Forum members: you count + increased presence in our support system

2»

Comments

  • Propeller is under Support - Open Source Designs.
    There are other Propeller items listed under Open Source Designs. In fact it is all Propeller stuff.

    Clicking on Support - Microcontrollers takes you to a screen that has Propeller Chip as the first item along with links to very useful Propeller info including the data sheet and application notes. But Propeller should be in the list under Microcontrollers.

    Tom
  • However, when you click on "Microcontrollers" under support, the first one listed and discussed is the Propeller. The Basic Stamp is under that.
    It's just odd.

    The various Propeller links under the Open Source Design header, go to different pages than what you get when you click Microcontrollers.
  • Roy Eltham wrote: »
    However, when you click on "Microcontrollers" under support, the first one listed and discussed is the Propeller. The Basic Stamp is under that.
    It's just odd.

    The various Propeller links under the Open Source Design header, go to different pages than what you get when you click Microcontrollers.

    I'll look into how these links connect the different pages. I've also gotten a bit sideways on our own site.

  • It's all good, Ken. We're passionate about the forum. You're passionate about education. It'll all work out...

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Ken,
    It's all just minor stuff in the menu text and such. The main content is good.
    I comment and stuff because I care. I want you all to get the best of everything!
  • Ken GraceyKen Gracey Posts: 6,135
    edited February 9 Vote Up0Vote Down
    It's all good, Ken. We're passionate about the forum. You're passionate about education. It'll all work out...

    -Phil

    I believe so, too. We have long-standing relationships here and a number of shared interests. You are all tied closely to the future of Parallax. There are two very important efforts underway at this moment that affect the near and mid-term success of Parallax: (a) Parallax is teaching 500 teachers, entirely at our cost - all around the country; and (b) the Propeller 2 is on final approach with what a big and expensive Gaant-chart wielding management team that puts 20 people on a single conference call.

    As I explained to Chip the other day, he's piloting a 747 with just enough fuel to glide into the PLX airport.

    Back to the topic, prepare for some more teachers in the forums! At the moment, they're on the Blockly for Microcontrollers Facebook group but I'll be encouraging some wider options. Educators are acquiring a ton of programming skills these days - it's entirely different than even five years ago which means they'll be quite comfortable among the brains on these forums.

    Ken Gracey

  • Really looking forward to that 747 coming in for a landing.

  • Roy Eltham wrote: »
    Really looking forward to that 747 coming in for a landing.

    Yes, I probably didn't mention that the airplane has about 450 ticket-holding passengers.

    Ken Gracey

  • Why is Chip in the vicinity of Semey, Kazakhstan?

    John Abshier
  • Ken, In addition to subjective opinion, you might consider a data-driven approach by running your logs through a Web stat log analytics program. It can give you a much clearer view of how visitors are using your site, including where people go, page-to-page. You can run A-B tests over a week to see if Forums should have top-level treatment, or if there's no difference having it as a sub-topic in a menu.

    The ones I've used run on the desktop, where you just feed it a web server log file for the day, and it spits out an analysis based on IP, pages, and other criteria. You can very pointedly see what contributes to sales; for example, which Learn page hits are converting to a sale.

    I would think few sales come from the forum, but it's good for customer retention. Regardless of personal opinion of what works best, an analyzer gives you data points to make informed decisions on the best way to organize the site(s). They can also help you to determine if your responsive code is actually blocking some mobile users from fully accessing the site.

  • GordonMcCombGordonMcComb Posts: 3,224
    edited February 9 Vote Up0Vote Down
    Ken Gracey wrote: »
    When you click on it, it expands:

    Screen%20Shot%202018-02-07%20at%203.24.24%20PM.png

    Just a comment on this: I'm in favor of multiple ways to get to content. I also like these side/top drawer pulls, as long as there are more basic HTML methods to accessing content (which is the case here).

    But a suggestion on the UI of this widget: There should be an easy return method to put the slider back. IMO it should be timed as well as an assured method of clicking on the sidebar handle. Try as I might, clicking on the expanded heading had no effect under Win7/Chrome, and had random effect on an Android tablet. It takes up a good amount of screen space on a tablet, so users may want to return the drawer to its collapsed state.

    I'm also clueless as to why the heading is "Offsite." The average user doesn't understand the technical difference between www.parallax.com and learn.parallax.com. Alternatives like Parallax Sites, More Parallax, etc. aren't customer-centric. These destinations seem to be all support-related, so the heading should say something about getting more help or support.

    Combined with my suggestion above, I'd also code the links on this widget so that the log analyzer can tell you not only where visitors are going, but what links took them there. You can use this info to see if the widgets are helping, or just cluttering up site.

  • I just had a look and I see that it is weird. I mean, the BOLD list headings are in themselves links but non-obvious. If there is going to be a list then everything under that heading should be in that list and a heading with a list should only be a heading, not a link.

