I don't find the forum as user friendly as it was

JockoJocko Posts: 7,084Member, Moderator
edited August 2016 in Community Feedback
I have felt warm and comfortable with the forum as it was and now it has been changed.  I am sure Richard has his reasons but for me it appears to be change for change sake.  I am sure, after another 6 months I will get the hang of it.  I just wonder why I need to.  

Comments

  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 512Member

    Blink... Must have missed it.

    Haven't been around much recently due to sorting a house out after a house move last year so what have I missed re the change to the forum? What's different from before?

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,084Member, Moderator
    Originally Posted by Just Tel:

    What's different from before?

    It is just the index that has changed but I don't find it as user friendly as it was.  Maybe just me.

  • Just TelJust Tel Posts: 512Member

    Thanks for the info Jacko.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,184Member

    I'm with Jocko though I've got used to this format now.

     

    I preferred it when you could see if people had been reading posts/comments.

  • Which change are you referring to Jocko?  The one last night to the format?

     

    I have tried to simplify the process of getting into forums that you want to use and tried to make it look less cluttered.

     

    Since using the new forum I have seen a drop in regulars and in my heart I know its because it looks too imposing and a few features I wished were still available like number of views a post has received as well as an easy overview of recent posts that have been updated since your last visit.

     

    I am doing the best I can but get next to no feedback from people when I ask so I am quite often stabbing in the dark.

  • Believe me - I don't have the time to make changes for the sake of it - I wish I could leave the bloody thing to run its path!!!!

     

    But I have look at the stats and work from there - plus I personally wish I could find a format that has the blogs but the ease of use of the original format but hey ho.

     

    I have no idea if people love hate or just COPE with the new format. I also have no idea what new people think of the place.

     

    Any feedback is always warmly welcomed.

  • Graham GeorgeGraham George Posts: 496Member

    OK Good Folks of Guitar Forum.

     

    Would just like to say a few words on behalf of Richard's reason for the 'Spring Clean' of the site.

     

    Richard mailed out 'Guitar Forum Feedback' email a couple of days ago, as since changing the format to it's present one, the previous simpler one - (being no longer available), was concerned that the 'pick up' by both regular members and newcomers had shown what appears to be a drop in interest/use.

    Thereby bringing about a 'long hard look' at the way the site feels, as he has heard little as to what everybody thought about those original changes, or seldom receives feedback in general.

     

    As a recent newcomer to the site, (and I'm not a 'blogger/forumite' by nature), but as a professional designer of websites and a graphic designer, he asked for my input - as I had mentioned that I found navigation of the site and the huge number of categories difficult and somewhat confusing.

     

    What you are seeing at the moment is still 'work in progress' but as quick as it's possible to do, with what is a mammoth task in re-organisation and categorisation.

     

    The fact that your good selves are saying that you've "got used to it now", indicates to me as a designer, that improving it's intuitive and viewer friendliness might not go amiss? I know that Richard would want visitors and regulars alike to all feel comfortable here.

     

    Imagine you are a newcomer for a moment, if things are made easy for you to look around and the site feels comfortable to you to stay online and join in the fun, wouldn't you say that it had been worth the visit and joining?

     

    My short time here and the useful things I've learned, have proven invaluable to me and yet I have been playing professionally for over fifty years - I can still learn something from you good folk and want to continue to do so!

     

    Wouldn't it be great if others felt the same way, and because they found the site easy to navigate and to contribute too!

     

    Thanks,

    Graham.

     

  • Tim MorrisTim Morris Posts: 8Member

    Well, I am no designer, but something isnt attracting me to this, I think initially its the colours?

     

    Still seem to have the directory in the top menu and down the side....one or the other maybe?

     

    I trust this is constructive, I would like to use the site more often.

  • Graham GeorgeGraham George Posts: 496Member
    Originally Posted by Tim Morris:

    Well, I am no designer, but something isnt attracting me to this, I think initially its the colours?

     

    Still seem to have the directory in the top menu and down the side....one or the other maybe?

     

    I trust this is constructive, I would like to use the site more often.

    Tim Hi,

    Thanks for the feedback, yes constructive!

    I agree with you over the colour, I've been talking to Richard about that this morning - I have to say not my personal choice but it's still work in progress!

    Yes, it would be great to use only one menu, however if we did that, the drop downs would be even longer with further sub-categories coming off of them too.

