Customise the home page

Posted by ,

In response to all your suggestions, I've added a new feature to the site that enables you to customise the home page to suit your preferences.

Rather than implement a complex javascript 'widget' system, that few people would use, the customisation is done 'behind the scenes'.

If you're logged in, you'll see a new 'Customise the site' link at the top right of the page. This page brings together several existing customisation options that were scattered elsewhere on the site with new ones that allow you to change what appears on the home page.

You can now...

  • Change what appears in the main section of the home page.
  • Update: Change what appears in the menu of the home page
  • Change how many news articles you're shown on the home page.
  • Specify which news topics you're interested in, and prevent those you're not from appearing on the home page or in the 'older articles' page. (This was previously on the 'Customise your news' page and is useful if you don't like the Amazon alerts).
  • Change the types of reviews that are presented to you when viewing review pages. (This was previously on your profile page).
  • Change time zone, owned and wanted colours and forum tab destination (all previously on your profile page).

Have a play and let me know if you encounter any problems.

32 comments on this article

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

Huw: Just tried your new customisable front page and there seems to be some error in the "older stories" logic. I have 15 news items set and all the amazon alerts etc. The last item on the front page is the Site Changes article of the 10th. As soon as I click on older news the first item is from 7th Jan, the MIndstorms news. There are 4 stories skipped: sun promo, cussoo etc.

But nice changes overall - I like the customisable front page.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Great feature!

Gravatar
By in Canada,

^^ I am aware of that and I'm working on it. The loigic is quite complex because so many parameters are user-definable.

I'll LKY when I think it's fixed so you can try again.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Great Feature! This is why Brickset is the BEST. You work to give ALL members satisfaction. An amazing job!

Gravatar
By in Canada,

@legobigbloke, I think it's sorted now. LMK.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

^Huw: I now see the Site Changes article on the bottom of the home page and top of the "older stories" page. I think that is ok, but not perfect ;) Sorry to seem so picky, but I'd hate for people to miss out on the great articles that sometimes slip rapidly off the front page. I wish there was a smiley for "I'm trying to help, but seem to be coming across as a pain which was not my intention"!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

^^ Another odd behaviour is that the latest amazon.co.uk offer doesn't show up. I had the problem where I needed to re-save all my options for all amazon alerts to show up again. All the .com,.de,.fr,.es,.it show up fine but not .co.uk. I know there haven't been many amazon.co.uk offers recently, but wondered if anyone else can't see the 11th Jan one without having to choose the amazon.co.uk offers news link.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

The Amazon.co.uk article from the 11th will have been archived when the one on the 14th was published. The one on the 14th however had some erroneous information in it, showing a 2013 set at a 75% discount or something. It was was probably caused by a glitch at Amazon, but now it's been resolved and the item is showing at normal price, we decided to delete the alert to avoid disappointment :-)

There hasn't been an alert since then.

I think the problem you describe ^^ was caused by there being an unpublished article (the review I've just written) which wasn't being accounted for when working out which articles to show in the archive. I think it's sorted now.

Thanks for your continued feedback, it is helpful, I want it to be faultless, too :-)

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

I like the customisation features, but they're a little slow (ie, when you click add, they take a while to switch lists). Other than that, it's great! Keep up the good work, Huw!

Gravatar
By in Sweden,

Excellent! Sounds like there are some bugs to be ironed out, but great to be able to customize it to suit our personal needs!

Gravatar
By in United States,

Thank you! Thank you! Huw, you're the best.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

^^^ I noticed that too, but I figured it's not something you're going to be doing every day, is it, so I haven't spend a lot of time optimising it. It seems a bit quicker in Chrome, actaully, in fact the whole site seems a lot quicker in Chrome :)

Gravatar
By in Canada,

Out out of interest, 46 people have customised their home page so far and this is their settings:

Hot topics|New at shop.LEGO.com|New in the database|News|
New in the database|News|
Introduction|New at shop.LEGO.com|New in the database|News|
New at shop.LEGO.com|New in the database|News|
New in the database|News|
New in the database|News|Hot topics|
New at shop.LEGO.com|New in the database|News|
New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
New in the database|Hot topics|News|
New at shop.LEGO.com|New in the database|News|Hot topics|
Hot topics|New in the database|News|
Introduction|New at shop.LEGO.com|New in the database|Hot topics|News|
Hot topics|New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
Introduction|New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
New in the database|News|
New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
New in the database|News|
News|
New in the database|News|
New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
Hot topics|News|New in the database|
Introduction|Hot topics|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|New in the database|
New at shop.LEGO.com|New in the database|News|
News|New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|
New in the database|Hot topics|News|
News|
New at shop.LEGO.com|New in the database|Introduction|Hot topics|News|
Introduction|New at shop.LEGO.com|New in the database|News|Hot topics|
Introduction|New in the database|Hot topics|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
New at shop.LEGO.com|New in the database|News|
Introduction|New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
New at shop.LEGO.com|New in the database|News|
Introduction|Hot topics|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
Introduction|New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
Introduction|New in the database|News|Hot topics|New at shop.LEGO.com|
New in the database|News|New at shop.LEGO.com|
Hot topics|New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
Hot topics|New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
Introduction|New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
Hot topics|New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
New at shop.LEGO.com|News|
News|
Introduction|New in the database|News|
New in the database|News|New at shop.LEGO.com|
New in the database|New at shop.LEGO.com|News|

That's quite a variety, isn't it!

