* Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post here to suggest corrections, additions, changes etc to the FHUG KnowledgeBase . Include as much information as possible to help editors act on your post.

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davidf
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Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post by davidf »

I have been trying to get my mind around various ways in which we can improve the "user experience" of the KB as well catching some of the other issues that have recently been discussed.

This post cover items that I think might be incorporated into the Page Header and Footer when "we" (!) next do a "review". By Headers and Footers I mean the bits that are mainly white text on a Blue Background at the top and bottom of every page. I also include the site titles above the Header.

They give "identity" to the KB (which is important to distinguish the KB from the Forum). But they also serve other functions.
  1. Titles and Structure
    • Observations
      • Link back to the "Home Page of the KB".
        • This duplicates the "Title" ("Family Historian User Group") which has a link back to the KB Home page (not the FHUG Home Page)
        • There is no link back to the FHUG Home Page - this could be deliberate because the latter is primarily a Landing Page and people then go on to the KB or the Forum and as long as you can switch between the two, you no longer need to get back to the Landing Page. Is it deliberate?
      • The sub title ("Knowledge Base") is linkless
    • Suggestions
      1. Can we resolve whether it is KnowledgeBase or Knowledge Base - and update the style guide to include that resolution?
      2. Should we have a tiered header - one line each:
        1. Family Historian User Group
        2. Knowledge Base Other Sections: Forum | Plug-in Store?
        3. Menu items specific to the KB
        4. Search bar
      3. Should we use colour to differentiate the Forum link - possibly using the colour of the Forum theme that most people use?
      4. The Plug-in Store is technically not an "Other Section" but an "Other Site". It could be flagged as such - and colour differentiated. CP link to us, should we link to them?
  2. Menu Items
    • Observations
      • Menu items are needed to provide quick access to items that don't belong in the hierarchy of the actual knowledge base and to provide administrative functions
      • The Forum link belongs in the tier above
      • Contribute (to the KB) is potentially ambiguous - to many contribute means donate
      • Help (with using the KB) is also potentially ambiguous - people have come to the KB for Help!
    • Suggestions
      1. Move the Knowledge Base (Home Page) and Forum links to the Tier above
      2. Contribute means "Edit the Knowledge Base" - we are familiar with "Edit" in other applications?
      3. Help means "Using the Knowledge Base" - either use "Usage" or if room "Using the Knowledge Base"
  3. Footer
    • Observations
      • When people get to the end of a page is the logical time / place to have a Donate Link
      • Likewise the end is a sensible place to have a "feedback" link - we should solicit feedback not just "reports of errors". If something is confusing or unclear, it would be nice to know! We may also get suggestions. (In one project I did we even got unsolicited comments from call centre operators normally very cynical about IT "helping them"! - see "AS" Nick's comments about "encouragement")
      • The current "Error Reporting" link is buried in the Contribute Menu
    • Suggestions
      1. The Donate and Feedback links should be in every page footer and need to be distinguished from and more prominent than the "legalese"
      2. A feedback link on each page could probably automatically pick up the page URL and title - making it easier for the user.
      3. There are Wordpress plugins that "integrate" with phpBB, so it may be possible to get such feedback to drop straight into a suitable Sub-Forum (or better a specific sub-sub Forum)
      4. With a more prominent Feedback link we may need an anti-spam plug-in - I don't know if the current Error Reporting form (which is the only way for an outsider to directly interact?) already attracts much attention from the rubots!
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Re: Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Some good ideas here -- thanks. Some are already implemented, some need a lot more thought.

I. Titles and Structure.

A. We've standardised on 'Knowledge Base'.

B. One design aim is to keep the header as shallow as possible to maximise the space available even on small screens for the 'important stuff'. Colin (thanks, Colin, for all the changes I'm mentioning!) has modified the existing header to read 'Family Historian User Group – Knowledge Base' and lose the line underneath. We have thus eliminated a tier.

