Hydaelyn Role-Players
[21 August 2017] Opt-in testing of new RPC Layout - Printable Version

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[21 August 2017] Opt-in testing of new RPC Layout - Unnamed Mercenary - 08-21-2017 03:10 PM

Hello! A few of you may have seen me alluding to this, and here's the official post on it. I'll be opening semi-limited public testing of the new RPC Site for testing and feedback.

I'd like to once-again thank our Patreon members and the members who did a one-time donation to help cover the cost of InvisionPower and our server-hosting expenses.

The sites available for testing and feedback are:
https://ffxivrp.org
https://wiki.ffxivrp.org

To get login access, please post in the thread, PM me, or open a thread requesting access in the Requests and Feedback forum. Because the new site is running on a testing server with limited resources, not all features will be as responsive as they will be once they're applied to the actual RPC servers.

Do note that the layout and organization of the sites may change a bit during this time. We are still investigating how we'd like to migrate certain features and sections of the current RPC to the new site. I will do what I can to keep this thread updated with any feature adjustments added to the test sites and of any bus I am aware of.

The test site database was cloned from RPC on August 1st. The wiki had an older clone used. Not all users and content was carried over and accounts and pages may need to be recreated.

Feature changes since: August 21
Calendar:
  • The upcoming events section currently only reads from the Balmung Events Calendar import. This may be changed to all calendars or just on-site events. for other event calendars to import, please let Unnamed Mercenary know! (21 August 2017)
  • The navigation bar's club section is now pre-filtered into Linkshells and free Companies. The subnavigation has been updated to include our currently filtered servers.



RE: [21 August 2017] Opt-in testing of new RPC Layout - Berrod Armstrong - 08-23-2017 11:37 AM

It looks amazing! I went to the gallery right away of course -- found a little issue there. I'm not sure if it's just on my end, but anytime I scroll down on the main gallery page, it automatically and immediately scrolls me back up.

The individual galleries themselves are fine.


RE: [21 August 2017] Opt-in testing of new RPC Layout - Unnamed Mercenary - 08-23-2017 11:54 AM

(08-23-2017 11:37 AM)Berrod Armstrong Wrote:  It looks amazing! I went to the gallery right away of course -- found a little issue there. I'm not sure if it's just on my end, but anytime I scroll down on the main gallery page, it automatically and immediately scrolls me back up.

The individual galleries themselves are fine.

I've been seeing this too, but it hadn't always been there. It might be linked to how the albums are currently set up or from the import after I moved a bunch of stuff around. It's on my list of things to look out for when we go through the full upgrade!


RE: [21 August 2017] Opt-in testing of new RPC Layout - Unnamed Mercenary - 09-25-2017 12:29 PM

Bumping to say this is still a thing!

The more I think about it, the more I'd like to use that fancy new clubs feature for us to host our groups like Linkshells and Free Companies.

As such, I've added some more sample names for basic filter testing and updated the navbar.

İmage

I'd like ot hear your thoughts on this, as these club sections would give a more familiar feeling to our existing Hall sections compared to a forum. However, a forum would allow for forum tags and prefixes displayed automatically. Clbus however, allow users to add in their own group features, like a forum, gallery, blog, etc as a subsection of that group.

If we go the clubs route for the Halls, this does mean all groups would have to be reposted as I cannot convert a group from a thread into a club. ...existing threads can be moved into clubs that add the forum feature though, to keep Linkshell and/or Free Company posts.

In addition, right now the only filters in the clubs section are for server, type, and activity. Are there additional filtering options you would be interested in having? (Something generic that all groups would have to have).


RE: [21 August 2017] Opt-in testing of new RPC Layout - Oyuu - 10-07-2017 03:43 PM

I've had a little go using the Clubs section to upload my own LS and here are my thoughts: 

- I think using Clubs is a neat idea, especially the fact you can have your own little gallery, events, blog, etc. Provides useful utility without having to go make your own FC/LS website or something. But can we rename them to something else? Clubs is kinda random, calling it Groups maybe? 

- More filters would be great, having a URL section for a website, maybe a link for tumblr/social medias? RP intensity % is also useful. Perhaps pre-determined tags so you can list your company/linkshell themes? Also maybe a filter to choose whether it's an OOC group, IC group, discord groups, etc.  

- When selecting a server, when selecting Other, I feel an input field should appear so you can type in the server name. 

- IIRC, the Club is automatically marked as inactive upon creation - the default should probably be Active, no?

- I could only upload the icon, but not the banner when creating the Club. Also would be nice to have some clearer instructions to what size the icons/banners should be (200x200 or something clearer than just image size.) 

- I couldn't select both FC and LS. This option is available on the old site, but you still end up with two separate posts to manage. Having just one post that covers the LS and FC would be great. Again, not sure if possible with this club feature. 