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

^^^^^^Huw: Yes that all now fixed and thanks for explaining the amazon.co.uk issue - I thought I was going mad!

One last thing I have noticed: On the "older stories" page the header states: "Here you'll find articles that have just disappeared from the home page that were published in the last 30 days." But I only get the last 8 days or so (just 11 articles).

Perfection can (and will) be achieved :-)

Gravatar
By in Canada,

It doesn't show articles that have expired. Currently articles live for 10 days by default, except for Amazon alerts which are expired once a new one has been posted.

I can't (without an even more copmplex stored procedure in the database) have it show articles that have expired because it would show old Amazon ones which would be annoying. So, I'll make the default lifespan of articles 31 days which won't solve the problem immediately but going forwards will.

Gravatar
By in United States,

Great idea @Huw! Now if only I could log in on Web OS devices ... :-)

Gravatar
By in United States,

Yes! I agree - I can't log in with my Kindle. It would be nice if that bug was fixed.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

What's preventing login? I've not had or heard of problems with Android or iOS devices.

Gravatar
By in United Kingdom,

There's a time zone listed as UTC (London) - does this give me UTC or London? (London is one hour out from UTC for seven months of the year of course.) FWIW I would quite like real UTC as an option, although I guess this is giving me London time.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

It's effectively server time -5 hours. A true UTC is not possible because the server, on EST/EDT changes its time twice a year at about the same time of year that we do.

Gravatar
By in Denmark,

Really nice done..just what i needed or wanted...
and great work you do...

Gravatar
By in United States,

^^^^ I think part of the problem is I'm using Web OS; which (I think) is different from iOS (this is on the HP touchpad). I can go to the login page and the password and username are accepted; but only in the page right after login (with some unusual address like: http://www.brickset.com/(F(b_zoavViEVLiYRqhhw1nnvubZCDMfVNulIwRpU2-5DJePdmLDesMz0pM0L243bCl5B-4FNRuPzJHPCIUrODbxGT05skL2_X1KCUBgrX8RSebJFbnuRiKLl-1MoUaJsoB99Kf-zcnsVW8DGQJk3BahzhXdc6KghKAhfXzsw4kr-E1))/default.aspx) am I actually logged in. As soon as I go to any other page; I'm logged out.
EDIT: That's odd, I just tried again and posted the above but the top right hand corner still said I wasn't logged in.
EDIT 2: And apparently it's reposting every time I refresh the page; sorry about that (did I mention that a lot of web pages are glitchy with the Web OS?)
Edit 3: So I've done a little more investigation and I've found that I can go to the edit preferences page a it acts like I'm logged in and I can click on "my sets" and it acts like I'm logged in. So I can get farther than I used to; but I still have the problem that the top of the page says I'm not logged in (I only got to the preferences page by copying the address from my computer) and the fact that anything that "auto-updates" the page doesn't work (ie. Things like changing from gallery to list view, choosing something in the advanced query maker, clicking the checkbox on the page the first time you click the forum tab, etc.) But the latter seems to be a fairly common issue with some sites.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

^ Sounds like a dodgy browser issue, doesn't it...

Gravatar
By in United States,

Yep, so there's probably not much you can do about it as it's pretty much the only browser available. The whole thing about only being "half-logged in" is rather uncharacteristic even for it though.

Edit: Interestingly enough, I just tried again, and I can't log in on it at all (so it's back to normal). It accepts the password, loads www.brickset.com (as opposed to the really long link above) and I'm not logged in at all (ie. I don't even have partial benefits of logging in like being able to view my sets, etc.), also when I hit the back button (to go back to the main page) I get the Brickset error massage. If you ignore my other post, does this sound like something more fixable?

Gravatar
By in Canada,

If you know what IP address (or range you're in) I can check the error log to see if it sheds any light.

Gravatar
By in Canada,

Home page menu custmisation now implemented...

Gravatar
By in New Zealand,

Huw, the next thing to do that would make commenting on news articles much more professional and cooler looking would be to allow users to have avatars for the Brickset website (user's avatars would show in their profile and their reviews and their comments on your articles). I think that this would be great for Brickset. Let me know what you think. :)

Gravatar
By in United States,

Hmmm; this feature seems very good and useful so far.

Gravatar
By in {Unknown country},

In the "news categories customisation" options, could you please add the possibility to remove the notification of "new instructions added"?

Gravatar
By in Canada,

^ You can do that already, it's in the category 'Auto alerts'

Gravatar
By in {Unknown country},

Thanks! What else besides "new instructions" will be gone when I disable auto-alerts?

Gravatar
By in Canada,

Nothing else yet, although I do plan to add other things like new inventory alerts in the fulness of time.

Commenting has ended on this article.

Related articles

Return to home page »