NB_Store_01.01.01 feedback

Mar 8, 2009 at 12:07 PM
Edited Mar 8, 2009 at 12:11 PM

Hi David,

I've spent time today and yesterday running through the new release. I think it's shapgin up real nicely still. And once again I have written down notes as I went through each stage of setting it up. Once again, it is supposed to be read as if one was watching someone during user acceptance testing and making notes. The questions I ask are generally not in search of answers... they are meant to be used to identify places where there was confusion and where something could be improved.

I had the biggest problem with the languages. This caused me allsorts of issues and you'll see a lot of notes about that.

The other major problem I had was with the default settings and the way I seem unable to restore the site settings. I seem to be stuck in some sort of loop whereby I can't get rid of fr-FR settings. It's a bit weird, and I've basically finished up wanting to remove the whole thing and restore it again from scratch, but there must be a better way.

Also, quite a few of the items I've listed are answered in the docs, but that doesn't mean they couldn't have simply been made more easily understandable directly on the page. My view is that host and admins can be expected to read up detailed technical docs, but end users generally will not, and therefore I try and ensure that their work is easy enogh to figure out right there on the page.

Here are the notes (sorry for the length)

  • Suggest more widespread use of standard DNN classes: CommandButton, Head, SubHead, SubSubHead, Normal, NormalBold, NormalRed, DataGrid, etc

  • Suggest putting a custom class around any major display sections – e.g. Put class=”MiniCart” around the minicart contents, and then style its contents using only the standard DNN classes as well as standard tags h1, h2, h3 etc. The result of this method is that the cart looks fine in nearly any skin without any further styling, but that any particular content item can be restyled using for example: .MiniCart .Head {} – This is very flexible system that I tend to apply retroactively to any module.

  • Many settings pages could do with more sophisticated interfaces – most are just text boxes. e/g the management roles settings could provide the actual roles in a dropdown – perhaps later.

  • I’m still unsure if I have to just Update or Update To All Languages? I have three English languages enabled on the site, but no “language packs”.

  • After clicking Update on settings pages, nothing happens.. the DNN convention usually returns the person to the previous page after clicking update. I’ll try clicking Cancel instead, but that’s just wrong - Cancel means do not apply the setting and return.

  • Categories order is required – suggest defaulting this to alphabetic perhaps or provide a different interface for ordering them?

  • I’m creating categories but am still wondering if the cart is going to fail if I only click Update and not Update all Languages? Does the display of products fall back to US English if I don’t apply a category to other languages?

  • categories menu options are nice but even cooler would be menu items as Li tags which could be formatted into any direction by CSS.

  • Adding a product is also confusing with this languages stuff.. in this case there is a dropdown to select the language.. but I just want it to work with all. Update: After the first half of creating a new product, then the Update all languages button appears.. not sure why.

  • Generally very impressed so far

  • At this point I removed beta 3 and installed release version NB_Store_01.01.01

  • Categories – suggest removing “admin” from all these menu items. Category Admin should just read “Categories” and Product admin just “Products” – this section is already admin. "Admin Clients" can just read Customers

  • Does one have to set one’s Portal Default Language to something other than United States in order for the currency to be correct? Again I'm confused abotu the languages. I’ve set it to NZ just in case, but would prefer to just set a currency somewhere.

  • Does the display order start again fresh from zero for subcategories ? Would it sort by alphabet if I put zero in every category? Much more usable than trying to work with manual sort orders would be to have those up/down arrows on the category list page.

  • Still not liking the upside down workflow. It would be fine if all DNN modules also followed this pattern, but they don’t, which makes this module seem wrong. Suggest following DNN convention and put the operation buttons at the bottom - unless there is some reason I'm missing why they aren't/

  • If I click on Update (category) more than once, I get multiple duplicate categories... definitely buggy there.

  • Ok, I’ve just read in the Wiki Docs that one has to “update to all languages” or risk losing items for some visitors. I’ll have to go through and click that button for everything I’ve done, presumably categories as well.. but what about things like manager role and image resize which also has these options? This bit is going to be highly confusing for people who have not been using multiple languages. I’m also unsure if all of this has anything to do with browser language detection, or if this is all solely triggered by using a language skin object – which I do not use?

  • When adding a product, there seems to be a tax category for every single category – We have just one tax rate here. There should be a means of setting the tax rate in the store admin and that’s the end of it.

