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Thread: Consultation on changes to the site.

  1. #1
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    Default Consultation on changes to the site.

    VideoForums uses a version of software which is set for a major new release. In anticipation of this release, we have been holding off any major implementation of site changes, including a site redesign. This includes an overhaul of the articles and guides section, and a decision on whether to maintain these sections. Specifically, the new software will integrate a Content Management System (CMS) with the forum in a way not previously achieved. This will enable users to interact on a more detailed way with news and articles published.

    In preperation for these changes, I would like to initially invite you all to comment freely on all kinds of changes you'd like to see. Whether that be more articles (paid or otherwise), comments on the userability of the site, or input into design. Please reply within this thread. I will then collate the responses and prepare a list of changes and a timescale for their implementation.

    All comments are welcome. This is likely to be a lengthy process (although noy a radical change) and I want to ensure everyone has an input into the future direction of the site.

  2. #2

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    More current hardware reviews would be a good idea. I think they are a good way to bring new people to the forum and they are also useful for existing members.

    Also the FAQ forum questions such as "What camera should I buy" etc. If there could be some way to point new visitors to these items so we don't get a repeat of the same question being asked over and over.

    To be honest I mostly use the forum and very rarely visit the other parts of the site.

    Thanks for putting it here.

  3. #3

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    OK, I'm very new here, but a few of my thoughts....

    I found the site through the articles, but many of them are quite dated. The same with the news section, with the most up-to-date item being over a year old!
    I am surprised that such a good forum is not CMS based already, although I appreciate that it does involve a lot of work. (The changeover that is. Once completed the site should be easier to manage without so much workload and many more tasks can be delegated. You do seem to have an excellent core of 'regulars' who would possibly be prepared to take on some of the tasks.)

    For a site based on a graphical hobby, it is somewhat bland in it's appearance, with a distinct lack of visuals in those news/articles sections.

    As Midnight says, current equipment reviews do drive traffic to a site, and with the decent Googlerank you already have, it should not be too difficult to get review units from UK importers. The time to review them is another matter though!!

    Whether that be more articles (paid or otherwise),
    You've lost me a bit there! Is there a part of the site that is paid for and that I've missed (If so it needs better advertising!) or do you mean paid authors?
    If you are going to pay authors, there is a lot more scope for advertising on the site than the simple googleads that appear now, and no-one in this day and age is going to grumble about a few ads spoiling the site (are you, Guys?)
    The folks mentioned in the paragraph above could always donate a bit!

    The FAQ mentioned by Midnight (especially the 'what camera should i buy' one) is possibly a waste of time, as most newbies never read them before they post, and those that do won't find the exact answer they want, so post anyway! With the recent advances in technology being so rapid, it would also be a nightmare to keep up to date.

    I think userability and usability are two different things, but I get your meaning. Navigation is the key to any successful site and a good look at it can reap dividends.
    For example, recent activity. A dedicated page, rather than the five examples on the front page, would enable, for example, evening visitors to see everything that has gone on that day rather than just the seven posts currently. Then a link to that page at the bottom of each forum page would help them get back to it quickly. As it is, I have to scroll back to the top of the thread/page where there is a line of smaller text that enables it!

    I would like to initially invite you all to comment freely on all kinds of changes you'd like to see.
    You did ask!
    Last edited by IanA; 11-02-2009 at 08:15 PM.

  4. #4
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    A quick response to some of your questions
    • Everything outside of the forums is held within a CMS, which was implemented about 3 years ago.
    • For a page of unread posts, click on the New Posts link at the top of the forums. This will display a list of posts you haven't read. http://www.videoforums.co.uk/search.php?do=getnew
    • Userability was a typo!
    • The site is based on a free to view policy for all content. I don't think there's a market for paid content, but I am happy to pay pay people for writing articles
    • When I had the site designed a few years ago, part of the brief was to avoid graphical content. This is one area whereI am looking for feedback.
    • Unfortunately I lack the technical savy to review hardware. I am from a finance background: video editing is very much a hobby, paid for by my 'real' life. Again, I would positively encourage people to review both software and hardware I can blag for review.
    • I am not looking to increase advertsing revenue, which currently covers the cost of hosting and maintaining the site and software. The site sits on a dedicated server in the docklands.
    • I once included a donation button when advertising revenue took a nose dive and I was losing money. I recieved some very welcome donations and one complaint. I am pleased to say that I have not had to accept a donation for some time.

  5. #5

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    Thanks for that Marc.

    I hadn't spotted the 'New Posts' link, but it is still not a 'Recent Activity' as it doesn't include posts you have read! Picky aren't I!

    I personally believe that news and articles need graphics/images to help convey the message as well as break up large blocks of text. Just my opinion though!

    I'm glad you have your costs covered. Sorry, I wasn't trying to tell you how to run the site, just trying to justify my ramblings!