    We kept the second menu, now structured according to the instrument/interest you play/have, to enable regulars and newcomers to 'home in' on their particular passion without having to go through the 'topics' in the various forums. 

     

    Hope that explains why there are two!

    Thanks again!

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,084Member, Moderator

    What I liked about the old menu was the fact that all the forums I visited were at the top and available.  I am not interested in UK Guitar Technicians or UK Guitar Schools but now I have to trawl down the list past these categories and the appreciation societies, which hardly sees any traffic, to get to Totally Not Guitars.  I just feel the menus are way less intuitive now.

    What I really want to see is how many times a post or blog is read.  I got fed up writing blogs, which may have had a thousand reads, but as there was only one comment, looked to me a waste of time.

  • Richards GuitarsRichards Guitars Posts: 589Member, Administrator
    Originally Posted by Graham George:
    Originally Posted by Tim Morris:

    Well, I am no designer, but something isnt attracting me to this, I think initially its the colours?

     

    Still seem to have the directory in the top menu and down the side....one or the other maybe?

     

    I trust this is constructive, I would like to use the site more often.

    Tim Hi,

    Thanks for the feedback, yes constructive!

    I agree with you over the colour, I've been talking to Richard about that this morning - I have to say not my personal choice but it's still work in progress!

    Yes, it would be great to use only one menu, however if we did that, the drop downs would be even longer with further sub-categories coming off of them too.

    We kept the second menu, now structured according to the instrument/interest you play/have, to enable regulars and newcomers to 'home in' on their particular passion without having to go through the 'topics' in the various forums. 

     

    Hope that explains why there are two!

    Thanks again!

    You wont believe this!!

     

    I have been working from a small laptop and the colours look TOTALLY different.

     

    I have gone to my parents house and had a little shock!!!

     

    What do you think now?  It should all look a lot creamier?

  • Richards GuitarsRichards Guitars Posts: 589Member, Administrator
    Originally Posted by Jocko:

    What I liked about the old menu was the fact that all the forums I visited were at the top and available.  I am not interested in UK Guitar Technicians or UK Guitar Schools but now I have to trawl down the list past these categories and the appreciation societies, which hardly sees any traffic, to get to Totally Not Guitars.  I just feel the menus are way less intuitive now.

    What I really want to see is how many times a post or blog is read.  I got fed up writing blogs, which may have had a thousand reads, but as there was only one comment, looked to me a waste of time.

    First of all I am SURE you must be talking about the mobile version?

     

    I agree that only seems to allow you to trawl down the menus.

     

    This is NOT the case for a tablet or PC so can you just confirm how you are browsing the site?  Unless I am mistaken by what you mean?

     

    With regard to the page views.  I am in total agreement.  It is such an obvious feature and I can assure you MANY MANY people visit a page and read them but a tiny percentage will comment from those that view.  I will re-affirm this with the techies who create the software.

     

    You only have to look at image views to see how many times people look at them as a comparison.

     

    The bottom line is if you dont post nobody will visit - and this I have seen.

     

    Less people posting is the kiss of the death and its a shame that a forum SO vibrant is being killed off because people cannot see a views count but that is the reality - you need to post and people WILL see it!!!

     

    The community is #1 for searches for guitar forum - anyway.

     

    I am apparently ruining my families day.  Better go.

  • Richards GuitarsRichards Guitars Posts: 589Member, Administrator

    My latest public message to the makers of the software...

     

    The lack of topic view counter, which to me is the most basic requirement of any forum is KILLING my forum.

     

    I have run a forum now for nearly 14 years, the entirity on UBB.  I have moved to your new format in hope that your modern approach would be worthwhile.

     

    Since moving I have raised my concerns but you are totally ignoring the most obvious community requirements.

     

    #1  TOPIC VIEWS COUNT.  You have to show the evidence that people are watching!  My bloggers have stopped blogging through apethy and how can I blame them.  No evidence that anyone is even reading their blogs - and the same for classified ads and no doubt for anyone looking for evidence of activity

     

    #2 A CLEAR list of activity since last visit.  Your system is utterly USELESS at this.  And again it is a KEY feature that forum users require.

     

    Like I say, I have 14 years experience running a forum and your software is FAILING MY COMMUNITY on these two points alone.

