*Updated* [Announcement] About the new SHARE bar on dotTech

As I am sure most everyone has noticed by now, I have added a new SHARE bar to dotTech. This article is intended to ensure everyone is informed about what this bar is, what it is intended for, and what it is not.

Update: Listening to dotTechie feedback, I have modified the SHARE bar. It is no longer attached the left of the screen. It is now in the bottom-left corner and should not – in any circumstance – cover any content on the page. Please let me know if the bar is still obscuring your view of content and please, continue to provide the valuable feedback! (If the bar is obscuring your view of content it would be helpful if you could tell me the screen resolution and browser you are using).

What Is It?

The bar is based off the idea that Mashable popularized of having floating social media links. It facilitates the sharing of articles via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Stumbleupon, and printing.

What Is It Intended For?

As already mentioned, it is intended to facilitate the sharing of dotTech articles. Clicking on any of the buttons in the bar allows users to share the page/article they are on via e-mail, Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Stumbleupon, and printing.

The “Share/Save” bar at the top of every article wasn’t cutting it and I wanted to try something else.

How It Works

The bar is written in a mix of CSS, PHP, and JavaScript. It automatically appears on every page/article on dotTech (even the homepage). I wanted the bar to be an unobtrusive as possible so I set its location to be off-screen in the sense that it doesn’t show up on the main part of the website where the content is — it shows in the empty white space on the left. Furthermore, when that bar is open, it auto-hides itself when a user clicks anywhere on the page aside from the bar. (E.g. When you load an article if you click on the article text the bar autohides itself.) Users can open/close the bar by clicking on the SHARE button.

I am looking into being able to autohide the bar after X seconds and/or when the window is scrolled. This will help with the whole idea of being unobtrusive.

What It Is Not

It isn’t the root of all evil. It isn’t a get-rich-quick-scheme. It won’t do your laundry for you.

I understand some people may dislike this bar but you must understand sharing articles are a necessary way for a website to grow. Now, of course, if the bar really, really bothers you then that is a different story; but if you just dislike it because you won’t use it — please try to understand my point of view.

Is This Permanent?

It could be, yes. It really depends on a) dotTechie feedback and b) how many people are using it. At this moment in time consider this a beta trial of the SHARE bar. If it stays or if it goes really just depends.

Please Provide Feedback

As a webmaster, feedback is valuable to me. After all if my readers don’t like the changes I am making the changes are pointless. So please sound off in the comments below, stating your opinion about this new SHARE bar. However, please avoid any knee-jerk reactions. Before posting, I ask that you really think about

  • Is the bar obtrusive?
  • Will you use it?
  • If you won’t use it, does the bar really bother you?
  • How would you change it?
  • Do you want any other social media links in there?
  • [Any other feedback you can think of.]

If you find the bar to be covering content, such as text, please state your screen resolution and web browser so I can solve that issue.

Thanks everyone!

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64 comments

  1. jayesstee

    @Ashraf:
    OK Ashraf, what have you done?
    Yesterday, the share gadget was as my post #63. Today, no share gadget and no RH up-arrow!
    Switching off Adblock Plus returns both, but with the share gadget in full all-options glory.
    Ah, I just remembered, yesterday I upped Firefox to 8.01. Could that be the cause?

  2. jayesstee

    @Ashraf:
    Ha Ha! One – nil to you, Ashraf!
    I tried “Noscript” to see if would block your new share gadget and found it did, it also blocked the “up” button on the right. (Shame)!
    Then I used the keyboard “End” button to get to the bottom of the page, and found it scrolled right past the “blue section” and copyright notice. There nestling at the very bottom the page, on a new white-ish area was some of the elements of the dreaded share gadget.
    I give in, I have removed the Noscript blocking and I will pretend to love the share gadget.

  3. Anonymail

    I Love it! That is a great addition! Some of my friend on Facebook look to me for advice about programs or watch for me to post about “for everyone” freebies, this is a great way to get the word out about them and about Dottech, which I think everyone should know about!
    Thanks, also, for the link to the script!
    Ane

  4. Philippe

    I find it a nice addition, but my eyes are train to not see what I do not need. So if you didn’t mention it…I wouldn’t see it. And when I want to share a link, I do it the old way. Copy and paste.

  5. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @hatman: This is true. However, a) I cannot do anything for people running 800×600 because at that point even the template of dotTech is “too big” and b) Anyone with a width of 1024 of lower will not see the bar, so there is no concern of covering text.

