.

      I’ll presume that you’ve been on ADVRider for quite awhile and that there have been changes that were met with resistance even though in the long-run they were beneficial to the community.

      I’m not trying to shut down discussion on redesigning the platform to increase membership. In fact, just the opposite: I want everyone who cares about the community here to share whatever ideas they have.

      But I think it’s important to also look at the potential pitfalls and downsides to any improvement.

      I know more evergreen content will increase Cake’s visibility via social media sharing and Google Search results, and that the increased visibility will increase members and engagement.

      Beyond that, I have not a clue.

      😉

    • agreed, on ADV and @Chris will attest to this, ANY CHANGE is met with distaste, but in the long run almost every improvement is just that an improvement.

      I'm not a programer, not my thing at all, and like I say just thinking out loud. I am just looking at the site in its infancy and wondering if all the potential members out there which obviously out number the current members would be more attracted to one of the other.

      I don't think a conversation about it would get the result and data you'd or the programmers need to make a decision, because there simply aren't enough people joining in, only five talking right now.

      ...maybe a blind poll with a few made up screenshots of potential options sent to all current members and past members (and ask why they left). That way the current site doesn't need to be changed at all?

    • agreed, on ADV and @Chris will attest to this, ANY CHANGE is met with distaste, but in the long run almost every improvement is just that an improvement.

      This may possibly be side-tracking, but...

      I would generalize that as 'any software change is met with distaste'. Being involved with SW development for a long time, I can atest to that being a rule. Particular change might be obviously better in every way, but people will still complain. Sure, they will eventually accept it and given time embrace it, but initially the reaction is always bad.

      There's a great Steve Sinfosky post about that:

    • As always, you share incredibly on point essays. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this: he’s a great writer and a domain expert on successfully changing the user experience.

      What I got out of that essay, interestingly enough, is that changing the layout may not help much: Cake already has timelines for threads you’re following, recent conversations on topics you’re currently following, featured conversations, and a timeline of everything.

      If you’ve tried Mastadon, a decentralized alternative to Twitter, they successfully use a series of timelines that users cycle through: recent content from people you follow, content from everyone on your node, and the fire hose timeline of everything in the universe (sorta).

      More evergreen content and more comments per conversation, as well as regulars visiting Cake more often, are things that can be done today to improve Cake.

      StephenL

      <><><>
      Conversations I’d like to see more of on Cake:

      Quirky hobbies and interests that you’re passionate about and/or a domain expert on.

      Career discussions (dealing with challenges and transitions)

      Ideas for Cooking vegetarian dishes because you’re tired of the same old same-old since the Pandemic began and/or you want to be prepared if there’s a meat shortage

      Video game reviews and suggestions for iPhone and Android

      An expert sharing their knowledge on ANYTHING.

      Reflections of incredible music concerts you attended in your youth (Dylon, Beatles, Ozzy Osbourne, etc.)

    • I was looking for an FAQ section or something, Call me smart for searching for "Cake", I figured that would be a fitting tag for Cake-related issues. I found not one but two, "Cake" and "Cake feedback". Why these threads/topics are not in the main menu somewhere?

      The examples from Apple, Yahoo, Netflix, The NYT are all too cluttered for my taste. Cake is better. Good middle ground? Medium is not bad, IMHO. Someone has been reading my stuff there, I got six views, woo-hoo!

    • I was looking for an FAQ section or something,

      Try the FAQs topic:

      <><><>

      The Cake topic is generally for announcements on Cake, although it’s a flexible topic.

      The Cake Feedback topic is for suggestions, questions and complaints. Stuff not working or loading properly. You have a question on how to post multiple photos. Etc.

      Good questions you’ve asked, btw.