We always advise our customers to keep their site clean, so that the visitor can have a pleasant experience given by an intuitive workflow, which is easy to find and well presented. For the last couple of years we have given our feedback also to the Joomla! Community for the official pages, but it was not taken under consideration. Now, a couple of years after the implementation of the new extension directory of Joomla! (JED), the only positive change is the improvement of the category page. Hopefully for Joomla!, the long expected changes aren't coming too late.
Unfortunately, in my personal opinion, the user experience on the Joomla! extension site (JED) heavily contributed in the loss of market Joomla! has encountered in the last period of time. As main flaws of the site I noticed a lack of user experience, confusing layout, extremely crowded design and repetitive functions which may scare new users away.
Based on the screenshots, I'll try below to present some points, where there is a lot of room for improvement.
1. Menu Items.
There are a lot of repetitive menu items, making the whole menu structure of the site unclear and heavily confusing for a new user, who barely discovered the Joomla! CMS. Also, some menu items like the ones circled in light blue are only crowding the space since all this information can be structured together and presented in a friendlier manner to a Joomla! newbie.
A short note here regarding the footer: I think that there is plenty of commercial space available for the Rochen services on the other Joomla! pages, was it really needed to put this permanently on the Joomla footer too? I do not know, but this caught my attention, since it is one of the fewest large open source communities that is displaying a commercial on all the pages in their footer.
2. Lack of direct important links: Templates, Extensions.
This links are the core of the Community, vital for the new Joomla User. Without the templates and extensions Joomla is just an article management system, and the Community is lost. The main reason the Joomla! evolved so much after the Mambo downfall, was the Community formed from and around template and extension developers, which developed at a fast pace, attracting so many new users, by offering plenty of visual layout choices and functionalities.
The only direct link is barely noticeable at the footer, after the user has been bombarded with tons of information. That direct link is available here and only for the extension site, missing a template directory.
3. Repetitive functions.
Why clutter the layout with redundant functions?! If the layout is clean, the users can find much faster their way around the website, instead of a bulky layout, where they have to search much more through all the presented information, to find what they actually need.
As an example (for points 1-3), I can present here the Wordpress.org structure, NOT because Wordpress is a better CMS than Joomla!, but only because of their clean presentation layout which is vital for such a Community oriented website. Just have a look at Google.com, which actually has all the information in the world, yet they avoid hammering that into your face, and have not changed their initial neat and clean look, providing a pleasant user experience.
4. Category page on JED.
We are glad to see this has just been improved recently; too bad it took years to change the extremely confusing look that it had. Just thinking about that mouseover effect still makes my skin crawl. We tried to signal the issues, even from the very beginning (couple of years ago) with no avail. The new page provides a better experience also on mobile devices in comparison to the old one, but there is still room for improvement - layout, structure, redundancy - and weirdly even the counters seem not to work properly.
5. Listing page on JED.
Unfortunately, the newly introduced changes did not extend further then the category page. The extension listing page is still confusing and reminds me of the old category page, which is not usable on mobile devices. A short description of each item is presented only at mouse over, which is not available on mobile devices (and truth be told it's a rather outdated web function). The short extension description should be visible from the start, helping users to make a better selection of the potentially needed item, selection process not being based solely on a picture and a title. And honestly - would you expect the user to click on every extension in order to read the brief description?
There is also a fair amount of unnecessary information on this page (which is crowded anyway by the items themselves) like the circled 3 (representing the Joomla! 3.x version). This is not necessary on this page since for some time older compatibility versions were dumped from JED. This "3" can be misleading for a new visitor, making them think it's a rating (and honestly it tricks me too half of the time). It will be enough to present the compatibility versions on the extension detail page.
6. Extension detail page on JED.
The word "introduction" seems to be held at high respect (which BTW is as big as the title) - It should be removed; it's quite clear and intuitive that the text below is a short description. Category tags should be placed in a lower page position, since the user already knows what type of extension he accessed and the first thing he would rather read is the short description.
