Menu / Features

I frequently notice that my end users get all caught up in the learning curve, and user interface. I understand that most users are not very talented in learning or computers.

So far i've been tackling this problem with the use of canvas_menu, but still not fully adopted by users.

Are there any suggestions or plans to work on menu systems in Elgg ?

Uddhava dasa

  • It's not very hard to extend the menu style system - as Canvas menu and others demonstrate. My own little toys @, and I think Scott Milller's latest canvas menu tricks with some coding direction help from me -- if he has fully implemented it now. Also Dagorath's similar menu styles code explorations. I think it is just so easy to play around at the level of top_bar and header_contents...

  • I was just reading an article on how ning is really screwing their users, and the article linked to a site called so I checked it out.

    I do have to say that I was instantly impressed with the menu system, especially for the user. Talk about crazy easy and intuitive.... anyhow it may provide some inspiration for someone, as it's easy enough that even my mother could figure it out, which is saying a lot, believe me LOL

    I even 'kind of' like the navigation from buddypress, but that could be due to the fact that I have been working with bp since it's release.. the 2 row dynamic navigation is a nice concept, but not as good as i think socialgo is...


  • @Shawn I took a look at it looks pretty much the same as enabling the canvas menu plugin, have you tried it out ?

    Uddhava dasa

  • Yes I am using the canvas menu.

    I was actually talking about the navigation along the left side of the page when you are logged in. Basically giving you access to do anything with one click, manage acct, invite friends, user status, upload video/photo/music/calendar/group/blog manage your acct, check inbox, moderation cue, friends online, upcoming events, etc...

    I'm going to go ahead and try to figure out how elgg creates it's navigation and see if I can't 'clone' socialgos user navigation. I know if this was wordpress I could have it done within 30 mins, however I have yet to figure out how elgg even creates a page as it seems to make so many calls to so many files spread all over the place. Should be a good learning experience for me....

    We had our weekly men's Bible study at my house yesterday, and I was trying to demo the elgg system to everyone, as we will use it for our mens group to keep people informed. I did it one person at a time, having already created them their own acct, I asked them to login and see what to do.

    Without exception, not one person found the 'tools' bar on the top, and frankly no one figured out the process of creating a profile and uploading their icon etc.... Seriously I am not exagerating, out of the 20+ guys last night, not one of them could figure out what to do or what the point of elgg was. Now granted only 1 person in the group even had a facebook page, so we're talking relative net newbies here.. but still.... not one guy figured it out!

    So I'm off to try and come up with a better system. fingers crossed....


  • Shawn, i second that, only 20% of my users understood the toolbar menu the first week. Only with canvas_menu, which i also customized to include every option in a simple visual way, it more or less stabilized.

    I'm going to check out social go's menus.

    Uddhava dasa

  • @Shawn, Uddhava dasa --

    This sort of user experience reporting is incredibly important.  If users don't understand how to use Elgg then Elgg as a software is failing.  I'm very interested to hear and see what you've implemented and what kind of solid, implementable suggestions you and your users have for improving usability.

  • TopBar situations ? lol.. yes.. it can be rather "hidden"..

    ==> Canvas Menu and similar..


    watch the css definitions for TopBar, SideBarBox, and the other "blocks" on a page.

    If we re-do the css attributes.. we could probably get away with repositioning tho topbar to become the side-most sidebar, pushing everything else to the right. Then we re-write the topbar navigation to spit out selectively and also detail what we want to highlight.. as canvas menu or my mickeymouse header contents tricks do. did y'all look at my test site menu  ? I had tried some user friendliness there..

    hope we're getting some synapses firing here !!

  • @Brett

    Glad I could at least provide some 'newbie' input from my mens group. Though I can't be of any help on actually fixing it. I literaly spent the entire afternoon/evening trying to figure out how to add navigation to the left side of the profile page like socialgo does.. zero luck.

    It's crazy to, as I have personally built at least 50 themes for wordpress, and worked extensively with vbulletin themes, and even way back with postnuke.

    The elgg theming makes absolutely zero sense to me, and I mean zero, well... maybe 2% LOL

    gotta say to a 'level 2/10' php coder and one who has built many themes before, you picked one hell of a hard theme system here buddy....

    I kinda get the idea that every item on a page is a separate entity, but I couldn't even figure out which file is the 'master index' that all the entities are put into.. obviously it's nothing like other systems at all....

    so i'll leave the theming to the experts, otherwise i'd see myself getting so frustrated that i would go running back to buddypres with my tail between my legs.... hahahaha

  • hmm that is at least the 3rd time today alone, that I have clicked save on my post, and it doesn't show up. I click my browser refresh button, still not there, go back a page, and come back again and it's there... something is seriously screwy here... yesterday i was having preopulated 'post a comment' blocks

  • @Brett - you have a web-site for homeschool children, I think, yes?  ...It needs to be said about Elgg, "Even a child can figure it out." Now, the problem (good problem?) is that most children today are pretty savvy with web-sites. And, certainly IQ plays a part in this whole Elgg equation. I know, some of my site users are like someone banging their head against the wall. No matter how hard they try or how much coaching is given, they don't get it. On the other hand, I am astonished by other users who have the site figured out in 5 minutes flat! Bam, pow, bang, they have everything filled out, have a photo and icon posted, and are uploading album photos and making blog posts. It's a funny thing. I think one thing that would help - for site owners - is to make tutorials. Either a flash tutorial or as a blog/page post, with screen shots. At least then people have some help documentation. I think there is a plugin that someone is working on that is for the purpose of helping users. It's a good idea.

Feedback and Planning

Feedback and Planning

Discussions about the past, present, and future of Elgg and this community site.