  • Not sure if the Add New Document button is for selling downloadable products or if it’s just for attaching a brochure or something to a product. (I read in the wiki later that it's just for adding a doc)

  • I uploaded 3 images for a product that has 3 colours and added description text for each, then I added 3 options, when I click the “Add” button next to the options, it cleared the images descriptions.

  • Ok, I’ve clicked edit next to an option and now I realise I need to delete two of the new options I made and just use one, but with 3 option values. This methodology of progressively exposing the form is a double edged sword – it has good and bad aspects to it.

  • I’ve now filled in the three option values, but am unsure where to click next – I don’t want to lose what I‘ve typed, but I also need to delete the two un-used options.

  • I’ll try and click a delete button next to one of the spare options – beh.. that removed the option and it also removed the option values I’d typed. I really would put the Update button at the bottom where all the work is being done.

  • Suggest “Save and view in a new window” type of button, because the forum doesn’t display everything – e.g. the option values and price adjustments aren’t visible without further editing.

  • Does “Return to product list” update and return or cancel and return? This isn’t clear. Upate and return would be more useful, because there is already a cancel button... which also returns.

  • Gahh.. I just realised I’ve been forgetting to update to all languages when adding products. This is a pain that surely could be avoided? How can one even tell if it has or hasn’t been updated to all languages.

  • My portal system has only had US English since it was built 3.5 years ago. The only reaon I decided to add NZ and AU English was because I was under the impression that the cart would require it for payments. I’m sure I read this in a post somewhere. Do I have to have the extra languages added or not – they’re all English after all?

  • Product Admin and Simple Product Admin pages look exactly the same?

  • Stock/cost page is very good idea – could even add tick-boxes for featured/archived/ etc

  • Shipping Administration is the first page I’ve opened that has a title stating what page this is. Suggest either doing this for all or none, - be consistent – otherwise it looks like a disabled menu item instead of a title.

  • Free shipping option needs tick-boxes such as: include coupons, include specials, include tax, etc – anything that might influence the product price needs to be taken into account one way or the other. The tooltip suggests that it only operates on the cart total, but I know people will want more control over this.

  • Some things, such as shipping, discount coupons and vouchers, are often not store-wide. Perhaps start building a mechanism whereby products, or categories can be denied for such options. A typical case just happened yesterday for me – have put out discount coupon code, but it is only for restricted range of products – things that can be mailed, not furniture, and it is also not for items that are already on special.

  • I haven’t seen specials functionality in the cart yet – that’s a must, either by product, category or storewide.

  • Free shipping page doesn’t offer a Return option like the other pages so far have done. Should be consistent. I’ll click Cancel and assume that will return me and not just cancel my changes.

  • Shipping country – If this also allowed for Zone with countries to be specified, then it would be very useful. Here in NZ, shipping prices are typically in two zones, North Island and South Island. In Australia, there are several states.. even though 90% of people live in just a handful of places, the country is huge and shipping to the remaining 10% costs a lot. Allowing for Zones within countries handles this.

  • Shipping Country – This is allowing me to add a country, but only from a dropdown list that has UK and France on it. I’ve noticed the countries section on the Store Settings – Perhaps these two options pages need to be merged, because the process is incomplete... The store manager may as well be able to add the country to the dropdown.

  • Many of the other options mentioned above, such as shipping, discount coupons and specials, etc, need to also take country into account.. e.g. coupon and free shipping only works for people in this country, not in all the others.

  • Align the shipping menu items to the left same as the main Store Manager menu.. Suggest just aligning all of these page to the left including product pages etc.

  • Am not sold on the Store Manager page altogether. Obviously it conveniently makes use of addcontent action buttons, but it also stops it from being extended into a proper cart dashboard. Most carts have an admin homepage where it lists the latest sales, outstanding orders, new customers, top products, new reviews, current coupons and so on. Perhaps this could eventually grow into something like that.

  • Tax Admin – Am inserting a tax default – the tooltip says it will be for products that do not have tax specified. From what I recall, the products had a dropdown for tax that had all the product categories on it. I left all of those at the default (first) category. Now I have no idea how this tax admin option relates to that.

  • I’m also unsure of the three radio button options below the shipping tax field are for all tax or if they are referring to shipping tax only. These things may be obvious to people who know, but will definitely confuse others.

  • Tax page also has no return option – this would not be confusing if other pages were identical.

