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Author Topic: feedback on TP articles usability  (Read 836 times)

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Offline brynn

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  • Posts: 78
feedback on TP articles usability
« on: May 01, 2017, 09:14:22 PM »
Hi Friends,
Mick was recently asking me (elsewhere) why I use SMF Articles mod on my SMF forum, where I do have TP installed.  On my site, a particular membergroup uses articles for writing tutorials.  Note that I do use TP articles for certain website features.  But only I have access to it.  For example the page on the Home tab is a TP article.  (https://forum.inkscapecommunity.com/index.php)

I guess the short answer is that when I first started the site, it was the first time I had ever owned/admin'd a website, and I was pretty overwhelmed.  Even today, 4 years later, I groan when I have to go into the TP panel.**  I tried Simple Portal on another forum (which I inherited, and had help converting to SMF) and it's very newbie-friendly.  (The person who was helping me claimed that TP was not going to be developed any more, and suggested I should switch to Simple Portal.)

But anyway, I couldn't find how to disallow html and php articles for members to write articles.  And I didn't want members to have that kind of power.  I also didn't want to have to teach them how to navigate TP, because at the time I didn't get that the articles could be separate.  I thought if I allowed members to write TP articles, they would have access to part of the admin panel.  And I wanted articles to be simple and straightforward, where newbies could use it without much help.  But most of all, I couldn't find how to allow members to write TP articles in the first place.

As I think about it today, it probably would be straightforward for this membergroup, if I have it set only for bbcode articles.  But only just today, Mick told me settings are in Permissions.  I kept looking in the TP panel, and 4 years ago concluded it must be controlled in some way that was over my head - I thought maybe some kind of coding or editing some code must be needed.  So when I found SMF Articles, in the midst of all that confusion, it was a no-brainer.

You know, I've looked through Permissions countless times, and very carefully set everything for all the membergroups and stuff.  But I never once even expanded the Manage Tiny Portal section to look at it!  Why?  Because I don't want anyone except myself managing TP.  So I left all the membergroups on Disallow.

Now that I open it, I see that there's a problem with context, in the section or category title. Notice how all the other section titles answer the question 'what do you want this membergroup to be able to do?'  So for example, I only open "Moderate the forum" section when I'm setting moderator group permissions.  Which usergroup do I want to manage TP?  None.  And since I didn't want anyone but myself to manage TP, I never even looked at the category.

Better language suggestion for the TP Permissions category: "Use TP" or "TP Options".  Or even just "TP Permissions".

Or, I've noticed that other parts of the admin panel offer permission options.  For example, go to SMF admin panel > Forum > Boards > Settings.  See how you can set those relevant permissions right there, instead of going to admin panel > Members > Permissions ?  Maybe TP could put something like that in the TP panel?  I wouldn't even have been confused by the permission section title there.

All best,
brynn

** (I could share about other areas where I was confused and overwhelmed, if it would be helpful.)

Offline lurkalot

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Re: feedback on TP articles usability
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2017, 01:19:47 AM »
Brynn, thanks for the feedback on the article system, it's appreciated.  I will just pick you up on the permission location, if you look at what I said. "it's right there in the SMF permissions" ;)

I agree the article system could be a lot easier to use, and feedback like this is great to point us in the right direction.  There's a few things that could be made easier in TP tbh, but we get so used to how it works we can't see the wood for the trees so to speak.

One this that intrigues me regarding your site, and you might have good reason for doing it the way you have.  You mentioned that you use an article for the front page content, and to me it looks more like a article than a front page, I say this because it has a page number below it, and author / category / date written etc at the top. 

You could just dump the content from that article and put it in a front page block. To me this would look better.  You can still keep the article in a private category if you want to use the editor to make changes, and those changes can be moved to the front page block as desired.

I often copy stuff from a test site to my live site, and having a test site is a great way to experiment with all the TP features.

Mick aka lurkalot.  Running TP1.2 and TP1.2R

Camera Craniums Running SMF 2.0.13 / Tinyportal 1.2
Guitarist Guild Running SMF 2.0.13 / Tinyportal 1.2R Beta
The Garden Machinery Forum Running SMF 2.0.13 / Tinyportal 1.2R Beta

Offline brynn

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  • Posts: 78
Re: feedback on TP articles usability
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2017, 02:16:16 AM »
Sorry for the delay.  Things got busy for me.
I will just pick you up on the permission location, if you look at what I said. "it's right there in the SMF permissions" ;)
Isn't that what I said?  (what I said you said?)
One this that intrigues me regarding your site, and you might have good reason for doing it the way you have.  You mentioned that you use an article for the front page content, and to me it looks more like a article than a front page, I say this because it has a page number below it, and author / category / date written etc at the top. 
Oh, I understand exactly what you're saying.  No, my only reason for doing it that way, was it was the only way I could figure out how to do it, at all.  I don't remember many details now.  But from what I recall, whenever I enabled the front page, it had all kind of news and forum boards or messages, and other stuff that I didn't want.  And I couldn't figure out how to get rid of those.  And once I enabled the front page, I couldn't get rid of it.  And by the time I finally did get rid of it, I wasn't about to risk enabling it again.  I remember that part even now, 4 years later!

Anyway, it was all very confusing, and I couldn't find where I could make it look like a plain web page, rather than an article.  One thing I can say about TP in general.  Most of the time is either the language or combination of language and interface (UX) that trips me up.  SMF in general is not as bad, but it has it's moments for using the hacker language too.  For the most part, I have no complaint about the way the things function.  But the technical language is where I get stuck.

Things are super busy for me right now.  I'm going to be moving to a new host soon.  But maybe I'll try and figure it out after the move.

Don't tell me how yet.  That way, I can give you comments about possible ways to improve.  And if you tell me how, I won't investigate - I'll just do what you say, and not learn anything.  If I get stuck, I'll ask for help.

I'll have to set up a test forum when I move to the new host.  I used to have one where I am, but the host deleted it.  I never knew why.  Yes, the move is long overdue.  ::)

Anyway, after I move and get settled in, I'll try to make a better front page, and then I'll give you some more feedback  :)