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Is BuddyPress confusing to users?

  • Avatar of Bloggus
    bloggus
    Participant

    @bloggus

    I have looked through and followed BP from the first begining.

    Although my site don’t need all the features, I rteally like the idea and also the upcomming new standard theme, that looks really nice.

    My concerns always comes from the users point of view. For know you basically have two control panels:

    1. One for BP profile and other information.

    2. One for the blog(s) in the install.

    For me this is kind of strange and things feels out of place in that order. I think that is a problem and looks extremely strange to have to work in two panels at the same time, for users with not that much experience. Most of the people are used to one panel in a community platform.

    What do you think? What do your users think??

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 34 total)
  • Avatar of Peterverkooijen
    peterverkooijen
    Participant

    @peterverkooijen

    I agree. Buddypress is of course built on blog software WordPress, which has a totally different focus; managing blog posts instead of people/members. So BP is still a bit schizophrenic at the moment.

    People do sign up on my network (aimed at web entrepreneurs…), because I’ve integrated event registration. They also sign up for groups and sometime leave messages. Nobody creates blogs or groups unless I ask them with detailed instructions.

    Imho the WordPress backend should be entirely closed to regular end users. Any admin settings that they need should be integrated in the front end user interface, under Settings on the profile page etc.

    My pet peeve is related to this; Buddypress has no build-in way to store full, real name, location and other regular personal profile data you’d expect from a social network. It’s still too close to the blog software base, with the focus on username/password and managing blog posts.

    Avatar of Andy Peatling
    Andy Peatling
    Keymaster

    @apeatling

    Just add the profile fields in the backend.

    i’m all with that… ;)

    edit: i mean before Andy’s answer.. rofl

    Avatar of MrMaz
    MrMaz
    Participant

    @mrmaz

    I think in its current form, BuddyPress is still very much a WP(MU) plugin. What it does best is create an instant social network around a community of bloggers. Since there are so few good looking options out there for out-of-the-box social network software, I think some people want BuddyPress to be more than it is. I don’t think this is a negative, but a positive. This means that BP is lighting a fuse in people’s brains about the possibilities.

    If you look at it from the other angle like I first did, where I wanted social network software, that supported blogs, its hard to embrace the fact that blogs are the heart of the app. I found peace with it by remembering that publishing content is what drives the Internet, so basically you are building onto one of the most popular free publishing platforms available.

    I know Andy is working really hard to move a lot of the back-end admin into the public interface, for instance the awesome work with forums, but it is a huge job. I don’t think there is any way to make the admin dashboard simple to use for every Joe Shmoe out there just by skinning it differently. Over time bits and pieces will need to be exposed in the public interface in a way that is intuitive for noobs and gurus alike.

    Avatar of abcde666
    abcde666
    Participant

    @erich73

    yeah, the Admin-Dashboard of WP / WPMU looks very complicated to people who have never used WordPress or really are not some sort of Publishers.

    So an average person “writing his blog” will surely need a few days to understand the Dashboard and most likely would not need all the features it is offering.

    An average user probably only wants to write some text and post an image or a video.

    I am thinking of the Community I am trying to target which are people at the age of 50 and above. So I decided to de-activate “User-Blogs” from my installation, because I am sure my users will be confused with the backend-Dashboard.

    I do hope that the Dashboard of WP will get a design-overhaul to make it easier to understand.

    Gonna see how the “quick blog post form via the theme” from the “BP-Roadmap” will work out ? If this will be easy to use (without going into the Dashboard), then I might integrate the Blog-functionality back-in into my installation.

    The Dashboard of WordPress has gotten two complete overhauls within about the last year. The current version is awesome. Extremely user-friendly and easy to use. It’s just jarring to go from BuddyPress to WordPress’ Dashboard. But there are no usability issues with it as far as I’m concerned. Would be nice if you could turn off most of the screen options by default though.

    Avatar of Peterverkooijen
    peterverkooijen
    Participant

    @peterverkooijen

    BuddyPress is still very much a WP(MU) plugin. What it does best is create an instant social network around a community of bloggers … I don’t think this is a negative, but a positive.

    I agree. That’s why I believe Buddypress has a lot of potential. It’s a social network, but with a strong content publishing angle.

    I just wish that shift in focus from blog posts to “member management” would get more attention. Personally I don’t need any more new features. Adding forums for example only adds to the structural confusion. I’m still struggling with the basics, creating a user-friendly registration and profile settings interface.

    The Dashboard of WordPress has gotten two complete overhauls within about the last year. The current version is awesome.

    The WordPress admin interface is pretty good for what it has to do, but it is not what people expect when they sign up with a social network and it clashes with the front end interface.

