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Old 01-05-2005, 01:55 PM   #1
abbynormal
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fresh eyes: site faqs


Having just discovered this site < 2 days ago, I feel it would have been enormously helpful if Site FAQ had been included near the top of the main menu on the forums pages. Perhaps right below linux forums or search.

I'm commenting because I have found this site and its denizens extraordinarily helpful and encouraging linuxwise, and I'd like to help others get into it. I originally entered through a link I found to your HCL elsewhere. Found useful stuff and a great thread about linux on very old pc and decided to join. But once I got into the forums I had trouble navigating and didn't notice the Site FAQ menu item way down near the bottom of the page even though I kept scanning the main menu near the top for something that would tell me a bit more about the site and how to use it. UserCP in the menu bar didn't mean anything to me, didn't remember seeing real site FAQ on home page (it's a little tiny button among many top right). The prominent FAQ at left side of home page has only a link back to the Forums. A large link there to "more site FAQs" might have kept me from going in circles.

I spent over an hour in the wee hours of this morning trying to find the thread I had looked at the previous morning -- search seemed to be hanging and, even though I had subscribed, I also didn't notice the My LQ part of the menu way down below the ad in the main menu column. So I wondered what good a subscription was, where the site faq was, stumbled into this forum (see previous post in the "name of this forum" thread) and finally, accidentally, stumbled across the parts of the main menu way down at the bottom right side of the forum page.

I admit I'm brain-dead and usually bleary-eyed when I'm surfing, so tiny letters, low contrast fonts on gray backgrounds way down the page below a bright, high-contrast (orange and black!) ad are very challenging to me. But I can't be the only bleary-eyed linux newbie surfer out there.

Again, I'm not asking you to move the ad down a lot -- I appreciate that the ads pay for the site. But it wouldn't shift things down much if a link to the Site FAQ were near the top of the main menu on the forum pages.

Sorry this is a bit long but I'm not just venting, the details are here to let you imagine seeing the site for the first time.

And thank you for being a truly wonderful site and not following the usual linux white on black theme -- I love tux, but small white on black text is a real squinter.
 
Old 01-05-2005, 09:40 PM   #2
wipe
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The layout of this site is quite confusing, especially for new users. Did you notice, for example, that when reading a message or browsing the forums, there's actually two different Main Menus on the right?! If it were possible to properly customise the look of the site from User CP options, I would change the colours and remove a lot of stuff that's unimportant for me and thus wastes bandwidth and my time. I mean all kinds of menus, forms, buttons etc. Luckily great content can exist without that great design.

And yes, User CP (UserCP in My LQ) should be User Controls, My Controls, Control Panel or something similar. I use it as a startup page to see if anybody has posted in threads I have participated in.

Simon
 
Old 01-05-2005, 11:50 PM   #3
abbynormal
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Quote:
Originally posted by wipe
The layout of this site is quite confusing, especially for new users. Did you notice, for example, that when reading a message or browsing the forums, there's actually two different Main Menus on the right?! ...
Yup! I noticed that when I finally noticed there was a continuation of the menus below the ad! But I didn't want to get too picky.

Quote:
Originally posted by wipe
Snip -- I mean all kinds of menus, forms, buttons etc. Luckily great content can exist without that great design. ...
I agree about the great content. I just want new users (as I recently was) to be able to find it without going in circles -- now that I know where to look it doesn't matter to me if any of it is changed. I just think that moving the Site FAQ menu item up near the top of the (first) Main Menu wouldn't make the page load slower and would make a great, welcoming, site even better.

Quote:
Originally posted by wipe
... And yes, User CP (UserCP in My LQ) should be User Controls, My Controls, Control Panel or something similar. I use it as a startup page to see if anybody has posted in threads I have participated in. ...
That's a great idea! I'll try that!
 
Old 01-06-2005, 12:00 AM   #4
abbynormal
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P.S. Having said that I would try using UserCP as my startup page, I am mystified why only the most recent thread I've subscribed to or posted to shows up on that page but all I've subscribed to show up when I click on the menu item "threads I have subscribed to".
 
Old 01-06-2005, 12:16 AM   #5
vharishankar
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I agree. This site has its navigational eccentricities. I have used it for a considerable time now, but I still find that getting the links accessing certain sections of the site is difficult.

You must admit that this site is essentially the forum software vBulletin (heavily customized) and everything else is built around it. So it would be tough to create a special site navigation that would integrate with the forum software smoothly.
 
Old 01-06-2005, 12:25 AM   #6
abbynormal
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Quote:
Originally posted by Harishankar
... this site is essentially the forum software vBulletin (heavily customized) and everything else is built around it. So it would be tough to create a special site navigation that would integrate with the forum software smoothly.
Oh!
 
Old 01-06-2005, 09:09 AM   #7
jeremy
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Well, the site navigation now is completely custom, so we really can do whatever we want. What about it should be improved? Where do you find it lacking?

--jeremy
 
Old 01-06-2005, 10:45 AM   #8
vharishankar
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Quote:
Originally posted by jeremy
Well, the site navigation now is completely custom, so we really can do whatever we want. What about it should be improved? Where do you find it lacking?

--jeremy
I guess that the Main Menu split is the culprit. But since you have so many links, I think that it would be tough to organize all the links in one box.

Maybe create links in a new row in the overall header of this site and remove the second side main menu which appear below the ads?

I think "My threads", "My Posts", "Subscribed threads" and "Logout" can come to the second row in the overall header menu. I always use the "My threads" feature and that would make it more accessible. Also maybe links to the FAQ and site rules could come to the header.

