Top 10 List - What is Wrong With ArtMetal.com

Site Help - FAQ

NOTE: The original message was posted on the ArtMetal Sandbox Mail List a few days ago and I asked Warren if I could have his permission to repost it here on the .com web site because I thought it would benefit the web site membership more and give you all an opportunity to discuss some of these issues and possibly other issues you may have with how the ArtMetal web site interface functions. Please take a moment to review Warrens comments. We're open to hear how the site functions for you and how we can make it better.

On a side note. The ArtMetal.com web site uses the Drupal CMS and even though I have considerable web authoring experience, I am not a php programmer. PHP is the language used to communicate with the MySQL database and build the complete interface that you experience when using the ArtMetal.com web site. I just want you all to know that I will do everything in my power to help make things as easy to use as possible.

QuiQue - webminster - aka enrique


 

Enrique,

Here is my top 10 list what I feel is wrong with the Artmetal.com site.
I am sending this list because as a regular user of the Artmetal.com site, which I love and appreciate very much, I find that these items are not the most user friendly. It has been mentioned many times by you that you want to promote the Artmetal.com site as a “social networking environment”.

  1. You must log on to reply
    1. Too many visitors reply to posts and you do not know if spam or not or just being a smart ass.
    2. Too many times you see a person make a reply and then go back and say oops that was me, I forgot to log on•.
    3. Maybe if you fix it so you have to log on you can change around how you filter the spam so I can log on form my work computer.
    4. All of the buttons would work the same if logged on or not logged on.
  2. You must fill out all of your personal information•.
    1. Valid email address confirms if they are real•.
    2. Link to their website on personal info if they have one•.
    3. Nice to know where they live•.
    4. Why do people use a funky user name, reminds me too much of the old days of CB radio handles and you did not want to know who you are. “Hey hillbilly”
  3. Drop the buddy list thing
    1. Seems more discriminating because you only want to have X as a buddy•.
    2. Pain in the butt to update your buddy list every time a new person comes on board•.
    3. What is the point of it, we should all be buddies
  4. Drop the fact that you need to “subscribe” to blog or a group to reply to a blog•.
    1. Nothing social about that•.
    2. They should all be public•.
    3. Again what does it prove, if you are logged in you should be able to read all and act to all.
  5. Change the icon to down load pictures to say “Click here to down load a picture”•.
    1. Not all of us can tell that the icon is a picture of a camera, way too many complaints on this one
  6. Remove the images posted from the recent posts.•
    1. Makes the list of recent posts way too long•
    2. People reply to the image and not the post and ask questions.
      1. Yet you have the information in the blog that has the image.
      2. Lock out so you can not reply to just the image.
      3. This way you do not have to repeat yourself over again
      4. Your blog will flow in the order that you have created the pictures, great if you are trying to do a series of pictures or procedures.
  7. Community Page (Same as News/Blog)
    1. Hard to grasp why this says “Community”, seems like extra posts or something not sure how to deal with it when is it a community?•
    2. Fonts are way too big and spacing on the community list (news/blog) making way too much scrolling•
    3. Why the blue square on the first page is for Repousee and Chasing and not the rest of the Groups, gives the impression that these are in that Group.
    4. Instead of having them all there listed, why not have them in the group they are meant to be in, recent posts would not be sorted by groups.•
    5. Have to ask yourself should I click the news/blog or click on the groups Information is duplicated in too many other spots
    6. Is this in order that they were created or order of last reply?
  8. Galleries•
    1. Should be a place to display your competed work pieces “A Show Case”•
    2. All images go there now and makes way too many pages•.
    3. Put more images on a page so you have less pages
    4. Be able to sort by user name --- own gallery•.
    5. Comments should stay with gallery image and notify the user they have a comment to their gallery image, not in the recent post list, like PM.•
    6. Okay if the same image is in the blog entry as in the gallery entry but they should be separated so the gallery image the artist can make a different statement about the image
  9. Resource tag under the archives is way outdated and should be part of the community.
    1. Therefore resources can be updated and linked to in a blog and not have to add them over and over again.
    2. Have a member list under the resource tag by category of their discipline, maybe there is a certain question and you can PM them.
  10. What is the meaning and difference of the cloud tags and searching•
    1. Need to have a definition of what the cloud tags do when you click on the cloud tag link
    2. Good function but not sure all can remember how to use

--Warren Townsend

Trenton, MI 48183
http://www.metalrecipes.com


webminster's picture

1. You must log on to reply

  1. You must log on to reply
    1. Too many visitors reply to posts and you do not know if spam or not or just being a smart ass.
    2. Too many times you see a person make a reply and then go back and say oops that was me, I forgot to log on•.
    3. Maybe if you fix it so you have to log on you can change around how you filter the spam so I can log on form my work computer.
    4. All of the buttons would work the same if logged on or not logged on.

