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Author Topic: Site Help Forum legibility?  (Read 2773 times)

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Offline DesertRose

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Forum legibility?
« on: February 25, 2018, 09:36:04 pm »
Okay, so.

I have noticed that people sometimes seem to have trouble finding things on the forum, and I'm wondering if there's something I'm not seeing because I'm familiar with the forum's layout that is confusing to newer forum members.

There are a number of ways that the administrators (Bynw, Evie, and me for the relatively active admin team members) can reorganize or otherwise change the look/layout of the forum.

Thus, I would like particularly to hear from new and new-ish members, but everyone is welcome to comment of course.

Is there anything anyone finds difficult about navigating the forum and/or chat?
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

Online DerynifanK

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2018, 07:43:39 am »
I can n3ver use the shout box. I type in a message and click send and it disappears but never shows up in the nox. I must be doing something wrong  but I don't  know what

Offline DesertRose

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2018, 08:34:59 am »
I can n3ver use the shout box. I type in a message and click send and it disappears but never shows up in the nox. I must be doing something wrong  but I don't  know what

Well, that's odd.  :/

What device do you generally use to visit the forum and/or chat?  I know some people have had trouble with tablets (it seems like iPads specifically really don't like the site for some reason).

(To be clear, I'm asking for reasons of troubleshooting.)
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

Offline Evie

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2018, 09:54:33 am »
Here are some thoughts I've had (and some of these have already been shared with DR and Bynw via PM, but I'm putting them out here to see if others think they would make navigating our main page easier).

1.  Instead of having all the chat link under "Places," which is a vague sounding header that doesn't immediately make me think of chat rooms (and I suspect many people just skim those headers looking for the right section of board and don't read each and every thread name), I think it might be handy to have a separate section clearly marked "Chat Room" directly under the shoutbox and News sections.  I think if we do this, and also somehow make it clear in the descriptions that the alternative links all lead to the same chat room, they are just different ways to get there, that it would be easier for people to find their way to whichever link works best for them.  (I do like having multiple options, because there are times when one or another is simply not behaving properly, and I am not certain there is a best one-size-fits-all option for getting into the chat room.)

I think the remaining threads that are currently under "Places" can remain in that section; however, I'm not sure that "Places" is the best header name for that section.  When I think of Places, I'm more likely to think of geographical locations, so on the Rhemuth Castle Forum, I'd half expect to find links to info about Gwynedd, Torenth, etc. rather than what's housed in that section now.  Maybe someone out there has some other suggestions for a section name that would make more sense, given the topics in that section of the board?

I think the other sections have headers that work fine.  The Recent Posts sidebar is probably more useful to newcomers than just the "view recent posts" link near the bottom of the main page, though I must confess I almost never use the sidebar myself since I'm so used to using that bottom link instead.  It is in pretty small font, though, compared to the topic headers and such, so I can see a newcomer not noticing it right off.

Derynifank, when you try to use the shoutbox, if you are on some sort of a mobile device (s/a a phone or tablet), are you using the mobile view or desktop view?  I think when I'm using my phone, I don't even see it at all if I have it in mobile view, but I've not tried using the shoutbox via my phone in desktop view, I don't think.  If I have, I can't remember. Normally I only use the shoutbox if I'm on my laptop or my desktop computer, both of which I use in desktop view. So maybe that makes a difference.  And like DesertRose, I haven't tried it while using a tablet.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

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Offline DesertRose

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2018, 01:53:17 pm »
Since Evie has already relabeled the Shoutbox and moved the chat clients into their own heading (thanks!), I have renamed "Places" as "General Information and Links."

Let us know (here in this thread is probably the easiest place to do so) how that works, and also please let us know about any other problems with reading/navigating the forum that we haven't already addressed.

Also, if anyone who uses a tablet or other mobile device has any advice to chime in about Derynifank's trouble using the Shoutbox, please do so as well.

Thanks!
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

Online DerynifanK

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2018, 02:00:47 pm »
I am generally  using a Samsung tablet  actually a Nook

Offline Evie

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2018, 02:04:30 pm »
I have an old Samsung Tab at home I can try to recharge to see if it has the same problem with the shoutbox.  That is, if I can get it to load the forum's home page, since last time I used the thing, it was pretty old, slow, and feeble.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Online DerynifanK

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2018, 02:05:45 pm »
Tried it and it worked that yime. Still don't  know why.

Offline Evie

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2018, 02:07:51 pm »
Tried it and it worked that yime. Still don't  know why.

I just replied, and noticed my reply didn't show up until I used the scroll bar to make it scroll into visible view.  (I think it was there all along, it's just that the text didn't automatically scroll up so I could see it.)  So maybe when you tried it before, we were able to see your text but you didn't see it because the shoutbox didn't automatically scroll up to show the latest line posted?  If it happens again, that might be something to check to see if that could be the problem.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline DesertRose

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2018, 02:24:20 pm »
That's good to know about the Shoutbox.

I had another thought.  If we could do this (and I'm not absolutely certain it's possible, but it might be; I'll consult with Bynw about the tech end, but he's ill right now, so he's indisposed, poor man), would a Site Map function be helpful for people trying to find specific forum features?
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

Offline DesertRose

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2018, 11:45:00 pm »
Quoted from the Shoutbox.  Time-stamps are US EST.