    @Jeanjean: Thanks for checking it on multiple resolutions!

    @hatman: I don’t think it will. Depending on ur netbook’s resolution, you will either see the bar on the side or you won’t see it at all.

    @Mardel: I’m sorry, I am confused as to your IE8 problem. Can you please clarify.

    @Sundog: admin [at] dottech [dot] org

    @Seamus McSeamus: Good to hear NoScript isn’t blocking it.

    @Sundog: I find this to be odd. I see no reason why you should be having problems on higher resolution screens.

    @Eddie Scheer: You can close the share bar. Just click “SHARE” or click anywhere on the page. I am looking into autohiding it after X seconds.

    @Adrian: Done! I moved it more to the left a little.

    @jayesstee: The reason why I have it default open as opposed to close is because if it were closed most people who ignore it — which defeats the purpose. The idea of default open with autohide was a compromise.

    @Everyone with 1024×768 resolution and lower: The SHARE bar resides in the white space on the left hand side. Because of your resolution there is no white space on the left side, therefore you should not see the bar at all. It appears previously a small portion of the bar was showing but I have moved it further left so now you should see no part of it.

    @Everyone: Thanks for all the feedback!

  6. jayesstee

    @BeeGee: I agree with you. The default should be “closed”, not “open”. When closed, it looks neat and matches the “up” button on the right.

    @Ashraf: I agree about the “share/save” bar at the top. Once it had scrolled of the top of the screen, I always forgot it was there.

  7. BeeGee

    The bar does not move out of sight no matter where on the page I click. It does not obscure content now (I think it did but also disappeared when I clicked near it but that was then and this is now).

    I am running XP SP3, Tosh A105, older 15.4 screen 1024 x 768

    It’s no a big deal but I have no use for it and wish it wasn’t there. I would rather there was a small tab that I could click to bring it into view if ever (do not hold your breath) I want to use the embedded functions.

  8. Eddie Scheer

    I love your website and highly value and have used your advice for over a year now. I have availed myself of the freebies and promotions, much more so than GOTD. I always follow your advice on whether or not a freebie is what I need or not. BUT!!!!! the share options popup is extremely annoying to me. I have a Facebook acct., but hardly use it. I’m not into a lot of frivolous socializing.
    If the new share options are needed by a majority, then that is fine, but give me the option to disengage it when I go to your website. I would prefer an option to permanently disengage it, but if that is not possible, then at least give me the option to close it. Thanks for your consideration of this request.

  9. Bruce Fraser

    Is the bar obtrusive? – No.
    Will you use it? – No; I don’t use any social network.
    If you won’t use it, does the bar really bother you? – No.
    How would you change it? – Not.
    Do you want any other social media links in there? – Immaterial to me.
    [Any other feedback you can think of.] – Keep up the good work!

  10. Mardel

    Ashraf, haven’t written anything for awhile and when I saw this, just had to take a minute to do so. I have been recommending your site to almost everyone I talk to who is involved with computers in any way shape or form. From the beginner to even IT people. My daughter (who worked for Cisco as a programmer for 11 years until August of this year as they had to cutback) thinks you are great too and uses your site! Having this share bar is no big deal especially when you compare it to other sites with similar bars (C-net.com for one) that constantly gets in your way and you have to click the x to get rid of it in order to read what you came to the site to read! I now can simply click on share bar to make sure the people I feel would be interested in the subject matter, don’t miss that subject! You taking time to be sure it is out of the way is a blessing. Keep up the good work like you always have done! Now if you can tell me what I need to do to my IE8 (yes I use it) to view a few web pages that automatically tell me I need to update to IE8 to view the site, I would appreciate it. (system XPsp3). Sorry, just had to ask.

  11. Janet

    1024 x 768 on 18″ screen
    I only see 1/8″ of it now–light gray right-outline of empty (white), very long, and very skinny box. So if I weren’t following this thread, I would have no idea it was there….Great for me, ’cause I don’t need it, but it would be defeating your purpose for you….

  12. Jeanjean

    Hi,

    I don’t see it at all in 800×600, a very very little part of the “Share button” in 1024×768 and can finally see it in 1152×864.
    Will i use it when i see it ? Maybe to print !
    And no, in this new form it doesn’t not bother me.

