Forums

Dear Mark and Mike

I am staring to navigate around the new site. One initial observation is that it is not clear how visitors should give you feedback about the site or other matters. The old site invited emails to Mike by name, but I cannot spot this option now.

Also it might be useful to have a Tag for "Conflict", as several of your podcasts helpfully address this.

Very best wishes

David

 

 

 

 

tlhausmann's picture

I miss the 'All Posts Since Last Visit' link.

It will take us all a bit of time to adjust to the new look.

TomW's picture

In general, I'm finding it a lot harder to navigate the forums and figure out what posts are new. I have no idea how to mark all the posts read so they stop showing up as new. I haven't found the forum settings for signatures, viewing options, etc. either.

Is there documentation for the new forum?

tlhausmann's picture

When running IE v6 on a PC the pull down menus for 'Podcast' ,'Blog', 'Community', etc. do not work. The menus work fine in Firefox on a PC.

mauzenne's picture

Thanks all for the comments and suggestions -- very much appreciated.

We'll certainly take a look and work toward addressing any usability issues.  Some should be fairly straight-forward; others we'll need to work harder on!

 

Best Regards,
Mike

jael's picture

Can I give you some feedback?

I'm glad to hear that you're planning to address that since right now, while the site itself is very shiny, sparkly and organized, the entire forum and the blog replies have significant usability issues.  A few right off the top of my head are:

- Difficult to see new posts easily since there's no "View new posts since last visit" functionality in the forum

- No ability to quote from earlier response

- Responses for both the forum and blog are not coming through in the RSS feed

- Poster's identity is not immediately apparent as the username is buried in light-colored text and there are no avatars

- No spell check functionality

I moderate a 25k+ member forum on the Lithium platform and administrate a 30k+ member forum on phpBB both of which average around 300 posts/day, so I understand how difficult it is to choose a platform and configuration format to suit everyone's needs and to get those users to accept the new format.  We moved one forum from O'Reilly's old Webboard platform, and now we are trying to migrate from phpBBv2 to phpBBv3.  It's not easy.  I can safely say, however, that my users would hunt me down with pitchforks and torches if I moved them to this forum format.  My traffic would drop significantly.

What can you do differently?

 

bug_girl's picture

Personally, I'm *really* missing the avatars. I recognize them more than the actual names.

Since we are visual animals cued to face/image recognition, I find it really helpful in knowing who I'm "talking" to.

In the next round of fixes, can we please have avatars back?

Thanks!

jhack's picture

It'll take a few days, navigating, posting comments, and the like, to get used to this new site.  

Changes in navigation will be confusing, even if the new nav paths are in fact better.

New colors, logos, images and layouts will be jarring, even if they're more pleasing to someone unfamiliar with the old.

We'll quickly grow accustomed to the new site.  Look for the positives (Hey, new posts at the TOP of the discussion - I like that!)

The new logo is more professional and abstract.   Orange is the new blue.

John Hack

 

PS: This is clearly a new software platform.  I'm guessing that the cutover was planned to match existing functionality.   The old system had reached its limit.   This new one will allow for additional features, which will be rolled out once it's stable. 

PierG's picture

In the forum I miss the 'show me all post from my last visit' and the 'show posts without an answer'. PierG http://pierg.wordpress.com

rwwh's picture

I have exactly the same problem. It used to be possible to update myself about all changes in a few minutes.

Great looks, though!

Darcy's picture

Mike and Mark,  I really like the new site and its design.  Thank you to all that were involved in this redesign, and all you have done for so many.

As someone who really enjoys the discussion forums, but does not visit as often as others I find it difficult to follow the flow of comments and thoughts from our esteemed members.  For example when a question or comment is posted, with the newest post at the top, the new posts often seem to come from left field as they are building on comments that have prevoiusly been made by other members.

Is there a way to reverse the order?

Happy Holidays and all the best to the MT Membership and their families.

Darcy

bffranklin's picture

Mark, Mike,

I, for one, by and large like the new look.  First reaction was that the front page was a little too colorful (the green login box just seems out of place), but that may just be a bit of a jarring transition.