Again here, the same mistake of having 3 buttons with the same purpose, taking up space and cluttering the page, lacking to provide a clean, intuitive layout. And don't make me start about the "ratings wheel" - what is wrong with clean "rating stars" as we see in all major websites? Who expects a new Joomla user to understand a set of weirdly colored circles? Nobody wondered why huge websites that rely on the ratings system still use a simple star rating ? Just have a look at Apple's Appstore, Google Play or Steam (which has an even simpler thumbs up - thumbs down ratings system)
7. Reviews on JED.
Since we developed extensions from the beginning of Joomla!, we noticed from our experience and from other developers, that a satisfied user does not rush with joy to JED in order to post a positive review. You have to kindly ask him. Of course, any slightly disgruntled customer goes straight ahead to bash your work. Many reviews are only revenge reviews, which are not serving the Community in a productive way. It's even worse after posting a rating has become so complicated, that instead of asking a simple general note (sometimes a "it's working as intended" is the most helpful rating there is), it's asking for a whole lot of information that would scare any well intended customer away. Who has in our days the time to write an literary essay when posting a review? Also the fragmentation of the rating is totally useless - I mean there is no search after the best support or the best documentation, everything is still related to a general score. And - what does a 75% of a "FUNCTIONALITY RATING" even mean? is the extension broken? is it working just 75% ??
Perhaps the Joomla! community will manage to implement some of our ideas; if not, we wanted to at least present this also as a case study to our customers, to help them create a better layout for their site, taking under consideration primarily the site visitor and its experience. It is very important to define the needs of the site, depending on the main visitor's goal. Create a hierarchy of priorities for the user and therefore the site structure. Keep it as clean as possible and intuitive, taking under consideration today's web standards and how the visitors are accustomed to their general experience with the World Wide Web.
We have to admit that 2016 has been a thrilling roller-coaster ride, packed with surprises and unexpected turn of events, which is why this year we are determined to make the most out of it and reshape our #goals:
1. Continuous experience with web developers
Ever since the early Mambo days, we noticed an ongoing trend in this industry - site owners generally tend to not be very technical in regards to the utilized software, so they reach out to freelancer developers who'd be happy to set up their online businesses, in exchange for suitable remuneration. The reason why we absolutely love developing extensions for Joomla! is because of its incredible versatility and adaptability. By incorporating the separation of HTML/CSS from application logic with the Bootstrap framework, we have created a portfolio that caters to a wide array of business plans: auction websites, dating platforms with membership advantages, company recruiting boards, etc. The freelancer that chooses one of our solutions ultimately chooses the path with less headaches and more time to take on new projects, while the site owner will be able to effectively manage their online business through an intuitive admin interface. We'd say it's a triple win, right?
2. Product maintenance and customer appreciation
Each time we plan a major release version for one of our popular extensions, we first take some time to figure out what our customers further expect from us; based on the feedback that we receive through our in-house ticketing system, we adapt our customer's requests in the form of tweaks and new features. This is our way of paying our respects to the people around the world that find our work useful and relevant. For the upcoming season, we are also considering 'revamping' a few of our classified ads solutions, using the suggestions our customers sent.
3. Assertiveness towards the J! Community
Although 2016 was filled with changes for the Joomla! Community also, we can’t help but see the future in bright colors, because a community that can overcome hardships is a community of winners. We stand by the members that keep J! alive for developer houses, collaborators and small-to-medium business owners that simply wish to make a difference in the online world.
4. Partnership celebrations across social media
We are confident that our J! partners share some of our viewpoints about our favorite CMS, one of them being that there is only so much we can achieve on our own! The secret to a healthy communication relationship between houses is to share relevant content, news, updates from GitHub, etc., as well as keeping an open mind towards potential collaborations.
5. Doing the right thing for the right reasons
In the end, everybody has a different way of finding motivation for being a better worker, better partner, better human. Some of us go the extra mile for money, recognition or to tame the voice in the back in their head constantly repeating “Live outside yourself, you know you can!”.
thePHPFactory team is driven by innovation, a nerdy necessity to write perfect code and, at times, absurd amounts of coffee. We are ready to take on 2017 and fulfill our #goals. Are you?
We have emphasized on the Joomla! versatility numerous times in the past, it's no surprise that anyone can build any type of website using it, however today we want to address the trend of online penny auctions. There are but a few people in the world that can resist a good bargain; with that concept in mind, we have developed Penny Auction Factory, for those entrepreneurs who wish to venture into a long term, sustainable online business.
So how does a penny auction site work?
Typically, a penny auction represents a type of auction that requires a participation fee from its bidders, in the form of bid packages or bundles. The name 'penny' stuck through the ages because, originally, each bid raised the auction closing prices by 1 penny. Of course, there are a lot of variations nowadays, however most webmasters prefer to keep the original recipe for success.
