"User" usability

Norodo

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"User" usability
« on June 23rd, 2011, 01:00 PM »Last edited on June 23rd, 2011, 07:13 PM by Norodo
Back with more.

First, back to what I said last time: (About the drop-down menus)

Conclusion first:
Quote
The web is (for most of us) a visual medium. Menus that the user might be interested in should be in plain view when the user is in the "right place" (profile settings is the right place to start when you want to change your theme.)
And the actual write-up:

(click to show/hide)
Quote from Norodo on June 22nd, 2011, 06:43 PM
1. Drop down menus. The problem is not so much that there are drop down menus, it's more that thee content in them can be ambiguous. For example, the first time you register, and you want to change your theme, where do you go? In the beginning you'll probably be looking for something called "settings" or "control panel", maybe you'll scroll down to the bottom of the page to check if there's a dropdown menu for it, as it is on many boards. When you don't find it there you'll look further. Could your settings be under "Profile", maybe? Yes. Yes they could. So you click account settings and what do you see?

Just an example.


You're getting confused. Where can I change my theme? If you are an inquiring mind you might just hover over modify profile long enough to find look and layout.

Thank God. You're there. The same problem develops if you want to change the default setting of " Return to topics after posting by default." or "Messages to display per page:"

This problem is to a big extent fixed when you use the "sidebar menus" instead of dropdown menus whenever possible, but there might be better solutions...
The dropdown menu system examplifies, at least to me, a system that did not have the user in mind much at all. I think I can understand the reasoning for it,[1] but it just won't do.

Let's look at what MyBB does:

(click to show/hide)
You click user CP

Edit options...

And you're there.


Now this is better but it's still not great. There's some "sensory overload" in some of these screens, where again, there is too much information being presented at the same time. Especially when you are in the user CP.

So what is the fix? I'm not quite sure. What can help tremendously is to make the first settings page you see have more of the most usually used settings, and make the other settings pages easy to reach, if you should want to do so.

In the last topic, Nao replied:
Quote from Nao/Gilles on June 22nd, 2011, 07:56 PM
But as you see... It's something we're aware of.
Which I think is super. I also think it is nice to discuss usability in general, so I hope you don't mind. :)

2. Icons.

Icons, eh, a source of many debates. With that said, I do think a lot of people do appreciate them. We've all come to understand a set of wrenches or tools to mean "preferences", maybe this could be taken further with an "eye" for the "looks and layout" part of the settings, eg.
 1. Creating dropdown menus lets you give the user more information in a smaller space. SMF is very powerful, and as such has a lot of information you want to present the user with. Dropdown menus seems like a good idea, but isn't.

b4pjoe

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Re: "User" usability
« Reply #1, on June 23rd, 2011, 07:26 PM »
I do agree about where the settings are for changing the theme is too hard to find. I've often wondered why "Look & Layout" wasn't in the Profile menu in the first place. I think that would be a big improvment if it were added there.

 profilemenu.jpg - 9.6 kB, 247x144, viewed 257 times.


Arantor

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Re: "User" usability
« Reply #2, on June 23rd, 2011, 07:36 PM »
I see just tweaking the menus as a band-aid, it solves one or two symptoms, but doesn't solve the core problem.
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b4pjoe

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Re: "User" usability
« Reply #3, on June 23rd, 2011, 07:58 PM »
Agreed. Best to get to the root of the problem in the new software. But even that band-aid would improve the useability of that particular function.

spoogs

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Re: "User" usability
« Reply #4, on June 23rd, 2011, 08:08 PM »
Pah... even the name needs to be changed IMO to something more obvious such as 'MY Preferences' or 'My Options'. To date some of my users are surprised to know the options there were looking for were in there, they saw look and layout and figured it wasn't something they needed to mess with. Can't offer much in terms of suggestions tho.
Stick a fork in it SMF

Norodo

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Re: "User" usability
« Reply #5, on June 23rd, 2011, 09:47 PM »
Yep I've already changed that on my forum. I call it "settings".

You can do it easily in the subs file IIRC. But yeah, it's simply a band-aid.

Nao

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Re: "User" usability
« Reply #6, on June 23rd, 2011, 10:00 PM »
Quote from Arantor on June 23rd, 2011, 07:36 PM
I see just tweaking the menus as a band-aid, it solves one or two symptoms, but doesn't solve the core problem.
I think one does not disqualify the other.
You can still have the band aid, and keep working on the rewrite. I mean at least it's there, right..?

Arantor

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Re: "User" usability
« Reply #7, on August 23rd, 2013, 09:43 PM »
Interestingly this very topic has been on my mind with the move of the PMs and profile menus out of the main menu.

Is there any aversion to having a biggish 'menu' that isn't really a menu but that provides much better navigation?

godboko71

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Re: "User" usability
« Reply #8, on August 23rd, 2013, 09:52 PM »
No aversion from my end really digging the new pm menu/pop in. Anyway better navigation is always a plus
Thank you,
Boko