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Started updating NewUserTemplate, but not sure I can finish this off probably. This needs the eye of a usability expert.

NewUserTemplate is template for new user topics, and contains some of the content that new users are first introduced to.

I'm afraid it cannot be made very userfriendly, as it has MAKETEXTs en mass, preferences values, etc - but perhaps something can be done?

I started out with:

  • Updated to use headline syntax (---++) instead of old __ syntax
  • Tried to find right "order of introduction", but current intro material is not consistent on this
  • Added a short note on uncommenting preferences

Perhaps preferences should be twisted pr. default?

Anyway, if someone wants to give it a shot, please do. Arthur?

SVN 8202.

-- SP

BTW MAKETEXT{"My Links"}% misses the first %

This topic first needs a introduction text what is user topic is for. That will then explain the settings on the page. Unfortunately we have a string freeze.

The settings part is the most scary. We do have an "edit settings" template to hide this, but no way to quickly view (read-only) those settings. And hidden settings are of no big use either to a novice.

A twisty would not be of any help, because TwistyPlugin is not enabled by default. And handcoded twisty can be messed up easily in edit mode.

But whatever happened to the user settings form?


Thanks for pointing that little 'bugger, SVN 8204.

String freeze was discussed on twiki-dev mailing list, and lid is off for about a week, before we freeze again. So let's make the best of it.

I agree on the introductory text, anything up the sleeve?

-- SP

The default NewUserTemplate looks confusing anyway. Can't we have a nicer NewUserTemplate that only shows the personal settings in edit mode, that is hide them inside html comments.

-- MichaelDaum

Then the new user has no clue there are settings to edit.


I agree with Arthur here. Hiding settings is a bad idea. Most new users will not have a clue that there are actually settings they can edit to make their TWiki experience better.

Just think of those awful Microsoft programs that tries to "help" newbies by hiding rarely used menus. A sure way to make the newbies never use features because they do not know they are there.


About which features are we talking? Are they worth it? Right now any new user gets a gibberish default homepage that (s)he doesn't understand and thus better not touch. So better keep it simple.


The actual settings could go into the "Edit topic preferences settings" page. And a link to that template on the user page, something along the lines of:

Set your personal preferences (like interface language, displaying of tool tip info with links, and who is allowed to change this topic).


A Columbus egg in action. Sounds like a brilliant solution to me! Variables are part of what seperates TWiki from the rest, and shouldn't be stuffed way - but indeed they are confusing to new users. This allows them to take their homepage in two bites.


"Edit topic preferences settings" page lacks the explanation with each variable. These might be included in the edit settings raw text, but you miss the formatting. It would be great to have contextual help texts with that screen displayed above the textarea - but no idea how that could be realized.


Perhaps something in the likes of having variables listed in the topic settings with DISABLED_ prefix, and in the user topic links to the topic settings page, and to a help topic on setting user preferences?

-- SP

There's a nice solution using the RedDotPlugin and the RedirectPlugin that works as follows: given a user FooBar the FooBar topic redirects to FooBarHomePage; FooBarHomePage has a reddot link "Edit Prefs" that points to FooBar; viewing FooBar will redirect to FooBarHomePage; if you dont have edit rights on FooBar the reddot link will not be displayed there. If user FooBar is logged in the reddot link will be visible; clicking on it will allow him to edit FooBar and jump back to FooBarHomePage when finished. Thus nobody ever gets to see the FooBar topic with all its preference settings and the preferences and home page topics are separated in a clean way. No need to say that FooBarHomePage could also be FooBar.WebHome.

Add this to FooBar:


and this to FooBarHomePage:

%REDDOT{"FooBar" text="Edit Prefs"}%

and you are done.


OK, but this looks very similar in user perception when the preferences are editable in the "Edit preferences" page (thus hidden from normal view).


MD, I see the point, but there are issues (new default plugins, need to instantiate two templates instead of one, need new code, searches that find homepages need to be updated, etc). Perhaps for Edinburgh?