     

    I could go on about the lack of structure in the blogging section and even though that is so important too the 2 feature highlighted above are fixes I need now or will HAVE to move my forum to a classic style - that WORKS

     

    So sorry this sounds harsh but I feel like I am being dumbed down with your replies.  I know what I am talking about - my site has been getting less repeat visitors, less content all round since moving and the same comments keep being thrown at me.

     

    Can you help?

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,084Member, Moderator
    Originally Posted by Richards Guitars:
     

    First of all I am SURE you must be talking about the mobile version?

     

    I agree that only seems to allow you to trawl down the menus.

     

    This is NOT the case for a tablet or PC so can you just confirm how you are browsing the site?  Unless I am mistaken by what you mean?

     

    With regard to the page views.  I am in total agreement.  It is such an obvious feature and I can assure you MANY MANY people visit a page and read them but a tiny percentage will comment from those that view.  I will re-affirm this with the techies who create the software.

     

    You only have to look at image views to see how many times people look at them as a comparison.

     

    The bottom line is if you dont post nobody will visit - and this I have seen.

     

    Less people posting is the kiss of the death and its a shame that a forum SO vibrant is being killed off because people cannot see a views count but that is the reality - you need to post and people WILL see it!!!

     

    The community is #1 for searches for guitar forum - anyway.

     

    I am apparently ruining my families day.  Better go.

    I view the forum on a PC.  It is just the format of the menus that irritates me on the latest incarnation.  Before I was bookmarked to the site thus and when I visited, it started off with "Introduce Yourself" and carried on with "Electric Guitar", Acoustic Guitar" etc, all the forums I visited.  All the ones I seldom used such as the Guitar Appreciation Forums were on the main menu.  Now they are all included together.  The wee wheel on my mouse is worn out scrolling down the list!  Everything is still there.  Just not as easily accessed.

  • lancpudnlancpudn Posts: 1,393Member
    Originally Posted by Kevin Peat:

    I'm with Jocko though I've got used to this format now.

     

    I preferred it when you could see if people had been reading posts/comments.

    I think that's my only gripe with the new forum is the post counts, if I put something up on my forumites diary theres no way of knowing if people have read it or interested in it! apart from that I'm as happy as Larry.

  • Graham GeorgeGraham George Posts: 496Member

    OK Good Folks,

     

    Well since this morning alone, some items mentioned within the above feeds have already been sorted. There is a 'satellite' up there somewhere, that is glowing orange, for the constant emails and work we've been consulting and working on today!

     

    I've mentioned on Richards behalf, that this is still work in progress, and as you can see he's already looking at the major issues regarding the lack of assistance from 'Hoop.la' the platform host.

     

    I would imagine that this is the most feedback Richard has had since the original changes to this present platform, so please bear with him, as it is he who is doing most of the hands-on work at the back-end of the administration of this forum, whilst I try to help where I can.

     

    The most important issue for most seems to be the listings, menus and categories.

     

    There are in the top menu alone, over 100 links!

    Then there is the now newly categorised secondary listing - uncounted as yet. (This may still change in our process of trying to put a quart into a pint pot - so to speak.) The Admin' engine that drives this site is extensive -which is very much to the viewers benefit - but it is also very time consuming to navigate and apply such large changes with the volume of content that's within the forum at this time.

     

    Richard is well aware that there are things that people never/seldom use, and is looking at deleting those, along with there being housekeeping to do on ensuring nothing is duplicated, this is a huge task!

     

    So, apologies if things aren't totally running or ordered as they could/should be.

     

    If you have a specific suggestion as to how we might improve the system in categorising what is an enormous selection of subject matter, please do   leave it on this feed, so Richard can take a look!

     

    Many thanks for your patience!

    Graham.

     

     

     

  • Graham GeorgeGraham George Posts: 496Member

    OK Good Folks,

     

    You might also like to take a peak at the discussion going on in the below posts/topic "New Forum Design".

     

    Thanks.

     

    http://www.guitars.co.uk/topic/new-forum-design?

  • stateitstateit Posts: 55Member

    Ok then... I'm going to stick to posting my comments to this thread.

     

    My main Gripe is the amount of info viewable (that I want to view) on one page.

     

    And what I want to read is a threaded history of topics.

     

    The large text size in topic threads, held in relatively narrow columns, makes thread reading somewhat cumbersome. Too  much scrolling.