Currently no requirements are necessary to reply to a post unless the post is linked to a group which has set the requirement to join the group to post or comment. This is a feature set for every new group that is created by a user. Each and every member of this community can start their very own groups and they can set the privacy levels for their groups. The original set of groups which I set up do not have required membership for comments. However, they do have joining requirements for posting to the applicable group. Note that the Drupal CMS system differentiates between "posts" and "comments."

To "post" on ArtMetal you have to have a membership account. To "comment" on a post you DO NOT have to have an account. I originally set this up so that non-registered visitors to the ArtMetal web site could actually contribute their knowledge to any post made by the membership.

Now that the site has been up for awhile I can see where problems can exist if you do not log in to your account. Your comment to a post is then included as a "visitor" and has no link to your personal account.

So the question here should be, "What type of access should ArtMetal give to non members?" Should we require anyone desiring to comment on a post registration? Note that this is an important issue which will determine the "openness" for communication on ArtMetal.com.

Please tell us what you think is the best way to handle our relationship to visitors to the ArtMetal.com web site.

UPDATE!

After listening to some of the feedback, I want to try something new. I've implemented a "remember me" check-box where you go to login. If you choose to check the "remember me" check-box, you will be remembered for ever within the browser that you logged in with. If you then go to another browser or computer, you will need to check that box again to be remembered. This should help folks that are forgetting to log in stay logged in and still give visitors the ability to post comments without having to register for an account.

Please let me know if you find any problems with logging in and the "remember me" check-box. Oh, and realize that if you click the "log out" link, you WILL be logged out. So for those of you not wanting to worry about whether you are logged in or not, DON'T LOG OUT. 


PeterG's picture

I am generally happy with

I am generally happy with the way the website works, but I spend most of my time on the "recent posts" page.

I agree with Warren on his picture posting comments.

I think people should log on to post or comment. I dont think FULL name/address details should be required for membership, but some basic information including location and areas of expertise would be good.

I would like to see the chat cafe working. Every time I have been in there, there it is empty. Perhaps some chat times could be set up, or a flashing icon on the side of the page could indicate who is in the chat room?

thanks for the site.

Peter


matt m myers's picture

I have to say that I am

I have to say that I am happy with the way the site works. I'm not the most tech savvy guy around, okay so I'm a bit of a caveman, but I haven't had any problem getting it to work. It's really easy to change the settings so that your computer automatically logs you in when you open the site. If you forget, big deal. so you have to write a second message telling the person you posted to who you are. you may lose 5 or 10 seconds of your time in order to admit that you are human and forgot to log in. I don't see how that warrants the concern over cutting out comments from all of the visitors/non-members who want to post a comment. Just my opinion-m


NELSON's picture

Hi Quique,the subject matter

Hi Quique,the subject matter is of paramount importance, and will dictate how efficient and fun this site will be.As all may notice,recently the Artmetal family has grown considerably, so the way the site was going might have been ok, but obviously some changes are needed now to have a more practical site. I agree with Warren in regards to discarding junk options, other tech issues I won`t address and rather join the cavemen team with Matt and others. Agree also with Jack on being able to browse over anybody`s work, but not necessarily comments made, unless the viewer so requires, I mean actual images only. In regards to the recent post list,which I think may be the most popular part of this site, it`s boring and time consuming to scroll down one hundred pages to check the new posts scattered from begining to end. Would it be a good idea to select into some defined groups the posts and corresponding replies?
For instance: Fabrication, copper, mix media, jewlery, off topic,etc, so if any one wants to browse a particular area of interest, he won`t have to browse over all posts to find what he wants. Big job Quique! Nelson.


Frank Castiglione's picture

Simple is Good

Hi QuiQue,
I frequent the recent posts and seldom go anywhere else on the site, so I can't comment on any other part. I think that an inserted image only needs to appear once.
I'm at loss why people don't use their actual names, but I'm OK with handles.
I think you and Rich do an excellent job keeping things right with spammers.
Frank


Rich Waugh's picture

I like it just fine the way

I like it just fine the way it is, I guess because I'm fundamentally lazy and shudder to even imagine the amount of work it must be to change anything.

