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Latest updates to SB Nation United:

SB Nation United is still making changes in response to user feedback and today they rolled out a whole new set upgrades, as described below in a message from the tech team.

- Increased the amount the number of recommended and recent FanPosts on the homepage
- Changed the styles to improve scanning of FanPosts and FanShot headlines and new comments on the homepage
- Added author bylines on Articles in the cover
- Added indicator if articles or features are from another SB Nation site when placed on the homepage
- Added article headline to comments on user profile recent activity list for better reply context
- Reinstated the ability for users to add polls to FanPosts
- Reinstated accurate comment counts on StoryStream updates in the cover
- Reinstated ability for authors to add custom captions to photos
- Trending Stories are now relevant to league of the team or sport the blog covers
- Fixed issue with Shift-A keyboard shortcut for comments not working properly in large threads
- Fixed issue with logos that break out of the circle getting cropped
- Fixed issue where new comment count was incorrect on FanShots posted from another site
- Fixed issue with filters not working on FanShot index page
- Fixed Facebook login issues
- Improved visibility of next and previous arrows on photo galleries
- Added correct author names to the FanPosts page
- Mobile optimization improvements

We have more work queued up including some substantial changes based on feedback from your members and a better set of data on how the entire audience are using the new sites.

They've also set up a page with the full SBN United version history (click here) but while we're on the subject, a few notes on how we've come to use all the new features:

  • Evan Dunlap of Orlando Pinstriped Post put together a nice tutorial of storystreams that I suggest you check out.
  • You'll notice that we've set up storystreams for a ton of things, from linking together coverage of the playoffs to linking together articles months apart about Debby Jennings' lawsuit against the University of Tennessee to linking together random NCAA videos. A lot of this is simply us experimenting to see what works best and so far I've found that streams are helpful for two primary things: first, they're great for linking together things like the Debby Jennings suit, a story that has unfolded over the course of six months of time. Second, it is helpful to have a playoffs (or Finals) storystream to post brief updates on game days without having to worry about finding a photo, which may or may not even be available yet, if at all (we can post updates to streams without photos but creating a new article requires a photo. Just trust us that posting an article at the top of the site without a photo does not look good).
  • So part of us using these streams is you continuing to orient yourself to them. And for that, I want to direct your attention to the sidebar on the right of any storystream (including this one).

    Screen_shot_2012-10-18_at_12

    That sidebar on the right will have every story related to the story you're reading, if there are any. It helps us because we don't have to reiterate the full background of the story every time we want to update you on it and it helps you in the event that you'd like to jog your memory about what has happened previously - whether you're in a game thread or a post-game summary, you can easily go back and see comments and content posted previously.

  • Sometimes though, we'll make an update that seems to disappear from the site when the storystream is taken down from the front page. Usually, the stream will be available somewhere down the page or you can click on a related article to access it.
  • During the college season, I expect that we'll be bringing in content from other sites and putting it on our front page. That fourth point from the tech team about adding an indicator about external content should be a major asset for us as we look to bring you a wider variety of content.
  • Something else I've noticed that wasn't mentioned above is that all that useless white space on the site has been eliminated, which makes scrolling down the page a much easier experience.

Anyway, here's the main point: they are responding to feedback to some extent and trying to make SBN United as easy to use as possible. Blog a Bull made a great point recently as well: there is quite a bit we can control to make the look and feel of the site better for you and some that we can't. But the bottom line is that if you have any thoughts at all on how either we can do things better with the new features or how the tech team can improve anything about the design of the site, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments and we'll pass them on.