  13. Mike from Markham

    Never use these “Share” buttons myself and have no use for Facebook, Twitter and the like; also really don’t like their logos and links appearing everywhere I turn. Fortunately, AdBlock Plus and/or NoScript are usually effective weapons in making them go away most of the time so I don’t have to look at them at all. On the occasions when I do recommend something from your site and others to my friends, I always email them the link and a commentary on the article and/or the benefit in reading it.

  14. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @David: Your screen resolution is why you can’t see it. I’ve “hid” the bar for people with 1024 width or lower because it covers text due to lack of screen real estate. Thanks for the response though!

    @Sundog: Are you running something like NoScript in FF? My guess is an addon is blocking it.

    @Everyone: Thanks for the continuous feedback. I appreciate it! From the sounds of it SHARE bar v2 minimizes the complaints. Amirite?

  15. Sundog

    Running FF8 on Win7-64 bit. On my right-hand screen, maximized, 1920 x 1200, I see 1/2 of the bar. On my left-hand (laptop) screen, 1600 x 1200, it doesn’t show at all. Can’t scroll to it on either. I have no problem with the bar, but would like to see it to know what all the fuss is about!

  16. cuemark

    Looks good to me. I understand that these ‘share’ functions are very important to some people, and I think we (geeks) need to accept this…….it’s business. If more folks click on this site by ‘sharing’ that is good for us all :-)

  17. DisturbedComputer

    it does not bother me.

    with that said, I would think it would look a hell of a lot cooler if you were to have a place on each article that says share and when one clicks on it then your new share bar comes out from (hiding) with all the oppositions you have on it.

    what I am saying is you don’t see it at all until you click on share in the blue part of an article or at the end of it.
    I just think it would be cooler that way. but I more then likely would not use it at all

  18. Ron Lewis

    Ashraf, this is so cool! I really like it! You came up with another outstanding contribution to the tech world.,

    Thank You! Those of you who have just gleaned at it, i suggest that you spend a few minutes in playing with it.

    It does have some cool things; and you just may well be surprised to find, that indeed it rocks!

  19. clockmendergb

    I am using a 23 inch screen and the bar obscures nothing
    click it and it shrinks to just the word (share) which is even less obtrusive .
    I am not a great sharer of anything other than my time so it will not be of much importance to me.

    In my opinion Ashraf has every right to place the bar on his web site and I do believe there are a lot of people who would make good use of it.
    .
    I vote for Ashraf.

  20. David

    1. Is the bar obtrusive? It was, and it obscured some of your precious text…, and accidentally I discovered that it went away when I clicked on a blank part of it, so no big deal other than a momentary but repeating annoyance.

    Now something different is happening. (Same issue on Firefox 8.0 and IE 8. Screen 1024×768). I see the barely visible short right part of a sort of square (no text in it) on the lower left of the screen and a taller same width and also empty of info bar thingy just above it. The latter goes away when I click on the active screen (or seemingly conveniently toggles on/off by clicking on the short bit). In case that wasn’t clear enough, I do not see the sharing widgets at all now, and nothing is obscured.

    2. Will you use it? Probably not. Not into those ways of social sharing, can make my own email to send a link to a wonderful dottech article to others so they get a personal recommendation (I can copy and paste…), and now that you’ve pointed it out (had never noticed it before), I could use your Share/Save bar should I ever stumble upon what a twit is.

    3. If you won’t use it, does the bar really bother you? Now that it’s not obscuring anything and there is nothing I have to do to get it out of the way, nope, it’s not bothering me now.

    4. How would you change it? If there had to be such a pop-up/down bar, I would prefer it be default down and clicking the small unobtrusive button would pop it up.

    5. Do you want any other social media links in there? OCCUPY!

    6. [Any other feedback you can think of.] (insert standard note of appreciation of Ashraf for all his good works, except for the boring stuff about Android, which was only interesting on first glance when I looked to see if it was about the hot robot from the movie).

  21. Donnyboy1

    Longtime fan and very impressed with the cutting-edge sidebar share widgdet. And,as usual, Ashraf continues to bring a fresh new dimension to the computing experience.
    My vote is “yes” for a welcome and permanent webpage addition.