I do agree that the doubling up of picture posts is a waste of space. If that is an easy change, then I'd vote for it. If not, then it surely doesn't bother me that much.

Visitors need to be able to comment on posts, without having to register. Sure, there will inevitably be the occasional smart-ass or spammer, but we can deal with the those. The site, and the membership, need the input of visitors if we are to keep on growing and learning. Close out the passersby and we will become too insular. Not good. Also, I think we actually encourage membership by letting visitors comment; once they see responses to their comments, many of them sign up as members. I don't htink we should inhibit that.

I check the "Recent Posts" every day, sometimes more than once, and therefore have no need to go anywhere else. Works for me. (Of course, I also check the spam and logs everyday, too, but that's a special case.)

Yes, it would be nifty to be able to click one button and summon up all of a member's stored images. A user's gallery, if you will. If it isn't too difficult to do, I think it would be a great addition to an already excellent site.

I also think it would be nice if there was more information on the idividual members, such as more biographical info, background info, edukcation, artist's statement, relevant links, checking account numbers (okay, maybe not that), etc. Naturally, you can't force anyone to include all that info, but it would be nice if they did so I could learn more about them.

I think the moderator should get a $100,000/year salary, too. (GRIN)

Thanks for all that you do to for us, Enrique. And thank you to *all* the members who make ArtMetal the terrific resource that it is.

Rich Waugh


B.J. Severtson's picture

That sounds cool.

In general I feel like I'm only putting in a nickle. Not sure I have the right to want a dollar song. I'll add this statement. My list of what's right with Art Metal greatly exceeds my list of what's wrong. Could it be improved? most things can. Will it improve? Has in the past. Will it change? Daily Brad


eligius1427's picture

Hi Enrique, first of all I

Hi Enrique, first of all I don't really have any problems using this site and am amazed that you or anyone else can put together something as complicated as this. I can't even finish my site with just a portfolio. Hands down this is the best site in regards to metal art.

As for preferences,

I wish pictures posted in a blog didn't post again as an image. I feel bad posting a lot of pictures in a new post b/c I know it's going to fill up the whole first page of recent posts, which is what most of us look at. It can be frustrating to post a question and then find it halfway down the second page in a day. Heaven forbid we click on the second page however.

It would be nice to view all of the work a specific member has posted on one page/gallery. Often times I'll like a piece of work some member did and would like to see what other images they've posted. If there's already a way, someone please tell me, right now I just use the search or track functions.

The post picture icon seems to cause some confusion, but only the first time someone tries to post a picture. Don't know what the solution is, I just read a fair amount of help posts.

Thanks for all of the time you put into the site.

Jake


matt m myers's picture

I agree with Jake it would

I agree with Jake it would be sweet to be abble to see all of someones work, don't know if it's feasible or not.-m


SteelyJan's picture

This is a wonderful site!!!

Hi Enrique,
Since I found ArtMetal I have been the happiest metalworker
around. I have no problem with recent posts... I try to at least open them all and scan them even if it's not something i'm interested in. There are so many I want to go back and print out. Alot of technical info...
Maybe the picture posting is a bit confusing at first, but we old dogs can learn new tricks.
I talk to people about this site all the time.With praise of course. It's amazing to be in touch with so many like minded talented people from all over the world.
Thank you so much for this and I hope I have made a contribution to the site and offer any type of help in the future.Thank you again! Janet R.


Lynda Metcalfe's picture

QQ, Warren has brought up

QQ, Warren has brought up some interesting points, I have found using the site easy and really enjoy what I find - I really appreciate what you put in to all this.  I have looked at Warren's points one by one.

1.  Logging on to reply: when I visit other sites I've had to sign up to contribute to a forum or blog, I think its ok, and with the implemented remembering your logon that will make it easier.

2.  Filling out personal info:  email address yes, validating user sign up, other stuff is usually optional on forums

3.  Drop the buddy list: yes I agree, I haven't used it particularly, added a few folks but would like to think that potentially everyone here are buddies. And you have to decide, hmm at what point is someone a buddy, after I like their first image or after I have got to know them a bit through different postings.  Its an organic process so the buddy list seems a bit forced.

4.  Drop subscribing to blogs: yes I agree, doesn't seem to serve any particular purpose

5.  Change picture icon: yes that can be confusing, an 'Add Picture' link would be clearer.  What is the difference between the camera icon and the tree in the square.

