A bunch of ideas for improving Elgg's user experience

Copying the idea from the Ubuntu guys, I propose a Papercuts project. A paper cut is a trivially fixable usability bug that a user would encounter using a brand new installation of Elgg.

I have the first 15 ideas for it, please tell me if any of them has already been implemented or if they are not that trivial to solve:

  1. Show number of unread messages in a badge to the side of the envelope icon (Topbar)
    The rationale for this is that it is not the same to approach 2 messages than to approach 58.
  2. Change "Your Entities" label in Settings > Account Statistics to something more user friendly.
    Entities is correct from a developer's point of view, user's have no idea what an entity means.
  3. Do I really need to bookmark or report any of my settings or tools pages? Remove those items from the sidebar, because they serve no purpose there.
  4. Ability to delete my bookmarks.
  5. The Elgg Bookmarklet does not have a default title when I drag it to my Bookmarks bar. I believe it should read "Bookmark this on [name of site]"
  6. Clicking on the little avatar in the Topbar to go to my profile is not obvious. I think you should display the user's name next to it.
  7. Use Gravatar to retrieve new user avatar based on his/her email address and use a face silhouette as default image if you can't instead of the colorful faces (which are not particularly beautiful, dare I say)
  8. Standardize icon styles.
    Right now there is a mess with all the different types of icons, I believe we should go for a clean, one-color style that works well with most themes.
  9. The "Add/Remove editor" link in every compose screen (whenever you write anything) should be smaller and say "Toggle visual editor on/off"
  10. "Topic status" and "Access" in compose screens should be put inside an "Advanced options" div that can be toggled on/off via jQuery.
    Regular users will find this options distracting and confusing. Hide them away.
  11. Move Tags in compose screens below "Topic message" (they are not that important) and state clearly if you want them separated by commas or just spaces.
  12. Labels in compose screens have different sizes. Go with the smaller one.
  13. The ElggRelease and ElggVersion meta tags in the HTML head present a security risk and I believe they don't bring any benefits.
  14. Some pages have a jQuery call that doesn't do anything. It just asks if the DOM is ready.
  15. There are HTML tables used for presentational purposes in the footer. Get rid of them and use CSS.
Please add your own ones.


  • It is not an attack vector but it lets anyone know what attack vectors exist in that site.

  • if individuals have pre-existing methods and scripts for attacking elgg sites then they can locate the site (out of the billions that exist) by identifying the site through these tags and thus the site is spammed when otherwise it wouldn't be. i believe this may be partially the cause of elgg sites that have zero traffic or public presence getting spammed.

  • I don't think so. Search engines do not index based on those meta tags.

  • i'm sure there are ways for spiders to spider for these types of info, beyond what the search engines do.. 

    spam search engines..

    i appreciate that the css tag prefixes with .elgg- also provide an equally usable way of doing this.. so most likely, yes, the metatags aren't really that relevant in this case.

  • A spammer is not going to spider the entire web when you can just use Google by searching for "powered by Elgg".

  • @Federico I think reporting these small bugs are a great idea but in Trac of course. I've got many in there myself, though finding the time to fix them all is the tough part!

Feedback and Planning

Feedback and Planning

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