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TOPIC: Almost ready, need testers!

Almost ready, need testers! 30 Oct 2012 01:48 #1

  • Aleroinc
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Hello all, tomorrow morning by 1 Nov (I think, cross your fingers, my second DB guy is a great deal more proficient than the first...) I will have a complete test bed up and will be ready for y'all to run through its paces.

I will put the info here for how to access it, but please keep in mind that it is a TEST ENVIRONMENT. I would love to receive your feedback on everything, not just the forum. Any changes that you suggest will be considered.

Thanks for your patience, its been a long haul!

ETA: I have ridiculously slow internet here and am trying to download the backup of a HUGE database. It is going to take the rest of today. Please feel free to go check out the site, without the new forum, at www.alexrowsell.com. Feel free to make any recommendations, there are still a few things I am working on in the Educational tab, and the store is not active yet (you can look around, just not purchase!) Thanks again.
Alexandra Rowsell
Last Edit: 30 Oct 2012 23:11 by Aleroinc.
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Almost ready, need testers! 30 Oct 2012 12:17 #2

Alexandra, Two things I kind of miss from the "old" forum were being able to see the posters location under their name, and being able to see who had viewed my profile page. Perhaps not real important, just helpful and interesting.

Regards
Rick Shepherd

Although we know what we believe, we may only believe what we know. Dr William Moyers
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Almost ready, need testers! 30 Oct 2012 23:12 #3

  • Aleroinc
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Go check out the site, without the forum, at www.alexrowsell.com!

Let me know your thoughts here!
Alexandra Rowsell
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Almost ready, need testers! 02 Nov 2012 00:11 #4

  • smitty88
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when do you think the site will be up
Smitty88
John Mc Loughlin
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Almost ready, need testers! 02 Nov 2012 00:13 #5

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I am hoping that the test bed will be complete this week, and to avoid any mishaps on the real site we are going to test it live on alexrowsell.com before taking this site down.

As long as there are no problems, it should be a week or two.
Alexandra Rowsell
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Almost ready, need testers! 02 Nov 2012 00:39 #6

  • Susan123
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Only nit picking but under educational you have organisation spelt wrong. ;)
Sue Holden.
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Almost ready, need testers! 02 Nov 2012 00:40 #7

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:oops: :oops: :oops:
Please! Nit pick away! Sometimes my typing gets super sloppy by the end of a coding day, and I can't see typos anymore!

And from the repeat error there, I would say that its probably some text that I copied and pasted, I really do know how to spell, haha!
Alexandra Rowsell
Last Edit: 02 Nov 2012 00:42 by Aleroinc.
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Almost ready, need testers! 03 Nov 2012 23:03 #8

  • Eric Russell
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Looks much nicer without that cluttered main menu.

I would expect to see pagination, more articles by author, related articles,...... the way it's set up looks much the same as it's always been, ie, just a long list of titles. There's no flow to the articles so, just like before, I doubt I'd read many of them unless they showed up in a Google search.

Losing that social network nonsense was a great idea! B)
Last Edit: 03 Nov 2012 23:05 by Eric Russell.
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The following user(s) said Thank You: Aleroinc

Almost ready, need testers! 03 Nov 2012 23:12 #9

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Eric:

I can certainly go through and put links for articles by:, but I am not comfortable deciding arbitrarily what is related to what.

In regards to pagination, how much would you consider it appropriate to break the content down? Are you referring to the articles themselves, or the indices? For ease of reading I did follow standards for layout, and increased the font size per request.

Please, anything you see or would suggest, feel free to PM or post here.
Alexandra Rowsell
Last Edit: 03 Nov 2012 23:13 by Aleroinc.
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Almost ready, need testers! 04 Nov 2012 15:12 #10

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All I can say is, when you reach an article it's a dead end. Currently its the same way which I've never understood. I would think something called a resource center would lead me from article to article not dead ends everywhere.

Seems like you guys keep reinventing the wheel to end up with the exact same thing.
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Almost ready, need testers! 04 Nov 2012 15:25 #11

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Eric:
I wasn't around when the first rebuild went underway. I have been asking for input from you, the long time users since I began my rebuild. I appreciate you taking the time to respond to my requests, and am looking for a way to incorporate your suggestions.

I am not a "real farrier". I apprenticed for 8 months, learned (and keep learning at every turn) all that I could. I do not think that it would be a wise move for me, as a novice, to try and qualify how some of these highly technical articles relate to one another. I am more than willing to incorporate some sort of navigation through the articles, I ask only HOW you (the users) would like to see it done.

Thank you for taking the time to respond.
Alexandra Rowsell
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Almost ready, need testers! 05 Nov 2012 13:21 #12

  • Eric Russell
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I personally would like to see the site turned into an integrated farrier site. Articles linking to related articles, photo galleries, videos.....

Blogs for case studies and such....

The site seems too much like an advertisement right now. I go on some good I formation websites and stay there and return because the setup continously takes me to new and interesting things. Like I said, the test site takes me to dead ended articles. The directories are hardly directories.

I hope you guys straighten out the forum with vbulletin and do more careful planning on the rest of the site. It probably wouldn't hurt to import joomla into vbulletin just in case they throw out a good cms with vbulletin 5.
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Almost ready, need testers! 05 Nov 2012 15:34 #13

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Thanks for your suggestions. I still have the same issue as stated above with regards to relating the articles to one another. For the photo and video galleries, I need the forum to be up and running (to draw the users photos and videos from the database), and then need to find a solution there. Blogs are entirely do-able, I only left them out because no one had used them here.