Last edited by vharishankar; 01-06-2005 at 10:50 AM.
 
Old 01-06-2005, 10:56 AM   #9
wipe
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Quote:
Originally posted by abbynormal
P.S. Having said that I would try using UserCP as my startup page, I am mystified why only the most recent thread I've subscribed to or posted to shows up on that page but all I've subscribed to show up when I click on the menu item "threads I have subscribed to".
Even if some thread you are subscribed to is very old, if somebody posts in it, you see a notification of it on the User CP page. It shows you which threads have had new replies "since your last visit". I don't know why they (including my own messages) hang there for a while; maybe it depends on my browser cache settings. It's not a foolproof method, View All Subscribed Threads still has it's uses.

On the options page, this is wrong:
Quote:
Use 'Email Notification' by default?
Using this option emails you whenever someone replies to a thread that you have participated in.
It really means automatic subscribing, not email notification. The same goes for the Email Notification check box on the post editing page. The Email Notices option can be turned off and you can still subscribe and see new posts on the User CP, which is quite handy.

Simon
 
Old 01-06-2005, 06:04 PM   #10
abbynormal
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Quote:
Originally posted by Harishankar
I guess that the Main Menu split is the culprit. But since you have so many links, I think that it would be tough to organize all the links in one box.
true
Quote:
Originally posted by Harishankar
Maybe create links in a new row in the overall header of this site and remove the second side main menu which appear below the ads?
Hadn't thought of this, it could be good if it it is visually clear that the two rows have separate buttons.

I wasn't looking for something so ambitious, just thought it wouldn't be too hard to move "Site FAQ" item from 2nd Main Menu at the bottom right of the forum page to just after the "Linux Forums" or "Search" item in the column below the Main Menu label at the top right of the forum page. Or, perhaps place it just above the "Home" item in that column. In analogy to a newspaper, this puts the item above the "fold" where it can be easily noticed. This simple change could save a new user hours without causing major conniptions to the page or to longtime members.
Quote:
Originally posted by Harishankar
I think "My threads", "My Posts", "Subscribed threads" and "Logout" can come to the second row in the overall header menu. I always use the "My threads" feature and that would make it more accessible. Also maybe links to the FAQ and site rules could come to the header.
Yes, I keep scrolling down to click "My threads" too (now that I've found it). I think these suggestions for second row in horizontal menu at the top of the page could be advantageous for both new and long-time users. Although some might not like to have to scroll all the way to the top to click one of these items when they have gotten all the way to the bottom of a page. Now they only have to scroll part way up. That could be solved by a "top" link at the bottom LEFT of each post (similar to, but separated from the "report this post to the moderator" link at the bottom right).

Also, during the first day I was subscribed I kept seeing a link to submit info to the HCL. Now that I am ready to do so, I can't find that link anywhere! Ive looked on the main HCL page, on my UserCP page, on the home page.... It too might go in the second row of horizontal menu bar at the top, or into the My LQ menu if you decide on the less ambitious change. The location of that link could be mentioned in a FAQ too.

If you keep the menus in the lower right column on the forum pages, a faq describing this layout could be handy ("Where is My LQ menu?" or "Where are handy page links?"). Then, as long as the "Site FAQ" item is in a prominent place, a newbie would soon find those links.

One other place it would be useful to have a link to "Site FAQ" is under the "FAQs" heading on the home page. Only a link to the forums and registration appears there and I admit I was startled to see such a short list of FAQs. A "more Site FAQs" link would be appreciated there.
 
Old 01-06-2005, 06:24 PM   #11
abbynormal
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Quote:
Originally posted by wipe
Even if some thread you are subscribed to is very old, if somebody posts in it, you see a notification of it on the User CP page. It shows you which threads have had new replies "since your last visit".
Oh, I thought it was supposed to show all subscribed threads, but this sounds more useful.
Quote:
Originally posted by wipe
... Use Email Notification By Default ... It really means automatic subscribing, not email notification. The same goes for the Email Notification check box on the post editing page. The Email Notices option can be turned off and you can still subscribe and see new posts on the User CP, which is quite handy.
Simon
Oh, I just read something about this in the Site FAQ. I was a bit confused. With it checked, I am receiving email telling me someone has posted a reply even when I am not logged into the forum. You are saying that if I don't check Email Notification, that it will still show up on my UserCP page? That sounds handy. It would stop the email but I could still notice new posts to my threads when I logged in.

Thanks.
 
Old 01-06-2005, 08:56 PM   #12
wipe
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Quote:
Originally posted by abbynormal
With it checked, I am receiving email telling me someone has posted a reply even when I am not logged into the forum. You are saying that if I don't check Email Notification, that it will still show up on my UserCP page? That sounds handy. It would stop the email but I could still notice new posts to my threads when I logged in.
Well not exactly. This option has to be off if you don't want the email:
Allow LinuxQuestions.org To Send You Email Notices?

This option has to be on if you want the Notification (= subscription) check box checked by default:
Use 'Email Notification' by default?

Checking the check box while editing subscribes you to the thread. Notice the difference between "Notices" and "Notification"! Notices - no, but Notification - yes => you'll get the desired effect. User CP shows only subscribed threads.

Simon
 
Old 01-07-2005, 02:37 AM   #13
abbynormal
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Thank you, wipe, I will try what you have suggested. I usually can follow logic pretty well, but I admit my parser is choking on this one.
I do see the difference between Notices and Notification, but not why they both say email when one doesn't. Never mind, I'll get used to it.
 
  


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