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Make Getting Started Guide available to new customers


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Hey, IPS staff --

You probably think new customers can get tips from a Getting Started Guide, as listed in Documentation http://community.invisionpower.com/resources/documentation/index.html?

Well, if you follow the link from IP.Board 3.0.x: Getting Started Guide, you get this


[#10CCS88] We could not find the article you were attempting to view.

Ha ha, quite the joke on newbies!

Could you please let me know when a Getting Started Guide is available? It may help me work through set up of IP.Board.

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This is a fairly important thing to consider.

I'd recommend that the workflow process for new customers (after purchase) is carefully reviewed, checking each communication that is sent, and providing a graphic process to help explain to new customers what they should do next. This might be emailed to the client. It'd have a checklist at each stage of a few key tasks. It'd link to a "IPB for newbies" guide, too (which I don't think exists afaik).

The newbies guide could presume the buyer is a somewhat experienced forum owner, and for completely new forum admins you might require a separate set of guides. Easier to assume some skill, however.
Then make a few key pointers, like "skins are single XML files. You can find some at the Resources, some are free, others not. You install it via Look and Feel, where you can also edit its javascript (or whatever that language is). etc" A list of key server changes might be helpful too (eg. modsec).

I'd have found it really helpful if such a process were shown to me, and if it drew my attention to a guide which covered the key factors.

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That is an excellent point, Giri. I hope IPB staff is reading this topic.

I finally found the Getting Started Guide, and it has been no help at all. I'm a new administrator configuring a forum site on IPS hosting, probably the simplest situation at all.

Skins are single XML files???? Interesting. The admin interface and Getting Started Guide (which only repeats the admin interface) seem to discourage use of the XML option:

"IP.Board 3 XML
This is a special skin that developerʼs [sic] can use. Most users can ignore this skin"

There are key server changes? I had no idea. I haven't a clue what modsec is but now I know to ask.

Without a Getting Started Guide offering common paths to frequently utilized solutions, I'm going to have to play 20 questions with e-mail support. With the time it takes to get a response and the rounds of clarification needed, it's a painful and laborious process.

I feel really dumb because I thought decent documentation might be a reason to go with paid forum software. Most software companies do supply a viable Getting Started Guide to save support the trouble of answering the same basic questions over and over. Oh yeah, and then there's the advantage to customers. I'm very disappointed so far.

Well, the e-mail support people seem quite nice.

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The Getting Started Guide is available once you are signed in as an active customer, just sign in here with the same EMail address and password you used when purchasing your products / services and you should see it fine.

If there's something in there that's confusing, or there are areas you're unsure about - firstly is might be covered elsewhere in documentation - the documentation page has a search feature which may help you find what you're looking for. if not, the best thing to do is contact technical support who will be happy to explain anything you need, and can let the people in charge of documentation know your thoughts.

To answer your question about skins - skins are distributed as .xml files which contain of the code for the skin - what that means is, if you wanted to install an additional skin, you would download a .xml file from our resource site, and then upload it in your Admin CP to install (more information on installing skins). In your Admin CP, you should notice 3 skins already installed - 2 are HTML format (i.e. normal skins) and one is a "XML Skin" which can be used by developers for REST implementations - as the documentation notes, most users can ignore that one.

Thanks :)

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for your contribution to this topic, Mark. As I've said before, you folks seem very nice in e-mail support. I do happen to be a customer.

In this topic, you've gotten IP.Board Feedback from two customers, a rank newbie (me) and an advanced user (Giri Fox).

Let's look again at the suggestions and feedback in this topic. First, there's the issue of the broken link, mentioned in #1. This link, in a prominent location for all new customers, still hasn't been repaired.

Second, as a rank newbie, I am deeply indebted to Giri Fox for the information in #3. As it turns out, installing a skin is what I have to do after setting up the member registration process for my site -- neither of which is described in the Getting Started guide.

It sure would be helpful to have a Getting Started Guide that explains what you need to do and how you do it to set up a very basic site. The current Getting Started Guide simply describes the controls in the ACP. To be helpful to a newcomer, it needs to evolve.

I had to figure out my own workflow. Fortunately, I have a lot of experience as a forum member and a handle on content design. The first thing I did was set up my forums, topics, and member permissions matrix (by the way, in the matrix interface, Permission Set Name should be a drop-down with all set names). Then I installed a logo (easy and clearly described in the Getting Started Guide).

In the usability design biz, what we do first is define user profiles. I suggest there are three users for a Getting Started Guide: 1) someone who has no experience with administration of forum software, 2) someone who has moderate experience, 3) someone who has advanced experience. Definitions of the ACP controls could be a searchable appendix.

For the first user, you would provide the basic steps to setting up a site. From my experience, I would suggest 1) setting up forums and topics, 2) setting up the member matrix, 3) setting up the member registration process, 4) installing a skin, 5) installing a logo.

PS I hope there's a skin that simplifies and condenses this interface. As a usability designer, I never expected to say this: the default skin has too much white space, too many borders, and too many rows of controls. Reading a page requires too much scrolling for my purpose.

PPS On the page you've pointed me to for skins, there is a broken link. It should be http://community.invisionpower.com/files/category/110-skins/

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It sure would be helpful to have a Getting Started Guide that explains what you need to do and how you do it to set up a very basic site. The current Getting Started Guide simply describes the controls in the ACP. To be helpful to a newcomer, it needs to evolve.

Glad I helped you.

I think the key point which hopefully is clear, is twofold:
1) the documentation could be much easier to find, going so far as to spoon feed it to people in an email welcoming them, or in a BIG LINK on the client area, which shows a menu of resources
2) some of the documentation presumes the user understands basic concepts like that skins are a single XML file that you can download from a variety of sources, some paid, some not, etc. Thus the doco could be improved, too.
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