One thing I would like to note is that the comment style on the forum mirrors the discussion style commonly found in comment threads or blogs, and is not at all within the paradigm or design pattern normally used for discussion boards.  This is distracting.  I also don't like that the design doesn't stretch to fit wider screens.  I have to scroll a ton to read the forums, whereas I could previously scan a lot of information spread over a wide screen.

jwtraylor's picture

It's modern, it's restrained, but eye-catching. Still some broken links to fix that I found, but overall love the new style. And the new iconography that goes with the podcasts is nice too. The play between the CT icon and the MT icon is smart and visually descriptive.

I was surprised that you didn't use a heavy-hitting forum software like UBB or vB. I think the one you went with looks an awful lot like the typical Comments section of a online newspaper, or like any Slashdot thread. Well, that's too harsh. Slashdot is totally unreadable, while the Comments section of an online newspaper is merely not as robust as a good forum should be. Maybe something to consider for the future.

Other than that, brilliant site redesign.

Cheers,
JW

Only thing left to fix is the intro song... :)

HMac's picture

I know I'm risking sounding like a whiner who doesn't like change, but please bear with me...

There were a lot of features in the old design that frequent visitors and posters enjoyed. Avatars, signature lines, # posts, date joined M-T were all part of the conversation (e.g., Members would note one another's "anniversary" dates, or posting milestones - like when jhack went over 1000 - compliment one another's avatars - and take note of the changes - etc, etc). This was all part of the "chatter", part of the personality of the place....

And we woke up one morning to find it had been changed. Yeah, that happens (change). And we all adapt; or we try, get frustrated, and move on. That's all part of the cycle.

But what surprised me was that the redesign was done with no visible understanding about how the community was actually operating, or what the frequent visitors liked and disliked. Just "Boom - here's a new look."

Yes, it's YOUR website. And it's YOUR brand. And it's YOUR money and time that support it. And I continue to love, admire, and be grateful for your content.

But it's OUR community - I contend that it belongs to everyone who reads, visits, comments, PM's, advises, and tries to help one another. That's the reality of our new web-enabled world.

And I can't help but feel like something unfortunate and unintended just happened: the delicate bonds of a community were broken apart, the way a hand sweeps away a spider web.

As I said at the top, I hope I'm not sounding like a whiner, or somebody who resists change. I have great admiration for how you're growing and extending the M-T brand. You've created a great resource, and I'm often referring colleagues and friends to the podcasts.

You guys rock.

-Hugh

royak74's picture

Hey guys,

Love the new look, although I'm gonna miss the old MT Logo. Something about the logo gave me the warm and fuzzies.

Nice work, and thanks for everything!

ROy

Norwood's picture

I'm getting errors... when trying to do a search on the forums, I get a database connection error, giving me a Drupal page... also when trying to post, I'm getting:

Warning: Lost connection to MySQL server during query query: INSERT INTO... etc etc.

Davis Staedtler's picture

Site looks great. Love the smooth, professional new look. I like having quick access to the products and the forums. Great job guys! Thank you for updating the #1 resource for leaders and managers worldwide.

-Davis

HMac's picture

A guy staring somewhat blankly at a computer represents the M-T brand?  Seems pretty passive.  Since you're about application/execution/action/effectiveness, you might be better off finding images that represent the application of great management...

margaret_winn's picture

When I clicked to the site, I thought "where am I???"

dragoon's picture

Is this another MT test? Like the juggling......

mauzenne's picture

jael,

All good points ... and certainly, as you recognize, there are trade-offs in the platform selection.  We'll certainly try to address them as we can.

Thanks,
Mike

ifindallas's picture

The new look is great, I particularly like the new logo a lot, but I do not quite understand the photo of the young guy.....is that Manager-Tools target audience?

I was under the impression that the typical MT listener/reader was a 35-55 year old manager in a big organization, in a suite and a tie (or business casual). When I first saw the picture, I thought I was in the wrong website! 

ashdenver's picture

- Difficult to see new posts easily since there's no "View new posts since last visit" functionality in the forum

Gotta say, I relied on that feature so much, you can't even begin to know. I'm completely lost and pretty well frustrated with the manual searching and such.

If we could only get one wish granted, it would be that the "view new since last visit" were restored posthaste.

At this point, I'm finding it entirely too bothersome to navigate around here. When I had the summary (BLUF!) of new threads / threads with new posts at a click (actually, that search was my saved-to-faves link), I could drop in, scan titles, poke my head into the ones that appealed to me and reply.