  • Tax page also centre-aligned – suggest going left

  • Tax page also has a title – it’s odd that the titles are below the action buttons though.. Suggest having a title on all pages – at the very top – and move buttons to bottom.

  • Export options – there are 5 things to export – is there a single export that can cover the lot? It would be a great little backup system for store operators, but they wouldn’t want to be handling 5 different exports for this. Ideally an additional one to export the whole thing if possible – of course, then there would also need to be an Import option to pull it all back in..and that would bring up questions such as should the import be merged with existing content, overwrite it, or replace it. However.. I'm not too fussed about this myself as would not be planning to move products around all the time.

  • Import options page seems back to front – suggest swapping left and right columns so that it’s like any other DNN page - labels on left, fields on right.

  • Settings Admin – could better read “Store Configuration” - the less developer-speak the better for end-users.

  • Now.. obviously, all the options on this page make use of the same interface for editing them, and that is probably been a good idea when creating the code. However, it is definitely not so great for the user setting it up. Perhaps these options could be migrated into options dialogues that would be easier to use over time. I even feel that a lot of this page could reside in a single form. Things like the admin email, email subject, culture, merchant email, ordershipdate estimate, and in fact almost all of the rest could just be in a single page form.

  • As mentioned elsewhere, I’m also very unsure about the languages and ‘update to all languages’ options for each of these. I’m unsure what I have to do, or do I have to do anything at all about the languages. Aha! The language dropdowns on these pages have “Default” as a setting. That makes much more sense – suggest adding this type of option anywhere where the choice has to be made.

  • Suggest adding the same sort of “Saved” message to these pages as is on the product page. It’s always good to know that one has made the change. The alternative that is more DNN-like is to return the operator to the previous page after Update is clicked. This also makes it obvious that Update was clicked. The whole idea of remaining on the same page after clicking update is not typical DNN behaviour.

  • I wonder if there’s any way to make it obvious what settings have to be applied before using the cart. Some items such as the merchant email must be updated before use – I wonder if there is any way to make it clear that certain inoperable defaults have not been updated yet – e.g. an icon or color-variation of those items on the list.

  • The list of settings is obviously displaying the actual code names of the variables... suggest displaying plain English (or French etc) lables.

  • Items such as gateway image are going to be impossible for most people to update. DNN upload control would obviously suit better.

  • Things like ordersreport.xsl.. most people wouldn’t’ even know what it is... default is Desktopmodules/NB_Store/ordersreport_fr.xsl – not sure what it does, but it looks like it’s going to be in French.

  • With all the language settings in the module, is there a way to have things in English by default? I note a lot of the default settings here are in French. This seems odd when nowhere on this system is French set as a default language as far as I’m aware. I’ll investigate to see if I can make some English defaults. Ok I have found the files in the templates folder. I’ll be able to modify those.

  • Ok, in the module folder I can see ordersreport_en.xsl and ordersreport.xsl – I’ll paste one of those in and see what happens, but this is definitely not intuitive.

  • I’m guessing that if I change the merchant.culture setting, it will give me English defaults? This is another settings that no one will know how to change. I’ll try En-NZ, but I’m unsure if that’s correct.

  • Aha! I’ve now realised what the dropdown at the bottom of the Store admin page is for – does that load presets for all of the items I’ve just been going through? I won’t try it because I won’t want to undo all the changes I’ve just made.

  • Template editor – It would be very useful if the tokens were listed in a collapsed dnnsectionhead below the editor.

  • Is the name actually going to be NB_Store i.e. is the underscore there on purpose?

  • Looking at the results of my test products now:

  • In one case I added three images, and left the sort orders on 1 for all. The result is that there are three images, but one is being displayed twice. I really think that sort orders should be an automated part of adding categories and products and should be changeable as needed, not by force. A set up up/down arrows next to the images would be fantastic.

  • I also note that the three product options I created are not showing up. I’m editing the product and have added price changes and sort orders for the three option values – these were again left as 1,1,1 they are now 1,2,3

  • Hmmm I still can’t see any product options – I’m not sure where they should be but I thought I’d see a dropdown, or radio buttons, or tick-boxes somewhere?

  • It’s not ideal that the template selection dropdowns in the module settings display all templates – even ones that aren’t suitable.

  • I’ve tried making a purchase as an unregistered person. Clicking on “I do NOT have an aaccount : Inscription” doesn’t do anything.

