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hackwriter posted:
Elizabeth,

Thank you for moving the MS Health Center link to the top of the page. Though I think it would be better spotted at the right, above the experts' bios, since the eye tends to scan to the right more immediately. In my opinion, this link is more important to see first than experts and tips and resources.

I hope this helps posters do more research on their own. Again, thank you for making this change so quickly.

Kim
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hackwriter responded:
Addendum: I noticed that when the forum first pops up, we first see "Announcements" in a larger font, and below it, the MS Health Center links in a smaller font. I think the Announcements are distracting and irrelevant on an MS forum. It detracts from what is below it--which is relevant and important.

If Announcements is required to be on this page, it should be moved to a less visible spot.

Also, it would be even better if the MS Health Center link appeared at the very top (alone--without anything else cluttering up our vision) and repeated on the right side of the page where "Featuring Experts" is now. I'm fairly certain that few posters will read through those bios. Since it is in our right-sided peripheral view, that's what we pick up when reading the top posting.

Remember that many MSers have vision problems and are very distracted by a cluttered page. That is one of the main reasons so many old-timers fled this forum.

I hope you'll consider my suggestions. Thanks.

Kim
 
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Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff replied to hackwriter's response:
Hi Kim,

Yes, I see what you mean. And, the orange button (above experts) also draws your eye to the right. I can see this area being a better place for the links.

We are limited to where we can put things at this time. I can easily change the lower third of the Announcement Box. The upper two thirds are programmed with Community Wide and Category announcements.

You have sparked some questions for me to ask our engineers. Maybe, I can play with the middle of the box (which you don't see right now) for a different look.

And as always, members suggestions are sent in for consideration!

Thanks,
Elizabeth
 
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hackwriter replied to Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff's response:
Elizabeth,

I see the change to the top of the page, it is definitely more of an eye-catcher now.

I'll be interested to hear what you have discussed with the engineers.

And I don't know whether there is a way to increase the font size on the page, I haven't seen any buttons for this. If it's not a feature, that would be a valuable tool for MSers with vision problems as well.

Kim
 
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Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff replied to hackwriter's response:
Hi Kim -

So - Unfortunately, the boxes can not be moved around at this time, due how the page is set up. I am not techy so please forgive me for not explaining in techy terms.

All of our (WebMD staff and members) suggestions are kept and categorized for consideration when new releases are planned.

I haven't had a chance to play around with the middle box yet, maybe tonight after the dreaded homework, dinner, bath, bed routine is finished.

For font size in any browser -
To increase your font size use Ctrl
To decrease font size use Ctrl-

You can also check your browser. I like to post using Fire Fox. Not only does it spell check as you post, you can increase font in specific windows by -
- Clicking upper left View drop down
- Zoom

For Internet Explorer, the zoom is the % listed in the lower right corner of your screen.

Hopefully this will help!
Elizabeth
 
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hackwriter replied to Elizabeth_WebMD_Staff's response:
Elizabeth,

Thanks for the tip on increasing font size! I mostly use IE and your suggestion worked nicely.

But, how do we get that info permanently on the page for others to see easily? Or, better yet, create a button that will increase the size. The medhelp.org site does have such a feature, so it can be done. Shall we refer the illustrious engineers to these other MS forums for ideas? I would presume that kind of research concerning "the competition" has been done and continues to be done.

Concerning my own research of other MS forums: Namely, medhelp.org, healthcentral.org, and MSWorld.org--I've discovered that they have far more patient experts than WebMD. Though they, too, have their struggles with credentialed experts coming and going, not to mention outsourcing to "experts" who simply read out-of-date journal extracts to answer patient questions and who have dismal patient interaction skills--the mainstay of all of these forums has been patient experts who are a constant presence on those sites. Patient experts are, by far, the most well-informed, compassionate, helpful resource. We keep up to date with studies that many doctors do not have the time or the inclination to do.

Perhaps it's been the luck of the draw. My colleagues on those sites are well-connected and have drawn in their colleagues to participate. One site has a retired doctor with MS who is a combo of patient expert and doctor resource, and also has a nurse specialist with MS.

I wish I were that well-connected to resources that could be a boon to WebMD, I want this site to better serve the needs of patients and to be as user-friendly as possible.

I like Grace's suggestions a great deal--and most of them came up when WebMD first changed its format. Those issues were not addressed at the time--and little has changed since then. Unfortunately, the old-timers who fled the site back then do pop in from time to time to see how things are now--but are not tempted to return.

I do understand that all of the MS forums are sponsor-driven and must contain some advertising--but I do wish the powers that be would balance that requirement with the real needs of MS patients who require simplicity and ease of vision to feel confident enough to join us.

Kim


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