6.  Remove images from recent posts: yes and no - some people just post images so they would be forced to do a blog entry and add images, but it would be better not to have the double entries of the blogs and images, and I enjoy reading more about things that get posted.

7.  The content on the 'community' page is a bit confusing. The 'community' link on the top menu is also a bit unclear.  Would it not be more straightforward to call it 'content' and just have a list of links to the different content areas on the page?  And could we have the recent posts more obvious as many people use that.

8.  Galleries, yes agree with Warren

9.  Yes resources should be part of current content

10.  Have no issues either way with the cloud tags and searching.

I'm well aware that some of these things may not be feasible. 

Also, the text size of the postings overall on the site seems large, several points larger than the google adds on the side.

And if one is to subscribe to email updates on the posts, can we subscribe to a particular group?

Thanks for all your hardwork QQ, this is a brilliant site!

Lynda


Adrian Wood's picture

great site

Hi there just thought i would say what a great site this is. Easy to use, I do check in on a regular basis, at least once daily sometimes more. This is the one forum i do look forward to checking out, this is primarily due to its ease of use and user friendly format.I agree with the idea of peoples work being collected into a personal gallery of sorts, whether this would be a major headache i do not know, i am with the cavemen when it comes to web issues! As with everything, things can be improved, and i am sure that this site will evolve in a very organic way.
Big thanks though to the administrators and the guys behind the site. Adrian


webminster's picture

You must fill out all of

  1. You must fill out all of your personal information•.
    1. Valid email address confirms if they are real•.
    2. Link to their website on personal info if they have one•.
    3. Nice to know where they live•.
    4. Why do people use a funky user name, reminds me too much of the old days of CB radio handles and you did not want to know who you are. “Hey hillbilly”

Warren, the only thing a user has to fill out is a valid email address. The other personal info is left up to the user. I don't understand the use of handles, but that's okay too.

However, I have added a new feature for those desiring to change their username. This is what part of the user account looked like before the change...

And now...

So, after logging in to your account, click on the "edit" tab and you will see the new username field for you to change if you desire. Hope this helps with the hillbillies Laughing

Note that it's going to take me awhile to go through all the comments to answer them. I do appreciate everyones comments so far. They are productive and give me an idea of how to enhance the user interface on the site.

Bill Roberts's picture

I'm just replying to kick

I'm just replying to kick this thread back towards the top of the list.

FWIW, I've not had problems navigating the site. The only thing I'd change is the double posts of images from blogs. At first I didn't see the advantage of the buddie list.......but I DO like the fact that you can use that to follow their recent posts(in the left sidebar)
I WILL start keeping an eye on WHO is in the chat room in the right sidebar......from now on.

This thread is a great idea.

bill


Dick C's picture

It took me a short while for

It took me a short while for me to get a grip on how the site works. For the most part it's great.

Buddy Lists. I was thinking along the lines of what Bill said. Perhaps linking the names in a buddy list to the target persons “track” list. Rename it to go along with that sort of use. As it is, I feel I may hurt someones feelings if I remove them, not that I ever would!

Images listed in recent posts and some of the other structural/condensing suggestions are good ideas. I think some of the people who find this site confusing would have an easier time if everything they posted--images, polls, events-- were included in their blog.

Font sizes. I agree that they're too large. I'd also like to see much of the white space between comments eliminated. Maybe even longer lists, like the tracker page. More thumbnails on a page when viewing galleries. The more I see on my screen, the less clicking/scrolling I need to do.

Resources section. I think this and perhaps some other information pages could be given a little more prominence in the site somehow. I know that's more of a throwback to the old site, and probably much more work. There does seem to be a place though for more static pages that supply information without comments, and without having the link to them slide down a list.

I suppose much of what's suggested here is work for drupal developers, so send them a link!

All that said, the site does work very well, and I expect will only improve.

Dick


warren's picture

Uh huh

Well since my name is on this post, I guess I will just have to make a little comment.

Enrique thanks posting the list. I think you got some very constructive feedback.

Just to let everyone know I wasn’t trying to be critical of the site, hoping to maybe make a little better.

I have been hanging around here a while. It has been almost two years since E put this site in this format. It was a real change for some of us old timers.

