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IP.Board 3.2.0: Search/VNC Interface Improvements


Amy T

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I agree with 3dKiwi too. One thing that my members complain about and even I see an issue with is when you click on View new posts it will show new ones how ever if you click on it again it shows nothing so it irritates people. My members what it to show new content regardless if they actually viewed it or not. Some sort of highlighting for the content you have viewed would be awesome.




Exactly ... and that's what they expect from something that says "View NEW Content" and not "View UNREAD Content".

Like I said, lets hope someone from IPB understands this.
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In VNC, you have either option. You can view UNREAD content OR you can view NEW content. While you have this option in your user control panel already in IPB 3.1 (admittedly, view new content has some bugs presently which can make it unreliable in various circumstances), the option has been moved to the VNC page itself in 3.2 making it easier to specify your preference right from the interface. Further to the interface changes, we've spent some time resolving issues in VNC and topic tracking that make it unreliable in 3.1 for 3.2.

Basically what I'm saying is that whether you prefer to view unread content or new content, you have that option in IPB 3.x.

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In VNC, you have either option. You can view UNREAD content OR you can view NEW content. While you have this option in your user control panel already in IPB 3.1 (admittedly, view new content has some bugs presently which can make it unreliable in various circumstances), the option has been moved to the VNC page itself in 3.2 making it easier to specify your preference right from the interface. Further to the interface changes, we've spent some time resolving issues in VNC and topic tracking that make it unreliable in 3.1 for 3.2.



Basically what I'm saying is that whether you prefer to view unread content or new content, you have that option in IPB 3.x.




I understand, but why not list all content (new + unread + read) and highligh unread content from the list?
That's very user-friendly and easy to work with, because every topic is there.

At the moment, if you select VNC and read some topics, when you select VNC again they disappear from the list ... people need to go to todays active content to find it and most don't know this.
Please make and option like this.
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I like the highlighting idea. Show all and just highlight the read ones or have it look like the topic list view were it shows which ones you read very clearly. This will make it less confusing for members as they are already used to it in the topic view.

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I'm afraid we're not going to make VNC show all content on the board. Many users go there to find what is new (either posted since their last visit, or new to them because they haven't read it yet). Showing every single topic ever and just highlighting the new ones makes it impossible to use this tool in an effective manner for the average user looking for new content.

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In VNC, you have either option. You can view UNREAD content OR you can view NEW content. While you have this option in your user control panel already in IPB 3.1 (admittedly, view new content has some bugs presently which can make it unreliable in various circumstances), the option has been moved to the VNC page itself in 3.2 making it easier to specify your preference right from the interface. Further to the interface changes, we've spent some time resolving issues in VNC and topic tracking that make it unreliable in 3.1 for 3.2.



Basically what I'm saying is that whether you prefer to view unread content or new content, you have that option in IPB 3.x.




these 2 posts contradict each other.


I'm afraid we're not going to make VNC show all content on the board. Many users go there to find what is new (either posted since their last visit, or new to them because they haven't read it yet). Showing every single topic ever and just highlighting the new ones makes it impossible to use this tool in an effective manner for the average user looking for new content.


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I'm afraid we're not going to make VNC show all content on the board. Many users go there to find what is new (either posted since their last visit, or new to them because they haven't read it yet). Showing every single topic ever and just highlighting the new ones makes it impossible to use this tool in an effective manner for the average user looking for new content.



I don't understand this request either. If you want to view "all content" and see markers that show you which threads you haven't read yet, you can already do that in an hierarchal fashion starting at the forum index.

..Al
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I never said any thing about all content. Not really sure where that is coming from.
Say I have been gone 3 months and click on view new content. What will it show me? According to what bfarber is saying it sounds like it will only show a few weeks of new content but I have been gone 3 months what about the ones going back to when I was last on?
Now say I view a few of those posts and go back to view new posts those that I viewed are now gone so I loose my place, this is not a good thing but describes exactly why we need highlighting. Hightlighting might be the wrong word but you could use the system that is already build in like I mentioned before in the topic view.

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I never said any thing about all content. Not really sure where that is coming from.


Say I have been gone 3 months and click on view new content. What will it show me? According to what bfarber is saying it sounds like it will only show a few weeks of new content but I have been gone 3 months what about the ones going back to when I was last on?


