This is a summary of a few mails sent around by @Jaran_Eriksen regarding the experience of new users.
Simon Taylor wrote :
We all want the forum to be as usable as possible, and I really appreciate feedback like this, thanks !
Firstly, wherever possible, please try to keep comments about the forum on the forum -
there is a specific category for this ("Meta"). This will help me to
keep track of the issues and ideas about it. I won't be able to track
issues and comments via email.
Not finding the user forum on the sci-gaia webpage
If new users are not finding our services on the public website, we need to re-think the website. I myself have a hard time finding information about the project (how many repositories have we committed to integrate ? What are we doing for identity federations?). The classic "facts and figures" page, with information from the grant agreement is missing. The Project Objectives page doesn't have much in the way of answers. Similarly, Services could be clearer about what services we provide and were people can use them.
So, I'd like to have a look at traffic flow and see where people are spending their time on the website. We always had the suggestion that there would be a kind of "who are you" page to direct people wanting different things to different service pages. If someone searching for Sci-GaIA forum doesn't land on http://discourse.sci-gaia.eu we need to do some work on SEO, both at the forum level as well as at the public website level.
On the other hand, when I search that (Sci-GaIA forum , unauthenticated), I get a series of hits which are all correct.
However, I'm not sure what these new users are looking for... @Jaran_Eriksen - what are you suggesting to them when you have first contact ?
I think we should discuss in Lisbon how to iterate on our design.
Trying to use national ID federation to log on and getting error messages
Bearing in mind that we don't have the "luxury" of allowing any type of access, because we have the motive of promoting identity and service federations, we need to work within the parameters of this space.
Now, one thing we are missing is a small feedback loop. It's true that we can't do anything about national federations - if they are not working, or individual IdPs are not working, we have no control about that. However, we should catch the user just before they get fed up and leave, with a small form to say something like
"hi, we're sorry you can't log in, but tell us about yourself and we'll get back to you... have you tried xyz ?"
At the moment we just present them with a text page saying what must sound to the user like
"haha, technobabble, you can't play with us"
... or at least, it may be interpreted that way, if I think about the user's perspective. This is better than nothing at all, which we were giving them previously, since they can report this info to us - but we could be a bit warmer and encouraging.
Not being able to go back to the log on page to find the open ID
@Jaran_Eriksen wrote :
The federation (the system remembers you if you've tried once so you need to clear history to be able to make a fresh start
The system works with cookies, so you need to clear those. This is how almost every website on the internet works, so I'm surprised. But simply remove the cookies from GrIDP and restart the browser. Another trick is to start a private browsing session. Simply restarting the browser will not clear the cookies.
Having said this, we can create a topic or add to the FAQ on the forum that describes this simple procedure. Users can just search (without being logged in) for the problem and the solution will be described to them.
Error messages when filling in the form to submit details to get log in credentials
(e.g. system says "your e-mail address contains spaces" when there are no spaces was one)
This is typical of "cutting and pasting" email addresses (usually a space is appended). In any case, the message, I think, is quite clear, the user just needs to check the text entered into the field and remove spaces.
Frustration that log in credentials are not given immediately
time was set aside to test the system that day and the next day people don't have time to log on again.
this is a pity... there inevitably some delay between registration and approval - the users inn the IdP need to be vetted. I suggest that next time such a period is set aside at any group or meeting, you just let us know beforehand and in this way, we can coordinate.
Not understanding how to actually post a reply
you click "reply", then write the response, but then the users have expected an "enter" button-
This does not exist, but instead you click "reply" again. None of my testers so far have understood this)
Every new member gets a welcome mail that describes in great detail how to use the forum - http://discourse.sci-gaia.eu/t/welcome-to-the-african-e-infrastructures-discussion-forum/1792. This explains both how to use the interface, as well as provides links to the policies and faq, links to the staff members, etc.
We certainly want to make their stay here as comfortable and friendly as possible, but we do expect them to read this information before starting ; a lot of effort has gone into creating Discourse with attention to things like this, so it's a pity they don't take advantage of it.
Finally, @Jaran_Eriksen wrote :
I realise that these errors are very basic and easy to address if you're slightly ICT savvy and used to working this way, but for a stressed clinician who quickly wants to log on it is quite frustrating not to manage. I have been acting ITsupport the last few days and managed to get three of my five test persons to log on and post a message (two persons are still struggling (in Uganda and Nigeria).
I think that engagement is the more important than anything here. We want people using this - your clinicians are a great example - to know that this isn't a faceless, anonymous service, that we really care about them, almost on a personal basis and that we want to give them a hand to get comfortable. As any new bar, coffee shop, workplace, etc, you feel a bit out of place until you find those one or two people with whom you feel comfortable. So, if you find yourself having to play "ICT support", please drop us mails like this, which we appreciate, and we'll do what we can to resolve issues. Even if they take some time sometimes, we want the new people to know that they are welcome here and that we have their interests in mind.
@roberto_barbera wrote :
In the home page there is the link "contact us" that allow people to send emails to the support address
firstname.lastname@example.org. It is strange that we didn't get email from people of your community.
Yes, I support this point - if we don't get feedback, we can't address their issues. I think this is pretty normal internet behaviour...
@Jaran_Eriksen wrote :
I think the test persons are also a bit sceptical to what the forum can give them. I also feel myself that it is a bit of a "detour" to activate a group on the sci-gaia discussion forum. It would have been better if we could start them off on a forum on the CHP or the APSG themself rather than having to ask all the participants to change to those sites once they've got used to the webforum on sci-gaia.
I don't see the difference between these approaches, help me to understand what you want and maybe we can make some changes. This is the Community Health Portal forum... if there is an experience of "leaving" one to come to the other, that's a matter of integration and design. Are you talking about the Community Health Portal on the AfricaGrid Science Gateway ? If so, we can start a topic under the Science Gateways category to discuss. Bear in mind that we try to use the "right tools for the job", which is why we chose Discourse for discussion and Liferay for the science gateway - putting a forum into the health portal will make it unusable.
If we could have a few descriptions of expected workflow and desired functionality from the users, that would be great. We won't be able to implement all of them, but at least we'll have an idea of where the weak points are. All the community needs to do is post their ideas here...