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Author Topic: Shortcomings of DC and How to Improve  (Read 30651 times)
timns
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« Reply #100 on: March 03, 2011, 09:41:21 AM »

I think it's probably possible to pick some good points from this thread by now. We're a democacy (of sorts) so how about putting some of this stuff to the vote?

I'm pretty sure most people would agree that we could use a page that presents DC's software in a more cogent manner, and I also believe that's in progress

I also think that the wiki approach of collating some of the useful knowledge that tends to get smeared throughout longer threads is a very good one

Perhaps we could do a post-fundraiser too. How did it go? What did we learn? Did it pay off? Did we attract a lot of new members?

As for upgrading our Camry from the 2000 to the 2011 model: as long as we can keep the handsome paint-job, enjoy some *useful* new gadgets, and then get pay-off with improved fuel efficiency and reliability (did you see what I did there?)  Thmbsup

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cranioscopical
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« Reply #101 on: March 03, 2011, 09:47:34 AM »

Definitely worth to take poll on this point to know what new users think about look and feel of DC.

Didn't the last go round on on 'whatever shall we do' result in a grand riding off in all directions? Was there a concensus that I missed?



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Chris
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« Reply #102 on: March 03, 2011, 09:50:19 AM »

lotusrootstarch, your time has come!

Now is the moment to drench us with your carefully hoarded golden shower of secrets that none other can divine.




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Chris
timns
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« Reply #103 on: March 03, 2011, 09:57:25 AM »

lotusrootstarch, your time has come!

Now is the moment to drench us with your carefully hoarded golden shower of secrets that none other can divine.



In other words, it's party time! And urine... vited
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Armando
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« Reply #104 on: March 03, 2011, 09:58:52 AM »

I agree with Mahesh2k : a poll on a couple well thought points. If that's really needed.

Instead of just wondering how to change or modify things because a few users seem utterly dissatisfied (and I agree with app : positive comments would be welcome so that it's apparent that we're not just trolling here but actually being constructive), let's react to real needs : what the community needs. It's possible that 70% of users want a dramatic change, on multiple aspects... But it's hard to tell. It's also possible that mouser's bored to death or feels that the website etc. is a real barrier to what he needs to accomplish... and that he wants to make dramatic changes. If that's his wish... so be it.  smiley

Phitsc mentioned the changes lifehacker and the like made "recently". Most of the changes there, I don't like.  smiley Again, App's example of The craiglist is a fine one... Thanks app. (The Craig list works damn well... Why fix it ? Is it really worth it...). I like change in technology and forums, but not when it disrupts functionality and distracts from the content. Of course, there's the occasional formal addition which creates a need that wasn't there to start with, but that's rare...

Apart from the absence of wiki functionality (I like to use it when it's available... If that's part from the new SMF, so be it..,:) ) and a few interactive options (like the ones found on stackoverflow), I like the site. I come here to share content.

[EDIT : timns brought some good points... Of course since he speaks of wiki...  tongue ]
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 10:00:59 AM by Armando » Logged

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app103
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« Reply #105 on: March 03, 2011, 11:18:33 AM »

A few thoughts just crossed my mind with regards to theme changes (changing the look without changing the content)...

Who exactly would we be doing this for and why?

Is this for the new users we don't have yet? Or is this for the existing users?

Is this because there is something wrong with the look we have? Or is this because a few people here are bored with it? Or is this because someone thinks a site is supposed to completely change its look every few years?

Does a new user that lands on the site today know what it looked like yesterday? If they have never seen the site before, they would never know when it was last changed or what it previously looked like.

If this is for existing users...keep this in mind...

Whenever a major site changes it's look, there is always a sizable vocal group that hates it...sometimes enough to leave the site. There is no shortage of groups on facebook dedicated to hating the new change of the month (facebook changes the look of profiles more often than most people change their underwear)

The same kind of groups can be found on Friendfeed.

The same kind of haters can be found complaining about sourceforge's smurf puke.

When you change the look of a site that is the home of a community, it's like barging in to each member's home and throwing away all their furniture and replacing it with something else, and rearranging it. If what you replace it with is agreeable to the user and they perceive it as better than what they used to have, they will be happy with it maybe, but it will still leave them with a disoriented feeling for quite some time. Others will be upset that you tossed out their beautiful antique desk and replaced it with modern crap. And some will never get over losing their favorite comfy chair. Some will become detached, caring less about it, afraid of reattaching, afraid if they get used to the new look and allow themselves to like it, as soon as they do you will barge in again and do it all over again.

What I am trying to say is that changing the look of a site can be traumatic to current users and should never be done just for the sake of change, unless you really want to upset a percentage of people enough to make them want to leave and not come back.