  22. Patara

    As the bar is now on lower left of screen, I can’t understand what all the fuss is about. I never use social media so that part doesn’t interest me but being able to have the print or share email link handy is useful.
    It certainly doesn’t bother me, looks neat, hides with one click, covers no text and as my browser width gets smaller it disappears altogether, so not covering anything. The majority of websites have similar bars now. If it is good for your website Ashraf then I say go with it. I certainly would use the email link as often send people here and have to write out the message myself. Tested this one and perfect. A thanks from me for all you do.

  23. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @veronica1: Yep, altered it after 24 comments. :-P

    Oh and you are very welcome! And so is everyone else that has commented. Sorry I haven’t replied to individual comments on this thread. I figured since my response would be the same to most comments it would be easier to do a @Everyone. Rest assured, however, that I am reading each and every comment.

  24. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Everyone: Listening to the feedback, I have modified the bar a little.

    It still autohides when clicking on the page; however it is now in the bottom-left corner and should *not* be covering any content on the page. If it is please let me know. It would be help if you include your screen resolution and web browser.

    @Loculus: Please see if it still appears on mobile.

    @Damacles 382: Is it still interfering with your sidebar?

  25. veronica1

    First, I would like to comment on the wealth of information I have received from your website. Thank you so much. Also, the SHARE bar is a wonderful addition and it will be used. Have you altered it already? It is not obtrusive and does go away with a click. (using Chrome browser and my screen resolution is 1366X768)

  26. Mick

    Bleccchh…

    Is the bar obtrusive? Meh… It is bad, but if you click anywhere on the page and it minimizes, I can live with it. I’m on the mailing list, so I come straight to the articles as opposed to browsing the home page… and as others said, it DID cover text and was an interference.

    Will you use it? No. Another anti-”social media” type here. That said, THANK YOU so much for all the deals that you post with the workarounds for all the lame “Like Me on Facebook”-cr*p. It is a bummer to miss out on some of them without workarounds, but you gotta draw the line somewhere.

    If you won’t use it, does the bar really bother you? If it goes away with a click, I’ll be alright.

  27. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @Everyone: Thanks for the feedback so far.

    From the looks of it sounds like the biggest complaint is for some users the bar is blocking content. For those that it is blocking content, such as text, can you please state your screen resolution and the browser you are in? The bar should not be obscuring anything.

    There are possibilities of moving it from the left to other locations, such as the top, bottom, right, etc. so let me know if there is another preference.

  28. Mike

    Is it obtrusive? YES. It pops up and obscures the left side of the webpage, including text, until I click somewhere on the page to get it to stop covering text. And even then, the “SHARE” tab still covers the left side of some text that goes far to the left (such as, when typing a comment such as this, covering part of the text I am typing . . .) and otherwise intrudes on the website experience, becoming a dominant feature of the webpage rather than the silly text and content that is here . . . . In the end, it forces me to take action to avoid its obstruction, if that might even be possible, and, as such, makes the website less enjoyable and obtrusive.

    Will I use it? Unlikely.

    If this latest intrusion in life must remain, please move it to the right side of the webpage, where it actually might be somewhat out of the way . . . .

  29. Damacles 382

    Really love the site, but this bar sucks big time. Because I subscribe via side feedbar in Firefox, which opens on the left side, the new bar blocks half the text on page. In order to use it, I would have to close the sidebar and reopen on each article. Was much glad to see that a single click would hide it, which is not too much to do, but I could do without it’s intrusiveness.

  30. Jerry

    I may never use it but it is almost nonexistent as soon as you just left click anyplace on the main page.
    So, leave it and let it pass the “test of time” which will determine who does and who does not use it and when used how often and for what purpose. Please excuse the long sentence.

    Have Fun,

    Jerry

  31. Craig

    Frankly I didn’t even notice it until I read your article. It works for me!

    While I’m at it, has anybody noticed a long load time for this site? Every time I go on to Dot-tech it takes 15 to 20 seconds to load anyone else experiencing this problem? I’m not having that prpblem with other sites.

  32. David Goldstein

    I like it – very professional looking. NOT obtrusive at all. NO text, or anything else for that matter, is obscured. I especially like the print command at the bottom which sets up the article perfectly for printing in a new tab in Firefox. Nice work Ashraf and thanks so much for your hard work and all the happiness and joy you bring to us year round. You are my year round Santa.

  33. Janet

    First of all, I love you and your website.
    Second, I saw the Share bar first on the CDRWin article.

