Re: The BuddyPress UI Design and conceptual approach to Social Networking
My 2 cents: In my custom theme I try to consolidate everything around blogs and groups. I’m still on 1.1.3.
Blogs are of course WordPress strength. I’m trying to get to a social network with a greater emphasis on content, where possible via RSS and with front-end posting on blogs and groups to lower the threshold.
For the social networking aspect I need profile pages for members and some ways for members to interact with eachother, via internal mail, friending/following, joining eachothers groups and blogs.
Groups are Buddypress’ killer app imho. Buddypress has the potential to become a real collaboration platform around content, with endless real world applications in businesses, organizations and associations.
Buddypress has all the basic elements to achieve this, but the following are still huge annoyances and don’t look like they will be fixed any time soon:
– Member management is all over the place, in different pages under wp-admin, different database tables and different places on the front-end. Adding custom member data fields and integrating them with outside applications is complicated and inflexible. By design (!) there is no built-in way to reliably store separate firstname and lastname, which makes out-of-the-box BP useless for most businesses and organizations. There is little validation on sign-up form fields.
– No built-in privacy/security.
– 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. You might as well integrate a WELL-style bulletin board system. Having a single sign-in option for people who want to use a forum on the side is great, but please stop weaving forums into Buddypress.
What Buddypress needs imho:
1. Consolidated member management; all member data stored in one place in the database, one page in wp-admin, one member profile page with “edit account settings” on the front end.
2. Content-focused member profile pages. Members should be able to use their profiles to introduce themselves and showcase their blogs and groups.
3. Conversation around blog posts and (threaded) blog comments, ideally with front-end posting like P2. There is no reason to have blog posts AND forum topics AND wire or whatever it’s called. Group blog should be a built-in feature.
4. End-user-friendly control over their groups and blogs, including privacy/security and front-end admin.
– Blog posts
– Threaded comments
– Profile pages