    Edit in response to Andrea_r:

    P2 looks interesting. It’s an example of responding to user expectations and evolving interface “standards” on the web.

    Avatar of Andrea Rennick
    Andrea Rennick
    Participant

    @andrea_r

    Well…. the P2 Theme has already solved the “posting from the front end” issue.

    I honestly have no idea why people haven’t been ripping that out and using it.

    The early versions of the P2 theme had messy JS backend making it tricky to move (IMO).

    Erich above wrote “An average user probably only wants to write some text and post an image or a video” – this is a different task than what the WP

    posting backend was built to do. That’s why P2 was so popular because it encouraged microblogging using the WordPress platform.

    Avatar of Derek Bolden
    Derek Bolden
    Participant

    @derekbolden

    This is an excellent topic! With my new install I am finding that I am having to hand hold the new bloggers hands quite a bit more than just the average site “subscriber”. For the uninitiated the back end can be very confusing indeed. Overall though I think BuddyPress is very usable as is.

    Avatar of Andrea Rennick
    Andrea Rennick
    Participant

    @andrea_r

    Remember, wordpress.tv has a TON of tutorial videos for beginners as well.

    Avatar of Peterverkooijen
    peterverkooijen
    Participant

    @peterverkooijen

    Remember, wordpress.tv has a TON of tutorial videos for beginners as well.

    Those are useless to regular people signing up to a social network. Most bloggers know how WordPress works. That is not the problem. The problem for Buddypress is that the interface is not end-user focused, like Facebook, Ning, LinkedIn, etc.

    I think some people want BuddyPress to be more than it is.

    If Buddypress is strictly for communities of bloggers, a limited audience of experienced WordPress users, don’t promote it as a social network. Is Buddypress’ ambition really that limited? If it is, I need to look for another solution. :-(

    Avatar of MrMaz
    MrMaz
    Participant

    @mrmaz

    I didn’t use the word “strictly”, I said it was what it did best. Huge difference.

    Btw, I don’t speak for the BuddyPress creators. I am just another user like you.

    Quick posting from the front end is on the Roadmap. They can’t give us everything we want immediately :-)

    I agree that having two interfaces is confusing for people who are use to things like Facebook. But as I say, the Dashboard isn’t likely to be overhauled anytime soon because a) it doesn’t need to be and b) it was just done earlier this year. Total overhaul.

    But the Dashboard is a Blogging / CMS interface. For what it is, it’s world-class. In my opinion. But it’s not a social networking style interface where everything is done inline on the front end. No, that’s not ideal. I completely agree. But the alternatives have their own issues. So the choice of which open source software to use is really up to the individual.

    Avatar of Bloggus
    bloggus
    Participant

    @bloggus

    Wow, what a response, even if not everybody got my point.

    For me personally, I would like to use only the dashboard and have BP plugins forms be located there and not having a special interface for the information. I have nothing against the dashboard backend and people get into it very fast.

    In that case everything would be in the same place, now it is divided. Even if BP is a plugin, there is no reason to have two “backends” for users, like it is now.

    [blockquote]

    Quick posting from the front end is on the Roadmap.

    [/blockquote]

    That is for me totally not interesting, since this means splitting the input forms even more form the “two backends”.

    Avatar of abcde666
    abcde666
    Participant

    @erich73

    “Remember, wordpress.tv has a TON of tutorial videos for beginners as well.”


    …. not sure my german-language-speaking users at the age of 50 and over, are going to watch a video in order to understand how my website works :-)

    Once you need a video to EXPLAIN how a website works, something is wrong.

    I just think that the “WPMU-Dashboard-backend” is not a place I want my users to go into, so I had to dis-able the feature for users to be able to create their own blog. So my website is more like a Discussion-Forum with Groups :-)

    I guess giving the “WPMU-DashBoard-backend” the same DESIGN as we do have at testbp.org (default-theme) would solve the issue.

    Anybody out there who is able to do this ? Maybe a plug-in ?

    Please do not take this as an offense, I really do love BuddyPress very much and highly appreciate the work of Andy & team & the community

    Avatar of Bloggus
    bloggus
    Participant

    @bloggus

    Erich73;

    well honestly, I have then no idea why you use BP if you are using is only as Discussion-Forum with Groups.

    I see BP as a plugin for WPMU and nothing else. If I want only a social platform, without the extensive WP blogs, then I would never go for BP. There are many other great softwares out there. (not that BP is bad :) ) For me blogs are the central point and the backbone of the system. Therefore I don’t understand the meaning of two backends.

