User experience of openoffice.org domain, in particular searches: lack of up-to-date content, excess of outdated content, disincentives to reporting of issues

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User experience of openoffice.org domain, in particular searches: lack of up-to-date content, excess of outdated content, disincentives to reporting of issues

Graham Perrin
Administrator
Spun off from CollabNet not helping to find User Experience Project content (not helping to improve the web presence)

Some of what follows may be considered off-topic from UX but here goes…

1. qa: Submit an Issue - Preparation properly encourages searching before adding any issue. When following guidelines and searching for duplicate issues, I usually found a few results, none of which properly matched my intended report.

2. From that point (presentation of search results) the tracker directs the user to Enter Issue with its list of 138 components. I can't count the number of times I looked at that list, thought "I don't know where to start", saved screen shots and notes with the intention of reporting later, but probably never did so.

Key point: likely appearance of the terribly long list of components is not an incentive to report issues.

3. Much later, probably years later, I discovered more user-friendly qa: Submit an Issue - choose component with its warning in the second half of the page,

If you are not a hacker, you're probably wrong in this section.
Key point: the user who properly searches for issues before reporting is taken to mass of hacker-related components (not to the user-friendly gateway).

4. *Testproduct is described as:

New to IssueTracker? Please select this component if you want to learn how to submit and comment on issues…
The user-friendly submission gateway seems to lack that offer. *Testproduct component missing from /issue_handling/submission_gateway.html reports this issue.

Key point: learning for novices should not be limited to the hacker-oriented area.

5. An example of the type of search I performed frequently:

<http://www.openoffice.org/servlets/Search?resultsPerPage=40&query=mac+timeline+roadmap>

Best results from CollabNet search engine typically lead to outdated content such as
<http://porting.openoffice.org/mac/dev.html>
<http://porting.openoffice.org/mac/timeline.html>

Since filing <http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=98765> and <http://www.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=98767> I have the impression that the wikis are not well served by CollabNet.

Maybe the content I sought was not within a wiki.

In any case, then and now: I do not rely on openoffice.org search results; I use a bookmarking service.

Key point: if wiki, blog, brainstorm, IdeaTorrent or other content supersedes anything, then deprecated content should either (a) be removed or (b) gain an unmistakable reference to its successors.

This is criticising neither authors/editors of old content, nor authors/editors of new content. It's a comment on infrastructure and the experience for the end user. Somewhat disintegrated.

6. Content should have an expiry date.

Key question: does the wiki allow expiry dates? 

(Confession: I'm busy reflecting, I haven't sought the feature ;)

7. A well-integrated planet

For when "planet" will be installed for OOo bloggers, key questions:

• Will a normal search at <http://www.openoffice.org/include or exclude the planet(s)?

• Will advanced searches of the entire openoffice.org domain omit the blog(s), as seems to happen with the wiki(s)?

• How will comprehensive, diverse results from the entire openoffice.org domain, which should include wikis and planets, distinguish between blog entries and comments thereto?

Looking ahead five or ten years:

• Will more recent blog entries naturally appear above ancient entries in search results?

or

• Will results be ranked by relevance, with less regard for currency?

• (Will the notion of expiry be explicit or implicit in our use of blogging?)

This is not to criticise CollabNet administrators. It's a concern that introduction of any new service, however fine in isolation, should:

• be well-integrated
• not remain unknown to the 'outside world'.

Bear in mind, many people will use the search field at <http://www.openoffice.org/> ;)

Best regards
Graham
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Re: User experience of openoffice.org domain, in particular searches: lack of up-to-date content, excess of outdated content, disincentives to reporting of issues

Graham Perrin
Administrator
I guess, the intention of this topic

… is to maximise awareness and involvement from all types of user (not only, users who are familiar with the occasional peculiarities of <http://www.openoffice.org/>.

Spun off also from at least two other topics/points:

<http://n2.nabble.com/-tp2225241p2180415.html>
Key words:

• parallel
• integrate
• separate
• brainstorming
• dreaming
• issuezilla
• IDE
• idea for enhancement
• RFE

<http://n2.nabble.com/-tp2239393p2253931.html>

+1 to finding things in one place

+1 to a suite of services/applications that is cohesive …
Never forgetting that only so much can be achieved with limited resources :)

From Elizabeth's comments in IdeaTorrent Discussion Re: [ux-discuss] Presenting and Rating Ideas I have the impression that a big picture is well-considered.