     

    Menu choices should not take up screen real estate at the side, but at the top, in a condensed form.

     

    The drop-down sub-menu lists could be in a much smaller point size so they do not intrude down a third of a page.

     

    ALSO>>> This weekend is a very bad time to assess user interaction.

     

    The other forums I frequent (work and play, UK-centric and international) have had naff all action this weekend... because people have been on holiday.

     

    So do not be surprised that visitor numbers have dropped off this past few days.

     

    OVERALL THOUGHTS: Reduce text size; make topic/thread posts take up more horizontal area (use % width for <div> rather than pixel values - TWO-THIRDS of my widescreen is blank); make menu lists text smaller; reduce header size (top quarter/third of screen is redundant because of this, making for more scrolling)

     

    I don't know if your templates allow you to do this, but they should.

  • Graham GeorgeGraham George Posts: 496Member
    Originally Posted by stateit:

    Ok then... I'm going to stick to posting my comments to this thread.

     

    My main Gripe is the amount of info viewable (that I want to view) on one page.

     

    And what I want to read is a threaded history of topics.

     

    The large text size in topic threads, held in relatively narrow columns, makes thread reading somewhat cumbersome. Too  much scrolling.

     

    Menu choices should not take up screen real estate at the side, but at the top, in a condensed form.

     

    The drop-down sub-menu lists could be in a much smaller point size so they do not intrude down a third of a page.

     

    ALSO>>> This weekend is a very bad time to assess user interaction.

     

    The other forums I frequent (work and play, UK-centric and international) have had naff all action this weekend... because people have been on holiday.

     

    So do not be surprised that visitor numbers have dropped off this past few days.

     

    OVERALL THOUGHTS: Reduce text size; make topic/thread posts take up more horizontal area (use % width for <div> rather than pixel values - TWO-THIRDS of my widescreen is blank); make menu lists text smaller; reduce header size (top quarter/third of screen is redundant because of this, making for more scrolling)

     

    I don't know if your templates allow you to do this, but they should.

    Great! an excellent set of comments and also some really good suggestions.

     

    Thanks too for your 'Overall thoughts/summary' 

     

    Good point! Yes the font sizes are changeable, I'll check with Richard as to 'how' changeable they are and I couldn't agree more, especially with size of the present drop downs and subs.

     

    I'm going to take your last comment first, as the template IS somewhat limited in certain aspects, but we'll check them out to see just how much flexibility we have.

     

    I do know that the page and column widths are fixed, which really doesn't help. The platform is not drag and drop and only offers 'add a widget' for all of the boxes you see. It was fun just trying to make a widget do a simple 'text only, doesn't look like a widget, text-box', but I found away around that - as an example!

     

    Agree that the font size is now too large on the drop down and subs.

     

    Richard may be hand-tied with this, as to font size, if they're all linked, I check.

     

    The font size increase was initially to provide a clearer to read selection in the top menu, whilst at the same time centering them to the page width.  

    (It's more of an admin' based platform, with many parameters unchangeable and is not particularly intuitive to use.)

     

    Finally, Richard didn't choose the holiday weekend to do the work, it just happened that way, and I guess if you are as busy as he is, then a holiday might be your only opportunity to do it?

     

    Once again thanks for the comments and ideas - understood.

     

    PS: OK, an update here to the above, just checked the theme editor, the fonts are fixed at the same size for the menus . . !

    So if we reduce the top menu, they all reduce and vice versa!

    I'm sure when Richard reads this he will try to find a balance between clarity of headings and drop down/subs width.

     

    The one thing that started our drive towards cleaning up the menus was the width of the menu bar, so as not to have to horizontal scroll just to see all the titles in the top menu!

     

    Cheers.

  • Kevin PeatKevin Peat Posts: 3,184Member

    Graham - the comment says this weekend is a bad time to assess user interaction but the main problem is that you can't assess it - certainly not readership anyway.

     

    Those of us remaining who do post are doing so altruistically - often with no comments and no idea if our efforts are getting out there. 'If one person enjoys it' is what I go by - even if that's just me.

     

    I've run a political/personal blog for years (which I'd like to keep separate from here thank you) which has had half a million visits and regular contributions from some of the most notorious amateur/pro bloggers in the UK - doctors, journalists, city traders, army officers, architects, property magnates, an Australian latex fetish queen, an ex SAS trooper (renegade blogger and recovering alcoholic), a despairing inner city teacher, despairing inner city cops, housebound retirees and an unemployed single father and his Jack Russell dog (both now deceased and missed) and all were most welcome.

