Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

My.Userland.Com feedback

Author:Guido van Rossum
Posted:7/2/1999; 7:58:50 AM
Topic:My.Userland.Com feedback
Msg #:8060
Prev/Next:8059 / 8061

Hello. I'm the creator of Python. A friend referred me to and I joined. Then the fun began. I understand that all this is very new, so don't see this as just a flame -- it's intended as positive criticism. Dave himself suggested I post here; I couldn't find a great thread to attach this to so I'm starting a new one.

The graphics design looks good, but navigation sucks. Some examples:

- For a first-time user, the distinction between "channels" and "topics" is not made clear. I was looking for the Python channel (which I knew should be there) and had no idea where to start. I think part of the conclusion was that the favorite channel list is initially empty, and there is no link *anywhere* to the full list of channels! (And yes, I did join and login!)

- I tried registering the Python channel again. It didn't complain, but it also didn't do anything very useful (apart from showing me what the channel would look like) -- and in fact reading back the registration page doesn't say at all what happens after you register. It also didn't tell me that the python channel was *already* registered!

- The topics lists (which I initially confused with the channels list) list "top-level" topics. This suggest that there are also "subtopics". Where are they? I finally am forming the mental model of a topic as a formalization of a "thread" in a newsgroup, where the top-level topics is the initial posting. Maybe I'm old, but "topic" to me suggests something different (and in fact closer to "channel"). I'm not sure what to suggest, but "discussion thread" might be better.

- Please add a search facility that can search e.g. for channels by keyword in the channel name or description, and another that can search the message subjects.

- Nit: the time listed in the headers on the home page appears to be in Pacific time. I'm on Eastern. Can I customize this? (If not, at least include the timezone!)

- What exactly does the button "don't show in new messages list" (or something like that) at the bottom of a message mean?

- I realize there's a limit to customizability, but I would really like to see only new items in a channel on my favorites list...

- I tried to fill in the "Who are you" stuff at It asks all sorts of stuff, but there's no way to preview how it is going to be presented to other users. I think this is another example of bad UI design! Have we forgotten our UI design classes? Whatever happened to MVC? (Also, I submitted my picture, but it didn't seem to "take" -- perhaps because the filename I submitted has an "@" in it?)

I'll yield the floor now to others to defend userland. (BTW how can I find out who reads this set of topics?)

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