Now say I view a few of those posts and go back to view new posts those that I viewed are now gone so I loose my place, this is not a good thing but describes exactly why we need highlighting. Hightlighting might be the wrong word but you could use the system that is already build in like I mentioned before in the topic view.



I'm pretty sure that what you're describing is how it already works, except that by default it only goes back a year and yes, you will "lose your place" if you didn't finish reading a thread (which is another discussion all on its own). On any reasonably busy board you haven't visited in over a year, you're going to have many thousands of new posts to sort through. On my forum, you're talking about 300,000 posts for a single year. In my experience, the people using VNC are those who are visiting the board very frequently and want to keep current on the latest threads and posts. If you've been absent from a forum in over a year, you're probably just visiting to look for specific information, in which case you're going to browse directly to the forum you're interested in, or use the search system.

If you really want VNC to show posts older than a year, I'm sure you could modify it very easily to go back indefinitely.

..Al
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I think 3dkiwi mentioned better what I am looking for.



That's easily solved by simply opening links in new tabs, which is second nature to me at this point. Then you don't have to worry about getting back to where you were in the VNC/search results if you meander a bit while viewing a specific topic (and this includes responding to the thread, maybe following some links posted in the thread, etc.) While skimming VNC results I'll open several threads at a time in new tabs, read (and optionally respond) to those threads, close the tabs as I'm done reading them, and continue browsing the VNC results.

..Al
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To tell every member to do that is very hard. Maybe instead of telling them to do that have the links in the vnc open a new tab by default.



Automatically opening links in another tab goes against web conventions and this has been discussed considerably on the forums here in the past. It's very unlikely Invision is going to change that behavior. Most savvy users will figure this sort of thing out on their own once they've been browsing the web for any period of time. There are tons of sites where this type of behavior is the "norm" for users, heck, just about any link you want to visit while remaining on the page you're presently viewing is a candidate for opening the link in a new tab.

..Al
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Ya I find it kind of annoying that all links specially ones to other sites do not open in new tabs. I got used to the bazaar link configuration on here so I right click all links so I know they will open in a new tab.

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I hope you all enjoy this, they say a picture is worth a 1000 words I sincerely hope a video is worth more!

This is my sincerest humble request :)

http://screencast.com/t/ieMNXlf5dE

I really wish IPBs next implementation of VNC nails it dead on - the past months since my conversion attrition rate is increasing
because features like this have been missing - and many posts go un-replied to because they nature of how people READ content.

In my field there are busy business professionals that have expertise and wish to reciprocate knowledge to new users but because the hoops they have to
get thru for DISCOVERY of topics that they are suited — elude them, they shy away from participating, having to cognitively filter the lists as it is currently presented to them.


Sincerely Stephen

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If IPS really wanted to go the whole hog and be way ahead of the other forums then an optional VNC wide screen mode browsing view would be fantastic. What I mean is many of us now have wide screen monitors. On the left had side of the screen in one frame is new 3.2 VNC results. On the right hand side loaded in another frame is topic / post that was selected from the VNC results. Clicking on a different topic on the left hand side displays this on the right hand side. Sure you can set this up now but it's pretty clunky and you have to keep opening and closing new windows.

The attached is what I mean.

3DKiwi

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Sure you can set this up now but it's pretty clunky and you have to keep opening and closing new windows.



No you don't, I just tried this out. You open View New Content on a browser window on the left and then drag the topic link or "New Post" link over to the window on the right and it opens up. Just tried this in Firefox and Chrome. No need to open and close new windows at all.

..Al
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Stephen - Wow!! Very impressive. That makes our current VNC look like a toy. I love how you can step back day by day. Also the no replies is awesome.

I like how you have a "My content" tab in there. Why IPB hides this on the top right drop down is beyond me.

Atariage - cool. I never knew that. I've just been using it to browse new content.

3DKiwi

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I like how you have a "My content" tab in there. Why IPB hides this on the top right drop down is beyond me.


Agreed, I have a "My Content" link right next to "View New Content" on my forum (and have had this ever since switching to IP.Board--before 3.1 I had modified the forum to add this query, since it wasn't stock).

..Al
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I hope you all enjoy this, they say a picture is worth a 1000 words I sincerely hope a video is worth more!



