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Nodelet settings usability problem

by castaway (Parson)
on Jan 20, 2003 at 08:56 UTC ( #228303=monkdiscuss: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Sorry about this, but I have to gripe a bit about the usability and user-friendliness of PerlMonks.

I just tried to change how my Front page looks for the first time (hadnt changed anything else apart from the node-depth options). What I wanted to do, was just remove 'Other users' from the Front page.
In it's default state, my settings page showed a list of nodelets for the Front page and next to each a box labeled 'add', on the left is a column 'remove' with no checkboxes in it. It seems the only way to remove one of the nodelets currently shown is to first choose all the ones that are already there to be 'added'. Only then can I remove some. (Or of course just 'add' all that are there apart from 'Other users' - same effect.)
This in itself seems a bit spanish to me. (No offence to any spaniards ;)
A side-effect of this is that now the order of the nodelets shown is different, and I have to click 'up' 'down' a lot of times, just to get it looking like it was before I changed anything.
So, my question(s):

1. Did I do it wrong, is there another/easier way to do this?

2. Would it be possible to have the 'default' settings reflect the actual way the site looks when a user is created? It would save so much hassle..

3. On another note, I tried to super search for 'user settings' and wanted to set the sort-order of the answers to 'newest first', but I can't click on the radio-button, seems to be disabled. Or is that my browser maybe? (Opera 6.05 on Win2k)

C.

Title edit by tye

Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Site usability
by grinder (Bishop) on Jan 20, 2003 at 09:32 UTC

    Yes, the nodelet configuration interface is a bit crufty. Most everybody agrees that it sucks, but no-one has enough tuits to do anything about it. Moving nodelets around is a real pain. Someone suggested, and I agree with, the idea that all your nodelets would be numbered 10, 20, 30... in text fields, and you could just edit 30 to 15 to place it between the first and second nodelets. Sort of like adding new lines in BASIC programs.

    As for the super-search newest/oldest nodes toggle, it is indeed disabled. The functionality behind it isn't there yet. Quoting tye: "I'd like to support searching "newest nodes first" but the MySQL optimizer will likely fight me on this." (excerpted from Newest Super Search).


    print@_{sort keys %_},$/if%_=split//,'= & *a?b:e\f/h^h!j+n,o@o;r$s-t%t#u'
      Ah, thanks for the hint about the search, so thats just a 'missing feature'.
      A combo-box list thingy with '1st' '2nd' '3rd' etc as values (enough for all available values) would do it as well, though I guess thats tricky as 'submit' has to check that each value is only chosen once..
      Or, similar to the other idea, have a text box where each of the numbered nodelets can be entered in the order you want, '10 40 20 50', same problem as above though. Dividing numbers by two as you said sounds a bit strange to me..

      C.

        It isn't about dividing by two (30 to 15 might be a bad example). It's about ordering the sections based upon their number, but being allowed to skip numbers.

        It is reminiscient of BASIC, where you had line numbers to control the order of your lines. You could number your lines 1, 2, 3 and so on, but a smart programmer would number the lines 10, 20, 30--skipping numbers which could later be used if you realized you needed to insert a line or two between existing lines (editors were bad in those days, and just renumbering all your lines wasn't really an option).

        Personally I think this would be a good solution, especially if the lines were actually renumbered before being displayed to the user (or for internal storage), so that each time you examined the page you'd have the extra space in between numbers again. Having two boxes with the same number isn't a problem if they're renumbered before storage, since the system would just do a sort and renumber, which would remove the conflict (the order of the nodelets with the same number might be wrong, but if you give two lines the same number you can expect that you might have to do some futher work to have things the way you really want them).

        Update: Ah, I see tye has already implemented something (that's what I get for not reading the whole thread before writing). I'd say go ahead and replace the old interface...can anyone prefer it? Or there's the usual make-it-a-poll option...

Re: Site usability
by nefertari (Chaplain) on Jan 20, 2003 at 09:37 UTC

    I looked at my personal settings: The frontpage settings look like this:
    remove
    o Chatterbox down
    o Other Users up down
    ...
    Keyword nodelet add o
    Here the o denotes a checkbox. To remove select the checkboxes in front of the existing nodelets, to add select the checkbox after add. (This is for Galeon, which uses the Gecko engine.)

    I tested the page also with Opera 6.11, Linux, there it looks the same.

    I hope this helps.

      Hmm, have you ever changed it? Try 'removing' all the nodelets from your Frontpage, which should show the 'default' view..
      (Thats what mine looks like now.. only after I added some..)
      C.

        I removed all of them, now I have only the "add"-checkboxes. And on the frontpage I have the default view. I see now what you meant. When I changed it, I had no problems with it. It might be because this is similar to slashdot's behaviour with the slashboxes. If none are selected you get the default behaviour, if you select one, you get only the selected one.

Re: Nodelet settings usability problem (improved)
by tye (Sage) on Jan 21, 2003 at 22:59 UTC

    Try nodelet settings. I'd just update user settings to use this new interface, but the shock value appears too high. I'd rather not keep the old interface, but I won't remove it until I get a feel for how many people would miss it.

    It doesn't (yet) address your complaint about going to/from the setting (don't hold your breath; these things sometimes take a surprisingly long time). It also doesn't (yet) have documentation. I'd described it except that would deprive you of the sense of accomplishment of figuring it out for yourself. (:

                    - tye
      the "nodelet settings" is absolutely splendid compared to "user settings". IOW, i certainly will not miss the current interface of "user settings".
      It's a start :) Thanks very much! *puts another 10 in the collection box*

      C.

      Ah, finally, I can change more than one nodelet's position per pageload. I don't think I'll use the User settings for nodelets again.

      Makeshifts last the longest.

Re: Nodelet settings usability problem
by eduardo (Curate) on Jan 20, 2003 at 22:40 UTC
    In it's default state, my settings page showed a list of nodelets for the Front page and next to each a box labeled 'add', on the left is a column 'remove' with no checkboxes in it. It seems the only way to remove one of the nodelets currently shown is to first choose all the ones that are already there to be 'added'. Only then can I remove some. (Or of course just 'add' all that are there apart from 'Other users' - same effect.) This in itself seems a bit spanish to me. (No offence to any spaniards ;)

    as a spaniard I have to admit, I have no idea what you mean! :)

      As someone who has done this recently, I know exactly what castaway means, but have no idea why it works that way. (_8o(|)

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