Postscript: completed an unfinished sentence.
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Re: User experience of openoffice.org domain, in particular searches: lack of up-to-date content, excess of outdated content, disincentives to reporting of issues

Graham Perrin
Administrator
Graham Perrin wrote
I guess, the intention of this topic … is to maximise awareness and involvement from all types of user (not only, users who are familiar with the occasional peculiarities of <http://www.openoffice.org/> …
Ah, stop press, I just noticed nearby Website Refresh - Complete!.

This topic was not a response to Ivan's. Pure coincidence! Please head over to Ivan's topic.

(I may strike through some of this topic!)
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Re: User experience of openoffice.org domain, in particular searches: lack of up-to-date content, excess of outdated content, disincentives to reporting of issues

Ivan M
Hi Graham, all,

On Tue, Feb 3, 2009 at 11:43 PM, Graham Perrin <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
>
> Graham Perrin wrote:
>>
>> I guess, the intention of this topic … is to maximise awareness and
>> involvement from all types of user (not only, users who are familiar with
>> the occasional peculiarities of <http://www.openoffice.org/> …
>>
>
> Ah, stop press, I just noticed nearby  http://n2.nabble.com/-tc2261625.html
> Website Refresh - Complete! .
>
> This topic was not a response to Ivan's. Pure coincidence! Please head over
> to Ivan's topic.

This topic and the Refresh topic I posted are two completely separate
discussions. Only a very small number of people will know the reasons
for this (and even then I might have some of the facts wrong), so I'll
explain in some detail - please bear with me :).

The refresh was a design update. With the exception of the new header,
no functionality was added, modified or removed. With the header, I
merely changed the 'view' for the model and controller (which is about
as much as I could hope to do).

Things like search, issuezilla/issue tracker, the mailing lists,
Documents and Files, CVS browse pages and My Pages are handled by the
CollabNet infrastructure. There is probably some name for this system,
but for all intents and purposes in this email, CollabNet refers to
both the system that OOo runs on, as well as the company that
maintains it.

As far as I know, no one within the website project has access to
these server-side files or the databases for these servlets, so they
cannot be modified easily from our side (the OOo project) - It is all
maintained by CollabNet. The look and feel of the website can be
updated to a pretty good extent (which is what has recently been
done), but the core functionality is defined by CollabNet's system.

The .services.openoffice.org domains are hosted outside the CollabNet
system, so they can do things that the OOo website can't - e.g. host
software that runs on PHP, MySQL, such as the user forums, wiki, etc.
This is why there is a separate login for the wiki, the extensions
site and the OOo website. This also explains why it is not possible to
include the wiki, or extensions, or templates, or the forums... etc...
in the default openoffice.org search, unless the CollabNet system is
updated by CollabNet to include it. It could, however, be included in
the Google search very easily.

So that's about it - I don't want to discourage discussion by any
means, but you were right in keeping the two topics separate - and I
hope you'll add your thoughts to the other discussion (that goes for
everyone else on this list too :))

Regards,
Ivan.

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Re: User experience of openoffice.org domain, in particular searches: lack of up-to-date content, excess of outdated content, disincentives to reporting of issues

Graham Perrin
Administrator
Ivan M wrote
… not possible to include the wiki, or extensions, or templates, or the forums... etc... in the default openoffice.org search, unless the CollabNet system is updated by CollabNet to include it.
OK; that's <http://qa.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=98765> where the expression 'Entire openoffice.org domain' is false (at least, misleading); no wonder I find myself confused by searches of the entire domain not finding things that I know to be in the domain!

It could, however, be included in the Google search very easily.
Would that lead to
<http://www.google.co.uk/search?q=site:openoffice.org%20Apple-Preview-4.1-Annotations.png> succeeding where currently it fails?

I assume that <http://qa.openoffice.org/issues/show_bug.cgi?id=98767> will remain bugged/debatable for as long as this discussion is ongoing.

Thanks for some very good explanations. I'm glad to have this as a separate topic. I do think it most important for searches to work; for content (in the wiki, in blogs, wherever) to be found; and for search dialogues to not mislead the user ;)

Regards
Graham