  • Just while I’m looking around the cart I can put a few features forward that have been important in the carts I’ve implemented in the past – some of these are already done, some are already in development, but some are not present: Related products, Customers who purchased this also purchased..., specials, downloadable products (music, documents, software etc), loyalty points system, gift vouchers, discount coupons, group pricing, wholesale pricing (basically a second tier of pricing for buyers in a special role), option images (for example, a table in several wood finishes – each optional finish gets a small image next to the selection radio button showing the finish.)

  • The three buttons beneath the store manager action buttons seem a bit lost. Suggest moving them into a menu called “Store Maintenance” or similar.

  • And then, regarding what they actually are.. “Do store validation and fix or not to fix errors” – when and why would someone need to do this. And “Import Settings” – I have a feeling I should have done this before adding content, but I don’t know. I’ve gone and found some notes on this in the docs wiki – “Delete ALL Store contents” is called “ClearDown Store” in there. It also describes additional “Product image/ Document Validation” options that I can’t see here in the cart.

  • Ok, I selected the other xml file and clicked the Import settings button and did not let it overwrite. Now I seem to have double of everything – it looks as if it has added fr-FR alternates for everything. – I’m sure that the “Default” ones where there alone first. I’m hoping I can delete all this extra stuff... no, it’s not deleting properly.

  • When for example I click to delete chqpayment.text with fr-FR next to it, it does not delete the fr-FR one, and instead deletes the one with “default” next to it. Hmmm... no,. I can’t delete any of the fr-FR items. Now I’m in a bit of a mess.

  • I’m now trying the Import Settings button again, but this time I will tick the Overwrite box.. hopefully this will clear all the FR stuff. Hmm nope, I’ve got a cart full of too many templates and I can’t delete the FR ones.

  • I’m deleting all the “default: templates one at a time now. I’ve now also noticed that some of the templates were not there in duplicate e.g. the lightbox ones. Hopefully they will come back if I import the settings again

  • I’ll examine the xml files in the module folder... ok, the ManagerMenuDefault.xml and ManagerMenuDefault.fr-FR.xml have a fair few settings – this is fantastic to see because it means one can set up a set of defaults that are nearly ready-to-go

  • I notice that ManagerMenuDefault.xml has missing W at line 181: <![CDATA[aiting for Payment]]></ID90>

  • However, in the meantime, I’ve messed up the store by deleting all those doubled-up bits... how to restore it? I’ll try and important again from ManagerMenuDefault.xml ... hmm nope, I’ve really hosed it now.

  • I’m no also trying to remove a couple of fr-FR items that are on the other settings page. Once again, when I delete the one labelled “fr-FR”, the one labelled “Default” is deleted instead.

  • Can I maybe delete the store manager module off the page and add it again to restore everything back to what it was? I’ll click the “Do store validation” button and set it to Fix Errors – maybe it knows how to fix it.. not sure, it says “Fix Errors Product Images: ERRORS: 0 FIX: 0 Product Docs: ERRORS: 0 FIX: 0” – I think that means nothing in this regard.

  • Ok, I’ve deleted the store Manager off the page and out of the recycle bin. Adding it again to the page now fresh... the settings remain exactly the same.

  • I’ll leave this feedback at this point, because I’m now stuck.

  • Ok, one more try – I’ve deleted ManagerMenuDefault.fr-FR.xml and will try and force it to import ManagerMenuDefault.xml because I can see all the templates I need are inside that file. Ok this time it imported temapltes and so now I’m back to having a templates page full of duplicate templates, one labelled “Default” and one “fr-FR”. There must be a way to get rid of the fr-FR ones?

  • Or alternatively, is there a way to completely wipe this store from the portal in question and make it start fresh again?

    Hope there was something useful in all that! I'm loving the cart so far in any case :)

Mar 8, 2009 at 2:51 PM
Hi Rob,

Thanks for this great feedback, I've had a quick scan through and this kind of feedback helps us work out what can be done to help people use NB_Store.  Although some of the points are created as "features" in NB_Store, due to the way we implement the store from our point of view, I still love to see other peoples views and I'm sure the work you've done for us will help improve NB_Store and be of benefit to eveyone.

Also I see some areas where we've simply been to busy trying to get the functionality out there and working, but missed on some simple things that would make using NB_Store easier.

I'll have a more detailed look at it tonight and I'm sure we'll be able to implement some of the points into the next release.

Thanks again Rob.