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Forum » Take Heed! - Announcements » Proposed Update Package for the site
Vaporman87

The following items comprise a package of updates that I will be offering to the development team behind the site. Any thoughts?

Update Package 1 




  1. Forum
    Comments List (images provided; Forum Comments
    Link on Forum page 1.png, Forum Comments List Complete 1.png
    ):
    This
    update would add a textual link to the Forum index page that reads “View
    condensed Forum Comments List”. This link, when clicked, would direct the
    user to a page containing a Forum Comments List that is almost identical
    to the one provided in the Admin Panel. The difference would be that users
    would not see the “edit” or “delete” image buttons that are visible in the
    Admin Panel version. The “view” image button would remain, however it
    would simply direct the user to the thread on the Forum page that contains
    the comment. A “Back to Forum Page” link would be present on this new
    page, directing the user back to the Forum index page.

User note: This would give you guys quick, easy access to a simple box of all Forum comments that can be searched or sorted for your convenience. 




  1. Remove
    Avatars Button (image provided; Remove Avatars
    Button Link 1.png
    ):
    This
    would add a text button to the top area of the Recent Threads box which,
    when clicked by the user, would remove all user avatars from the Forum
    index page only. Clicking the text button again would cause the avatars to
    re-appear.



 




  1. Unread
    Private Message Alert (image provided; Unread Messages 1.png):
    This update would create a small text box on
    the Home page only, that contains an alert message whenever a user has
    received a new, unread private message. The text displayed would contain
    the current number of new, unread messages as well. The text box alert
    message would disappear when the user reads the new, unread message.
    Clicking on the text box alert message would direct the user to their
    private message inbox.



 




  1. Users
    Online Section (image provided; Users Online 1.png):
    This amounts to creating a small section below
    the “Recent Articles” and “Recent Videos” sections of the Home page only,
    that displays the names of the users that are currently signed in and have
    been recently active (much like the online/offline indicator does on the
    user’s Profile page). Clicking on a user name in this section would direct
    the user to that user’s Profile page.



 




  1. First
    Party Image Hosting (image provided; First Party Image Hosting 1.png):
    This update would add a function to the forum
    (AND ARTICLE SUBMISSION PAGE)
    text editor that allows the user to upload the desired image from their
    hard drive to the website, instead of directing to an image URL. A size
    restriction on the image that can be uploaded would be preferable.



 




  1. Article
    Preview Button (images provided;

    Preview Button 1.png, Preview
    Return 1.png
    ):
    This update would create a “Preview” button
    beside the existing “Publish”, “Save as Draft”, and “Cancel” buttons.
    Clicking this button would direct the user to a version of the Articles
    page that is not viewable by anyone but the article writer. This page
    would give the article writer a preview of what the article would look
    like once published and approved. The preview article page would contain
    new text that states “-Preview-“ and a new textual link stating “Return To
    Editor” that, when clicked, directs the user back to the Article
    submission page editor (still containing all content input by the user).
    Comments on the article preview page are disabled.



 




  1. Comment
    Indicator (image provided;
    Comment Indicator 1.png): This update
    would produce a small Comment Indicator image, within the area reserved
    for the Video thumbnail image, that indicates to the user that comments
    have been added to the video and the total number comments on that video.
    This indicator would be present on videos with comments that are on the
    Home page as well as the videos listed on the Videos page.


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shakin steak
This all sounds fantastic! On #5, 1 MB is a pretty generous file size.

Not sure if you want to restrict dimensions, but in articles, larger than 453 pixels across needs horizontal scroll to see the whole picture. Fortunately, text does not follow this which would make reading very annoying. Kudos to whoever did that that way. Images larger than 720 pixels across do stretch out a thread, though. So maybe restrict dimensions to that width and something reasonable for height (1000?)
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shakin steak
Also, I wonder about some of the dimensions. Would you consider making the forum thread columns more narrow? I feel the body and user columns are too wide. But I don't know how anybody else feels about it.
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Derk
I with Shakin Steak's suggestion about making the thread columns more narrow.

Also, the ability to quote others on the forum would be nice.
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shakin steak

Derk wrote:
Also, the ability to quote others on the forum would be nice.


