Various usability improvements

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availablelogin
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Various usability improvements

Post by availablelogin » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:34 pm

Some feedback after a new installation of PHPBB

- For people who install PHPBB in addition to an existing website, it would be cool to be able to have a link to the main website at the very beginning of the breadcrumb
- "Board index" could be favourably replaced by "Forum" in the breadcrumb, that would sound less "nerdy"
- The topic subject should show up at the end of the breadcrumb too (just as plain text, not a link), that would really make you see where you are
- I don't understand why the arrows in the breadcrumb point to the left, logically they should point to the right

Altogether, an improved breadcrum would be: Site Name >> Forum >> Category >> Specific Forum >> Topic

- Not sure the majority of people still use smilies in 2011, they could be deactivated by default

- Pretty logically "Notify me when a reply is posted" should be enabled by default, people want an answer to their questions after all

- The current time should not show up by default, this diverts the eyes and people have a watch or a mobile phone for that

- Is it really necessary to have to refresh templates every time you edit a file? I like to edit CMS templates and see the result by just typing Alt+Tab and CTRL+R, that's much faster

I know all these points are just personal opinions and each of us has his idea on them, these are just suggestions

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imkingdavid
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Re: Various usability improvements

Post by imkingdavid » Wed Dec 21, 2011 2:21 am

First, thank you for your comments. :) I have responded to a few of them.
availablelogin wrote:- "Board index" could be favourably replaced by "Forum" in the breadcrumb, that would sound less "nerdy"
Language text is easy to change in the language file. I don't see a pressing need to alter this.
- The topic subject should show up at the end of the breadcrumb too (just as plain text, not a link), that would really make you see where you are
Currently the way breadcrumbs are added, they all have links. I do agree that they are not used as often as they could be for some more in-depth pages of the site (e.g. FAQ page, memberlist, etc.). However, the topic title is a large link at the top of the viewtopic screen, so it might be redundant to have it within the breadcrumbs as well.
- Not sure the majority of people still use smilies in 2011, they could be deactivated by default
I disagree. I still see the need for them; They are quite handy for conveying tone in an all-text communication system, as otherwise some text could be taken the wrong way. I see no need for them to be deactivated by default. If you don't want to use them, you don't have to. They're not exactly in the way, imo. ;)
- Pretty logically "Notify me when a reply is posted" should be enabled by default, people want an answer to their questions after all
I disagree here as well. When I go to a forum, I expect to receive exactly the number of emails I tell it to send. I don't want to get any more emails than ones I explicitly ask to receive. The idea is to be as unobtrusive as possible. It is not difficult to
- The current time should not show up by default, this diverts the eyes and people have a watch or a mobile phone for that
It is helpful for making sure the timezone is properly configured. Personally, I rarely ever even notice it unless I am looking for it, since my eyes automatically go to the content. If it is problematic or distracting for your users, it is not difficult to remove the line from the template file.
- Is it really necessary to have to refresh templates every time you edit a file? I like to edit CMS templates and see the result by just typing Alt+Tab and CTRL+R, that's much faster
If you don't mind the added server load of compiling the templates with each page load, you can go to ACP -> Load settings, and set "Recompile stale style components" to "No."
I know all these points are just personal opinions and each of us has his idea on them, these are just suggestions
Thank you for taking the time to make these suggestions. Feedback from you and other community members is helpful to improve the user-experience side of the software.
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availablelogin
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Re: Various usability improvements

Post by availablelogin » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:12 am

Thanks for your answers

Among all these suggestions, the only one that seems critical to me is to provide a way to display a link to the main website

I know the "clean" way is to integrate PHPBB to the template of the main website, but many people like me do it the dirty way and just install PHPBB in a completely separated way from the main website, except for the url forum.domain.com

The problem is that, once a visitor has clicked on "Forum" in the main website navbar, he/she doesn't have a way in PHPBB to get back to the main website

An option could be to offer (in PHPBB admin) the possibility to display a link to the main website at the beginning of the breadcrum
Another option would be to allow admin to chose whether the logo links to the forum homepage or the site homepage

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Pony99CA
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Re: Various usability improvements

Post by Pony99CA » Thu Jan 05, 2012 2:36 am

availablelogin wrote:Among all these suggestions, the only one that seems critical to me is to provide a way to display a link to the main website

I know the "clean" way is to integrate PHPBB to the template of the main website, but many people like me do it the dirty way and just install PHPBB in a completely separated way from the main website, except for the url forum.domain.com

The problem is that, once a visitor has clicked on "Forum" in the main website navbar, he/she doesn't have a way in PHPBB to get back to the main website

An option could be to offer (in PHPBB admin) the possibility to display a link to the main website at the beginning of the breadcrum
Another option would be to allow admin to chose whether the logo links to the forum homepage or the site homepage
I agree with this. In fact, I actually mentioned this same feature in November in the phpBB without mods topic on phpbb.com.
I do think phpBB could do some simple things to integrate with existing Web sites better, though. For example, adding an ACP entry for Home page which, if filled in with a URL, would add a "Home page" link to the breadcrumbs and make the board logo link to the Web site's home page instead of the Board Index. Just that simple change would acknowledge that many boards coexist with other pages and aren't stand-alone forums. (Portal MODs could also use that, making the portal page the home page.)
That simple change would help integrate the board better with a typical site.

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doktornotor
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Re: Various usability improvements

Post by doktornotor » Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:43 am

availablelogin wrote: - "Board index" could be favourably replaced by "Forum" in the breadcrumb, that would sound less "nerdy"
- The topic subject should show up at the end of the breadcrumb too (just as plain text, not a link), that would really make you see where you are
- I don't understand why the arrows in the breadcrumb point to the left, logically they should point to the right
Altogether, an improved breadcrum would be: Site Name >> Forum >> Category >> Specific Forum >> Topic
- See Extend phpBB Breadcrumbs - works a treat.
- Depends on style (some use » or • or whatnot) - yeah, on prosilver it just does not make any sense.
As for the "main site" link, with these sites (usually some sort of portal mod) being mostly an "afterthought", it just gets in the way of navigation.
availablelogin wrote: - Not sure the majority of people still use smilies in 2011, they could be deactivated by default
Huge -1 on this one. Will just get support people flooded with "ZOMG where did the smileys go?!? phpBB suxxxx!"
availablelogin wrote: - Pretty logically "Notify me when a reply is posted" should be enabled by default, people want an answer to their questions after all
I recall a couple of forums set up this was and can assure you that it something incredibly annoying. No, I do not want my email/jabber flooded.
availablelogin wrote: - The current time should not show up by default, this diverts the eyes and people have a watch or a mobile phone for that
Shrug; I would mainly expect the DST to be handled automatically.

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