This is my sincerest humble request :)



http://screencast.com/t/ieMNXlf5dE



I really wish IPBs next implementation of VNC nails it dead on - the past months since my conversion attrition rate is increasing


because features like this have been missing - and many posts go un-replied to because they nature of how people READ content.



In my field there are busy business professionals that have expertise and wish to reciprocate knowledge to new users but because the hoops they have to


get thru for DISCOVERY of topics that they are suited

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I hope you all enjoy this, they say a picture is worth a 1000 words I sincerely hope a video is worth more!



This is my sincerest humble request :)



http://screencast.com/t/ieMNXlf5dE



I really wish IPBs next implementation of VNC nails it dead on - the past months since my conversion attrition rate is increasing


because features like this have been missing - and many posts go un-replied to because they nature of how people READ content.



In my field there are busy business professionals that have expertise and wish to reciprocate knowledge to new users but because the hoops they have to


get thru for DISCOVERY of topics that they are suited

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I understand, but why not list all content (new + unread + read) and highligh unread content from the list?


That's very user-friendly and easy to work with, because every topic is there.



At the moment, if you select VNC and read some topics, when you select VNC again they disappear from the list ... people need to go to todays active content to find it and most don't know this.


Please make and option like this.




You can already do this as mentioned in 3.1 by selecting Today's Active Content. We have merged this with the 3.2 VNC screen so you have those options to hand.
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Matt - any comments on Stephen's video?

http://screencast.com/t/ieMNXlf5dE

As far as I can see by the VNC 3.2 screen grab in the blog the basic functionality is more or less the same as now. The only difference being how it looks and making filters etc a lot more obvious and easier to find and use. Stephens video demonstrates enhancements that go beyond this.

3.2 VNC is an improvement but I think many of us are hoping for a bit more.

3DKiwi

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I did watch the screen grab but I think that much of that functionality is already present in 3.2.

I don't accept the opinion that you should be able to retain 'state' in a single browser page by clicking from VNC to a topic and then back to VNC and expect it to retain your page status. VNC is a display of information, it is not intended to be interactive. Do what most people do and load up the topics in new browser tabs.

VNC has the ability to show you *just* the unread items (lots want this) or *all* new items and will show you what is unread and what is read.

This is clearly labeled in 3.2:
"Content I have not read" - Shows you topics you have not read. Once you read the last page, it is marked as read and vanishes from the list
"New since my last visit" - Shows you topics new since you last visited. Once you read the last page, it is marked as read BUT remains on the page.

I think this fulfils the purpose of VNC.

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these 2 posts contradict each other.




How so? In my first post I describe the two basic 'states' VNC can encompass (viewing all unread content, and viewing all content since your last visit). In my second post I said we don't intend to make VNC show every topic ever made on the board with topic markers next to them.

While a feature like that may be neat somewhere else in IPB (in a future version), it is not appropriate for VNC, because it's not showing "new" content in any way. It's showing "all" content, with topic markers.



I never said any thing about all content. Not really sure where that is coming from.


Say I have been gone 3 months and click on view new content. What will it show me? According to what bfarber is saying it sounds like it will only show a few weeks of new content but I have been gone 3 months what about the ones going back to when I was last on?


Now say I view a few of those posts and go back to view new posts those that I viewed are now gone so I loose my place, this is not a good thing but describes exactly why we need highlighting. Hightlighting might be the wrong word but you could use the system that is already build in like I mentioned before in the topic view.




VNC does not just show a few weeks. I'm not sure where you gathered that from? It can optionally show you content that you have not yet read (based on your topic markers - i.e. if it shows unread in a forum, it should show unread up in VNC), or it can show you content posted since your last visit (so if you were gone for 3 months, it would show all updated content in the last 3 months).



We have some further ideas for search, VNC, and My Content we're continuing to implement and improve upon. Everyone here saw some screenshots of the VNC interface. Please understand that the interface, and the actual functionality, are two different things. While we are glad we have revealed the interface because we have garnered a lot of feedback (that we are acting upon), please understand that the interface reveal will not encompass everything the final result can do.

In the meantime, please do continue to provide suggestions and ideas. Of course we can't (and wouldn't want to) incorporate them ALL, but there have been plenty of suggestions put forth that we do agree would be nice to incorporate, and will do our best to do so.
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