hMailServer easier to use

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martin
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hMailServer easier to use

Post by martin » 2008-06-04 23:04

Anyone got a good idea on how to make hMailServer easier to use?

There are already quite a number of changes in version 5 to make life easier, such as

- Help buttons on every page in hMailServer Administrator
- More consistent user interface in hMailServer Administrator
- Default hMailServer installation includes "truly" built in database instead of internal-external-MySQL
- A lot of minor improvements to the usability

I have a feeling that a lot of users still will have problems though. One could say that it's their problem, but the effect is really that they come here and waste our time. I'm talking about users who doesn't bother to read the documentation, even if the specific problem they have is very well documented. :)

I could add some kind of "Simple mode" / "Expert mode" switcher which hides 'difficult' functionality from beginners, but I'm guessing that the users who doesn't bother to read documentation considers themself experts and would select 'expert mode' the first thing they do.

Another idea is some kind of online troubleshooting wizards where the user can select what problem they have and be guided through some support process. I've seen quite a number of such though and I never feel that I've been really helped by one. (The "I can't install a local printer." troubleshooting wizard is one of my favorites, where Windows XP first suggest to use the correct driver and then ask the question Does using the correct driver solve the problem?. Then if I select answer No... , I'm presented with a single radio button with the text Okay, I'll try to get help elsewhere. I select that option, click Next and am presented with Thanks for using the troubleshooter. Thank you.)

Another option is to add help texts directly in the user interface. But I think that would make the user interface look cluttered.

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mattg
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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by mattg » 2008-06-05 01:39

I think a URL link to the documentation pages here in the Help files would be good, and even a URL link to the Search help function.

I really think that many who get into easily avoided trouble don't have a clue about what a mailserver does, and why they may / may not need one. Don't know how to fix that though.

Matt

Oh and a link to the donate tab. :shock:
Just 'cause I link to a page and say little else doesn't mean I am not being nice.
https://www.hmailserver.com/documentation

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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by Kaan1983 » 2008-06-05 11:56

martin wrote:I could add some kind of "Simple mode" / "Expert mode" switcher which hides 'difficult' functionality from beginners, but I'm guessing that the users who doesn't bother to read documentation considers themself experts and would select 'expert mode' the first thing they do.
Hahaha :D I never selected simple mode in my life... That definately wouldn't work...

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martin
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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by martin » 2008-06-06 16:21

Maybe I'll just have to continue being annoyed over the most basic questions...
:)

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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by ^DooM^ » 2008-06-06 16:34

Maybe you can fix the post new topic button to redirect to the documentation on first press if posts = 0 and subsequent press will redirect to forum ;)
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martin
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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by martin » 2008-06-06 17:17

Perhaps that's a bit rude. :)

I've made a small change: When a new user (less than 10 posts) submits a new message, the following is shown just above the "Submit" button.
Please: Before asking a question, check the hMailServer documentation.
Probably won't help much though. Suspect most people ignore those kinds of warnings. On the contact page, I have a This is not a support question checkbox. A lot of people selects this checkbox and then submits their typical support request.

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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by ^DooM^ » 2008-06-06 18:12

Yep, people just do not read things.

Today I had a user sign up to my forum to complain that my support system was not working. What it does after you write your support ticket is show you relevant knowledgebase articles and as stated right at the top 'if none of these articles resolve your issue please submit your ticket by clicking the button at the bottom of the page'. This seems to confuse some people, they just assume the ticket has been submitted even though the site says it hasn't :roll:
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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by martin » 2008-06-06 18:13

Fantastic. :)

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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by rodolfor » 2008-06-07 14:42

Why read the documentation if the forum always answer quickly ?
The main idea is to make faster the read of documentation (on line) or old answers than write a question to the forum.
1. It is a very good idea to insert in the admin a lot of lnks to the online documentation.
2. I do not know anyone who coud only think to select "simple mode": I'm an expert!
3. wizards...wizards...wizards...I don't trust in wizards...
4. Add links in the hmailadmin to a forums topics or to a faq
Hmailserver [lastversion] + MSSQL

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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by Kaan1983 » 2008-06-08 15:33

A quote from the book I'm currently reading: The Toyota Way
U.S. companies have tried to imitate Toyota s approach by going right to computers, creating large databases of engineering standards, but without success. The reason is they have not trained their engineers to have the discipline to use the standards and improve on them. Capturing knowledge is not difficult. The hard part is getting people to use the standards in a database and contribute to improving it. Toyota spends years working with its people to instill in them the importance of using and improving standards.

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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by Carl » 2008-06-09 17:21

Slightly off topic, but I like the quote from the German general in WWII (I think it was Rommel) that goes something like: The American Army succeeds in war because war is chaos, and the American Army practices chaos on a daily basis. :P

Also though, as a business major and statistician, I object to clumping all American companies into one. Not all have failed, just the auto manufacturers. :P
Carl

98% of computer users know just enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be useful. I'm afraid I don't fall in the top 2%.

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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by Carl » 2008-06-09 17:22

And a separate post for Martin's question:

Don't make it any easier! That was Microsquish's goal with Windoze and it's already responsible for so much trouble. :P
Carl

98% of computer users know just enough to be dangerous, but not enough to be useful. I'm afraid I don't fall in the top 2%.

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Re: hMailServer easier to use

Post by Kaan1983 » 2008-06-09 18:39

Carl wrote:Also though, as a business major and statistician, I object to clumping all American companies into one. Not all have failed, just the auto manufacturers. :P
:lol:

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