I suggest we write us out of this one for now - I made a suggestion in Sandbox.NewUserTemplateBrainstorm?

(BTW: I believe I have locked us out of the topic, by setting its write preferences to itself - but there's room for a #2! :-)).

-- SP

Constructive discussions here. It is better to conduct brainstorming and feature discussions in TWiki:Codev.

I suggest to keep KISS in mind and to make only minimal changes for Dakar. I find Sandbox.NewUserTemplateBrainstorm1 descriptive but to verbose. Visible bullets with description for each, or short help text with hidden preferences?

See also related Item1395.

-- PTh

  • I prefer to have the preferences hidden.
  • The text under "Editing This Home Page" could better be hidden as a html comment (thus only visible when editing).
  • A help link to TWikiVariables is already provided in the editSettings page

I cannot edit the Sandbox page...

I was thinking along the lines of:

Edit this page and remove this text!

Really. This is your homepage, so write here what you like. And delete this text once you've read it.

My links


Created an editable version (again :-)): Sandbox.NewUserTemplateBrainstorm - sorry for the confusion.

I know it's chatty as is, can't help it (please shorten it up where possible).

  • I prefer hidden preferences as well. Early / friendly introduction is good, TWiki variables is a key concept in TWiki.
  • I don't like hiding as comments - in that case we might as well write nothing (it won't be translated in users language when editing).
  • Agree on keeping the changes small as possible and try to think of something for Edinburgh.
  • Would like to convey a "start over" feeling to the user topic, i.e. delete all, begin your own. Too many user topics are left untouched.

Sorry for not going to Codev, I see the point. If this is not commit and forget anytime soon, I'll move the discussion.

-- SP

Just tried the Sandbox.NewUserTemplateBrainstorm.

I am a very experienced TWiki user. It took me minutes to find the hidden preferences. Quite few of my users ever find out that they can enlarge the edit text area. With preferences hidden like this you can be sure that less than 1% of your users will ever find them. Not even Microsoft have ever managed to hide a setting this well.

The truth is that user topics are rarely used for anything and for a good reason. What is it good for? Other than storing settings. People register to participate in the commonly used topics - not to create their own "home page".

I am really very much against hiding the preferences like this. I think it is a major mistake and I would for sure change it back to visible when I install Dakar.

Also the default page should be very minimalistic so that the settings are very visible. Not too much blablabla because people do not read all blabla.

-- KJL

Yeah well, current homepage including the visible settings also conveys the message, that "this is important stuff, you better not touch it". I heard this a lot times from my users - "are you sure I can just delete it?" - "won't something be lost?" "I thought I'd rather not!".

.. and actually, they couldn't really - in Cairo you had the 3xspace * Email: [email] which where actually important for notifying, resetting passwords, etc.

But with this "gone" (seperated into a form now), we can surely state: Start over, make your own! - and dependent on your environment and user segment (eg. public / intranet site), this might be important, or it might be a waste of time - "wow, I can use this to profile myself towards other users" - or, "I really just want to start working on my projects and forget the bla bla .. go away". Offering wysiwyg helps more people finding it easier editing the page the first time; Crtl-A + DEL is not far away.

The "hidden" preferences (topic settings) are a part of TWiki now. And while finding them the first time is not straight forward for us old-timers, I'm sure it's going to find its use in TWikiApplications rather quickly - and why not use the home topic as an "early introduction"?

Knowing how to adopt the introduction system to your own site (as a TWiki webmaster) is of course the most important thing; different sites will have different wishes and demands for their new user introductions.

We just need to settle on a sensible default.

Would you scetch your preference, KJL? (A minimalistic page).

-- SP

I'm OK with Peters suggestion, but TWiki needs a patch still to support it. Continued in Item1452.

-- SP

Summary NewUserTemplate is ancient; needs usability review
ReportedBy SteffenPoulsen

SVN Range Sun, 08 Jan 2006 build 8176
AppliesTo Engine

Priority Normal
CurrentState Closed

Checkins 8202 8204
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Topic revision: r22 - 2006-01-20 - SteffenPoulsen
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