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This web site made simpler - live tour on Thursday

Discussion in 'About This Site' started by Forest, Dec 4, 2013.

  1. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi everyone,

    Last night during the call in TMS discussion group, a frequent caller named Jay mentioned that he was very confused by how this site works. We decided that I'll give him a tour on Thursday night, making it as simple as possible.

    A bunch of other people also wanted tours, so we'll be opening it up to anyone. BruceMC, njoy and NorthStar all indicated an interest in participating, so they may join in as well.

    We worked hard to find what we believe is the best forum software in the world and work hard to make it easier to use. I believe that any TMSer can get to the point where they enjoy using it, and I think that a personal tour is probably the best way to learn.

    This particular call will focus on the very basics, topics like:
    For most of you, this call would be very much a review, but if you are feeling very unsure of how this all works, it might boost your confidence. I'm hoping to do these on a regular basis, and later on I can do tours that focus on other things. This one is scheduled for 9:00 PM New York Time (ET) and 6:00 PM California Time (PT), much like the call in discussion group, but on Thursday. The plan is to do them every Thursday, but njoy can't do them then, so I'm already planning to schedule another. If Thursdays don't work, just post below.

    Later on, I'll post a phone number that you can call to be connected to everyone (including local numbers in other nations). I'll also post a link for you to click on at the beginning of the call that will allow you to watch what is going on on my screen as if you were watching a video on YouTube. It's super simple and it is important that when the tour starts you BOTH call in AND click on the link.

    If there is something that you are curious about or would like to learn more about, please post about it below, and maybe we can set up another tour or we can make a video.

    And if you are thinking of participating, please let me know. It will be nice to know who to expect (drop-ins also very welcome).

    Forest
     
  2. Steve Ozanich

    Steve Ozanich TMS Consultant

    Good job Forest, simplifying it will make it much more powerful.

    If I could suggest: People like big buttons. I like when I go into a site and see big blocks, or squares, with things that say, "go to forum" or "go to practitioners" or "go to success stories"...but not so much "go to hell." Less reading is better, people have little time in their lives to delve deep, especially those in pain, their impatience is high, thus TMS.

    Break it all into major chunks, not sure if that makes sense. I also like to respond to specific people in threads, and not always to the entire thread. Is that possible? A sub-thread response with an indentation feature.

    You're doing great here, I can see how much work you've put in, and am grateful for your effort. This is a big deal here.

    Steve
    This is just one example of blocks, but it works well in reducing the "intimidation factor." Many have told me they were intimidated by the TMS Wiki. It makes me wonder if the only people here are the more tech savvy ones with courage to enter unknown waters. I do know some older people who were afraid to come in for fear their computers might catch fire on entry.
    http://anniejenningspr.com/jenningswire/
     
  3. Walt Oleksy

    Walt Oleksy Beloved Grand Eagle

    Wonderful idea, Forest. I'll try to drop in on it Thursday night, although I try not to fill my head with heavy thinking late at night.
     
  4. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Great ideas, Steve. I'm a big fan of big buttons, simple directions, and less text as well. Early on, I didn't know how important these things are, but I think I'm getting it better now. Unfortunately, as great as XenForo (the software we use to run this forum) is, it does limit our design options. We simultaneously have a lot of control and very little control. It's not impossible to do but it could take 100-200 hours or more of coding work, which would be way too much. Even then, the end result wouldn't look very good because my graphical skills aren't great.

    However, the homepage for the TMS Wiki itself is an area where we can implement some of these changes. We have the right kind of control there. In fact, we have been working on redesigning the homepage to make it far more simple, better organized, more graphically interesting, and have less text. The current draft we're working on is here, though this is still somewhat of a preliminary draft. The feedback that we've gotten about it so far from our FB group, our forum, and mailing list has been great.

    After reading your post, though, I realized that you're right and there is still too much text in the homepage draft. I've started a mockup of what the left column in the main area could look like, doing my best to remove words and add pictures. I'll add more stuff to it to finish it up as I have time. Anyway, you can see the current draft of the mockup here:
    https://docs.google.com/drawings/d/10OtM628ThsKNVqm3qfXj32j5F_J3tBhlxBU5mcVlgnc/edit
    Once I've had more time to work on that, we'll get more feedback and create a new draft, perhaps on a development site.

    I wish we could afford pro's to do it for us, as then it would go much more quickly and look a lot more like what you are describing. The PPDA website cost about $20,000, though, and it will be a while before we can raise that kind of money. Their site does have a certain dignity that I think is essential for a nonprofit, though, in terms of raising money and getting people's trust. Some day!

    That'd be great Walt. It won't be a "heavy thinking" discussion, just a tour of how to use various things on the forum. If you join, perhaps you can help me explain these things to Jay. Since you're a words guy and you have experience posting here, you might be able to help out!
     
  5. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Participating in the tour tonight is SUPER SIMPLE! Basically, you just pick up the phone and click a link. You'll be able to watch my screen just like you're watching a YouTube video while I narrate and answer questions on our teleconference line. To attend,
    1. Call 1 (201) 479-4595 on a regular phone and enter the number 18311499 followed by the pound key when prompted. Click here for other call-in options.
    2. When the tour starts, go to www.screenleap.com/tms on your computer. This is the video for the tour.
    Problems or questions? Just email forestfortreesweb@gmail.com or post below.
     
  6. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    Glad to see that my suggestion about having an "Announcements" subforum had an immediate effect on the design of the TMS Discussion Forum. Now you can find everything from the next book discussion to the chat, all in one centralized location instead of hopping around the Forum in a sometimes futile quest involving the search function. All the best to you and your CSS/HTML assistant Becca too!

    This brings up another question though: In this new version of the Forum, how do I log off now? I don't see a log off link in the upper right hand corner of the screen? Does that mean that when I've clicked the box "stay logged in" when I first logged in, I stay logged in for X amount of time or until a timer runs out?

    Always more questions!
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013
  7. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    To log out, you click on your username in the upper right hand corner of the screen and click on the Log Out link that appears at the bottom of the pop up menu:
    upload_2013-12-8_19-15-27.png

    Of course, logging out is only important if someone else might use the same computer before you use it again. I always make sure to log out when I use the forum on someone else's computer or at a public computer like a library.
     
  8. BruceMC

    BruceMC Beloved Grand Eagle

    I see says the blind man. Thanks!
     
    Forest likes this.
  9. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Is it possible to record the call with the video for those of us not able to attend due to time zone issues?
     
  10. Forest

    Forest Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Ellen, I'm glad you asked. The software we are using for the video of the tour doesn't include an option to record, so for people in other time zones, we have two options. The first option, which sounds a bit more fun, since I'd get to meet you, would be to schedule one at a different time. Alternatively, if there are any specific areas that you find confusing, you could just write them down here, and I could make quick videos to explain them.
     
    Ellen likes this.
  11. Ellen

    Ellen Beloved Grand Eagle

    Thanks, Forest. You are always so accommodating.

    I'll be back in the USA in a couple of weeks (yea!), so I'll just check it out then. I'm able to navigate the site fairly well to get the information I need, but sometimes you don't know what you don't know :confused:
     

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