  6. #6
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    With a rather sad number of posts to my name, I'm somewhat ashamed to say I never delve into any reaches of DD beyond the forums and blogs.
    I came here as a fairly new user of Vegas for support and found many of the questions I wanted to ask already covered in existing threads. That was why I came.
    I've extended that into (I hope) helping others with Vegas and using the User Videos section to learn about making films.
    And I enjoy a bit of banter to boot.
    I can't really see me extending my usage of the site beyond the forum.
    News? Well, what news might I be interested in? On-line developments (such as new video review sites) get covered in the forums anyway. If I was looking to buy new hardware, I'd do my research on sites which are likely to go into more depth than even paid authors are likely to here. I would then use the forums to ask real people their real life experiences with said hardware.
    Software updates would be covered (in my case) in the Vegas forum.

    As someone who's already here, I'd just find more graphics an annoying nuisance. Sure - use a screen grab or a pic to demonstrate something as at present - a picture paints etc, but please let's not get all artsy.

    There again, I'm someone who still holds on to the belief that an email sig should be a maximum of four lines and web pages are meant to define content and not layout.
    Tim

  7. #7
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    All comments below are intended as constructive criticism

    I am pleased to hear that the site is self funding although I guess your not being compensated for your time in maintaining it. If your are then that's great if your not then thank you for what your providing. I have often made donations to sites when they have been low on funds but I have only ever paid for one forum. Actually the forum was free but most people using it seemed to have paid the subscription to gain access to various bits that could be downloaded.

    I actually found that incredibly restricting in the end. The people running the site also wrote books and many of the posts to the forum were answered along the lines that the answer is in the book. I bailed out at that point.

    I came here to get feedback on my films and to feedback to others in return. I occasionally dip into the Adobe forum but don't do or get much from there. I am glad its there though.

    Some thoughts on the various sections of DD

    Forums

    The real heart of the site. Its not the easiest to use by a long way. Thanks for pointing out the New Posts button. I have looked for that button but missed it, thats because it is so weedy. We need a big fat mother of a new posts button, right in yer face please.

    Also when I dive into a post I want big fat buttons that says next/previous post please. I know they are at the bottom and show the title of the previous and next post but again they are to weedy and I would rather they just said Next/Previous. Yep I am picky too

    Stats

    I almost never bother to look at the information contained within the top stats area. It does not provide any useful function because it is too small to show any more than a limited period of activity. I would vote for that to disappear.

    General discussion area

    I still think the Just for fun section needs to be renamed to something that makes it a casual place where you can talk about anything you like with other users. I think it puts off a lot of posters in its current form.

    I would like to see a new section just for competitions and take it out of General discussion. I would drop the 'off topic' from the forum announcements section.

    On a general point I would present forum sections on the web page in the order of there popularity (judged by postings) from highest to lowest.

    Pimp the link - I hate the title but thats just me. I would not bother with the youtube subsection and just roll it into one.

    The viewing room

    Bring the video of the month hall of fame and the video of the month sections next to each other.

    Adults only - I have no problem with a bit of smut but I would change this if possible so that the last person to have a dabble is not left with there name against the post for all to see. It might get a bit more used then

    The rest of the forum seems fine to me.

    Blogs - News

    They dont seem to work

    Guides

    This could have real potential for pulling in the punters and it was guides that got me to pay for a subscription in another place. However, written guides are not a patch on video guides. If there were a series of guides that took you through the basics of using the top three software packages then I would imagine the traffic would increase significantly. Some of those may then migrate to the User videos section and would certainly use the support sections. Do you have the space to host such content ?

    Links - Videography -
    Ok

    FAQ

    Getting seriously dated but then again its a bloody lot of work to keep it alive. I would recommend that each forum help section has its own sticky FAQ which is maintained at the discretion of a willing moderator. That would cut down the workload and be a much more target focussed help resource.

    Downloads

    OK


    Last but not least I want to see a much bigger selection of smilies. I really want to see this forum go from strength to strength so once again thanks for putting it here and keep up the good work mate.
    Last edited by Shrimpfarmer; 11-03-2009 at 10:35 AM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shrimpfarmer View Post
    Thanks for pointing out the New Posts button. I have looked for that button but missed it, thats because it is so weedy. We need a big fat mother of a new posts button, right in yer face please.
    I believe that much of the layout is down to the software used and there's not a lot Marc can do about that other than switch functions on and off.
    Tim

  9. #9
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    You could well be right Tim about software limitations. I don't know if the software allows for different themes and layouts?

    I would also like to see a way to mark all threads as read in a particular forum area. This link below is the forum software that I first used and grew to love. I guess we all have our favourites.

    Flying Sites - FORUM - Index


    Edit
    -----


    Belay that request to be able to mark posts as read. It was hiding in the forum tools drop down menu.
    Last edited by Shrimpfarmer; 11-04-2009 at 10:05 AM.

  10. #10
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    As in politics, you get loud complaints from the dissatisfied but those who are quite happy tend to be quiet.

    I like the site. I find the blue "folders" tell me which sections have been added to since I last looked and the "Latest Posts" give me a clue about what's currently hot.
    The layout is easy on the eye and easy to understand. I'm not a flashy bells, whistles and graphics kinda guy and, if I'm on location with a laptop and wireless connection I don't want to wait hours for each page to load. Keep It Simple.

    The bottom line is... If the site continued without any changes I'd be happy.

    Could do with a few more tits 'n' bums tho'

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