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The new design story

Monday 30 August 2010 5:33:44 pm

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The share.ez.no team is striving to make our Community portal a killer tool for all of us. A major step in this direction was just made real : a brand new design, and brand new features ! Read on folks !

 

“The honeycomb looks 2000-ish”

Soon after the opening of this portal last November, a fair amount of the received feedback (thanks for this peeps) expressed concerns about the design and ergonomics (read more here). The first weeks/months of our “new community” initiative were busy creating the share.ez.no team, organizing the Winter Conference in Geneva, getting the communication to flow between community members, crafting the Community Program and resuming the tutorial edition activity. Once this all started flowing smoothly, the share.ez.no team decided to focus on revamping the portal’s design, layout, usability, and launched a design contest.

 

A rush of ambitious designers

With up to 15 registered participants taking the challenge of producing a quite big design in 1.5 months (extremely short design for such an amount of work), coming from the eZ Community but also from the outside (the share.ez.no team had spread the word in designers communities), we were on the way of getting something great out of the contest. Robin & the team ran the contest : relation with the contestants, answering their questions, and updating the community now and then, here and there.

 

Two wonderful submissions

In the end, the two most courageous knights were :

with two wonderful submissions. As detailed here, it was tough to determine which design would face-lift the eZ Publish Community portal. The community rated them, and the site’s team scrutinized every part of them, matching them against the initial requirements. XVision’s design turned out to be slightly ahead of Zwebb’s. By this time started the implementation phase.

 

Hands-on for one intensive month...

...right back from the eZ Conference, working along with Netgen (@netgentweets, special kudos to @periklo) for transforming the PSDs into HTML+CSS, and myself hacking the eZ Publish parts, trying hard to meet the July 21st deadline. A fair amount of efforts later, the ‘/new’ URL was opened as secondary platform, for everybody to test and send feedback (thanks for the feedback, by the way :) ).
On Tuesday, August 24th the main design was replaced by the new one, by the end of the afternoon (Paris time). The average thickness of the polish layer was considered ok, was time to make “it” happen. You are currently viewing the new design :)

 

The icing on the cake : new features

Forums

While a brand new ergonomy is brought by the new design on this part, a bunch of new features also popped up in the last months :

 

Solving topics

Mark your topics as solved when you got an appropriate answer (details here)

 

Topic statuses

Now that you know how to mark your topics as solved, let’s explore the other possible statuses for a forum topic, and where they are shown. A forum topic can be :

  • Sticky
  • Unanswered
  • Solved (we know that one already)

A sticky topic is one which will stay at the top of a forum’s topics list, being considered by the forum admins as of a special importance. It looks like this :

Sticky topic

An unanswered topic is a topic on which you should click and try to post an answer : no one did so far :) It looks like this :

Unanswered topic

 

Full width forums

Per many requests from active forum users, you can now read a forum topic full-width instead of having a right-column. Try the Shrink/Expand button :

Full width forums

 

Related forum topics

When browsing the forums, it may be useful to be guided from a given topic to other, related topics. eZ Find and its “More like this” feature now let you do this. Clicking the “Related forum topics” on a forum topic shows semantically related threads :

Related forum topics

 

Moderation

It occurred that the forums got suddenly spammed. The share.ez.no team was not systematically around. We then decided to setup a collaborative forum moderation system. A moderation team was built, mostly populated with the moderators of the former community forums on ez.no. You can join if you feel like it : drop an email to community@ez.no. Any non-moderator can mark a topic or reply as “Inappropriate” (this means that it does not comply with the Etiquette and usage guidelines ).

Inappropriate content

The moderation team is instantly notified, they open the moderation dashboard, and can decide to moderate (hide) the concerned piece of content. After a fair amount of clicks, by different non-moderator users, on the “Mark as inappropriate” button, the piece of content will be moderated. The moderation team then double checks if this was fair or not.

 

Permalinks

For easier reference, all forum replies do have a permanent link :

Permalinks

 

Revamped forums home page

This page should let you, at a glance, see the available forum categories ( Install & Configuration, Setup & Design, General, etc.. ) with a small description for each (this helps you find the best place to post to), see the latest activity per forum category, the most active users, this month, per category.
Basically, in 4 strokes on the space bar, you are updated on what happens and where !

 

More languages supported in the <literal> tag

One sometimes need to share snippets of code in various languages. Now, when editing in the eZ Online Editor, clicking the “Insert literal text” button lets you choose from :

  • PHP
  • eZ Template language
  • eZ INI
  • SQL
  • Bash/Shell
  • Javascript
  • XML

Literal text

 

Better quoting

Quoting others is also useful, this helps keep a natural flow in a discussion. You can do so in two ways. The first one is to click the “Quote” button on a forum topic or reply :

Quoting from buttons

The second option is when you are editing a post in the Online Editor, clicking the “Custom tag” button, and selecting “Quote” from the dropdown, as shown here :

Quoting from eZOE

 

Embed youtube videos

The previous screenshot shows you that embedding Youtube videos is possible. May be helpful sometimes.

 
 

Search

eZ Find is finally decently used, letting you use the search function, facet-drilldown navigation, spellcheck and highlighting : search for ez find. Please note that opensearch is supported, this means that when using Firefox or Chrome you can perform search directly from your address bar or search bar.

 

Twitter

Follow @ezcommunity to stay in touch with the eZ Community activity. Every new forum topic, blog post or tutorial will be advertised on ezcommunity’s timeline.

 
 

Looking ahead, with an even more powerful team

The big challenge of revamping our community portal being done, it is time to look for other cool things to do together. We were happy to welcome 4 new members in the share.ez.no team :

The non exhaustive list of things the team could tackle is :

  • Migrating share.ez.no to eZ 4.4
  • Migrating projects.ez.no to eZ 4.4
  • Merging projects and share
  • Simple process for team-reviewing tutorial proposals

We will soon have a meeting discussing all this, prioritizing and planning a bit. We are open to all suggestions, so feel free to tell us, as comments under this post for instance !

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