Even a change as small as taking everything on the site that is currently blue and turning it green, could be enough to upset a sizable amount of people.
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mouser
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« Reply #106 on: March 03, 2011, 12:08:47 PM »

Since i think there is some general agreement that we have structural features we want to address (software repository, some more group-editable wiki like pages, clearer organization of content), i think it probably makes sense to agree that giving the site an aesthetic face lift is at the very bottom of the list of priorities. Personally i'm fine with the basic look of the site, though i'm not against a face lift.  

So no change just for the sake of change -- we don't have the time for such stuff.

BUT i think perhaps most of the suggestions of improving the look and feel of the site should be taken in the spirit of: *ASSUMING* we are going to move to a proper CMS for the site and the look will change anyway, here is how the look could be improved.

So I think if we can all agree to that basic framing of the issue:
  • Focus on specific areas of functionality improvement that the site needs,
  • In the process of discussing possible solutions, think about how a CMS or other restructuring might give the site a facelift (almost as a side effect), and how changes in organization and aesthetics might make the site easier to navigate.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2011, 12:10:36 PM by mouser » Logged
wraith808
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« Reply #107 on: March 03, 2011, 12:46:17 PM »

So no change just for the sake of change -- we don't have the time for such stuff.

This x1000.  And it should be the driving mantra during any changes- IMO they should be linked back to a purpose that either (a) mouser has prioritized or (b) has been pointed out and affirmed by more than one person as a priority requirement for some tangible reason.
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Armando
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« Reply #108 on: March 03, 2011, 01:07:48 PM »

they should be linked back to a purpose that either (a) mouser has prioritized or (b) has been pointed out and affirmed by more than one person as a priority requirement for some tangible reason.

exactly...
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timns
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« Reply #109 on: March 03, 2011, 01:23:35 PM »

Ok well if I were to pick ONE thing it would be: DC's home page.
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Armando
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« Reply #110 on: March 03, 2011, 02:07:57 PM »

The "home" page might be important... However, maybe it's just me, but I very rarely see/use it.
I'm mostly in the forum, and I navigate from there... My home page "is" the forum -- especially since I can access everything from the forum. I wonder about others...
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« Reply #111 on: March 03, 2011, 02:28:59 PM »

The "home" page might be important... However, maybe it's just me, but I very rarely see/use it.
I'm mostly in the forum, and I navigate from there... My home page "is" the forum -- especially since I can access everything from the forum. I wonder about others...

the idea of changing the home page is for new visitors. I think it would be good to make it more dynamic, or at least to lead people more towards the software, and the forum
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Tom
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« Reply #112 on: March 03, 2011, 02:40:08 PM »

@tomos: exactly. It's where the new visitors start - let's really show 'em what we've got. The software list is much bigger than perhaps a lot of people realise.
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cranioscopical
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« Reply #113 on: March 03, 2011, 02:41:40 PM »

I'm mostly in the forum, and I navigate from there... My home page "is" the forum -- especially since I can access everything from the forum. I wonder about others...

Same with me, so I am entirely unaffected by any changes.
If the page can be improved for new visitors, by making DC easier to navigate/friendlier/more infomative, then I'm all for it.
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Chris
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« Reply #114 on: March 03, 2011, 03:10:35 PM »

Quote
I also think that the wiki approach of collating some of the useful knowledge that tends to get smeared throughout longer threads is a very good one

I think wiki is a must because this will save a lot of time on support threads. I also think wiki should be locked to chosen editors to avoid spam. I was also thinking about osqa instead of wiki but i guess others will not agree on stackoverflow like stuff here.
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Armando
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« Reply #115 on: March 03, 2011, 03:55:52 PM »

The "home" page might be important... However, maybe it's just me, but I very rarely see/use it.
I'm mostly in the forum, and I navigate from there... My home page "is" the forum -- especially since I can access everything from the forum. I wonder about others...

the idea of changing the home page is for new visitors. I think it would be good to make it more dynamic, or at least to lead people more towards the software, and the forum

I think it took me a few weeks to realise there was even a "Home" page here, when I first registered ! But sure, I understand that point of view. A home/Start page is important. But only if really gives the user something important that can't be found on other pages.

A question : do most visitors enter DC by the front door...? As we all know a website isn't like a house. You can usually "visit it" from many different pages, especially when arriving from a search engine.
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« Reply #116 on: March 04, 2011, 05:30:10 AM »

I rarely look at the home page.  I have booked marked the forum>unread posts to enter by.  I guess because the other pages have little that interests me. boohoo
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tomos
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« Reply #117 on: March 04, 2011, 05:38:35 AM »

A question : do most visitors enter DC by the front door...? As we all know a website isn't like a house. You can usually "visit it" from many different pages, especially when arriving from a search engine.

good question...


