Teaching users how to use the site

Discussion in 'Managing an Online Community' started by fixer, Jul 4, 2018.

  1. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

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  2. MarkFL

    MarkFL La Villa Strangiato

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    mhb_siteguide.png
     
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  3. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    More recently rather than try and explain to members how to use a bazillion functions the majority of them will never use I've attempted to strip it down to the bare minimum. It's early days but simplifying the interface seems to have led to increased participation and a better quality of post.

    The one area that's proving to be a real struggle are images. Forums in general need to adapt to drag and drop or easy load from storage, regardless of device.

    I'll acknowledge there are going to be exceptions but in general users should not need to be taught how to use a site, the interface should be intuitive and obvious. It's not laziness, if you have something of value to offer, you shouldn't have to fight with an interface in order to deliver it. It still amazes me the hoops forum owners make potential members jump through just to register.
     
  4. H-DB

    H-DB Enthusiast

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    I did a series of YouTube videos that showed members the various features on my forum.
     
  5. haqzore

    haqzore Habitué

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    Interested to hear about this, especially from IPS admins.

    I think most forums/platforms with 'standard' features (board+gallery for example) can get by without much explanation.

    IPS Clubs, for example, can benefit from a quick tutorial as I don't think it's immediately clear to members what benefits they bring
     
  6. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

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    I agree with Zappa. If you need to post a dozen tutorials on how to use things like the editor, then the core software design isn't very good. It needs to be easy clean and fast. Our users are in the Facebook and Twitter era which means we need to be cognizant of the fact that they're more used to quick mobile posting than detailed bulletin board editors.

    With that said, there probably does need to be tutorials for advanced features or features that are tucked away. For eaxmple, on IPS we have grid view, table view, and fluid forum view of forums. It's a simple toggle in thr corner he it transforms how you browse the forum index.

    Another thing that I've realized is to start dripping out tutorials over time. Users can't handle a hundred tutorials all at once. A little bit at a time makes it easier on users.

    I think it depends on how you (as an admin) position the feature. Are they micro-community with their own rules and activities? Are they niche resources with additional content that doesn't fit into the regular community? Are they an aggregation of related items around a common theme? If you don't know what the benefits are for members, I think it's because you haven't figured out how you want to use them. (Which is okay, not everyone needs to use clubs).
     
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  7. Ramses

    Ramses Adherent

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    Recently I converted my 12 yr. vBulletin 3.8 forum to ips and it seems to be a challenge for many users to get used to all new functions. Especially finding all or specific content is something some user complained about because they don't got it how things work. In vBulletin they used the 'new posts" function and got more or less everything on one page. The most similar function on IPS is the fluent forum view. But this only lists the forum content. A review section is done by the IPS pages system and doesn't show there. So some users were not finding new reviews because they only stay on the fluent forum view.
    Sure, there is the all activity page where every content is listed. But if you have a lot of different content, gallery, posts, status updates, content from databases it gets quick overloaded with all kind of information. To give some help I created a lot of video tutorials and every time a user is complaining I tell them to watch the tutorials. The answer of them is: nah, I don't like watching tutorials.
    So, it isn't only a challenge for my users to get used with the new software, it's also a big challenge for me to explain how things work.
     
  8. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

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    Activity Streams ... You want activity streams.

    Make one for only new content from your Pages database with the reviews.
     
  9. Ramses

    Ramses Adherent

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    I did, I did, but some users don't even seem to find them....
    The other thing is, right now in 4.3.4 there is a bug in the activity stream system, you can't create new one. (reported, fix comes in the next release)
     
  10. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

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    Dont use the default menu.

    On my forum, I have Home, Forums, Gallery, Downloads. Within reach app, I created several custom streams such as Unread Topics, New Topics, Followed Topics and added them to the menu. This allows users to do directly to streams for each content type.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
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  11. Ramses

    Ramses Adherent

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    Yes, done basically but will expand on this. I think sooner or later they will get how it works. Next step is creating tool tip popups. Something like "hey did you now this function?".
     
  12. fixer

    fixer I'm In My Prime

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    No matter how easy you make something people still need to be told how to use it , ever tried to show an old person how to do something "tech" related.

    The purpose for "how to" is not because the site is complicated or "heavy" with un-needed features , its the fact that many people just don't know how to internet very well
     
  13. Joel R

    Joel R Fan

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    I once saw an extremely cool "tour" of IPBoard for v3 (about four years ago) where different functions were highlighted and you were led on a visual tour of the board. It was pretty slick but never released and I don't think the Dev is around anymore.

    You can still create a virtual tour (to a degree) by using Notices by Fosters. You can post the notices in certain apps or pages.
     
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  14. zappaDPJ

    zappaDPJ Administrator

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    Yup. I had the dubious pleasure of introducing PCs loaded up with WordStar to hundreds of mainly elderly clerical assistants who had previously used only typewriters :D

     
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  15. JulieVA

    JulieVA Habitué

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    Robust & prominently placed Help Page.

    Private message to each new member with tips plus a link to the Help Page.
     
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