Re: The BuddyPress UI Design and conceptual approach to Social Networking
Slowly I am beginning to realize that Buddy press is not a straight-out-of-the-box solution. It is not like wordpress. In order to create a proper Buddypress community you really have to *develop* your community.
The negative with this is that the default install is confusing. Comments/updates in the activity stream, forum posts, comments on forum posts, comments on blog posts. Not only do you have different types of comments but you also have meta comments. No wonder things are confusing!
I am tempted to use an analogy of Linux vs Apple. You can do a lot with linux, but all the choices may lead to confusion and an unproductive environment. Apple on the other hand knows the importance of keeping things simple. The iPad is an example of this. It has less features than regular computers, and this makes it easier to use and less confusing. It does fewer things but it does them well.
So what has Apple and Linux got to do with Buddypress? I believe that Buddypress should have several options. (as it has today), but it should be easier to customize Buddypress in order to suit every individual communities` needs. You develop the site to suit you needs. Use what your community needs and remove everything else. Less noise and less confusion and more Apple like
As it is right now, in order to really customize the default install, you have to know PHP etc. This is good if you are a programmer, but unfortunately not all of us are. It seems to me like a lot of the BPusers are non-programmers who just want to add a social layer to their WP site. If Automattic wants to cater to these people, it will be necessary to make it easy to customize BP without having to dive into the code.
I suggest expanding on the options (toggles) in the Admin panel in order to customize the BP install more. That way you can really streamline your community experience.
– disable commenting for ALL activity-items at the homepage, or choose which one you want to disable. (forum/blogs etc)
– disable activity streams on groups (if admin wants to use forums instead.)
-Choose what is displayed in the activity feed. (Friend connections, blog posts etc)
What is apparent, just by reading the previous posts are that we all have different needs:
“Built-in forums are increasingly clashing with commenting on blogs and wires and the social networking structure. There is no reason to have old-fashioned forums in a next generation social network.”
“I think it’s best to strip out sitewide activity stream as well as the groups activity stream. Force users to post content in forums and use their own profile activity stream to post a message to a specific user.”
People want different things, so why not let them have a choice. The new Bp.org is proof that all these different features are useful. They all have their advantages.(although it could use some more improvements to streamline the experience)
I agree with RAYs view:
“For groups, you can either go one way – embrace the activity stream or embrace the forums. It’s not the best thing to try and have it both ways. But this is a decision the BP admin should make (which it is right now). At the end of the day, BP gives you free reign to customize your community all you want.”
SUMMARY: My thoughts are that Buddypress needs an easier and more complete way of designing the community through the admin panel.