C. Using a different colour for the Forum (which has become FHUG Forums) link has a number of problems.

(1) There is no definitive colour for the forums -- three themes, one blue, one orange, one silver. Analysing how many users use each one would be unnecessary work because...
(2) Whatever colour we choose would have no association for non-FHUG users who arrive via Google, the mailing list, FaceCloth etc. ...
(3) and a prominent colour differentiating the Forums link might lead those non-FHUG members to think it's the most important thing on the page and click straight through.
(4) and of course it breaks our design rule to make the use of different colours as sparing as possible.

D. We're not sure about including the Plugin Store as any kind of top level item -- we really want the KB to be 'sticky' and not send people off anywhere else straight away. Individual articles direct to specific plugins. We've added the Plugin store as an item under Download/Snippets (which might need renaming to 'Plugins/Downloads etc.'). Snippets is jargon anyway, and of no interest except to plugin authors.

II. Menu Items

A. Our approach above leaves Forums on the menu, and linked from the first paragraph on the Home page and from articles where the author has deemed a discussion relevant. We do need to offer a prominent source of further assistance if the KB doesn't meet the need...

B. Perhaps rename Contribute to 'Add Content'? And put the Donate link next to it (which has been done).

C. 'Usage' isn't unambiguous -- is it a 'Usage meter'? :) Help is a pretty common link on a menu bar; is it really confusing? It has moved to the rhs of the menu -- does that help?

D. Any view on the icon to get a link to paste elsewhere?

III. Footer

A. Agreed about the Donate link at the bottom as well (done).

IV. Feedback

I've pulled this out because it's the big problem.

Spam is not an issue -- we already have a spam filter in place (the same one as for the Forums).

Initially we had a 'Contact Us' link, hoping for unicorns and roses and puppy dog tails...

Users did indeed contact us. Asking for advice on how to use FH. We told them to use the forums, and reworded the form in an attempt to discourage that.

It still happened. We reworded the form again to tell them we wouldn't respond to requests for advice, and renamed it to Error Reporting. Which seems to have stopped the requests for advice. We have had an occasional error report.

Would a 'Feedback' link reopen that door? We'd have to include the strong discouragement message, which might not set the tone we want for a Feedback process...

Dumping anything submitted straight into an FH sub-forum has the risk that, unvetted, it could reveal details we ought to be keeping private (like their real name of email) not publishing to the world. It would still need somebody to review it to check that it really is feedback and not a request for advice (moving workload from the KB admins to the forums mods). And putting somebody's content onto a website they've never used and aren't a member of doesn't seem right either. Given that, I fear it would have to continue coming by email to the KB admins...

I suspect we'll get little real feedback from the majority of users (because the majority of FH users will not be FHUG members, something we shouldn't overlook as we think our way through this.)

This one needs a lot more thought to balance the workload with the benefit we'll get from it.
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Re: Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post by davidf »

Thanks for these changes - I expected a much longer lead-time!

I. Titles and Structure

I think that is an improvement overall - particularly when I bring the zoom level back to 100% (I tend to work at 120% on a 15.6" laptop - which means large headings tend to wrap). Does the heading still work on tablets etc. - or is that not a concern with our "audience"?

For me in my personal style sheet I have an over-ride p.site-title {font-size: 120% !important;}

I think putting the link to the plug-in store on a menu is a good compromise - I suspect that many users are not sure of domain boundaries. A renaming is probably in order.

II. Menu Items

It may be that with "Donate" alongside it, "Contribute" clearly must have a different meaning.

The chain link is explained by the tooltip on hover - I personally would shrink it - my personal style sheet shrinks it to 66% of the original size img[src="https://fhug.org.uk/kb/wp-content/uploa ... 5/copy.png"] {height: 20px ;}. Does it belong on the menu or, more logically, immediately after the article title?

III. Footer

Personally I would put the Donate Button above the legalese.