I think I started lurking on the Artmetal site back in 1995 when I got my first computer. It took me a couple years of lurking before I made my first reply. I was in such euphoria with all of the great art and artist that was on this site. I have learned a great deal of information and my metal art would not be at the level it is now without some of their help. And like a lot of the members from long time ago I will continue to post on this site and share any information that I can. In fact I like this site so much I could almost give my right arm.
Right ArmRight Arm

warren
http://www.metalrecipes.com


Bill Roberts's picture

I'd like to thank you for

I'd like to thank you for "opening" the conversation on this thread, Warren. Only good can come from constructive criticism. As I mentioned....I've always found it easy to get around here....and am glad to help others when they forget or haven't learned to post images. That seems to be what generates the most questions.

As for Old Timers.........I resemble that remark....:)
And the longer I'm here the more I learn. Sharing is what makes this place such a wonderful resource. Thanks for the arm....LOL......lookin forward to it growin a body. I've got a lil Hand lamp I need to post....great seeing your anatomy study.

thanks again for starting the thread.
bill


mele miller's picture

I think this site is great.

I think this site is great. It was very inspiring when I first started playing with metal and I have learned so much that I would not have been exposed to otherwise.
Eliminating the double would image posts would be nice. Smaller text. I like the buddy list just to keep up with peoples recent posts, I don't get my feelings hurt that I'm not everyones buddy. It would be nice if the chat room were more busy but thats not in your control. Some of the things people complained about I don't know how to use anyway. I look at this site everyday, sometimes more that once so if nothing changes I still think it is the best!
Thanks, thanks, Mele


Rick Crawford's picture

Noticeable changes.

I am noticing the smaller text size. Not sure if I like it or not, but I think so. Sometimes I take a while to decide some things. BUT, I really like the random image you put on the right side. I find myself scrolling down almost every time to see what is there.
You are rockin' Q.Q.

SmokyRick
Rick Crawford at Smoky Forge


webminster's picture

Yes, I did reduce the text

Yes, I did reduce the text size and added the random image on the right column. Thing about the text size is that the same size displays smaller on Macs then they do on pc's. Once I started to investigate why some folks thought the size was too big, I looked at the ArtMetal site on a pc and realized what they were talking about. On the mac, this font size looks a bit small. However, it is still readable. So I'm hoping folks like the size better now.

It's taking time to make the changes folks are asking. I'm thinking now that I may attempt to upgrade to the next version of the Drupal CMS before I make any other changes. This may take a few days depending on how the overall upgrade goes.

Thanks for the feedback Rick!


Lynda Metcalfe's picture

Thanks for checking in to

Thanks for checking in to the text size issue.  I have found it necessary to check a site on different platforms and with different browsers  too - its really frustrating that it looks so different.

Text size looks good on my pc.

Lynda


webminster's picture

 Warren states: Remove the

 Warren states:

  1. Remove the images posted from the recent posts.•
    1. Makes the list of recent posts way too long•

Just implemented a new way to view recent posts. See this blog post for a description of the new tabs/features of the recent posts views. This should solve the problem of having a list of recent posts way too long.

Please let me know if you still see problems with the way we are now handling recent activity. 


Rich Waugh's picture

QuiQue - That looks like a

QuiQue -

That looks like a good solution to the issue some people were having. Good work!

I wasn't having any issues with the old system, so all I did with the new setup was to change my bookmark to the "All Recent" page, instead of the "tracker/" that I previously had. Easy enough, and leaves things pretty much the way I had them.

The new, smaller fonts thing is a bit tough for me to read on my little laptop, but I think I'll get used to it. New things are always more difficult when you're old and set in your ways. (grin)

Rich


Dick C's picture

Before QuiQue reduced the

Before QuiQue reduced the font size I had just gotten used to zooming out as soon as the page loaded. This is in Opera. Thinking I might be able to save that in Opera's site preferences I ended up searching Google. Didn't find anything for me, but did did find that Firefox 3 beta will save font size preferences with a bookmark. Do it by going to a page, zooming to the size you like, then save the bookmark. If you use IE or Firefox 2 on Windows there's always the ctrl+(+ or -) to adjust font sizes. I do like that new Firefox trick though.


Rick Crawford's picture

good tips !

Good tips, thanks.

SmokyRick
Rick Crawford at Smoky Forge


webminster's picture

Warren said in part: Change

Warren said in part:

  1. Change the icon to down load pictures to say “Click here to down load a picture”•.
    1. Not all of us can tell that the icon is a picture of a camera, way too many complaints on this one

So let's see if this new icon which displays when NOT in rich-text mode will help folks figure out where to upload images: