Forum will be offline for maintenance and upgrading this Thursday 27 April for 24 hours!

  • muench
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Forum will be offline for maintenance and upgrading this Thursday 27 April for 24 hours!

Important announcement to all Forum users:

The SuSanA Forum will be offline for major maintenance this Thursday 27 April for about 24 hours, starting 10:00 CET. The reason is that we are updating the nearly 9-year old software (Kunena) to the latest version and new server requirements.

Note: If you're writing a post at the very moment that the Forum gets taken offline then please copy your post to the clipboard before clicking "submit" to avoid disappointment and lose your post!

If everything goes to plan, the Forum will be back online with a new “look and feel” in about 24 hours.

Thank you for your support, patience and understanding!

Why the Forum update now this month? Well, we had to do it as the old Kunena version which we were using until now is only supported until the end of April. The new Kunena version is anyway better. We used this opportunity to make a whole lot of format style changes. The aim is to make the Forum look more similar to the SuSanA website now.

The new version will be a "responsive design" which means it will resize itself to also work well on a mobile phone and tablet. This is very important as more and more people are using their mobile phones to access the internet and this Forum.

Kind regards,
Elisabeth
on behalf of SuSanA secretariat and IT team


P.S.
One thing you will notice and possibly not like so much at first is a bit of white spaces which might look like “wasted space”. We have learned from our IT colleagues that this is the modern way and that especially new people will like it (experienced forum users might not like it that much at first, but hopefully get used to it). It seems to “scare” new people to have such a dense page of recent topics…
Here are three links for further reading why white empty spaces on websites are so important:
www.seguetech.com/whitespace-web-design/
www.creativebloq.com/design/importance-w...-web-design-11125952
manifesto.co.uk/design-principles-gestal...te-space-perception/

See also the results from a recent user experience study by UXC in Boston which investigated the Forum and SuSanA mother website (we've already tried to incorporate some of their suggestions into this update, although the planning for this software update preceded their report):
forum.susana.org/component/kunena/10-ann...ble-for-your-comment

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • muench
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Re: Forum upgrade successful!! What do you think?

So, we have upgraded the underlying forum software to the latest version of Kunena* and have made a bunch of style changes. The aim was to make this Forum better, easier to understand for novices and more similar to the SuSanA website, the "mother website": www.susana.org .

Thank you to Steffen Eisser from Dotwerkstatt, our IT person, who got this done without any hicc-ups!

Now it is up to you to report back to us anything that is a bug or which you don't like, suggestions for improvements, but also praise or positive feedback?
Just put it all into this thread.

Two things are not yet working properly and Steffen is working hard on getting them fixed by next week hopefully:
  • The posting by e-mail function (sending a post by e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • The e-mail digest which you get daily or twice a week or weekly (depending on your selection), containing all forum posts from that time period.

Please also try out the forum by opening up the website ( www.forum.susana.org ) on your mobile phone or tablet. It should work equally well there!

By the way, in the coming months we are also working on improving the SuSanA website, including how it runs on a mobile phone. That's because accessing the internet with mobile devices is getting more and more popular.

Kind regards,
Elisabeth

* Kunena: www.kunena.org/ (the communication platform for Joomla)

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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(see: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )
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  • hajo
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Re: Forum will be offline for maintenance and upgrading this Thursday 27 May for 24 hours!

.. possible bug?!

1 I searched for 'LaDePa' and got 51 hits on 4 pages (see attachment)
2 after reading the first page, neither 'next' nor '2' takes me to the next page
3 but rather to the 'detailed search' template from where my search started...???

ciao
Hajo

We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.
Albert Einstein
Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of a genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.
E.F. Schumacher
Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. :-)
Albert Einstein

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  • muench
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Re: Forum will be offline for maintenance and upgrading this Thursday 27 May for 24 hours!

Thanks for reporting this bug, Hajo. Steffen has fixed it now. Please try it out again, it works now.

Another option for search is the "site search" which you can access from the top black menu bar (under "Search & navigation"). Site search is based on Google's algorithm for ranking and might be useful when you have a large number of search results.

Next week Steffen will also improve the way the search options are presented, as searching is getting ever more important, the bigger our Forum gets!

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • JKMakowka
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Re: Forum will be offline for maintenance and upgrading this Thursday 27 May for 24 hours!

Great that RSS is working nicely now!

Would it be possible to enable SSL (https://) encryption? Otherwise passwords etc. are transmitted insecure (Firefox is complaining) and in general it is good practice to have it as the default option. See letsencrypt.org/ for an easy way of getting the needed certificate.

Edit: in the mobile view the menu is sorted with "basics" first and you have to scroll down a lot to access the more often used features like search and "recent topics" link etc. I think it would be better to have the most commonly used links at the top of that menu.

Krischan Makowka
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  • muench
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Re: Forum upgrade successful!! What do you think?

Hi Kris,
Thanks for these very good suggestions. We'll look into them and implement them ASAP!
To start with, we'll swap around the menu items "Basics" and "Search & Navigation" also for the desktop version so that in the mobile version the order is more practical, too.

Regards,
Elisabeth

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
Independent consultant
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(see: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )
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  • nityajacob
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Re: Forum upgrade successful!! What do you think?

I like the new look Elisabeth. No complaints so far.
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  • muench
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Re: Forum upgrade successful!! What do you think?

Hi Kris,

Just wanted to let you know that we implemented your suggestion regarding the order of the menu items for the mobile version (please check).
About your other suggestion regarding increasing the safety, Steffen (our IT guy) told me:

Yes you can reply to Kris that that SuSanA secretariat since a while wanted to bring ssl certificates to SuSanA network but that they could not use "let's encrypt" on this fully managed server and they need to pay for it and Anne needs to order it.

So we'll get that done, too.

Regards,
Elisabeth

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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(see: www.susana.org/en/resources/projects/details/127 )
Wikipedian, co-founder of WikiProject Sanitation: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Sanitation

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  • canaday
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Re: Forum upgrade successful!! What do you think?

Hi everyone,

One thing that is bothersome about the new version of Kunena is that there are parts where the letters are in gray, instead of black, and it is harder to read. :( Also the font here in the window for writing posts should be bigger and clearer. For example, it is hard to distinguish commas and periods. Before, it was in Courier.

Another is that emoticons are not there to choose from, in the Quick Reply. (What is the point of Quick Reply? And why is Reply only visible if you open the Action Menu?) One would have to know the key strokes to make them... and so it is impossible to make the new ones that I suggest just for our forum (poop, pee, toilet, wetlands, biodigestor, etc.). These would have the function of livening up posts and helping users who are scanning quickly to find the posts they are most interested in B) . These could also hopefully be searchable (like in Twitter), thus we could search on the poop emoji, instead of searching on all of the pertinent words (feces, faeces, fecal matter, faecal matter, excrement, poo, poop, crap, sh*t, not to mention other languages) :poo:
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pile_of_Poo_emoji

What happened to the number of posts, the number of likes, karma, etc.? I think these are useful.

Also, as I mentioned in my Featured User, I think it would be great to have options to rate each post, beyond just "like": please back up your statements, I want to do this, interesting if true, this is a great for sustainability, this is too resource intensive or expensive ...

Best wishes,
Chris Canaday

Conservation Biologist and EcoSan Promoter
Omaere Ethnobotanical Park
Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador, South America
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  • Carol McCreary
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Re: Forum upgrade successful!! What do you think?

Chris,

I like your post because of the specificity of the recommendations. I agree about the greyness of the new look and that the Quick Reply feature has never made sense.

Is it my imagination or do you lose any post to which you add something after checking it in preview? Yes, I know we should always keep an offline copy until the post appears, but I've lost a couple just by inserting a comma after previewing.

And I absolutely agree about wanting to see what individuals have posted in the past and what their interests and stances on issues are. One of the huge benefits for those of us whose professional communications are largely on line is that this Forum facilitates real personal and professional connections. I want to click on the name of a user and see who he or she is!

Carol

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  • muench
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Re: Forum upgrade successful!! What do you think?

Dear Chris and Carol,

Thanks for your feedback! I hope we get lots more feedback - the more we get the better.
Each bit of feedback we discuss here at our end with the team. Sometimes Steffen (our IT guy) points out to me "do you really want to change this based on just one user's feedback?". To which I say "well, there could be more people who think like that, but we are not sure!?".

So please continue to tell us if anything doesn't seem right and we'll see what we can do.

Let me give some interim responses:

The greyness

I wasn't sure what grey Chris meant, so we communicated by e-mail. He meant mainly the e-mail notifications that go out for responses in a thread. It is grey text in a white box on grey. I've asked Steffen if the grey font could be made darker. Another option could be to go back to the text-only format for the e-mail notifications if people prefer that. Again, what does the majority prefer? Another bit of grey is the "last edited by" below a post. Here, I think we could actually remove that information altogether as it is not adding any value, or is it?

The rest of the grey boxes is part of the design features. you don't like it? Please clarify further which parts of the grey are not good?

Quick reply and reply (under "action")

In the old Kunena, there was no difference between quick reply and reply. In the new Kunena there is a difference. Our thinking was that probably Kunena has done lots of market research and has found that some people prefer "quick reply" and some prefer the additional features of "reply", so we have left it as Kunena had set it up (Steffen told me by e-mail: "so we discussed all together how quick reply is useful, and in that overlay directly in front of submit button is good readable notice: "Note: BBcode and smileys are still usable."" ). But if enough people complain about it, we can change it. You find the "reply" under "action" and it gives you added features like the emoticons, formatting and being able to attach files.


Font type

Regarding the font, I fully agree with you, Chris, I also find it quite odd that the comma and fullstop (and also the quotation marks) are so small. Here again we need more user feedback before we make a decision to change (but I have asked Steffen if there is perhaps a similar, but better font).


Information about the users

Information about the users is still there:. Just click on the user's name above their photo to access their profile. Or click on the green triangle below their photo to the left here. I am discussing with Steffen if the green triangle is not intuitive enough. He thinks it should be, but I have my doubts. He didn't want to clutter up the page, hence the idea of making the information about number of posts etc. available only upon clicking on it. - Does anyone have suggestions on making this more intuitive? Do we need a button that says "More about this user"?


Other novel features
Chris: regarding these suggestions:
  • New emojis for sanitation topics
  • Different options other than "I like this post"

We are not planning to implement those as we're trying to pretty much use only what Kunena has to offer without programming our own additional features, because that can be costly and time consuming. In any case, I can't imagine that the other "short statements" would have much impact, as the person who made the post would not be automatically be notified that another user has made those comments. It's much better if the second user leaves a quick reply to the first user's post. Searchable emojis are also not an existing feature of Kunena. People might as well just use the search function to search for keywords.


Problems with the preview function

Carol: I havn't tried to use the "preview" function yet. That would be annoying if it resulted in a loss of a post!? Could you tell me if that happens consistently? Because if it does then we should turn off the preview feature. (actually I just tried it and had no problems; perhaps you were on an unstable internet connection? I did find a problem with a proper bullet point list though - strange)

Please be assured that we take all feedback very seriously and we have internal discussions about all of them! The more people tell us about stuff, the better it is for us, as it negates the (understandable) reaction of "let's not change it if only one user has complained about it"...

Regards,
Elisabeth

Dr. Elisabeth von Muench
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  • Carol McCreary
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Re: Forum upgrade successful!! What do you think?

Elisabeth,

Okay, it's time to see if Preview is a problem or if it's just my imagination.

I choose reply and write. I click "Preview" There appears to be a grey space that resembles a cursor, If I mistakenly try to use it as a cursor, the screen slides out of view. However, it is NOT lost.

Now I choose "Write" to add this sentence. Click "Preview" again. [Very strange, indeed, that I can't see if I've added a double quote (") or a single one (').}

It's OKAY! The Preview problem was my imagination!

How about giving this "What do you think?" discussion another week or so. ( I bet a lot of people are extremely busy right now.) Then perhaps we can write a small survey or poll to make it easier for people to express preferences [within reason, of course] and areas of difficulty.

One area of difficulty for me: Where do I click to see list of all my posts or all the posts of another Forum user?

Other things: Green triangle could maybe integrate word "More", Strange to have to look two places! Also has the way that I change my profile changed? I thought I could do it directly from the Forum without having to go into the website sign up. Again, it's likely just that I'm still not used to the new look. As for the emails being too grey, true! I prefer just going on line after reading the digest email, which is clear.

Thanks for consolidating the issues in your email, EvM.

Carol

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Toilet availability is a human right and well-designed sanitation systems restore health to our cities, our waters and our soils.
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