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One of my growing pet peeves with Cemetech is the party of words in our header. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone who remembers a post I made a year ago in a topic about redesigning Cemetech. I've finally set about making a few changes, some you may be seeing sooner than later. But with something as big as the navigation, I want to make sure I get it right.

We have 9 items in the navigation right now, including Search. Which, is a lot. In my fun take on a redesign I brought that down to 4 but completely neglected to add in a search box. So, I've made sure to keep it in here and also left in the Archives since it is a pretty decent chunk of the site traffic. I've changed the Home button to be the site banner.



To me this feels a lot better. There's room for you to think, you aren't presented with an over abundance of options. It's a more friendly navigation in my opinion. Under Explore you can see the tools and additional areas of the site, such as the Projects and any relevant Wikis. I'm still working on the layout of the Explore page but I'll be sure to post that when I'm done! Figured I'd put this out there for feedback before I get too far along.

I come to you guys because we do have a fairly small team behind the scenes and it's hard to get feedback on the plethora of ideas we have brewing. It's not that I'm ragging on my fellow admins, it's just we all have lives and sometimes we tell ourselves "I'll respond to that later" and we forget or that we feel it's something we may not know enough to weigh in on. I've been there, I especially let other people speak on matters that they know more about than I (such as what changes to do on the backend of the site) but, as I implied, it's hard to get consistent feedback on a team this small.

We have a plan to create a team of members to help us improve Cemetech by using them to expand our feedback platform, to enable us to get detailed and on-topic opinions, to give members a first hand look and voice for improvements we have brewing. I'll keep you guys updated on this as time goes on Smile But feedback on the proposed navigation is what we're after today!

Thanks.
I like it! It's clean, organized, and looks user friendly. I'm guessing that all the pages are created into one big page, and I like that idea. Can't wait to see it when it's done! Very Happy
MateoConLechuga wrote:
When I click on 'Forum' there's just a huge page that has literally nothing I'm looking for if I have a simple question; which rather off putting.

I said this in the other thread and it seemed pretty relevant to put here as well. Anywho; I think this is a great idea Smile
MateoConLechuga wrote:
MateoConLechuga wrote:
When I click on 'Forum' there's just a huge page that has literally nothing I'm looking for if I have a simple question; which rather off putting.

I said this in the other thread and it seemed pretty relevant to put here as well. Anywho; I think this is a great idea Smile


I think I replied to this but I don't think I ever got a reply, I guess if I remembered what topic this was in that'd be helpful. Haha. Could you explain the thought process you have when you want to ask "a simple question?" What do you expect to be on that page? Do you find this to be an issue with the main navigation or with how the forum is organized?
I think that the "Tools" tab and the "Popular resources" should be merged. It would declutter the page/header a little.

There's my $0.02.
I think that the Forum header should have a drop down selection widget that has:
1) new posts
2) "visit" option, that does what the current Forum header does
3) an archives option, that redirects you to the archives.

Alternatively (this is probably what you are doing), just stuff it all under the Explore section.
_iPhoenix_ wrote:
I think that the Forum header should have a drop down selection widget that has:
1) new posts
2) "visit" option, that does what the current Forum header does
3) an archives option, that redirects you to the archives.


(1) With the "Go To New Posts" always in the sidebar at left (for logged in users), I don't see a reason why it needs a drop down/navigation link too and (2) rather than have an option for "Visit" the Forum text can still be a link to the forum. Lastly, (3) the Archives aren't part of the forum so I don't really see the benefit of putting the under Forum.

Quote:
Alternatively (this is probably what you are doing), just stuff it all under the Explore section.


That's not quite what I'm doing. Explore will house information. My knowledge on PHP is a tad rusty so it will likely be a pretty static page with links to the navigation elements I removed. I imagine that over time it'll get a bit more dynamic, such as showing the latest projects, your recent projects/saves on SourceCoder, etc etc. The Forum and Archives will largely stay out of Explore. I can even see these having some presence in Explore at some point but for now they'll be separate.
So, I'm coming at this from the perspective of wanting to make sure it's clear to the lowest common denominator of visitor where to find things within Cemetech. We currently have the following:

Home / Archives / Projects / Forum / Tools / Learn / Play / About

I feel like each of those is relatively clear. "Archives" might be the least clear of them; the name mirrors the ticalc.org File Archives, but I'm not sure that people generally would understand "Archives" over (say) "Downloads". I think Home, Projects, Forum, Tools, and About are quite clear. "Learn" and "Play" aren't perfect, but they're not bad. You propose:

Explore / Forum / Archives / Play / About

You also mentioned: "Under Explore you can see the tools and additional areas of the site, such as the Projects and any relevant Wikis." Makes sense. However, a few comments and pieces of feedback: (1) I think it's important to keep a "Home" link around somewhere (and by the way, we need to make the Cemetech logo clickable, because people usually expect the logo to function as a link to the website homepage as well). I also think that it's not necessarily clear what "Explore" means in a navigational context, exactly, but I want others' thoughts on it. To me, it isn't obviously the category under which I'd find Projects, Tools, and Learn (ie, the Learn wiki, the Doors CS wiki, the Prizm wiki, SourceCoder, jsTIfied, the calculator reference pages, and the existing project pages). I wish there was a good word that combined "Tools" and "Learn" so we could put the documentation stuff all under Tools. I want to continue to strive to make members able to make their own Projects pages, even though that's a far-off project; if we succeeded; I would think it particularly deserves to remain a first-class citizen. Unfortunately, I guess that means that my suggestion is to either leave it as-is, or just find a way to merge Tools and Learn, our two most neglected sections, together.
Why not just place things where they should be; in the foam? In my opinion, there's really no point in having a bunch of different links to all the same thing. Clean up the Forum page once and for all. These are the links in order of precedence that I feel most people use that come here:

Home / Forum / Archives / Tools / About

Make 'Forum' be like a drop menu when you hover over it that takes you to different subforums such as Play, Projects, and the others.

Please, for heavens sake though make the 'Forum' button take you to a less cluttery and more intuitive page please Smile
I think you haven't actually clicked through to see what are on the Projects, Learn, and/or Play tabs, sir. Smile They don't link to forum content.
KermMartian wrote:
I think you haven't actually clicked through to see what are on the Projects, Learn, and/or Play tabs, sir. Smile They don't link to forum content.

That's just my point; they should. When I click on 'Play', it should take me to a subforum that has all that information at the top. Then I can just easily post a topic or reply to things and add suggestions; rather than having to dig my way through the Forum page Wink

My point: https://www.cemetech.net/forum/index.php?c=8
KermMartian wrote:
I think it's important to keep a "Home" link around somewhere (and by the way, we need to make the Cemetech logo clickable, because people usually expect the logo to function as a link to the website homepage as well).


I was thinking of getting rid of home entirely and making the logo/top banner clickable.

Quote:
I also think that it's not necessarily clear what "Explore" means in a navigational context, exactly, but I want others' thoughts on it. To me, it isn't obviously the category under which I'd find Projects, Tools, and Learn (ie, the Learn wiki, the Doors CS wiki, the Prizm wiki, SourceCoder, jsTIfied, the calculator reference pages, and the existing project pages).


That's fair. To me, "Explore" is some place I'd go if I wanted to see what other material Cemetech offers. If they don't see what they're looking for the in navigation then they could explore what else we have. I, personally, like the categorize by actions. The folders on my phones home screen is all named after an action. "I want to shop." "I want to eat." "I need to be productive." "I want to consume media." "I want to lookup information." etc etc. So, explore seems logical in the sense that I want to see what else Cemetech has to offer.

Quote:
I wish there was a good word that combined "Tools" and "Learn" so we could put the documentation stuff all under Tools. I want to continue to strive to make members able to make their own Projects pages, even though that's a far-off project; if we succeeded; I would think it particularly deserves to remain a first-class citizen. Unfortunately, I guess that means that my suggestion is to either leave it as-is, or just find a way to merge Tools and Learn, our two most neglected sections, together.


Projects is definitely something we can put back when it starts becoming active again. Wink

MateoConLechuga wrote:
Please, for heavens sake though make the 'Forum' button take you to a less cluttery and more intuitive page please Smile


If you'd ever answer the questions I've asked we'd be able to address your specific concerns. We can't read minds.

Alex wrote:
MateoConLechuga wrote:
MateoConLechuga wrote:
When I click on 'Forum' there's just a huge page that has literally nothing I'm looking for if I have a simple question; which rather off putting.