I rarely look at the home page.  I have booked marked the forum>unread posts to enter by.  I guess because the other pages have little that interests me. boohoo

I reckon that's typical for forum users.
Related: I think guests should be able to see a comprehensive list of recent posts - currently they can only see a handful (down at the bottom of the page at that) so they dont get a full impression of whats going on here (and probably often move on because of that)
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Tom
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« Reply #118 on: March 04, 2011, 07:13:57 AM »

Given the tendency of search engines to shred a site looking for your particular set of key words, I doubt I ever hit the main page of a site more than 10% of the time.
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« Reply #119 on: March 06, 2011, 06:22:49 PM »

Despite this thread's persistance I still can't see that it's produced anything solid (no doubt the OP is chortling smugly to himself)

Other than a general perception that the look and feel of the site hasn't changed for some time so far no one has come up with a single thing that 'needs to be fixed', or with some 'must have' functionality that we currently don't have.

That's not to say that there aren't things that might be done better, but changing things in order to maintain an illusion of progress is pointless (don't forget that the lions share of the work involved in doing any changes will fall to just a couple of people).  

I think the idea of a poll/survey is a good one - lets drag this out into the sunlight and see whether or not there's really an issue here (after all, it really is an issue for the community to decide).  

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« Reply #120 on: March 06, 2011, 06:40:55 PM »

This is all I'm going to say...
The reason why this discussion is kind of swirling around with no real end result is because the issue at hand is simply not that big of a deal.  There was a criticism made about the site, which is fine, and a lot of people have thrown ideas about how to "fix" or improve the problem.  But as we can see, there's no good solution or suggestions.  The reason why is because the site is already really really good.  You guys are struggling to find ways to improve something that is already pretty darn good.  Mouser has spent lots of time and thought to make the website interface really nice.  Unless you guys intend on doing a complete overhaul, there aren't that many HUGE issues to fix.
The forum interface is the best I've ever seen.  Given the amount of content here, it's organized in a pretty good way.  Even the seldom visited blog is a really nice, unique type of blog interface.  it links to actual forum posts, but features them in a cool way.  The search on the site is unbelievably well done.

So that's why it's so hard trying to improve the site.  The criticism, even if valid, is a little overblown.  It's not a big enough deal to get all worked up about it on either end.  In my opinion, at best, you could improve the site with a couple of minor tweaks here and there.  One of my suggestions which got implemented very quickly, was to have a way to increase the box where you write posts.  So mouser put that +/- button there.  Very minor.

So this is a situation of if it ain't broke, don't try to fix it.  i never liked that saying, but it applies in this case.  I'm all for improving the site, but I'm noticing people struggling with actual good suggestions that don't involve completely overhauling the whole site.  People, it's already a really awesome site and design.  Can't we just enjoy it?  Can't we just thank all the people who have worked on it so hard?  I come here every day and I'm always thankful for how well everything is laid out here.  Sure, I can nitpick...lord knows I can...but to create this much bad blood over something that's already better than just about everything else out there?  I don't know.  it's just a little too overblown.
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timns
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« Reply #121 on: March 06, 2011, 07:02:23 PM »

I have to disagree. Where does one go to see a complete list of the software available on DC? Certainly not the "Software" link at the top of the page.

I would definitely say that's one area that has been quite well identified as "needs improvement" and is (I hope) being very ably addressed even as I type this.  smiley
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Armando
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« Reply #122 on: March 06, 2011, 08:05:25 PM »

While I understand where Target and Superboyac come from, I have to agree with timns.

Plus, some kind of wiki functionality would definitely be a great addition. It works elsewhere, why wouldn't it work here ?
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« Reply #123 on: March 06, 2011, 08:07:29 PM »

ROFLMAO looks like some mod got trigger happy a while ago and banned my lotus username:

I can't remember how many times mouser actually asked mods not to ban people and not to stifle free speech. It's quite counter-productive and benefits no one (check my comment on the link):

http://www.techsupportale...ther-goodie-every-day.htm

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wraith808
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« Reply #124 on: March 06, 2011, 08:24:01 PM »

ROFLMAO looks like some mod got trigger happy a while ago and banned my lotus username:

I can't remember how many times mouser actually asked mods not to ban people and not to stifle free speech. It's quite counter-productive and benefits no one (check my comment on the link):

http://www.techsupportale...ther-goodie-every-day.htm
 (see attachment in previous post)

If you're actually concerned with improving the site, then why air dirty laundry like this on some other site?  Why not contact mouser directly?  I'm sure you know he doesn't condone this as long as you've been around- you even say so above.  Are you trying to help or hurt?  Because such perceptions on another site are sure to hurt...  I now really do question your intent.
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