The "truth" of the application is very simple:
Upload some media into an album
View, discuss and share that media.
pretty much nailed my feelings, I totally agree with that goal, it should be dead easy to just upload images and share them. That's what the members want to do, and for the external social media, it seems to do that quite well...
Why does IP.Gallery 4.0 seem to almost ignore the ability to readily share IP.Gallery Images WITHIN the IPB platform?!
Seriously... The expectation seems to to be that members will:
1. Be chatting in the forums on a topic.
2. Decide they want to show that friend an image (or several that they have uploaded at different times before).
3. Leave the forums and go to the gallery
4. Upload the image(s)
5. After they upload the image they have to click on it to bring up that image's details
6. Drop down the "Share Image" button. Don't even see this as an option for an album, though I'm sure Matt means it to be there based on his BBCode test thread.
7. Copy the BBCode for that image
STOP HERE TO CONSIDER
A large % of community users don't know what BBCode is. They wouldn't have a clue that they need to copy/paste that in order to put their image in a forum topic/post.
8. They have to go Back to the forum and start typing their reply to their friend.
9. Paste in the BBCode (that they probably didn't even know to copy, since they likely don't know BBCode or what it does) for the image IF they didn't forget and copy something else in the mean time, like a piece of text from their friend's post that they wanted to call out (many folks copy paste instead of using reply). If they did copy something else they have to start over again digging into the Gallery, because it's not really easy to find your own images/albums at the moment.
10.Repeat steps 4 through 8 several more times to put in the other images they wanted to talk about (why not just use an album? Well, maybe several pictures are already uploaded, that's VERY common in our current system, upload once and reuse them to make your point in your forum posts).
11.Hopefully our member was patient enough to go through all these steps, and didn't just throw up their hands and upload the images as attachments, and they can now *finally* submit their post.
12. When the other members are reading the post, they are often trying to compare details in the images to what the image poster was talking about... Unfortunately, every time they click a linked image they leave the forums and can't see the rest of the post. :-(.
Do we REALLY think that many community members (keeping in mind that they're NOT forum admins and don't KNOW how to use all the features of the system, or what BBCode is) are actually going to go though all that?
My question is: Why is uploading images and sharing them to Facebook, Twitter etc so much vastly easier than it is to upload them to IP.Gallery and share them within the IP.Board system itself?
What about integration with the forums, when will we be able to readily use images and albums in the gallery IN the forums to facilitate the conversation?
Having images added as attachments in forums posts because that's soooooo much easier than using the reusable, searchable images in the gallery... Well, as a community builder, I cry every time I see people upload a really good image as an attachment because I know it'll be buried in that thread and never show up in the search system, never be seen by anyone looking through the gallery for that sort of image. It's a nigh-criminal waste of sometimes priceless User Generated Content. With everyone carrying a smartphone, images are an ever increasing part of the conversation, and the gallery should be evolving to be more of a gestalt with the forums rather than a more or less separate, parallel system.
I really hope that this new release carries with it the ability to quickly and easily upload images to the gallery while in the forum post editor, and to use albums and images (via a quick popup that provides access to content you have uploaded to the gallery) in a forum post. It should be an easy, seamless experience. Images/media belong in the gallery not as attachments! :-)
Along the same lines, why is the commenting on images/albums happening in an isolated stove-piped environment? Why can't we tie it into the community conversation happening in the forums topics the way we can with comments on Articles (IP.Content)?! Shouldn't that be a major goal of integrating the IP apps? Bringing that user interaction TOGETHER instead of fragmenting it into multiple different systems where it's rarely seen? Shouldn't the goal be a community PLATFORM where everything ties in together, rather than separate parallel systems that share an authentication system?
In conclusion, I heartily support Matt's goals in reworking the Gallery, and much of it is looking wonderful! I greatly appreciate his efforts, and hope that he will read this feedback as what it is intended to be:
Constructive feedback intended to show how a bit of what appears to be "Curse of Knowledge" blindness, may be preventing an appreciation of how IP.Gallery falls sort in a real world setting. Of course, I may be totally wrong and Matt et al *totally* get the need for deeper integration, and we just haven't heard about how they are going to tackle it yet!