- Description box is a little lacking, would be nice to have the same editing tools that forum posts have if that makes sense? Perhaps not so in depth, but being able to hyperlink, bold, italicise text easily would be useful.

- Trying to put up an event - I am unsure of what timezone I'm putting it up as (Is it my timezone I assigned my account, or is it set the same for everyone?), and the location setting is literally address input fields. 

I really like the look and feel of the Clubs though, I think FCs and LSs could really benefit from this set up. Also, I like hovering over a user's icon and having their info pop up with options to message, etc. That's a cute little feature.

Sorry if this a lot, I feel like I'm writing tickets... "As a User, I wish to select blah blah blah"


RE: [21 August 2017] Opt-in testing of new RPC Layout - Unnamed Mercenary - 10-07-2017 04:30 PM

(10-07-2017 03:43 PM)Oyuu Wrote:  I've had a little go using the Clubs section to upload my own LS and here are my thoughts: 

(10-07-2017 03:43 PM)Oyuu Wrote:  - I think using Clubs is a neat idea, especially the fact you can have your own little gallery, events, blog, etc. Provides useful utility without having to go make your own FC/LS website or something. But can we rename them to something else? Clubs is kinda random, calling it Groups maybe? 

Clubs is what the vendor calls them and yes, we should be able to get that changed in a template somewhere. I'm still seeing what w e can modify [easily] and what we cannot in this new forum software. ...MyBB is very friendly in this regard, whereas IPS has lots of pro tools, but the curve is definitely a bit more complex.

(10-07-2017 03:43 PM)Oyuu Wrote:  - More filters would be great, having a URL section for a website, maybe a link for tumblr/social medias? RP intensity % is also useful. Perhaps pre-determined tags so you can list your company/linkshell themes? Also maybe a filter to choose whether it's an OOC group, IC group, discord groups, etc.  

I can definitely add more fields in, and options to use them as filters. I'm hoping to acquire a plugin that'll make the front page for a club/group a fullblown post instead of just a description box. When it was set up, I was tinkering around with things to make just filtering easier, and skipped over  a lot of our current fields in the Halls. I'll work on getting the following in. 
  • URL
  • Social Media
  • RP Intensity
  • IC/OOC
Currently, we can't add tags to clubs directly, but that is something I want to add to the suite's requested features since tags and prefixes should make everything nice and organized. It's what's made me consider a poll whether people would rather keep a tradional forum/subforum for groups, which allow for tags and prefixes, or to use this new clubs/groups feature, which allows for subcommunities.

(10-07-2017 03:43 PM)Oyuu Wrote:  - When selecting a server, when selecting Other, I feel an input field should appear so you can type in the server name. 

Currently, we've gotta have hard-coded choices in that field, since it generates some information needed  to get the filtering working, much like the one on the current RPC. One of the work-arounds I have in mind for this is to suggest a naming convention like Goup <fc tag> [Server] or so. (It's actually something I've been thinking about pitching to the rest of the staff for our current layout, to help keep the sorting intact and "fair".)

(10-07-2017 03:43 PM)Oyuu Wrote:  - IIRC, the Club is automatically marked as inactive upon creation - the default should probably be Active, no?

This should be doable. ...or I'll just flip the options, so it's active by default. The caveat here is that if someone wants their club deleted, we won't be able to undo that change like how current groups are archived. We may make it a policy to mode club/group forums into a graveyard like we do now.

(10-07-2017 03:43 PM)Oyuu Wrote:  - I could only upload the icon, but not the banner when creating the Club. Also would be nice to have some clearer instructions to what size the icons/banners should be (200x200 or something clearer than just image size.) 

The image uploading appears to be a feature limitation. I'll have to see what our maximums are, as the site will default to scaling/clipping as needed.

(10-07-2017 03:43 PM)Oyuu Wrote:  - I couldn't select both FC and LS. This option is available on the old site, but you still end up with two separate posts to manage. Having just one post that covers the LS and FC would be great. Again, not sure if possible with this club feature. 

This is by design. I found that when I made Linkshell and Free Company checkboxes, they couldn't be filtered properly. Like the current RPC offerings, if a group is dualistic, they'll want to make one of them the "main" group and then create a mirrored listing. If I can get the filtering to work correctly, then this may change!

(10-07-2017 03:43 PM)Oyuu Wrote:  - Description box is a little lacking, would be nice to have the same editing tools that forum posts have if that makes sense? Perhaps not so in depth, but being able to hyperlink, bold, italicise text easily would be useful.

I mentioned above, but I've found a plugin to give us this option! (And it adds some mod/admin tools that would be handy too).

(10-07-2017 03:43 PM)Oyuu Wrote:  - Trying to put up an event - I am unsure of what timezone I'm putting it up as (Is it my timezone I assigned my account, or is it set the same for everyone?), and the location setting is literally address input fields. 