Ah yes, this for sure. Doing quotes manually is for suckers.
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shakin steak
I don't know if this is a concern but it's something I've noticed and maybe you want to get it in this update. The thread view counter doesn't count only unique views. From the forum index, a thread has 25 views. If I click on the thread once, it goes to 26, even though I have viewed the thread before. If I click on the thread five times in a row, it goes to 30. The counter also increases every time I refresh the page.
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Vaporman87
I noticed that as well.
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You love this signature.
shakin steak
Animated GIFs don't seem to work for avatars. Look at my steak! It's not shaking! This is a travesty!

Also, I know there were some troubles earlier today. Aside from that, is there any ETA we can think about for this update pack?

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Vaporman87
Well, once the server/hosting issue is finally put to bed, we can move on with adding stuff we want.

This has been the issue with this developer. They do excellent work (for which I would recommend them without hesitation), but they are very poor at communication (for which I would not recommend them at all).

This being the case, I am inclined to consider the possibility of moving the site update work to another developer with a reputation for quick and responsive communication IN ADDITION TO quality work.

I'm not sure what all of this will amount to as far as time, but you can rest assured that once this whole server/hosting affair is finally a non-issue, I will immediately begin shopping around the update (and all future updates).

We already have some additional requests like the animated .gifs and such to begin yet another update list, but I encourage you guys to think outside the box. What could we add to REALLY make this place DIFFERENT and COOL. Don't consider what the cost might be. If something were too expensive to implement, then that does not mean that some facet of that idea wouldn't be affordable.

Use those noggins.
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You love this signature.
shakin steak
Signatures don't seem to work right in Firefox. They show up in the middle of original post. Like this. Is fine in Internet Explorer and Chrome.

How does the recent threads thing work? Past few days it doesn't seem to change at all. Threads aren't getting bumped with new posts. Or is this due to issues with the host.

Do you have any way or plan to promote this site?

Trying to think outside the box...

  • It would be nice if the website can track what each user has already read, and show on the thread list which threads have posts that you have not seen yet.

  • Also, a link to post history on each user's profile page. Useful for trying to find past thread conversations. Each post in history should link to the thread/page where it appears.


  • Those are kind of in the box. I've seen them on other forums and found very useful...

  • What if the forums can change style sheets? (colors, background image, font) Either at the reader's choice, or randomly load, or have a distinct theme for each category of thread? Readability should be maintained and respected, but to emulate different environments or display technologies.

  • I mentioned this back when the preview first went up, if articles can have have different backgrounds that the author can choose. Besides notebook paper, the background could be dot matrix printer (with paper coming up), a typewriter, old computer screen (like DOS), etc. With appropriate font for these things.

  • Similarly, if there are choices for profile background. Besides the floppy disk, maybe there could be other choices like a hoosier cabinet, a chalk board, VHS tape, a circuit board, '57 Ford, a film projector, old-fashioned fridge or oven. More chances for people to display their personality in their profile.

  • Also for the profile: lists. Favorite movies, bands, shows, books, etc. Customizable (not everybody wants to put their favorite bands but maybe somebody wants to have fav inventors or fav British 60s motorcycles.) Is that too MySpace?


  • Not very revolutionary I'm afraid, but it's ideas I got for now
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Vaporman87
First of all, I did indeed notice the difficulty FireFox has with displaying the signatures properly. That is a fix hopefully won't require too much labor. If I recall, think the signatures don't show up right on smart phones either. I'll have to double check that.

As far as promotion, I put it on hold when I realized how difficult it was getting the developer to answer my requests regarding the transfer process. I didn't want to go around yelling from the internet rooftops, only to have those who respond come visit a site that is suddenly no longer there or functioning correctly because of some transfer issue. That being said, I have plans for word of mouth AND internet advertising in order to promote the site.

All of these listed ideas are great. I am currently putting together the second package of update info, complete with mock images as with the first. I will include as many of these as possible in it.

I presented the first package to a gentleman with whom I had previously worked with on another project, and he was very willing to help. However, he is not familiar with the Yii framework (on which this site is built), so he had to decline. So, it appears I will be shopping these updates around to other places and trying to do as much research on their practices as I can prior to giving them the job.
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You love this signature.
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