I'm sorry you feel the site is like an advertisement. I have reduced the number of flashy banners to just one, and there is no advertising but in the two 100px tall sections at the top and bottom of the site. The directories were built from the information I was provided. Please let me know how you feel they could be improved.

I have a vB5 Beta, and it does have a not-too-terrible CMS. I haven't had time to play with it a lot because of what I have been doing with vB4 and this site, but once things are running smoothly I will play with it.

This is the largest site I have completely rewritten by hand. I truly appreciate your input, and would like to try to incorporate your suggestions. I cannot do this without your (the users) help. I am not experienced enough in the field of farriery to decide which articles relate to others. If someone wants to volunteer their knowledge, please message me and I will 100% make the changes that I can make.
Alexandra Rowsell
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Almost ready, need testers! 07 Nov 2012 19:43 #14

  • Eric Russell
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Aleroinc wrote:
Thanks for your suggestions. I still have the same issue as stated above with regards to relating the articles to one another. For the photo and video galleries, I need the forum to be up and running (to draw the users photos and videos from the database), and then need to find a solution there. Blogs are entirely do-able, I only left them out because no one had used them here.

There are plenty of ways to do the related articles. I would think about the future of the website before doing anything with a photo gallery. vb 4 only has user albums. There is photopost but outdated. VB5 looks like it did a good job integrating a photo gallery.
I'm sorry you feel the site is like an advertisement. I have reduced the number of flashy banners to just one, and there is no advertising but in the two 100px tall sections at the top and bottom of the site. The directories were built from the information I was provided. Please let me know how you feel they could be improved.

I'm not really talking about banners though I think you could come up with better ways to handle them. The site is a resource center. Looking at the home page I wouldn't have the slightest clue what this site is about. The main menu doesn't help one bit. I would look how some bigger information site break everything down to guide the user the best way possible. ign.com is a big site with lots of info with everything I'm talking about. The directories aren't directories. They're long list in no sort of order. Do a search and the whole long list shows up.
I have a vB5 Beta, and it does have a not-too-terrible CMS. I haven't had time to play with it a lot because of what I have been doing with vB4 and this site, but once things are running smoothly I will play with it.

That's a little mean no? LOL! vb5 doesn't have a cms so of course it's not too horrible. ;)
This is the largest site I have completely rewritten by hand. I truly appreciate your input, and would like to try to incorporate your suggestions. I cannot do this without your (the users) help. I am not experienced enough in the field of farriery to decide which articles relate to others. If someone wants to volunteer their knowledge, please message me and I will 100% make the changes that I can make.

With the options currently available and options on there way, I can't imagine you rewriting everything by hand was the best choice. I still suggest launching the new forum and work on the rest of the site over the next year.
Last Edit: 07 Nov 2012 19:43 by Eric Russell.
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Almost ready, need testers! 08 Nov 2012 15:31 #15

  • Aleroinc
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As a general update, I thought I would explain what the hold up is. Rebuilding this forum is a very complex task, one that is far beyond my skill set as a designer, I am not a programmer. I have contracted a professional developer who is working diligently on this project. The thing that is taking so much time is this:

The designer who moved the site and forum into Joomla/Kunena was not able to move everything properly. As you know, the photo albums, articles and attachments caused a lot of grief back at the beginning. Now, in order to go back to the "old forum" without losing 10 months of content, the developer has to go into the database and manually map things to where they are supposed to be, without accidentally moving the "patch" solutions the J/K designer came up with to fix the errors.

There are a few things that are inevitable. First of all, any new members (since 20 Jan 12) will need to reset their passwords as the encryption from Kunena is not compatible with vBulletin. This also applies to anyone who has changed their password since 20 Jan 12. Most likely, PM's will be lost.

There will be hiccups with this transition as well, which is why the "test site" exists. With the current release, we were forced into an untested, not entirely prepared design because of a virus on the old forum. Because we are not in the same situation this time, we will have a testing period. Everyone will have a chance to go look at things, and tell me what you like, don't like or don't understand, before you lose what you are (relatively) familiar with. I cannot change everything, but I am entirely willing to try incorporating suggestions.

Eric:

First of all, I want to thank you for your continued contribution. Being close to this project has kept me looking at ways to improve the way it is, rather than looking for ways to make it what it should be.

In regards to me rebuilding the site by hand, I made the decision to do that so that we could get out from under this cookie problem with Joomla/Kunena. The code that I've written is light, and fast. I can support absolutely any issue that comes up with it. I will be continuing to work on improving the resource center (as you suggested) over the coming months, but the priority is to get out from under Joomla, and get people access to the forums again.

There is a CMS in vB5 that handles articles, blogs, non-forum pages etc, and I assumed that was what you were talking about.

There is more content to be added to the front page. This is a work in progress, and most likely will remain in progress for a long time, even after it is rolled out. After all, progress is good! I will spend time reading other resource sites, and finding out how the navigation feels.


To sum it up, I keep breaking the deadlines I've set for myself to make sure that the problems that are preventing users from being able to access the site are completely eradicated. I will always be open to suggestions for improvement, and I appreciate anyone taking the time to make suggestions.

Thank you for your ongoing patience and support.
Alexandra Rowsell
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