I have recently received some feedback from a friend who has joined ‘The Community’ and his/her main complaint was about how unmanageable the site is for new members. It is really quite clunky to navigate.
Now please, please! before the mentors flock to its defence can I ask if there are any plans to sharpen it up.
It has plainly got a lot larger and busier since its inception. Isn’t it time to do something to improve it or isn’t it thought important enough by TWS to spend money on?
Might be helpful to get your friend to give some more detail here, ‘quite clunky’ is a bit too broad to do anything about (and also quite subjective). Are the posts themselves unmanageable? Is the structure of the categories unclear? Are the ‘how-to’ threads not obvious? etc. I’m speaking as a web manager here - always better to have as much detail in feedback as possible!
Worth noting that the software used is not TWS-designed so some things will be set outside their control. And there is always a certain amount of getting used to the way sites work, which doesn’t immediately help your friend but perhaps if he explains more what is difficult to navigate someone can help a bit with explaining how it works (or perhaps it will be possible to make tweaks if enough people feel the same way).
Yes! And FWIW I wholeheartedly agree it can be clunky.
We had plans to do a complete redesign this year because now it’s so busy here we really need to make it easier for people who don’t visit as frequently to keep up with the hive of activity this brilliant place has become.
We want to have a top navigation helping people find top categories of content (Fine wine, events, new members etc), and a way to highlight some of the top most recent topics so return visitors can find them easily and get stuck in.
We’re also open to rejigging the categories more in line with how people actually use the Community.
Basically, I can’t argue it’s a fair comment, because I’ve been working behind the scenes with exactly the same concerns.
The only downside is: we are where we are with the state of the world right now, so I have no idea when a redesign might be possible. I’m still hoping to do it this year, but obviously everything’s a bit ‘up in the air’… sorry I can’t be more specific, but at least there’s plans to improve.
I also second this - the more feedback, the better. I can’t change everything, but it would be really interesting to hear what people would like to change.
Strangely for a bit of a technophobe I don’t find this site bad to use. I suppose I compare mainly to Facebook, which drives me round the twist. I suppose that has a much more commercial aim.
At least those patronising pat on the head, or kick up the rear, remarks didn’t stay round for long!
This discussion made me look at the ‘how to’ category: if there is nothing to say except that there are no entries under Badges, why not either delete this or put in a list?
More generally, there are too many categories, and I can never decide where to put a new topic. We need
discussions about individual wines,
perhaps a separate category for general discussions about styles of wines or other non-specific wine topics,
discussions about the Wine Society, its website, etc.
and ‘not included elsewhere’.
After an online tasting, if I haven’t been able to follow it at the time, I would like a short summary, perhaps an indication of the balance of opinion if it is a traditional, 2 specific wine tasting, or a list of the types of wines included, if it is one of the wide-ranging ones. I know that this means that someone would have to do it, so this is a wish list not a request.
Navigation: particularly for topics in the hundreds like the tastings: I would like to be able to go straight to the end.
Do you mean when you open a topic? You can do this already - on the right there is a kind of timeline, if you click on the bottom, where is has a time stamp of when the last pst was made, it takes you straight there.
I think this forum software is superior to other wine forums I take part in. It takes you directly to the first post that you haven’t read, instead of you having to scroll all the way down from the first post in the thread.
You can reference people using the @ symbol.
I really am impressed with this software.
Perhaps @AnaGramWords friend can reference a forum they think easier to use.
(and I’m with @Andy999 in finding FaceAche a total pain)
For my ten pennyworth I would scrap all badges (you won’t be surprised to hear that includes mentors) as they are unnecessary. There is no shortage of expertise/advice on this site and being told you are in an elite club or have a particular badge for something (like liking people’s posts) just seems pointless.
Perhaps, one thing appertaining to expertise could be a way of allowing members to place themselves in a particular category so those seeking advice (on say Moldova) knew who to ask about it.
Undoubtedly there are some experts by experience on here I would imagine who would put themselves forward to receive information requests. It would certainly curtail the ‘everyone having an opinion about everything’ approach we have currently (although some wouldn’t like it) and would be more beneficial to those learning/enquiring about some specific region/wine/process etc.
It’s an online discussion forum. This (at least to my mind) is kind of the point. If it were a specialist advice blog or similar then sure, although even there, some people learn through actively engaging in discussion better than just reading about things.
While I do find this forum slightly clunky and do find the badges slightly odd, I also find it no worse than any other online forum (and far better than some!). It’s sort of the nature of discussion forums.
FWIW as someone who has used forums / newsgroups / social media of all types for many years I personally find Discourse (the software the community runs on) absolutely atrocious. When I first joined the forum I couldn’t believe such a bad platform existed. I’ve gotten used to it’s quirks now but still much prefer some of the legacy forum platforms.
Not trying to knock the society or it’s web team, i’m sure it does have it’s advantages and I did wonder at the time if there was less of a learning curve or barrier for new members compared to traditional forums. Another forum I use that runs PHPBB considered migrating but then scrapped that after realising how bad it is.