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Make using attachments more user friendly

Michael R

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Are your members like mine? Always confused? Constantly complaining that your site doesn't work they way they expect it to?

One of the biggest challenges I have on my site is its user friendliness (or unfriendliness) when it comes to inserting images in posts. We have Gallery and I allow my members unlimited space. Yet, I am constantly explaining the difference between attachments and gallery images. I've created step-by-step tutorials, videos, and I even spend time on the phone with my members helping them to upload an image to their album and then insert it into a post. As a marketing guy, this tells me two things: (1) posting pictures is a big deal to members (thank you social media) and (2), the user interface is not intuitive.

Like it or not, a big part of Facebook's appeal is how simple it is to upload and post pictures. It seems that's what most folks care about these days and the major reason membership participation is down from past years -- at least on my site anyway.

Don't get me wrong; IPS 4 is a huge improvement in this area, but it's still confusing for the majority of my members.

What is most clear to me, is that members expect uploading images to a post to work like Google+, Facebook, or for that matter, even email. They expect to be able to just drag and drop or use the attachment feature to insert images. The current method is just too confusing. I posted in another thread how my members are using attachments in the description field to upload the image they think they are inserting into an album They don't get it.


I would like to see profile pictures, cover photos, and attachments work like Facebook. Push these items to some sort of album. I realize not everyone purchases Gallery, but can't there be some sort of "mini album" feature for members without Gallery? In marketing we call this an up-sell opportunity. ;)

If the customer does have Gallery, you could have a "profiles" and "forum posts" album as default starter albums. Give the user the ability to move pictures to other (or newly created) albums.

Thanks for listening.



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Vb does some interesting things in this regard. Have a look at my post here.



Also you bring up an interesting point. I forgot about the need to make IPB work without gallery. UGH.. That might be what is holding things back from working intuitively. 

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  • 5 weeks later...
14 minutes ago, bassangler said:

Absolutely agree!  I can't even begin to the count the number of "Please help me post a picture" PM's and posts I get!  It's aweful.  And with no "help" section nor tutorial available, it's a nightmare to deal with the constant stream of pleas for help.

Not to discredit the greater point, but you could post a tutorial on your site. Might be something worth considering.

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I agree.

In my opinion, admin should be able to choose if uploaded attachments are also uploaded to a members gallery album automatically.
This would also remove the need for the "My attachments" page, link would take you to your personal gallery instead.

I have always been missing a block that shows all latest images on site, not only in the gallery.
With the system uploading to a personal gallery album, even that would be sorted without a new block since all images goes into the gallery.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 2 weeks later...

I would like to reiterate my support of a larger rethink of attachments as well, on multiple fronts:

Viewing Attachments: This continues to be a concern of mine, as my IP.Board is highly image-centric yet the display of images is a sore point for me.  

  •  Default display of attachments - the vertical display leads to a very long, long, long page as each image is on its own line.  I even did some cat memes on this.  This might be an easy solution for mobile, but there ought to be a more elegant approach that offers a more condensed view.  I like vBulletin's approach shown by @superj707
  • Quoting post with attachments - I would encourage IPS to look to XenForo in this regards, as they show enough of the quote for reference, but it's condensed to save space.  When my members quote a previous post with 20 images, the forum topic becomes unnecessarily long. 

Editing / Deleting Attachments

  • Global deletion versus more fine-tuned controls.  Deleting a content item in forum discussion can break the entire flow of the discussion, but deleting a standalone image in a gallery album is far less critical.

Uploading Attachments

  • Uploading in the Editor: The upload bar in the editor could use a minor UIX refresh, as "Drag files here" is not necessarily distinct enough from "Insert other media." They both kind of mean ... "add stuff." Perhaps the choices for "Insert other media" can be iconized in the editor toolbar for "My Media" and "Insert from URL."    
  • Uploading in IP.Gallery: I've expressed multiple points of how bad the uploading to IP.Gallery is.  You can't cancel the upload process, you can't batch select during the upload process, you're not notified of the 100 image limit until after the fact, etc etc. 

Storing Attachments

  • I feel like "My Media" can be better and more strongly emphasized in IPS v4, with User Albums automatically created by upload date / time.  This is an approach that gracefully consolidate and organizes a user's media across multiple apps.

Privacy of Attachments

  • You know, the whole friends vs followers debate. 

Sweeping Attachments

  • Above and beyond storing attachments in User Albums, I am hoping that one-day IPS will take full advantage of being able to cross-promote / 'sweep' attachments and files from one content item into another app.  For example, the image attachments from an IP.Board topic can "sweep" into an IP.Gallery category.

How attachments are used, viewed, stored, and everything else right now in IPS v4 is not "bad."  But it's not "great" either.  Attachments are fundamental to the entire community / board experience and are impacted from multiple perspectives, so I hope IPS comprehensively re-evaluates and improves its approach towards attachments.  

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  • 2 weeks later...

My major issue with images/attachments is how they are handled when you attach them to a post. If you don't include them manually, they are included as full size images. It makes for very long and huge posts. I would prefer if attachments were included as thumbnails, if you don't insert them in a post manually.

There is also no option to link images or albums from the gallery to your post. Not just your own images/albums but also to alert other users to a great image/album someone else posted.

I think in general IPS could do more for the suite as a whole to make it more of a community. Individual apps are still very separated and don't have enough options to share content between apps.

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  • 6 months later...

Good discussion.  Don't forget that there is value in being able to "segregate" images based upon the app they came from, since any way of segregating and organizing them is better than one continuous list of hundreds or thousands of images -- when it comes to finding and reusing them;  I already have over 2,000 attached images to 'page" through, and I'm in the process of republishing 1500 pages (now records in Pages) of content imported from Wordpress -- that includes another 7500 images.  Imagine trying to page through and find images in one list of almost 10,000 images

We certainly need to be able to segregate and organize images (media in general) into categories, folders, albums or something -- rather than one huge list.... Here's my related topic making that point:


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  • Management

We agree there's tremendous value in an improved and centralized media management center of sorts and it is something we're looking closely at. I unfortunately do not have an ETA at this time, but I would expect you will see improvements in 4.2. 

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