I said this in the other thread and it seemed pretty relevant to put here as well. Anywho; I think this is a great idea Smile


I think I replied to this but I don't think I ever got a reply, I guess if I remembered what topic this was in that'd be helpful. Haha. Could you explain the thought process you have when you want to ask "a simple question?" What do you expect to be on that page? Do you find this to be an issue with the main navigation (what this topic is about) or with how the forum is organized?


Quote:
That's just my point; they should. When I click on 'Play', it should take me to a subforum that has all that information at the top. Then I can just easily post a topic or reply to things and add suggestions; rather than having to dig my way through the Forum page Wink


You're asking for functionality that phpBB doesn't have. We can't do this without putting in tons of work. One day when we leave phpBB behind, we can hopefully do exactly this.
Alex wrote:
MateoConLechuga wrote:
That's just my point; they should. When I click on 'Play', it should take me to a subforum that has all that information at the top. Then I can just easily post a topic or reply to things and add suggestions; rather than having to dig my way through the Forum page Wink


You're asking for functionality that phpBB doesn't have. We can't do this without putting in tons of work. One day when we leave phpBB behind, we can hopefully do exactly this.


saxjax wrote:
[MateoConLechuga] phpBB doesn't allow you to clean up the Forum page?
[MateoConLechuga] I find that hard to believe


No, phpBB doesn't allow you to add arbitrary HTML/PHP that appears at the top of a category that only appears if it's viewed as a single category like https://www.cemetech.net/forum/index.php?c=8, which I believe is what you're requesting. I think we'd still want https://www.cemetech.net/play to be the url (that's an easy .htaccess), but phpBB isn't set up to be a CMS with much static content like that, especially not related to categories. If you feel strongly that that's the right thing to do, that actually does make a lot of sense to me. But we're not adversaries here! Let's try to keep it civil and constructive, guys.

By the way, I'm not sure Projects necessarily would work the same way, since the Projects section on the site is currently the root of a set of pages about projects, whereas Projects on the forum is the root of a set of discussions about projects. It definitely makes sense to eventually organize it in such a way that Projects is actually user-editable static pages to which forum topics are attached, which sounds amazing, but as Alex says, that's a pretty substantial programming undertaking, whether it gets hacked into phpBB or coded separately.
I like the Explore tab definitely; The Learn, Play, and Tools tabs go well under an Explore tab. However, I do have to agree with Mateo that the Forum page could use a little cleaning up. Also, I believe the Home button should stay as I get confused sometimes on other sites when there is no Home button and it takes me a few minutes to figure out that it's the banner.
Alex wrote:
I think I replied to this but I don't think I ever got a reply, I guess if I remembered what topic this was in that'd be helpful. Haha. Could you explain the thought process you have when you want to ask "a simple question?" What do you expect to be on that page? Do you find this to be an issue with the main navigation or with how the forum is organized?

I would like the page; when I click on it; rather than list all the forums, just make the big headers links to them. A button at the top that says "New Post" would be great; and then the ability to specify the forum location would be nice for things as well.

Better idea:
Make the boxes expand when you click on them. By default they are collapsed. This is a wonderful idea. Please do it Smile
I too find the Forum home page to be completely unworkable and largely useless and agree with Mateo's suggestions on this matter.
Rough design idea:

Basically, put any important information about using the forums where I artitically drew. That way people have information about double posting, general guidlines, etc.

Alternative idea that looks less confusingly empty: how about a jumbox/table of contents of sections that appears at the very top of the page, in the Quick Info box or directly below it, containing clickable links to the categories that jump to their location on the page?
MateoConLechuga wrote:
Rough design idea:

Basically, put any important information about using the forums where I artitically drew. That way people have information about double posting, general guidlines, etc.


That's a funny looking navigation. Since none of this has to do with the navigation at the top of the page, let's try to keep on topic. We'll get to the forum another time.

seanlego23 wrote:
Also, I believe the Home button should stay as I get confused sometimes on other sites when there is no Home button and it takes me a few minutes to figure out that it's the banner.


That's fair; the Home button has been part of our navigation for many years that it may be counter-intuitive to remove it at this point (at least in this design template).
Alex wrote:
That's a funny looking navigation. Since none of this has to do with the navigation at the top of the page, let's try to keep on topic. We'll get to the forum another time.


You do realize that it proves the thing I just said about the homebar though right? Why is "Cemetech's Projects" a link in the forum, the same with Play @ Cemetech? Everything here is forum based in some way; and that is what people care about. The forum page should be made to look as user-friendly as possible.
  
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