    Now for your questions:
    ?Is the bar obtrusive?
    I found the bar very obtrusive, mainly because it covers the first two words of every line—-the SHARE tab is even worse, as it cover the first three words of the lines it covers. In short, it made it very difficult to read the article….!!! I tried clicking on one of its icons in the hopes of getting rid of it–to no avail. Since we are not in the habit of clicking on articles either before reading them or while reading them, that solution is not one people are likely to think of…..:-)……

    ?Will you use it?
    Never, never, never! Those stupid LIKES make everything into a competition….And TWEETS are do nothing more than promote superficiality….When I want to tell people about your article, I just click Page>Send link by email, and write my friend about it….

    ?If you won’t use it, does the bar really bother you?
    Anything constantly in my face that reminds me of the social networks is annoying. But I understand your need for it and thus accept it. Perhaps you could make an option for registered members to ‘disappear it’……?

    ?How would you change it?
    a) It’s awfully big…..
    b) I would put it either across the bottom or on the right third of the screen, which is all white…

    ?Do you want any other social media links in there?
    As you have probably gathered, I don’t use social media….I find forums on interesting websites the best way to communicate for those who are interested in substance and particular areas of genuine interest….But then, I never was big on cocktail party chit chat…..:-)….

    I think the Share/Save bar across the top of this page is very nice–both aesthetically and in terms of being clear and easy-to-use….Why do you feel it wasn’t cutting it? What do you reckon the new bar adds?

  34. acr

    I don’t like the share bars. If there is a like or share link in the article title, that’s fine. It just feels kinda creepy that a share bar follows me up and down the page, like it’s watching everything I do. I realize the share bar on this site is stationary but it’s still a little creepy.

  35. Seamus McSeamus

    Generally, I hate these types of things. I find them distracting, at best.
    However:

    Is the bar obtrusive? Once I click someplace in the page and hide it. no.
    Will you use it? I’m not into social media, so that would be another no.
    If you won’t use it, does the bar really bother you? No, but it doesn’t not bother me either.
    How would you change it? Perhaps the ability to close it altogether would be nice for those of us who won’t use it.
    Do you want any other social media links in there? Nada.

    Okay, I guess you can keep it. :p

  36. Phil_F

    The share bar did initially annoy me when I first saw it and I tried getting rid of it at the cost of messing up the page layout, once I reset things and clicked on the article to read, the bar ‘disappeared’ much to my relief. So although I will not be using it I can see how it may well be useful to others. Sorry Ashraf but I hate it with a vengeance but for the sake of clicking on the article to read making it hide I can live with it. Thanks for such an informative web site.

  37. jivadas

    I hereby grant you free access to the square inch (actually rectangular) of space on my left margin, and the hidden bar with which it’s connected. But don’t expect me to use it.
    I’m sending twenty Canadian bucks (the one with Her Majesty on one side, and three gargoyles on the other), which should get you a bit of something with which to sit and say-to-yourself: “This is MY website. My readers love me. I can do whatever I damn-well please.”

    xØx
    jd

  38. Suze

    Yikes!! When I first accessed DotTech for the CDRWin article, I was immediately hit with this ‘SHARE’ bar, and it blocked some of the text in the left margin. It was very distracting (and I couldn’t read anything). Since I couldn’t see any way to get it the *&^% out of the way, I exited the page :(

    So thank you, Ashraf, for this post, and for explaining how to force-hide it so that it is not as obstrusive. To answer your questions:

    Is the bar obtrusive? Yes (to me it is)
    Will you use it? No
    If you won’t use it, does the bar really bother you? Yes; some of us with astigmatism will be bothered by it
    How would you change it? Make it as inobtrusive as possible. I like the idea of an ‘x’ that can be clicked so that just a *tiny* portion of the tab shows
    Do you want any other social media links in there? No thoughts, either way
    Any other feedback you can think of. Maybe locating it along the bottom of the page, instead of the left (or right) margin. And, of course, making the tab as small as possible.

  39. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    @etim: Obscures text? I’m confused — it is placed in the white space to the left, the whole point is that it isn’t (shouldn’t) obscure text. What screen resolution are you on?

    @david roper: Yeah, that older one was. I replaced it with this modified version. What do you think about this one?

  40. etim

    It’s much too large–it obscures too much text.
    An “X”to delete it would be nice for those of us who aren’t obsessed with social media and who consider these bars an irritant.

    Besides, the lower half isn’t visible if you’re not viewing “full screen”–which I rarely do.