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#1
fraser

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Hey all,

I've got a beef with the way the forums are laid out. Please hear me out, I've been coming here for a couple of years now, so I'm not a newbie screaming THIS IS TEH SUXORS! :lol:

Anyway, I've just gotten M2000, which is a Pocket PC phone. This means I've moved over to the other side of Modaco. However, I'm finding the way that the Pocket PC side of thing has been "crowbarred" in is awkard and unwieldy. Currently, the forums are laid out as follows:
Help/
        General
        Smartphone
        Pocket PC

News/
        General
        Smartphone
        Pocket PC  
and so on.

Now, none of the internal forums bear any relationship to those around it. It's purely a visual representation; the fact that the two OS specific sections in each area in are IN the same area means nothing. Except for one thing; you can get an intermediate screen showing you what forums have unread posts. Which is pointless when you don't care about all of the other forums in that section!

Here's something I think is a little better:
General/
             News
             Help
             
Smartphone/
             Help
             Software
             News

PocketPC/
             ....
and so on.

Now, here are the advantages to this approach:

- You can restrict searches of the site to a particular OS. Right now this is not possible, so if you have a Pocket PC query, you can either search the whole site and get a lot of irrelevant links about Smartphones (and vice-versa), or you can search each of the areas individually.

- You can go to a page that shows all of the forums that are relevant to you. On this page you can see the last posts, unread post counts etc.

Currently, keeping up with the PocketPC forums means I have to jump about all over the place, I'm sure others are finding the same thing. I remember the old days were all forums could be viewed on one screen, and it was fairly easy to keep up with everything that was going on.

Thoughts anyone?

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#2
PaulOBrien

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I'm totally open to suggestions... what are everyone else's thoughts?

P

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#3
awarner

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The thing with the layout as it is, is that it's the same format as the original MoDaCo. While the suggestion above has it's good posint it would mean doubling the main sections layout ie two lots of Main, Software, and Help and Advice.
One of the reasons of having the new site was to combine all Windows Mobile devices together rather than having two seperate forums.
Also normally most searches are done by specific section ie Tanager or Canary etc.

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#4
fraser

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The thing with the layout as it is, is that it's the same format as the original MoDaCo. While the suggestion above has it's good posint it would mean doubling the main sections layout ie two lots of Main, Software, and Help and Advice.


Which would be a good thing. If you have a Smartphone, the areas of the PocketPC have no relevance to you. You'd still want to have shared areas for Main etc, especially for folk who don't know which type to go for.

Oh, and it looks as though the next OS is coming out now or in the very near future. This one (IIRC) is designed to be the same OS on Smarphones/PocketPCs, however in real terms it's a whole new OS and I'd doubt existing applications would be relevant. Nor will the settings, the hacks, the home screens etc. Be expected to triple up all of the above in the next few months!

One of the reasons of having the new site was to combine all Windows Mobile devices together rather than having two seperate forums.


Which is a good aim. However, they don't have to be in the same sections! I don't know how fine-grained your usage stats are, but I'd bet that the vast majority of the users only hit one forum in each section. It's just not user friendly at all, having to jump back to the (large) "forums" page to jump to your "software" section. The site is too big now, you just can't stay on top of all the forums, so you have to limit your time to a few relevant ones.

Also normally most searches are done by specific section ie Tanager or Canary etc.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>


Is this from usage stats, or just how you do it? Either way, this will have come about because there is no other way to search. If I wanted to find help on e.g. WiFi on the Pocket PC, I could:

a) search all forums and have to sift through many posts on the smartphone (most of them mine! :roll: ) to find any for the Pocket PC. Then I'd have to make sure of course that they were the 2003 edition, but that's another problem altogether!

:lol: search help & advice (pocket pc) then main (pocket pc) then software (pocket pc)

You can never rely on users getting the correct forum, so you have to look in them all. On the other hand, you can usually expect them to get the correct device type at the very least.

I'd much rather be able to search all Pocket PC topics in one go. As it is now, the search is not very fruitful and I tend to hit google first now for any query. Often it sends me back here!

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#5
PaulOBrien

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Actually, when doing a search, you can select multiple forums to search in, so you could select all the PPC ones, and do the search.

I will think about how to improve it tho...

P

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#6
fraser

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Ah, now that's neat, never thought of trying ctrl-selecting them. Can you edit the template for the search page to perhaps mention that? It's not immediately obvious, mouse-modifiers on webpages are quite rare.

Still, I do think it would be a lot more co-ordinated if the main groups were split into the OS grouping.

Is it possible to have the same forum show up in the same section? You could create a two flavour approach, where there is a Smartphone "forum" page, and Pocket PC one. Then the general groups that are shared appear on both, but each has it's own "private" forums. Or, is this going against the idea of having one shared site?

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