Re: The BuddyPress UI Design and conceptual approach to Social Networking
I finally sat down and read through the whole discussion. Some great points. I don’t know how possible it would be to do this, but what about multiple streams? @Sadr made a great point that the activity stream should have elements that users could subscribe to or not subscribe to. Right now there is one stream that either has too much information or doesn’t have the right kind of information. With multiple streams, each of which could be put on a different page or within a different area on a main page, the information flow could be tailored by each site designer and user to serve their needs and the needs of their communities.
Another point that was brought up was navigation, now I know that this is partially the theme setup, but in a default install even if a user is redirected to their groups, it is still another click away to a the groups wiki, blog, forum or documents or whatever your groups are based around. It needs to be easier to place the sub areas of a Buddypress site where you want them. Maybe the new menus in WP 3.0 address this (I haven’t had a chance to play with them much) but navigation needs to have small blocks that can be quickly and easily rearranged in order to design navigation paths that fit your community. And navigation is all about menus; activity streams are a form of navigation if they send you quickly to the information you are interested in. Couldn’t the profile, for example, be more widget ready so that either admins or users could pick and choose the pieces they want (think iGoogle).
@Peterverkooijen made a good point about members profile / privacy. It is possible to do it now to a certain extent, but this needs to be easier and more comprehensive.
As many people said the users are who are important and poor UI will drive people away, but Buddypress is used in such a wide variety of situations, that it needs to be easy to customize for each communities needs. To use an analogy I don’t want Buddypress to be like Moodle, for example; if you’ve seen one Moodle site you’ve seen 98% of all Moodle sites. The strength of WordPress is the ease with which one can customize not just the functionality but the looks and UI of the site, let’s not lose that.