IV. Feedback

I thought this might be contentious! There is clearly a balance between the "character" of the site ("open, friendly, minimal-jargon, but concise and precise"?) and actions that have to be taken to account for users!

I note your summary of attempts to filter out "input" that is not relevant to the content of the KB! Whether your eventual state of stability is due to calling it "Error Reporting", the stern warnings on the page, or hiding it deep in the "Contribute" (!) menu will never be known. I accept your point that the stern warning as written is not really compatible with a "let us know what you think" feedback facility. "Feedback" or "Comment" does not seem to me to be eliciting questions about how to use FH - it may elicit comments like "This page does not help me to do ...", but that is valid feedback and with a link in the intro to the Forum for asking FH usage questions ...

When I was suggesting dropping feedback straight into a specific sub-forum I had in mind that the initial assessment could happen there and that we could ensure that it is not too "public" - I presume that access can be formally restricted (which is probably a better data protection strategy than using unencrypted emails!).

Whichever direction we go, getting the server to fill in the page URL will make commenting easier and more mistake proof - the chain link indicates that the code is probably there within WP rather than just an Apache style Variable! A checkbox would allow commenters to indicate that their comment is not a page-specific comment.
This one needs a lot more thought to balance the workload with the benefit we'll get from it.
True, but if we want to recruit more knowledge base "writers" we have to appear to be open to suggestions.
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Re: Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post by Valkrider »

David

Title wraps to 2 or 3 lines now depending on screen width.

Chain link reduced in size. The Donate an be anywhere along the menu line.

Donate button moved in footer WDYT?

Feedback still work in progress we are discussing it.
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Re: Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post by davidf »

Colin

Thanks for your work and these changes
  • Title wrapping rarely effects me so I will leave those that access via tablet/phones etc to comment.
  • I think the chain link now looks less in your face which I think is an improvement
  • What about the positioning of it? In the Forum, you can pick up a link to a topic or posting by right-clicking the title of the topic or posting (not the Forum main menu). (Or the * for the short-code to the topic). Logic would put the link (before or) after the Article Title (because it is the article you want to link to not the generic KB).
  • I think the Donate button is more difficult to ignore by putting it above the legalese
I realise the feedback issue is more fundamental than say a CSS tweak!

David
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Re: Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post by Valkrider »

David

To add the chain link to the article title would need some serious custom coding which from a maintenance point of view I don't think we want to get into.
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Re: Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post by davidf »

OK, I appreciate that it involves modifying the "article template" rather than just customising the heading.
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Re: Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Whether your eventual state of stability is due to calling it "Error Reporting", the stern warnings on the page, or hiding it deep in the "Contribute" (!) menu will never be known.
I don't think it was the position in the menu -- that has remained constant throughout.

I've renamed the menu item that includes Downloads and Plugins to better reflect the important elements of its content.

I suggest we leave 'Contribute' as it is until we've bottomed the Feedback question.
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Re: Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

Colin has made some changes to the 'error reporting/feedback' stuff, based on things we think are currently sustainable. If we see a huge uptick in submissions as a result, we may have to review how we handle them.

We've used "improvements" rather than feedback or error reporting. We have repositioned that option now at the top of the Contribute menu and adjusted the tooltip and also the text on the form and the front page. We will see what this changed does to the amount of emails we receive. Any submissions we receive, we will add to the Maintaining the KB forum, suitably anonymised, so that others can review them and/or action them. (Unless they report is about an error that needs a technical fix, e.g. a broken link or a layout snafu).

We are not going to move the link icon due to the work involved and no one has complained about it. The tooltip for it has been updated so maybe that will help.
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Re: Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post by davidf »

Thanks
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Re: Knowledge Base "Presentation" Headers/Footers

Post by ColeValleyGirl »

This isn't the last word on the feedback topic, just what we can do now without a disproportionate amount of implementation and/or maintenance workload.

I should add, we haven't put the feedback link in the footer because we are worried about cluttering it up and detracting from the Donate link. When time allows I will have a think about what might work.
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