Now, it's an arduous task to suss out what's new, where, etc. With my day job (the one that pays me as a Manager now, thanks to the old MT forum format!), I don't have time to dig and poke around so I can forsee my participation here dropping dramatically. (Not that I was terribly prolific but I did get quite good information from MANY of the long-time posters here.)

mauzenne's picture

And to be clear, I'm talking about finding solutions in days, not months.

Mike

mauzenne's picture

ashdenver,

Understood ... we'll work on getting something better for everyone. In the meantime, notice the [Recent Comments] on the right sight of the *Blog* or other pages DOES contain ALL new comments (from the blog OR the forums).

Yes, I realize you can't see it on the forums page where it would be most useful. However, until we get something better, it should help a bit.

Believe me, I've heard everyone loud and clear. Providing a better solution is on top of the list.

Mike

steppek's picture

Norwood, again, sorry about the errors. It should be resolved now.

mauzenne's picture

Hugh,

Thanks for your frankness. I understand and appreciate your comments, but to suggest that we didn't think at all about the community (we're active ourselves) hurts more than you can know. I'll reflect on that for a while.

Rather than responding point by point, I'll just say that we'll work hard to restore that which folks valued. The most significant feature we get on the site is increased flexibility. All I'll I ask is that you give us some time to "tweak" the site a bit. In the end, I think you'll find the new features we'll roll out valuable and worth the pain. Time will tell.

Sorry for the frustration we've obviously caused you. It certainly wasn't intended.

Mike

mauzenne's picture

Darcy,

There is a way to reverse the order.  However, for those who DO frequent the forums quite often, seeing the latest at the top is useful.  I'm not sure how to address both sets of users at the same time.

Mike

jael's picture

Mike: "I'm not sure how to address both sets of users at the same time."

Getting the replies flowing the in the RSS feed again would be a good start.

garyslinger's picture

Can we do it per user?

G.

mauzenne's picture

Gary

We're looking into that. I assume you would like to see the order change as well?

To be frank, I'm not so sure Mark liked the current order as well. Given that he's a fairly frequent poster, perhaps the current order is not so great after all. ;-)

Mike

garyslinger's picture

Mike:

Yes, I'm for the old order; no doubt I'll learn to live with this if it comes to that, but I've always preferred forum reading to be "normal reading", that is, top to bottom.

It's the RSS delay/change that's killing me at the moment - I'm not sure if that's at my end or not though, so I'm still looking in to it.

Thanks - and, I *do* like the new layout in general. Good stuff, and continuing "good luck!".

Gary

garyslinger's picture

Mike:

Yes, I'm for the old order; no doubt I'll learn to live with this if it comes to that, but I've always preferred forum reading to be "normal reading", that is, top to bottom.

It's the RSS delay/change that's killing me at the moment - I'm not sure if that's at my end or not though, so I'm still looking in to it.

Thanks - and, I *do* like the new layout in general. Good stuff, and continuing "good luck!".

Gary

HMac's picture

Mike,

Please look carefully at the words I used in my post - I didn't mean to imply that you didn't think about it. I'm sure you thought about it. And I certainly tried not to make any comments that would hurt.

In the future, I'll be more careful with my umbrella. Sorry.

You guys rock.

-Hugh

royak74's picture

Hey guys,

Love the new look, although I'm gonna miss the old MT Logo. Something about the logo gave me the warm and fuzzies.

Nice work, and thanks for everything!

ROy

cwhite's picture

The guy on the homepage looks a little like Bill Murray (actor). At least that's what I thought when I first saw it :)

TomW's picture

I've got to agree with Hugh.

The old format was truly a forum. It was facilitated discussion pretty well. It was easy to watch conversations and add to them. It was easy to stay involved in a thread for long periods of time, often recognizing avatars much easier than a small gray "submitted by" line on each post.

The new forum seems more like a blog, just with room to make comments. It really doesn't feel like a place to discuss anymore.

I think it may be from too strong an effort to make "the website" and "the forum" look alike.

After several days of trying to love the new format, I find myself pulling away from a community I loved because it's much harder to communicate now.

HMac's picture

Hey Tom:
Not to disagree with your points at all.

