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The New Lens Workshop: A Review

Posted on Dec 18 2008

A whole new Lens Workshop went live today, so if you log in to any of your lenses you’ll see the new 2.0 version ready to wow you.

It’s shiny, bubbly-looking, and clean.

The best thing for you to do is check it out! Go now and edit a lens. It’ll be a nice surprise.

A couple of people have asked me what I think of it, so I thought I would post a proper review instead of just a couple of thoughts.

Here are some good things:

Good things!1. The first thing you’ll notice is that the whole workshop design now closely matches the final published version of your lens (the colours, the width, the style) so you can see what your lens will look like published before you hit publish. Marvellous!

2. You can now add modules from the sidebar. This is GREAT for a whole number of reasons. You can add, say, 3 of this module and 4 of that module, then hit apply. The page refreshes and there are your modules waiting for you. A sideaffect of this is that the Featured Lenses module has finally seen the light of day! For so long it was hidden away under ‘F’ in the A-Z module search, which was a terrible shame. (It’s one of my favourite modules.)

3. You can now reorder a whole bunch of modules in the sidebar by dragging the titles up and down. This is great for organising your lens, but still not even approaching the ease at which you can shift ‘capsules’ around on hubpages. Ajax ajax ajax! Once you’ve reordered your modules you will need to click Apply, then the page will refresh showing you your changes. You can also use this to mass-delete modules you don’t need, which is nice.

4. If you are a Giant Squid you will be able to insert your Lens Templates into your lenses right from the sidebar. This is incredible. Lensmaking just got even faster for Giants. Everyone should be a Giant Squid, even you.

 

And here are some bad things:

Bad Things!1. The big black strip along the top of the page. It takes up so much room and isn’t really necessary. If you are an Amazon Associate you will be reminded of the new Associates bar when you are surfing amazon. But this Lens Workshop one is far too big and filled with things that you really don’t need on the screen the entire time you are making your lens. I hope this gets shrunk.

2. The Up and Down arrows are gone from the modules. Because all module reordering is now done from either the sidebar or the Add Modules screen, the arrows have vanished. I find this a real pain for just moving one module above another. You have to go all the way back to the top and move the little sidebar title instead of pushing the module itself. I guess this is something to get used to, but at it seems like more work a lot of the time.

3. You can’t collapse a module anymore. This is a real shame, because it was really useful to finish a module then just get it out of the way by collapsing it (clicking on the module title so the content of the module doesn’t show). I wish this was brought back.

4. The biggest button on the whole screen does not need to be ‘Publish’. This is more of a critisism of the big fat black strip at the top, but I thought I would mention it :p

5. The last thing I hope gets changed is the fact that changes you make to module titles is no reflected in the sidebar ‘reorder modules’ panel. This takes away any benefit the sidebar reordering brought with it because you will still need to reload the page to update the sidebar before you can reorder, THEN you will have to click apply to save the changes and refresh the page. So you might as well just go to the old Add Modules screen, reorder, then come back again. Biggest pain ever.

And that’s my review!

Positives and negatives, and hopes for the future 🙂

What do YOU think?
Do you love the new workshop?
Do you hate it?

What’s missing?

Lewis 🙂

P.S. Thanks for all the hard work, Squidoo HQ!

Lewis Smile

Lewis Smile is a Writer, Blogger, Web Geek, and very much a daydreamer. He helps people for a living, and works online. See the Contact Info page to say hi. Find out more about him here.

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5 Comments

  1. MrLewisSmile says:

    I think number 5 in the negative list is the worst one of all, but it’s probably fighting a tie-breaker with the big black strip.

    What do you think?

  2. I guess it takes a new version to fully learn about the old version (kind of like it takes divorce to fully get the marriage!) I never even knew about the “shrink the module” in the old version. That would have been helpful…then. Meanwhile, I’m enjoying the new workshop.

  3. Michey says:

    I agree, I like the new layout of Squidoo, especially positioning modules from side bar, it is so easy now (this is not a negative for me), adding modules from side bar.
    Giant Squids have more privileges, Ok probably they deserve this!

    All the best in the New Year
    Michaela
    I have a new lens to track my new challenge:

    love it the challenge.

  4. jooloo says:

    I thought I was losing it with #5. I hope your changes are implemented. Thanks

  5. Judith Atkinson says:

    Hi Lewis,

    Hope you have picked up my email about the Squidoo widget.

    Excited about this so would like to finalise it with your help please.

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