New forum usability

This topic was created by Andrew Orlowski .


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  1. Andrew Orlowski

    New forum usability

    I have to say navigation has completely bamboozled me. I don't know where home is. On new sites I'm always grateful for a simple navigation structure, or smacking the masthead. I consider anything else a helpful bonus. What is the current thinking of what "Home" is? For me "home" is a list of recent user-created forums. It would be nice to see how to get there. The three main actions are Reading, Composing New and Responding to Existing threads, perhaps that's all we need to make obvious and prominent. I find the "Your Forums" really nice and handy though.
  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Perhaps we jumped the gun a little - but we shall start adding some navigation aids - such as um, labels in forums front page - next week.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)


  3. Sir Runcible Spoon


    I hope it's ok, but I just posted a url link in the main forums to see if it would work. Will this let the cat out of the bag?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      No harm done. The cat will suffocate unless we let it out of the bag.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge


        Use them. ;)

    2. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Yes, and don't think we haven't noticed the <em>bold</em> flying around too.

  4. Sean Baggaley 1
    IT Angle

    A humble request:

    It's the 21st Century. Is there a good reason why users are still required to manually type in markup? Even Markdown support might be better than this as not every keyboard in every nation has easy access to the necessary "<" and ">" symbols.

    I'd like to see Markdown support added if the decision is made not to go with a WYSIWYG-type toolbar. (It doesn't have to be a WYSIWYG editor, incidentally. Just having the toolbar would suffice, although there are plenty of libraries for such editors if you don't want to roll your own.)

    Another thing that looks weird to me is that Register staffers have two icons. Surely it would be more sensible to have that Vulture icon appear under the staffer's username? It's not as if that space is being used for anything else, and it would also make it much easier to spot replies from the El Reg folks.

    Finally, I suspect this may be a better forum to repeat my dislike of the way threading is handled in this system. Perhaps some additional visual cues involving colours might help clarify who's replying to whom? Collapsible posts might be worth exploring too.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You mean something like this?

      We are tweaking forum pages a little - and IIRC - we will move the vulture icon.

      1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

        Yes something like that would be great, although it took me a while to work out some of the hyroglyphics.

        The Mac Observer just has buttons with text on, but I think that you need to have an account to click post and see the text entry box. Make sure that you don't do it the same as them though, or Apple will sue :)

      2. Sean Baggaley 1
        Thumb Up


        ... like that.

        Note that the editor itself doesn't have to be WYSIWYG: just have the buttons wrap highlighted text with the required markup, or—if nothing is selected—make the switch toggle between its related opening tag and the closing tag.

        But, yes, either a traditional toolbar or, use text buttons if you prefer. (Icons are often easier to localise though, for what that's worth.)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Not sure I agree with all that.

      Buttons are actually a drain on your productivity by dint of having to move your hand off the keyboard, mouse around, then move it back again. Doing it by hand might simply be quicker. If you care you can always amend your browser to take some hotkey or to present you with some editing toolbar that'll insert the tag of your choice around the selected bits in the currently selected input box.

      So I'm not sure if the website is the right place to add it, but if you do please be very careful.

      The wikipedia take on that I actually find highly annoying because it gets loaded after the rest (as it should) then executes a bunch of js (bleh) and then ends up stealing focus and jumbling up the edits I foolishly had started to make before the ruddy thing was finished.

      That makes it another one of those things that webmonkeys with fast computers and local dev servers tend to overlook. It's not pretty, it's not that useful, and it's a drag for those with lesser hardware and network connections.

      The other thing; moving the vulture icon a bit to the left makes it a true avatar, meaning there's no real reason not to allow one for readers, or at the very least move the Fawkes mask there too, giving icons back to anonymous posters. But then you're suddenly moving much closer to the jumble that is "regular" "forums". You'd lose a lot of design cleanliness.

      Same with the threading and the collapsibles--yay more js, not. Why are you asking for the regular phpboard crappery here when there are far too many of them Out There already?

  5. Federica Monsone

    Same here. As per my email to Chris, I'm finding that navigating is the hard bit. Where is stuff? And is there a way to 'hot tag' people? E.g. if I mention Drewc in a post, is there any way to flag this mention to Drew, a' la Twitter and Facebook? Thanks,


    1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

      "Hot Tag."

      I like it!

  6. Sean Baggaley 1

    No "Edit" feature?


    At present, if I spot a mistake in a post I've just submitted, I have no way to go in and correct it in-situ. I have to copy the post into the clipboard, use the "Withdraw" button to delete my original post, then paste the clipboard into a new post, edit it and submit anew.

    (Incidentally, the copy-paste procedure above seems to mess up the line endings. You might want to look into that.)

  7. G Olson

    Third party advertising links

    Egads, I have those buffoons blocked by default for many years now. If you want to make some secondary revenue thru advertising frames, find a reputable and relevant ad service.

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