I'll need to work with someone outside my timezone to confirm how it acts myself. I know it was hardcoded in our current calendar which is why everything is Pacific Time. If you make an event and select a time, please put what timezone you intended it to be in and I can check this!

(10-07-2017 03:43 PM)Oyuu Wrote:  I really like the look and feel of the Clubs though, I think FCs and LSs could really benefit from this set up. Also, I like hovering over a user's icon and having their info pop up with options to message, etc. That's a cute little feature.

It gets even better! If you head over to a user's page, we have activity on steroids now. You can find topics, posts, events, and gallery images to name a few. (No more screaming at gallery integrations and how hard it is to find out who uploaded what). We'll need to manually relink all uploaded images to their owners, which will be a fun task though. x_x (And all the more reason I'll be keeping the old/current RPC up for a while during the migration to make sure that any converter quirks can be fixed up).

(10-07-2017 03:43 PM)Oyuu Wrote:  Sorry if this a lot, I feel like I'm writing tickets... "As a User, I wish to select blah blah blah"

This is lovely! The more feedback I get, the better-suited I can customize things. Usability is just as important (if not more) than look and feel. If there's a feature that seems strange, I can check to see what our options are for it.


RE: [21 August 2017] Opt-in testing of new RPC Layout - Valde (Malchior) - 10-14-2017 01:55 PM

So just browsing around initially here are some thoughts and feedback I have. I speak from a preference for minimalist and utility design, so ymmv.

LS/FC
The Linkshell/FC Hall are organized as flat threads rather than the gallery option that's set up on the current RPC. Though the tags on the threads do help a ton, I really enjoyed the alphabetical display the RPC currently has with the FC/Linkshell icons and if that'd be possible to keep I think that helps attract members and gives a bigger representation of an FC rather than the simple 'Thread Title + Tags' that the newer website has. 

Updated: Exploring further I found the tabs will take you to the LS/FCs in the same format. So perhaps the LS/FC Forum Halls are unnecessary/redundant with those tabs in place? Unless the LS/FC forums are going to be repurposed for another thing.

Wiki
Clicking the Wiki link takes me directly off the website to the Wiki, which to me seemed unintuitive compared to the rest of the features that opened up under the tab I clicked. If the Wiki could be an aside that people clicked to visited rather than listed with the rest of the tabs (Maybe even featured above the forums with a small blurb and link to it) I feel it'd make more sense given how that tab operates compared to the rest. tl;dr: Other tabs keep you on the RPC website, wiki tab takes you to another website, might want to separate it.

Gallery
Man is this improved! Loads faster, easier to look through. Only thing I might mention is that the artwork title is only displayed at the upper right like you're viewing files on a computer rather than a full gallery. If there's a way to have the Artwork title displayed closer/more prominently to the piece itself that would look fantastic.

Browse
This tab doesn't seem to do anything? Might need to be culled

Activity
This and the latest threads box on the Forum page seem to perform very similar functions (Though slightly different as the Activity tab seems to focus on posts specifically). I'm personally unsure if this is enough of a difference to warrant a separation on the website and might consider culling the Activity tab as well.


RE: [21 August 2017] Opt-in testing of new RPC Layout - Unnamed Mercenary - 10-15-2017 06:50 AM

(10-14-2017 01:55 PM)Orrin Malqir Wrote:  So just browsing around initially here are some thoughts and feedback I have. I speak from a preference for minimalist and utility design, so ymmv.

Hiya! Thanks for the feedback! I'll try to go over each listed point.

(12-31-1969 08:25 PM)Orrin Malqir Wrote:  LS/FC
The Linkshell/FC Hall are organized as flat threads rather than the gallery option that's set up on the current RPC. Though the tags on the threads do help a ton, I really enjoyed the alphabetical display the RPC currently has with the FC/Linkshell icons and if that'd be possible to keep I think that helps attract members and gives a bigger representation of an FC rather than the simple 'Thread Title + Tags' that the newer website has. 

Updated: Exploring further I found the tabs will take you to the LS/FCs in the same format. So perhaps the LS/FC Forum Halls are unnecessary/redundant with those tabs in place? Unless the LS/FC forums are going to be repurposed for another thing.

When I ran a conversion of our data from our current MyBB-based RPC to the new IPS-based layout, I opted to convert all forums (and related data the converter tools would let me do safely, which includes the gallery, but not the calendar). The Linkshell Hall, Free Company Hall, and Chronicles forums are leftovers from the conversion that will likely be deprecated in lieu of the newer "clubs" group feature which is what's linked in the headers above. At the time of the conversion, there was still some internal debate over whether clubs or forum threads/topics would be better suited to group features, as they do have some pros and cons on each side.