     

    It was never the hit rate but the comments and the people making those comments which counted with me. Now - sadly - this is on the wane but the five or so left are still worth the effort.

     

    I hope RIchard feels the same. He's made this a good place to be for all the problems.

     

     

     

  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,702Member

    I'm a bit late to the party. I've only had a skim read of the comments above so forgive me if things have been changed a second time...but the only difference I can see in this forum now to how it's ever been is that the text in the drop down menus at the top of the page:

     

    HOME    LATEST POSTS   FORUM   BLOGS   etc

     

    is now bigger. I'll come back to this in a mo - but the colours, the links at the top of the page (someone mentioned above that there's a hundred of them - but I can only see what I've always seen). I never knew you could see who's been reading your posts anyway (maybe that's only a blog thing?), so for me it's as it's always been.

     

    The other big difference is that it's gone quiet. I, and others, have posted things recently and the threads simply haven't flown. That's okay. There's always an ebb and flow with these things. For me this is a really busy period learning songs and rehearsing for a bunch of gigs. I've not been on here much, but I've not been on any of the sites I normally frequent - even the one I pay for. Give it a month when things are back to normal and it may change for me. I'm sure other folks are the same.

     

    But... back to those drop down menus. Right now it's a pain to navigate - I click on, say, FORUMS or BLOGS and the drop down menu appears. But because the text is bigger than it used to be the menu disappears off the bottom of my laptop screen (regular size lappy - not a tablet). I then have to scoot across to the scroll bar and scroll down...in the process of doing so the drop down menu disappears. I have to be really careful not to scroll down so far that the top menu-bar disappears, and then I start again and for the most part I can see all the menus. There are still a couple of sub menus (AMPS AND EFFECTS) for example where the sub menu disappears off the bottom of my screen or is hidden behind the Get In Touch with Richard chat box. But it's usable. I can even hit Ctrl - on my screen and make everything smaller and that helps.

     

    The questions is should I have to do all of this?

     

    In the meantime I can still hit Latest Posts instantly and see what's happening and that's pretty much 99% of what I do here anyway.

     

    I must admit there are elements of the site I've never explored and I don't like the Pictures / Videos / Links element. I've never figured out how those areas are organised so I just don't go there...

     

    But in the main, size of the menu text aside, it's no different as far as I can tell.

     

    Kind regards

    Derek

     

  • Graham GeorgeGraham George Posts: 496Member

    Thanks Kevin and Derek, for your feedback!

     

    All points noted, and of course it's still 'work in progress!'

    Kevin, understand on the 'assess', I believe that Richard is working on that with the platform host.

    Derek, the fact that you can't really see the difference, (other than the font size, which appears to be one of the main objections by several regulars), is proof that we're going in the right direction, as you wouldn't believe the amount of work and 'tweaks' that have taken place already!

     

    Cheers,

    Graham.

  • Graham GeorgeGraham George Posts: 496Member
    Originally Posted by Graham George:

    Thanks Kevin and Derek, for your feedback!

     

    All points noted, and of course it's still 'work in progress!'

    Kevin, understand on the 'assess', I believe that Richard is working on that with the platform host.

    Derek, the fact that you can't really see the difference, (other than the font size, which appears to be one of the main objections by several regulars), is proof that we're going in the right direction, as you wouldn't believe the amount of work and 'tweaks' that have taken place already!

     

    Cheers,

    Graham.

    OK, update, I see that Richard has reduced the font size as I've been busy typing away, so hopefully that will decrease stress and increase your enjoyment of navigating the site!

  • Derek_RDerek_R Posts: 1,702Member

    Cool! Thanks for the very quick reaction :-)

  • JockoJocko Posts: 7,084Member, Moderator

    My feelings are that there was nothing wrong with the forum last week.  Now I find the menus cumbersome.  I used what was previously under 

    "uk-guitar-forum".  The nearest thing to that now is "Directory" (you can see what is "New").  Unfortunately the "Directory" Menu is huge.  I know I can go into each of the categories I am interested in, individually, but that is even more work.  Oh yes, and you still no longer have access to blogs you have saved to draft (used to be one of the menus off the right of the screen).

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