The mirage of this unique type of auction draws many users to spend good money on multiple deals that often seem preposterous, like brand new Mac books for less than $30. This is why online penny auctions are both fascinating and overly-criticized, mainly because not everybody agrees with the idea of gaining something valuable without putting an equal amount of effort into it.
Vouchers, necklaces, cameras...and the list goes on!
Coupons or vouchers have been around since 1886. The first company that ever used such an interesting marketing strategy was Coca-Cola, but nowadays vouchers can be used in many other industries like health care, travel, fashion, etc. Gift cards, on the other hand, have only been around since the mid '90s, however have become an essential part of the holiday season. Loathing the idea of hunting for relatives' X-Mas presents? Get them a gift card. No idea what your partner's measurements are and their birthday is coming up? Present them with a gift card and send them shopping for the items of their desires without you even breaking a sweat!
Some consumers focus on those kind of services, however they represent only the tip of the iceberg - on penny auction sites, there are many listings for other deals that are just too tempting to ignore. One would be very inclined to bid a few dollars or cents for an item that would normally cost hundreds or maybe even thousands (among the most popular entries are electronics, from laptops and smartphones to DSLR cameras, contemporary or vintage jewelry, top brand cosmetics, etc.)
Steady profit for a happy administrator
Like most auction/eCommerce sites, the main sources of profit for the webmaster are the commissions applied to the buyer and/or
seller accounts, as well as the listing fees for basic and/or featured auctions. Yes, a $1500 laptop CAN be listed for only $1, while being perfectly legal. The success behind any popular penny auction site consists in the users' engagement towards the "art" of bidding; as long as there are, for example, 200 bids on an item that would ultimately increase the respective item price even by $0.5 per bid, the final acquisition price becomes irrelevant. The key to a long term financial success is to keep the business attractive for users and exposed online by investing in ads for search engines, Facebook, Instagram, and other mainstream social platforms.Most educated administrators stress on a deeper understanding of the rules and recommendations for responsible bidding, thus answering to criticism that may occasionally arise.
These plug-ins, also called extensions, allow users a way to expand beyond Joomla!’s initial offerings, and create a site that is tailored to their specific needs. There are literally thousands of different extensions available, with both free and paid options on the market. Many different extensions can be combined to create just the type of end product that’s desired.
Statistics show how powerful and how effective images can be in generating social engagement. They can even be more engaging if accompanied and optimized with text that describes the image well or tell a great story behind the picture. The great thing with images that generate engagement is that they can really get viral with more likes and shares, which can create greater awareness about your business if your images are properly branded to establish and identify you as the source.
One great tools that many turn to is Dashtags, by Dashbite.com team. Amazingly effective and power-packed right out-of-the-box, Dashtags has been heralded for its ease of use, wide array of features, and the fantastic support provided by the engineers at Dashbite.
Instant-Generated Tagged Photo Display from ( Instagram & Twitter ) as well as photo post from your Facebook page
For those who love photo sharing, Dashtag brings the much needed relief from managing photo galleries scattered across multiple places. The tool can instantly fetch and display tagged photos from sites such as Twitter and Instagram and also your images from your Facebook timelines, Flickr. Any Joomla! website can thus receive dynamic visual content, including YouTube videos, that is automatically refreshed with future uploads.
Dashtags supports a fully responsive photo display layout using a Bootstrap-style grid. Our layout allows you to configure the blocks width visible on different device widths, and will expand to fill up 100% of the available space.
View the photos and videos from your social display in a beautiful pop-up lightbox which allows users to experience your content without leaving your site.
Most of us have often been in a position in which we needed to fulfill a complex task using limited resources. Some of us adapt and navigate our way through the process, others rely on alternative tools to make their process easier.
Since 1891, the concepts of multitasking and compactness took a new shape - the Swiss Army knife. Its incredible versatility made this tool one of the most famous Swiss inventions in the world and has made millions of customers more comfortable with their amateur level of craftsmanship. In 2016, a new analogy emerged among the people who use Joomla! for their online business; with the 3.5 release version, users experienced a new kind of virtual freedom, unlimited options for customization and stronger performances. Here are a few reasons why we believe that J! 3.5 also brings a new twist to the above mentioned concepts: