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Remove or improve "Help Files"


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#1 Pereira

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 04:16 PM

Please remove or improve help files. I believe I was once opposed to the idea but now I feel differently.

The current system is totally useless and is not promoted remotely enough for people even to know it even exists, rendering it a useless feature in my opinion. I understand people use it for tutorials etc but this should not be what it is used for. The feature is there to give help for the forum software to general users and not for people that want to know rules/how to customise skins... etc

The way it is presented is not up to modern social media standards in my opinion. There is too much information shown and the size of the text is too big. People just want a short explanation for how to use something and they learn the rest through trial and error.

For instance, all this just for people wanting to know how to register:

To be able to enjoy all of the features available to the community, you will need to sign up for a member account. Registration is easy and only takes a moment to complete.

To sign up, click the "Posted Image" link at the top of any page. You can then provide your email address and password to complete the registration process.
Some communities may have an easier way to register without filling out the registration form. If enabled, you will see a Facebook or Twitter icon next to the Create Account button. If you use these services, you can use your existing login information from those services to link your account. Registration via this method takes only 3 clicks and will return you back to the forum after you authorize it.
You may be registered and logged straight in, or you may have to verify your email address by clicking a link in an email that we will send you. If this is the case, a screen will appear with further instructions. You will receive a confirmation of your membership as an email.


Most of these help files could be added to their specific pages. For instance the above could be added to the registration screen instead of some place where it does not get read.

Really hope this system gets improved in a future version.
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#2 Jυra

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 05:36 PM

I don't agree with anything you said.
"If you want to make enemies, try to change something." - Woodrow Wilson
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill
"An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." - Orlando A. Battista
"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month." - Theodore Roosevelt

#3 Rimi

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 05:49 PM

Hello.

I agree. Please remove them.

#4 Cyrem

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 05:51 PM

I don't even use help. I don't agree with putting the help files in areas where they are in my face either.

#5 Jυra

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 05:52 PM

I don't think people want text everywhere and it's not hard to look up something there. An admin could make the instructions shorter or remove the less needed ones.
"If you want to make enemies, try to change something." - Woodrow Wilson
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill
"An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." - Orlando A. Battista
"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month." - Theodore Roosevelt

#6 Dmacleo

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 08:04 PM

I think position is ok where they are but do know some need to be tweaked for ease of use.
just never looked into how to tweak them, perhaps a help file on editing help files would .....help... :)

Dave M
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I can change.
If I have to.
I guess.....


#7 paw

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 02:11 AM

if the help files are to long, make your own help files and link to them, its easy enough done.

#8 Pereira

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 05:45 PM

I don't even use help. I don't agree with putting the help files in areas where they are in my face either.


I agree and don't want them in my face either however if you look at my example of the register information, it could be explained in a few lines rather than a full wall of text (No offence to whoever wrote it).

The system present now was good years ago when the likes of Google, Facebook and Twitter weren't as prevalent as they are now. Stuff like logging in and registering are common knowledge to most people now.

I don't think people want text everywhere and it's not hard to look up something there. An admin could make the instructions shorter or remove the less needed ones.


if the help files are to long, make your own help files and link to them, its easy enough done.


Their length is not my main problem. It is that they are not promoted enough for them to be used effectively. I forget they are even there sometimes.

I do agree that some sort of help system should be present but just not in the current fashion it is now. Xenforo have it done perfectly. They have a link in the main tab bar to help files like BB code and Terms of Service. Their text is also pleasing to the eye and is more readable and accessible than the current IPS system with the drop down help files. Xenforo don't have descriptions of the forum software present within the software like IPS however they are considering it I believe.

If you still don't like the idea of changing the current system then please compare IPS's method of help files with that of Xenforo's and tell me which one you believe to be better.

#9 Jυra

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 06:56 PM

I prefer IPS's method. I don't see what the problem is.
"If you want to make enemies, try to change something." - Woodrow Wilson
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill
"An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." - Orlando A. Battista
"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month." - Theodore Roosevelt

#10 Pereira

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 07:41 PM

The IPS method is outdated and can't been seen clearly by all users. Negatives include the outdated drop down system, unnecessary information such as how to register, log in etc and generally there is just too much information that nobody is willing enough to take the time to fully read it all.

The Xenforo method combines Similies, BB codes, Trophies and Rules into one area. It is also nicely presented, short, easily accessible and easier to read. I don't understand how the IPS system could be seen as better than Xenforo's.

#11 Jυra

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 09:24 PM

There isn't anything outdated about the drop downs.

Add or remove help info as you like.
"If you want to make enemies, try to change something." - Woodrow Wilson
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill
"An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." - Orlando A. Battista
"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month." - Theodore Roosevelt

#12 Pereira

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 04:36 PM

To view them you have to load the page itself, then you have to click through all the help files themselves. There are 12 help files on this forum. Each take around 1-2 seconds to open because it has to fetch the data. Most of the information is either too long or is common knowledge to most people. This might have been ok way to do it back in 2008 for example but there are much simpler ways of showing that data now.

Another suggestion would be to have it open in an overlay. For example, on the registration page there is a link to registration help files that open in an overlay. This would be a much better way of implementing the help files than the way it is now.

By the way, I don't want to get rid of the help files if IPS are willing to change how they are implemented. I only want them removed if the system isn't going to change because the way it is now, is completely useless in my opinion.

#13 Jυra

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 05:26 PM

Someone is likely looking for something specific it they're in the help area. What is stopping you from editing help area?
"If you want to make enemies, try to change something." - Woodrow Wilson
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill
"An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." - Orlando A. Battista
"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month." - Theodore Roosevelt

#14 Pereira

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 06:00 PM

There can still be a help section with specific areas. All of them are already on separate pages. Whats wrong with cleaning the system up a bit and having them show in an overlay when in specific sections? If someone is looking about how to register for example, have help files as a link in front of them instead of a tiny link at the bottom of the page.

#15 Charles

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 08:02 PM

I would personally lean toward removing them. The Help files don't really tell you anything of use. "click post topic to post a topic" ... yeah you think?

There are other more useful tools like IP.Content that could better serve a community.
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#16 Brandon D

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 08:06 PM

Either remove them or make them context sensitive. For example, if you click on help from the registration page it displays the help article on registering or if you click on help from the post screen it displays the article on posting a topic.
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#17 Rhett

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 08:15 PM

My personal opinion is since they are fully editable, each admin can edit/modify as they see fit. I would not be inclined to remove them for all, some people use them as is, some edit them to suit their own site etc.
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#18 Pereira

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 08:22 PM

Like I say, I don't really mind what happens. If you remove them, you could implement a better system in a future release.

I don't use them currently and quite frankly I don't know anyone who has (I didn't even use them when I discovered IPB). Certainly I don't believe that they are being used for their purpose anyway and that is to describe how to use the software. If there is going to be an updated system in later release, I would suggest making things short and more readable (smaller text and better font) and probably use overlays instead of full page loads.

#19 Jυra

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Posted 03 January 2012 - 08:30 PM

I wouldn't expect anyone here to use them since they have IPB and likely years of experience with foruming. I've had users not know how to use the forum or were more use to social networks than forums.
"If you want to make enemies, try to change something." - Woodrow Wilson
"Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm." - Winston Churchill
"An error doesn't become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." - Orlando A. Battista
"If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn't sit for a month." - Theodore Roosevelt

#20 Sonya*

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 03:48 AM

I am not happy with help section as well.
1. I would like help titles to be structured by applications selected in the dropdown field. We use 7 apps (official and custom) and would like the user to see at once where the questions for one app begin and where end up. At the moment it is an endless unstructured list of questions.
2. I do not like the plain text window for help text. We have moderators here that cannot HTML and thus are not able to edit help files without messing up with layout.
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