A couple of thoughts - 1)it might become more familiar once we start posting in the new forums. Maybe we just have to relearn some ways of doing things....2) I know Mike's all over this, and I'm sure that what we see today is going to evolve some...3) one one of the other threads a poster said something to Mike that I found very wise: he said that for the first 30 days, you're going to hear a lot of "it's not like it used to be comments". Ouch. I have to admit there's a little bit of that in my comments! So I'm going to chill out a little and watch what happens over the next 30 days.

-Hugh

Mark's picture

Here are my thoughts:

- We appreciate the comments. We're glad y'all feel comfortable with sharing your thoughts.

- I'd like to ask for some patience with us as we continue to do what we have done since the beginning: work to make the site better for you and for us.

- PLEASE don't confuse evolution with significant events. This is a significant event...but evolution is a MUCH more powerful force, both in general and here.

- Yes, it's harder to navigate in the forums right now...because it's right now. In my personal experience, when I use a tool, I get pretty good at using that tool. AND, I know that this is a new tool, and I will get better at it. So, for me, right now, I'm a little confused at times, and I am trying to avoid asking Mike to fix everything that I "don't like" or that "is different."

- I, too, miss the avatars, as an example...and in the beginning, ALMOST NO ONE used them.

- I miss spell check...so, a few of my posts will have misspellings..and few of our members care more about spelling than I do. If you've ever gotten a text message from me, you'll note that I spell out everything... any adult could read them. ;-)

- For those who liked the old logo, two things: We'd love to hear how you feel about the new one, and we'll publish the survey we did earlier this year shortly which says our logo was NOT helping and it needed a revamp. Crude and amateurish stand out as REPEATED comments. ;-) At least it's not a death star...and even Procter & Gamble has changed its logo several times, though always thematically aligned (just like Manager Tools!)

- I think if you look at the history of Manager Tools, you'll see that we have worked VERY hard to meet your needs in as many ways as we can. We haven't always been right, but we've always been on the right track. We're going to work through all these issues, and we're going to make the forums and everything about what we do worthy of both the community and of Mike and I. And if we end up choosing a feature that you preferred the old way, you might as well give ME the feedback - if there are two groups that want different things that aren't able to be personally customized, I'll be breaking all ties.

- The original site and all related technology was built with no capital and LOTS of Mike's hard work. Frankly, we were out of options, and had to bite the bullet. This effort was the best FIRST STEP to both change how we deliver all we do, AND allow us to grow without killing Mike (and now others) with custom solutions built on top of a platform that wasn't meant for what we're doing.

- I'm reminded of Jon Miller's obscure but beautiful line at the end of a Spring Training baseball game. "Well, folks, come back tomorrow - after all, it's spring, and it's baseball, and you never know."

- Thanks all, and Merry Christmas.

Mark

mtietel's picture

While the old logo had its appeal (quaint, informal, symbolizing a "comfortable" grass-roots type community), I like the new logo(s). Crisp, clean, more professional, and providing a clear link to the CT logo.

To geek out, as an old-time unix/usenet nerd I prefer the "bottom-posting" layout. The other stuff I'll adapt to - plus ca change, plus ce la meme chose...

rgbiv99's picture

I love the new site and the new logo. Remember that scene in Office Space when Peter goes in to meet with the Bobs and there is a dry erase board in the background with a flow chart on it and the title is "Planning to Plan"? That's what the old logo reminded me of. This one is very sleek and professional. Kudos.

JorrianGelink's picture

I find the site to be quite clean and pleasing to look at!

Of course those that have been regulars on the MT forums will miss some of the features that were stripped out, but we all have faith those will come back in due time.

"At least it's not a death star...and even Procter & Gamble has changed its logo several times, though always thematically aligned (just like Manager Tools!)"

Mark, I would seriously dig a Death Star in any Manager Tools logo...maybe make one for April Fool's :p.

Thanks for the amazing job! Glad to be posting in the forums again!!!

Jorrian Gelink
Jorrian's Drucker Blog - http://jorriangelink.wordpress.com

ashdenver's picture

Thank you ever-so-much for the "Recent Forum Activity" link - it's been great! (It's just a shame that we're in the midst of holidays and the forums are slow.)

I've noticed that it's almost better than the old version insofar as it keeps things listed as "recent" for a longer period of time. (The old system would only list items that had been posted or updated since the last time a user visited which could be a little frustrating. It might have marked something as "no longer new" even if you hadn't had a chance to read it on your last visit.)

