I spent today messing with a simplified layout for Mastodon, but haven't arrived at anything that I like enough to show.


I once did a poll on Twitter (back when I had my personal account) asking about the biggest obstacles to Mastodon adoption and the UI is on the same level as network effects. That's killing me. Like, I absolutely love this multi-column UI, that's the sad part

It's also kinda hard to make it different from web Twitter in terms of where elements are positioned.

But at the same time, when elements are wider, all of the margins and paddings need to also be bigger, otherwise the UI looks claustrophobic, and that's a lot of CSS adjustments...

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@Gargron I'm sure you do, but it can be overwhelming for new users. If you can build a decent single-column, simplified layout, that doesn't mean you can't keep the multi-column UI as an option though.

@Gargron as a nearly-exclusively-keyboard user the focus issues introduced by the multi-column layout are very difficult to work around, but I'm happily using Pinafore now. before that I tried to use custom CSS to force it into "mobile" single-column mode on my laptop but it never worked quite right.

@Gargron I definitely think you need to have a simplified, single column, clean UI on here. I wish I could get people started with pinafore and things like that instead of the multi-column view.

But pinafore and such lack full support of all the options and such you can change.

I've heard this complaint from a bunch of my first time users, especially folks coming from places other than twitter.

@Gargron The Eternal September reminds us that maybe adoption isn't what we really want? I've spent my internet life moving on once the masses find a platform and it regresses to the mean. Anyone is welcome, but having everyone show up brings some problems that clearly aren't helping twitter. I have no idea how to solve it and not be shitty to possibly cool people I want to talk to.

@Gargron imo you could take inspiration from the css hacks that force a "single column mode" by basically using the tablet layout next to the toot sidebar

@Gargron Actually, I rather like that it's set up almost identical to TweetDeck, which I find way less painful to use than the actual Twitter Web site.

@Gargron not that it counts for much but I prefer the column format of mastodon. Even when I did Twitter back in the day I used tweetdeck.

I love the multi-column UI too! I like having options like Pinafore out there, so folks can choose the layout they like.

@Gargron multi column is so cool! It makes you feel like a hacker

@Gargron I've come to like it as well.
I think it also helps with not being grabbed by the main flow, since you have other things to look at.

@Gargron multi-column is working well for me, but we’ve been at the issue of .column (max-)width vs readability before. even glitch-soc’s improvements aren’t optimal.

especially with mastodon’s auto-loading of new toots, too short line lengths make it so hard to keep up. i have .column’s max-width overridden to 520 px to make it kinda work with longer toots, but busy times are still a challenge.

@Gargron I really really really love multicolumn UI and so do hardcore twitter users (tweetdeck is uberpopular for a reason). Those people aren’t coming to masto anyways. Leave them.

@Gargron I feel like the vast majority of people aren’t turned off by the actual UI but by instances which like. Is not a solvable problem.

@Gargron Yeah I love this layout but it's the first thing anyone mentions when I bring it up

@Gargron some people hate all those other columns because it's visual clutter. I, for one, dislike the rapidly moving global feed along my normal feed because I feel I'm missing something every second and the clock is ticking

@Gargron Maybe have options to choose from when someone makes an account

@Gargron I think the biggest issue for me is that I have so much wasted space, for short posts it's okay but for longer posts it just feels awkward. I would love for a way to resize the columns. (unless there is already somewhere, and I am missing something)

@Gargron for a new user, the multi-column thing is very confusing, at least it was for me... However I got used to it and stopped using halcyon after some time.

@Gargron what you love isn't necessarily what we need.

@Gargron Twitter has both Twitter and Tweetdeck as official layouts, have simple and power user layouts to choose between?

@Gargron I love the multi-column UI and I think for some of us power users over on the birdsite it’s a huge draw. It should definitely bring in the tweetdeck users. But every now and then I go to the single column view just to simplify. UI is hard, if I may understate things.

@Gargron Would you also make that an admin option, such that the simplified layout would be the default for new users? I imagine that folks would be able to switch to multi-column layout, if that is their preference.

"Strange UI" is the strongest objection I have encountered (and character limit), from friends who were looking to move from that Doomed Social Network run by A Giant Corporation.

They're all on The Giant Evil Social Network these days. Network effects are a factor. 😰

@Gargron FWIW, I love the multi-column UI too. Also the default dark-mode. Hope you keep it 😃

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