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SMT electronics assembly manufacturing forum.


Wow! Changes...

Brian Doyle

#21961

Wow! Changes... | 15 October, 2002

You no doubt notice some pretty big changes on the site.

We just launched some pretty major interface changes throughout the site. This project had been brewing for a while. We had been compiling support emails and looking at common threads. It seemed that some of the site was just too confusing for people. Key components were buried or only accessable through a certain path.

We started the project with the intent to reduce the amount of clutter on the page and to try to keep all navigational components in one area. The navigational menu on the left now houses all relevant links.

Forum users might like the now fixed "Recent Postings" feature (previously known as While You Were Out). This feature, accessible from anywhere on the site, will bring up all of the recent posts since you last visited the forum.

We've grouped together all of the company administrative features and made them accessible from anywhere on the site. This should encourage companies to take advantage of the services we are offering them.

Your personal profile information and other personal features (MySMTnet, email) are accessible from the "Manage Your Profile" (registered users only).

Calendar, Library, News, Express, Bookstore, Career Center, and SMTneter's Corner are all available via the "Resources" group.

We hope you like the changes and experience better accessibility of the site. We welcome ALL feedback either on this site support forum or via info@smtnet.com

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#21968

Wow! Changes... | 15 October, 2002

The new skin looks good. Ya'll did a lot of good stuff to reduce the clutter.

Questions are: * What does an "EMS Hub" mean? * How can we tell without selecting the program, how many unread emails that we have?

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Brian Doyle

#21969

Wow! Changes... | 15 October, 2002

Nice catch on that one Dave, it was the wrong version of the image. It should now read Electronics Industry Hub.

The unread emails: Currently you can't (sorry) but we'll be putting that back in soon.

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#21971

Wow! Changes... | 15 October, 2002

Yewozer, you sure fixed that fast.

I always liked that "mail box" image that we had on SMTnet to indicate "new mail" on the site a couple of versions back.

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Jkhaiar

#21973

Wow! Changes... | 15 October, 2002

One giant step, It will take some time to be familiar with What a bout the good old threads accessibility and indexing Thanks a job well done.

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Brian Doyle

#21992

Wow! Changes... | 17 October, 2002

We didn't really change anything on the forum with these most recent changes. All of the threads are still indexed and accessible through the search engine.

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#21993

Wow! Changes... | 17 October, 2002

This is for Pete. He's very busy today, trying to make money to feed the wife and kids.

Why doesn't the new SMTnet "home" look like the old "home"? * New "home" has like three boxes that each go all the way across the page. * Old "home" had like six boxes with all kinds of stuff that were more compact, maybe two boxes across. * New "home" doesn't look like new "mysmtnet". * New "mysmtnet" looks like the old "mysmtnet" with like about six boxes, but all of those boxes don't displayed on new "home"

Pete's trying to adapt, but does he really need to adapt?

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Brian Doyle

#21994

Wow! Changes... | 17 October, 2002

I think I follow the questions...

Ok lets see. About two site revisions ago there was a "home" page and there was a "MySMTnet" page. They were completely seperate entities. MySMTnet is a registered user customizable page. You dictate what boxes you see and what the content is. The other homepage just gave controlled exceprts from the site for new users.

Last revision we decided to make the MySMTnet page the default homepage for registered users. We had what we internally referred to as the "blue dot page" for the non-registered users coming to the site.

The blue dot page really didn't represent what we are so we decided to give it the axe. Making MySMTnet the default homepage for everyone did not convey the idea that it was indeed a "special" page.

This time around we brought back a traditional homepage. These are pretty important. Its nice to have a page that you know will display the same to everyone. Its also important for search rankings.

The MySMTnet page (with all the boxes) is still around. We made it accessible by the "Manage Your Profile" menu group that you see when you're logged in. Pete can bookmark it if he'd like so that would be his entry page into the site.

Hopefully that explained it a bit.

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Ken Bliss

#21995

Wow! Changes... | 17 October, 2002

Hi Brian

As you know I am behind SMTnet and the forum 100%. My brief thoughts on your comments here on the changes are that if you have to explain how it works on a web site you need to try again.

the only way a web site works well is if it is obvious how it works and easy to find everything. If it is a hunting expedition you are in trouble.

there is more work to be done, but keep up the fine efforts.

Ken Bliss

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Brian Doyle

#21997

Wow! Changes... | 17 October, 2002

Well I was expecting some questions. If you have the most convoluted system out there, and its up for a while people will figure out how to use it.

The thing with MySMTnet is that many people don't necessarily understand it. We had thought with the last design that by forcing it as the homepage people would see the configuration options. This was incorrect. All it really did was create more confusion.

To alleviate this confusion we had to create the seperation between a homepage and the MySMTnet page. Doing so would no doubt create yet more confusion, we understood that, but in the end it will become more clear and the meaning of the actual component will hopefully be there.

When you finally change that system and make it more streamlined it might actually cause confusion because the users had figured out the old way. They could either then try and figure the new system out or ask for help.

I posted this to prompt people to ask for help.

Its difficult to untrain habits. Easier to learn from the start. A new user coming in might have an easier time than an existing user.

I had done a lot of research on website usability and design prior to this change. Jakob Nielson really is an incredible resource for this type of thing. After reading what he has to say and then attempting to apply those ideas to this site we came up with the menu model. Our site had far too many navigational links and it was difficult to distinguish between them. This is a step, perhaps not the best step (I don't know if I've ever seen a site that didn't have a few problems to it) but definitely a step forward.

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#21999

Wow! Changes... | 17 October, 2002

I feel that I should jump in here and say a couple of words in Brian's defense (although he does a good job of that himself). Ken, you're right if you need to explain how a web site works - or any application, for that matter - then you don't have a very good design. I believe that Brian was explaining the differences between the current design and previous designs for the benefit of those who have become used to the older one. Having been in the miserable position of having to correct mistakes and also explain why a previous application design was a mistake I know how it hurts to be criticized, in an offhand way, when you are actually trying to do some good.

So enough babble, Brian is to be commended for following Jakob Nielsen's advice. Hurrah.

Brian Stockley

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#22004

Wow! Changes... | 17 October, 2002

Hocum all the Lou Reed images next the various names of the registered-types that posted messages in a thread always give the same ol' boring pop-up box?

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Brian Doyle

#22006

Wow! Changes... | 18 October, 2002

I appreciate your cmoments.

I wasn't put off by Ken's comments at all. I really welcome all forms of criticism.

Keep the feedback coming!

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Brian Doyle

#22012

Wow! Changes... | 18 October, 2002

fixed

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#22026

Wow! Changes... | 18 October, 2002

tks. gd jb

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