Buddypress Feedback from my Members: 4 Problem Areas
Obviously, everyone has different needs. My goal is to build a large real estate community. My members want to blog to promote themselves and be easily found by visitors to the community. Over the last few months, I’ve received a lot of input and feedback from my real-world users.
Here are the 4 areas where, IMO, Buddypress is so-far lacking practical usability:
1. Search. It’s not intuitive to users to have to search for different things in different places. Ideally, I’d like to see a lone sitewide search – members, blog posts, sub-blog posts, comments, galleries, activities, forums, groups, etc. – on the front page. Then, on the results page, offer a filter.
2. Search by Profile Filters on Member’s Directory Page. One of the most enticing reasons to join a community like mine is the possibility you might get found. As it stands, exploring the membership to meet new people is virtually impossible.
Standardized address fields are a must, along with the option to add more filters (profession, specialty, hobby, etc). It should be simple for a visitor to my community to find a real estate agent in their city, but it is virtually impossible.
If it were easy and intuitive for them to be found, then a lot more people would want to sign up for my site. This is by far the most pressing issue for me and the one I get the most complaints about.
3. The current forum display is confusing and not intuitive, if for no other reason than it’s not what people are used to. Common sense would suggest 2 classes of forums: smaller, specific discussions tied to specific groups, and huge, general discussions meant for every member AND visitor.
This has been a heated topic here, without any middle-ground found as of yet. I practical solution might be to enable select forums to be “featured”, above the others in the directory. Then, to remove group-confusion, maybe there is a way to simply make those groups invisible, deleting them from profile pages and the group directory.
Also…and I hear this is being fixed…there needs to be a refined search and refined tags within sub-forums.
4. More functions to enable viral promotion (and more features to encourage it) – where members promote for us. @boone ‘s Invite Friends from Profile http://buddypress.org/forums/topic/invite-friends-from-profile is a big step in the right direction, as if the Badge Maker that’s in the works http://buddypress.org/forums/topic/badge-maker#post-43163
People regularly invite others to check out their facebook pages or follow them on twitter. We don’t yet have a user-friendly solution to encourage people to “follow” our members.
One suggestion I’ve heard from my membership is to allow Profile Pages to be more customizable. Maybe we need custom headers and backgrounds. Maybe we need to be able to add custom features, like on facebook pages. Either way, the more unique and special profile pages can be, the more excited members will be to show them off to their friends and colleagues. And that’s how we grow.
We all have different needs, but these concerns are probably fairly universal. I just thought you guys would appreciate this feedback…not just from me…but from my members.
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