DerynifanK [26|Feb 03:03 pm]: Just trying to see if it works. I can see other posts there
Evie [26|Feb 03:05 pm]: I see yours, DerynifanK
Evie [26|Feb 03:05 pm]: Though for some reason I had to scroll down (in the scrolldown bar beside the shoutbox window) in order to see my own reply.
revanne [26|Feb 03:45 pm]: Sometimes I have to do that too but it is always there.
revanne [26|Feb 03:46 pm]: Yep - happened again, so it appeared that my comment had got lost but once I scrolled down using the little scrollbar at the righthand side of the shoutbox it was there.
DesertRose [26|Feb 03:46 pm]: For clarity, I'm basically always on a desktop or laptop computer when I get on the forum, but the scroll bar is generally off to the far right of the Shoutbox, in case anyone doesn't see it immediately due to screen size or any other reason.
revanne [26|Feb 03:47 pm]: Just trying something
revanne [26|Feb 03:48 pm]: If I press the enter key on my computer my comment appears immediately
revanne [26|Feb 03:48 pm]: And if I press the send button
revanne [26|Feb 03:49 pm]: It does too this time, So I'm confused. It appears that sometimes you need to scroll down to see your own comment and sometimes not. ??
DesertRose [26|Feb 04:05 pm]: Um. I don't know what could be causing that. There are a number of possibilities, some of which are not within the power of the forum admins to fix (internet speed, device behaving weirdly, coding in the Shoutbox software itself). If you can, revanne, make a note of this and we'll ask Bynw when he's feeling better.
revanne [26|Feb 04:25 pm]: I'll try and notice when it happens.
revanne [26|Feb 04:26 pm]: OK - so it did it that time so I am wondering if it does it the first time a new person types.
revanne [26|Feb 04:26 pm]: Apparently so. So it may be just how it works.
Laurna [26|Feb 11:15 pm]: I recall one shoutbox measage of mine that did not post. but that was a few weeks ago.
Laurna [26|Feb 11:16 pm]: And I always have to scroll down to see what i sent.
Laurna [26|Feb 11:17 pm]: INteresting, that time I hit enter instead of send and it attomaticaly scrolled down.


Okay, so apparently the scrolling on the Shoutbox behaves a little oddly when someone types their first message (or their first message after some time has passed), and sometimes pressing the Enter key makes it scroll automatically to the newest post and sometimes pressing the Send button does, but not always.

I'm mostly just putting this in this thread so we can still see it when these particular messages have scrolled up into the Shoutbox and/or the Shoutbox message memory has been cleared, and also so Bynw can see it when he's feeling up to helping troubleshoot.

Edited to mention that I have pinned this post to the top of the Site Support section for the time being, since it's an important ongoing discussion.  :)
« Last Edit: February 26, 2018, 11:46:55 pm by DesertRose »
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

Offline whitelaughter

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2018, 06:47:30 am »
I confess, I just click "Show unread posts since last visit." and don't bother otherwise exploring the forum, it seems to give me everything.
Am i missing anything by doing this?

Offline DesertRose

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2018, 08:38:21 am »
I confess, I just click "Show unread posts since last visit." and don't bother otherwise exploring the forum, it seems to give me everything.
Am i missing anything by doing this?

Probably not, because that's how I navigate the forum.

That being said, when you click one of the "Show unread posts since last visit" links (there's one at the upper left of the main screen and another at the very bottom of the forum), if there aren't any unread posts, it will give you an option to "Click here to show all unread posts," which is sometimes worth checking.  Occasionally the forum glitches and there will be other posts I haven't seen even though I always click the "Show unread posts" link at the upper left when I visit the forum.
"If having a soul means being able to feel love, loyalty, and gratitude, then animals are better off than a lot of humans."

James Herriot (James Alfred "Alfie" Wight), when a human client asked him if animals have souls.  (I don't remember in which book the story originally appeared.)

Offline Evie

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2018, 08:42:32 am »
I confess, I just click "Show unread posts since last visit." and don't bother otherwise exploring the forum, it seems to give me everything.
Am i missing anything by doing this?

In terms of posts, probably not.  I usually use the "View recent posts" link myself and just catch up on everything that was posted, in the order it was posted in, since my last visit.  (Since I usually check several times a day, there's not generally a lot to catch up on.)  However, the shoutbox is nice because it allows for nearly real time communication between people who are on the forum at the same time without having to leave the main board to go to the chat room, and unlike the chat room, it allows others who log in later to see what they missed.  Also it can be fun to browse the forum topics when time allows, because sometimes there are old topics that haven't been added to for months or even years, but which are still very interesting and informative.  And if you're a fanfic reader, then clicking on the "Unread posts" or "recent posts" links won't bring up anything but the most recent chapters of an ongoing story, so you'll miss a lot of great stories that were posted in previous years.
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

Offline Evie

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Re: Forum legibility?
« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2018, 08:45:49 am »
That's good to know about the Shoutbox.

I had another thought.  If we could do this (and I'm not absolutely certain it's possible, but it might be; I'll consult with Bynw about the tech end, but he's ill right now, so he's indisposed, poor man), would a Site Map function be helpful for people trying to find specific forum features?

It might, though I suspect most people here have no idea what a Site Map is, and therefore don't know how to answer this question. I had to Google it myself just to be sure I was clear on what it is!   ;D

For people who are more visually-oriented than text-oriented, I think a site map would be of great benefit.  I'm both, so I can navigate either way (though thank God I don't have to navigate this site based on auditory input, LOL!), but I think having the sections graphically mapped somewhere could be an asset to folks who are either more visually oriented than I am or more "TL:DR."
"In necessariis unitas, in non-necessariis libertas, in utrisque caritas."

--WARNING!!!--
I have a vocabulary in excess of 75,000 words, and I'm not afraid to use it!

 

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