So yay and bravo - great job, guys!

jhack's picture

Ash,

This is a "Right-On" comment. I was also frustrated in the past when I'd looked at a posting, realizing I wouldn't have time to respond thoughtfully, and losing track of it.

Sure, the new forums highest level doesn't flag when you last visited (loss of older functionality) yet this new feature adds something I wanted (new functionality).

Digression of a sort: The HBR sometime in the last couple years had an article aimed at sales, marketing and product development folks, based on a study of introducing new products and technology. To summarize, buyers tended to significantly undervalue new features and capabilities, while significantly overvaluing the features they used to have. Just sayin'...

SO! To the most frequent users out there (I'm talking to you, Tool, and Hugh, and 41, tlhausman, ash, Peter, Stephen Booth, and a buncha others you know who you are...) PLEASE try the new features and spend some time posting even if it's painful. Learn the ways of these new-fangled, re-worked internet tubes and keep the comments coming. I'm holding back on my "feedback" until I feel comfortable with the new system - because I know my sense of what works and what doesn't will change.

John

HMac's picture

Noted.

Best wishes, hack.

-Hugh

dclm's picture

I like the new page format. However, when I go to a podcast and try to download it (select the podcast, right click on the MP3 Download icon, and do a "Save Target As"), I get a "the HTTP redirect request failed" error.

What is the recommended way to download a podcast now?

Thanks...

zcardch's picture

Is this an isolated issue or are you having the same problem?

mauzenne's picture

What browser and operating system are you using? We'll have someone look into it.

thanks,
Mike

mauzenne's picture

Forget about browser and operating system — Looks like our podcast hosting provider is having issues. We have a trouble ticket open with them.

Sorry for the troubles!

Mike

mikehansen's picture

Here are some opinions on the new site. Note, I am heavily biased by Steve Krug’s work, specifically his “don’t make me think” book. (http://www.sensible.com/).

Overall:
Huge kudos for the improvements and professional impact. It is a great leap forward. I especially like the logo (I hesitate to say new since I am not sure the old one qualifies as a logo :)

First Impression for non members:
I think there is some work needed here. If I was new to MT and I found your site, It would take some discovery to answer the basic questions of “what can I do here?” If I did not know what a pod cast was (and most managers still don’t), I would really be in a hard way. I would suggest a very simple home page for non-members that makes the BLUF concept of the site impossible to miss.

Navigation:
I like the major navigation menus on the top. They are clean and functional (many, many menu’s are poorly implemented!). I would suggest moving Blog to community and moving About Us to a top-border bar. I do not like links disguised as menus since they can cause confusion (I find myself waiting for the menu to pop up before I realize, this is it). I would also nix the green user section on the left. Most members will use that once every 6 months, so it is not worthy of prime real estate. Move it to a top boarder bar or a “My Account” menu item.

Look and Feel:
The colors are good (except the green user area – yuch). The guy – computer photo is odd. It does not mesh with what I think MT is all about. You are about inspiring manager to take action (IMO). I do not get that from the photo. Also, I would add a boarder bar at the top. It feels like the screen is cut off. It can house the less frequently used items (mentioned above) and replace the left navigation bar.

Forum:
I am ok with it. I know there is a lot of commentary about the bells and whistles lost, but I can’t get to excited about items raised. I expect usage history to be lost with a new system. However, I would suggest that a “blog” as a separate item is not needed. Add it to the forums and restrict it so only MT employees can create topics. Since we can add comments to your blog, whats the difference?

Tags:
It is not clear what content is organized by tags. I think it is podcasts and blog posts. I would like it to be clear if they are going to be a prominent navigation tool.

FAQ:
I am not sure those are really the top questions that folks would ask. It seems like it should be stronger content or nixed.

That is all I have for now. There is a long list of things I like about it, but I suspect the above is more helpful - or perhaps not :)

Anyway, Happy Holidays and thanks for all of the great work you do.

Take Care,
Mike

billramo's picture

Hi Mike,
I just wanted to let you know that there are 2 broken links at the bottom of http://www.manager-tools.com/purchase-the-disc-profile. The 2 links in question are in the paragraph:

Two additional Manager Tools resources you might find valuable are the DiSC Model Summary and the How To Use The DiSC To Be More Effective Every Day cheat sheet. You'll find having a printed copies on your desk at work an invaluable resource.

Cheers,
Bill Ramos

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