    Personally, I'm okay with a linked heading as long as there's some sense of hierarchy with the items below. This is usually done with indenting. In fact, the list below the headings are slightly *out* dented, giving the appearance of two separate lists: one for the main headings, and another for a collection of semi-organized links underneath. This is true for all of the main hover-over links across the top nav bar.

    I can understand the inter-office consternation about where to put the Propeller. On one hand it's a microcontroller, so it should be listed under that category. On the other hand, Parallax wants to emphasize its open source provenance. On the other hand still, do most customers really care it's open source? Decisions, decisions... (and I ain't got no answers).

  • I can understand the inter-office consternation about where to put the Propeller. On one hand it's a microcontroller, so it should be listed under that category. On the other hand, Parallax wants to emphasize its open source provenance. On the other hand still, do most customers really care it's open source?
    They don't -- not when it comes to hardware. How many average users have the wherewithal to take advantage of it? No, they just want to know how to use it. And not listing the Propeller under Microcontrollers will be confusing to them.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • I don't understand why there is this "offsite links" thing.

    "offsite" is meaningless and if anything implies it's links to something not part of Parallax.

    The items that are listed there could just as well be in the main menu bars.

    I do like the idea of enticing teachers out of their cosy "staff room" on Facebook and into the hurly-burly of this forum and the real world.



  • GordonMcCombGordonMcComb Posts: 3,224
    edited February 9 Vote Up0Vote Down
    This kind of page-peel or slider widget can be useful in coordination with the site, but IMO it needs to present a user benefit if customers are expected to open it. A "Get Help" label or whatever at least tells people what's there, and may encourage more clicks. Other sites use this idea for a chat button, but that can run into some money if they staff it out of Rocklin.

    Having alternative methods of getting to the same content is generally a good idea, though a slider on the lower-right has about the lowest chance of getting seen, heat map wise (I didn't notice it until Ken mentioned it).

    A lot of sites are going to a landing page design (Sparkfun has it, as does Adafruit and others). I can see the benefits, but not all of these use mobile friendly UIs. They may be responsive, but the hover overlays/etc. are among my least favorite kinds of sites to visit on my tablet. Organizing the intro page of a rich-content site is not easy, considering the needs of different devices. I'm sure this is presenting many challenges to Ken and web design team.
  • Ken, In addition to subjective opinion, you might consider a data-driven approach by running your logs through a Web stat log analytics program. It can give you a much clearer view of how visitors are using your site, including where people go, page-to-page. You can run A-B tests over a week to see if Forums should have top-level treatment, or if there's no difference having it as a sub-topic in a menu.

    I never go through the main web page. I just bookmark the forum page and that's how I access that and I imagine there are many more that do the same. So for me it's somewhat reversed... I'd be looking for the Parallax page from the forum.

  • Heater. wrote: »
    I don't understand why there is this "offsite links" thing.

    "offsite" is meaningless and if anything implies it's links to something not part of Parallax.

    The items that are listed there could just as well be in the main menu bars.

    I do like the idea of enticing teachers out of their cosy "staff room" on Facebook and into the hurly-burly of this forum and the real world.

    +1
  • heater wrote:
    I do like the idea of enticing teachers out of their cosy "staff room" on Facebook and into the hurly-burly of this forum and the real world.
    The tricky part is getting them engaged without scaring them or creating a time sink. Based on my experience teaching and associating with other teachers, an hour spent on the forum is probably an hour they do not have. That's why Parallax's training program is so important. And I can tell you, second-hand from a teacher who went through it, it's damned impressive.

    -Phil
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • In my opinion, since I use a direct link to the forums and rarely visit the main site, I am not the right person to give feedback as to navigational success. However, as a general web junkie, I do agree with some of the "ease of use" aspects of the site.

    When you hover over "Support", the sub menu drops down. The formatting of that sub-menu does not make it easy to distinguish that "Forums" is a link, but rather it looks like a section heading with a single item under it.
    Propeller should be under Microcontrollers in the list with the BASIC Stamp items. It can also reside under Open Source, but why wouldn't it be in the list of Microcontrollers?
  • DrPopDrPop Posts: 197
    edited February 11 Vote Up0Vote Down
    ...
    When you hover over "Support", the sub menu drops down. The formatting of that sub-menu does not make it easy to distinguish that "Forums" is a link, but rather it looks like a section heading with a single item under it...

    They moved the Forum link, but then made it look like a heading instead of a clickable link.

    Edit: If we could revisit the idea, it would help to have sub-forums (or folders, whatever you want to call them) under the Robots heading.
    All Elev-8 discussion is so buried, a new forum user would most likely go elsewhere for any drone / UAV help. That's not going to help you sell more Elev-8 flight controllers or related components.
  • Parallax has, count 'em, TWO microcontroller families. Why not just rename the two headings, rather than what goes under them:

    Propeller Microcontroller
    Basic Stamp Microcontroller

    Just leave off "Microcontroller" to make it more succinct.
  • Good idea, GordonMcComb!
Sign In or Register to comment.