"Clubs" groups:
Pros>
  • A similar interface to our current customized layout in MyBB.
  • Supports some really nice filtering based on the field options
  • Users can effectively run an entire subcommunity out of a "club" eliminating possible need for an enjin site
  • Simple management: old groups can just be disabled from the pre-filtered views without loss of content. Disbanded groups or requests can be deleted to remove dated clutter.

Cons>
  • Clubs don't support tags/prefixes on groups. Workaround: clubs that create a subforum can use tags and prefixes
  • Deleted clubs cannot be recovered. If a staff member removes one, it will need to be completely recreated.
  • This feature is BRAND-NEW to IPS. As such, features could possibly change and older plugins may not be aware of clubs. (We're hoping to stick to a pretty default installation so that things work without code bandaids).
  • All group listings will need to be recreated. (However, due to our 60 day/2 month cleaning cycle, active groups would likely do this anyways)

Forum/Thread groups:
Pros>
  • Tags and prefixes can be applied to threads
  • Our existing halls can be ported over with minimal effort, and then tagged/prefixed and we can look into filters.
  • Users don't need to manually add a forum feature just to allow discussion of their group.
  • All groups are 100% public and any user can interact with a group listing.

Cons>
  • At this time, I cannot alter the layout of the topic list. The halls would look like regular forums.
  • All groups are 100% public, meaning groups may need to use another site for group-internal features like their own forums, calendar events, galleries, etc.
  • Sorting is limited by thread-display options. (This can be done per-user like currently, but is a seldom-used feature).

What we'll likely do is keep the existing hall forums open for some time while the new layout's released to give people time to copy over their content, request their thread to be moved into a club forum, etc. After that, the hall forums will be deprecated and moved into Chronicles for a view-only interface. As a staff team, our policy has always been to not delete actual user content unless absolutely required, which makes some of the new layout a little quirky. A new Archives category may be created for such forums and sections no longer in use, or we may put up a subforum-wide notification redirecting users to the updated sections for content.

(12-31-1969 08:25 PM)Orrin Malqir Wrote:  Wiki
Clicking the Wiki link takes me directly off the website to the Wiki, which to me seemed unintuitive compared to the rest of the features that opened up under the tab I clicked. If the Wiki could be an aside that people clicked to visited rather than listed with the rest of the tabs (Maybe even featured above the forums with a small blurb and link to it) I feel it'd make more sense given how that tab operates compared to the rest. tl;dr: Other tabs keep you on the RPC website, wiki tab takes you to another website, might want to separate it.

I should be able to set this to open in a new tab/window instead of the current one. As the forum runs on a completely different suite of web applications, integration into the IPS interface is probably not doable. But like the current wiki, user access will require a forum account to authenticate in. (But it'll be "fancy" and use OAuth2 instead of a customized login bridge plugin, which MediaWiki has since deprecated and no longer supports in their current versions.)

(12-31-1969 08:25 PM)Orrin Malqir Wrote:  Gallery
Man is this improved! Loads faster, easier to look through. Only thing I might mention is that the artwork title is only displayed at the upper right like you're viewing files on a computer rather than a full gallery. If there's a way to have the Artwork title displayed closer/more prominently to the piece itself that would look fantastic.

Could you elaborate on this please? And please specify whether you were viewing the gallery on a desktop page (full size), tablet (or smaller desktop window), or mobile (or really small desktop window)? The layout does change based on how much screen room there is and the views may be different. I'm not sure what you mean by title in the top right.

(12-31-1969 08:25 PM)Orrin Malqir Wrote:  Browse
This tab doesn't seem to do anything? Might need to be culled

The header navigation bar has a couple different interactions, some of which only load a sub-bar with options. The Browse tab is currently in this setting as it's leftover from a default configuration. Right now, it adds links to a Blogs and to an Article section we're still considering making use of. We may return to having a front page portal with selected posts/articles as opposed to a "right to the forums" approach. User feedback has been fairly split on this in the past, which is why the old RPC Portal page was removed and the forums were made the front attraction.

(12-31-1969 08:25 PM)Orrin Malqir Wrote:  Activity
This and the latest threads box on the Forum page seem to perform very similar functions (Though slightly different as the Activity tab seems to focus on posts specifically). I'm personally unsure if this is enough of a difference to warrant a separation on the website and might consider culling the Activity tab as well.

Activity is sorta a latest-content on steroids. While the Latest Threads (really it's more like latest posts in current threads, but we currently call it latest threads on the main layout) does show some activity, it only shows forum threads. Similar to how we have a box to grab upcoming calendar events. Activity takes this a few steps further. It handles posts, threads, events, gallery images, clubs, and more! The Activity link on the front page will more useful for users who are logged in and looking for new content on the RPC in all aspects. It also can assist users in tracking followed threads or content they created. On the user level, you can also view a user's activity feed to see what they've been up to specifically, like if you were looking for threads or posts, or uploaded gallery images, etc.