    Avatar of Derek Bolden
    Derek Bolden
    Participant

    @derekbolden

    I think that Bloggus, Peterverkooijen, and others are not seeing the potential. I looked REALLY hard at SocialEngine, JomSocial, and a few others (follow me @crankyderek for my complete list) in the end i came back to BuddyPress BECAUSE of the fact that the users that wanted to blog could create their own dynamic blogs! Why build a community that offers more or less the same functionality of Facebook or Myspace? Odds are most of your users are there already. Do you really think you are going to get a daily (Hell hourly if they play one of those Zygna games) Facebook user to come visit your site with the same frequency when all your community offers is duplicate functionality, copycat features and NONE or few of their friends… Don’t you see it’s the things that make BuddyPress different that will make it succeed.

    Avatar of Peterverkooijen
    peterverkooijen
    Participant

    @peterverkooijen

    I do see the potential. As I said earlier in this thread:

    That’s why I believe Buddypress has a lot of potential. It’s a social network, but with a strong content publishing angle.

    I’m absolutely not advocating copying Facebook etc. I’m a big believer in the idea of “private social networks”. And I actually think that adding old-fashioned forums dilutes the blog logic that should be Buddypress’ main strength.

    Groups has enormous potential and seems to be pretty unique.

    But imagine Buddypress being used by schools, companies, trade associations, sports clubs, etc. That is a very different audience from the experienced WordPress bloggers in the Buddypress development community.

    Avatar of abcde666
    abcde666
    Participant

    @erich73

    - BuddyPress is great !

    - Creating Blogs with WPMU is great !

    - the WP-platform is great !

    Just giving the “WPMU-Dashboard” the SAME design and user-interface as we have at the current BuddyPress-default-theme, in order to make the full website look coherent.

    That is the ONLY missing piece in the puzzle, at least for me.

    Avatar of Derek Bolden
    Derek Bolden
    Participant

    @derekbolden

    What are we talking about here guys? Only the blog creators will ever see the dashboard on a regular basis. All the users that are subscribers will rarely if ever see it. Create a subscriber account for yourself and check that for yourself. I think you all are being too demanding on software that is so young. BuddyPress as an add on to a blogging/CMS platform is what I want, not the other way around. If we go that route what are going to end up with? Gifts?

    I think you all might want to check out some of those other software suites I mentioned previously (out of that bunch I really like Social Engine).

    BTW the thought of gifts makes me vomit just a little…

    Avatar of Peterverkooijen
    peterverkooijen
    Participant

    @peterverkooijen

    What are we talking about here guys? Only the blog creators will ever see the dashboard on a regular basis. All the users that are subscribers will rarely if ever see it.

    True. But there are a few cases where regular users are sent into the backend. In the first version of my site I had to hack core files to bring them into the regular layout and use plugins to close parts of the backend for users with blogs. I’m now in the middle of upgrading to 1.1.3, a painful process…

    The question is how Buddypress will develop into the future, as more features are added. I’m also running into the issue how to structure user interface for new functionality here – haven’t had time to work on that yet. Boone Gorges gives a good suggestion how to bring adding an RSS feed into the front end.

    I’m sticking with Buddypress because I believe it has the most potential for the reasons I pointed out earlier and because I assume(d) that it will become more mature over time. But if the developer community sees Buddypress as just “an add-on to a blogging/CMS platform” aimed at communities of experienced bloggers, that would be a problem for me.

    I think BuddyPress will be different things to different people… including the developers.

    Avatar of @modemlooper
    @modemlooper
    Moderator

    @modemlooper

    Interesting thread.

    Has anybody been on FB lately? All the content is micro posts via activity streams and the new default theme mimics this activity. The only thing that I see should be added to that flow is the opportunity to add media to a micro post from the front end of bp.

    Somebody make that plugin and i’ll buy it TODAY!

    Nobody is blogging as much anymore as the twitter-fication of the web has taken over. The new web is micro-post reply, micro-post reply rinse repeat.

    *cough* Yours for a billion squillion dollars.

    This is one of the best threads I have read this week. I have no time left this evening to share my thoughts fully, but in a nutshell, I think for a quick blog post option in the BuddyPress (frontend? UI?) — *not* just the home blog theme, like P2 — makes sense. I think it would be worth exploring the idea in this discussion.

    As such, I spent the evening throwing together a plugin that adds a ‘New Blog Post’ link underneath a user’s “Blogs” menu. You can get the alpha 0.1 release from http://djpaul.dangerous-minds.net/postcard.zip (it’s called “Postcard’).

    As its an alpha and I’ve only spent about 3 hours on it so far, the form doesn’t do anything yet, but I’d like some feedback on what people think. I’ll probably end up releasing it as a plugin anyway.

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 34 total)

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