Tag Archives: UX

What’s In the Pipeline at iToysoldiers

Ahoy, Commander!

So I just wanted to let you know about what’s currently being worked on for iToysoldiers right now. I have a release scheduled for next week that’ll include the following:

Achievements

  1. I’m redesigning the look and feel of the Achievement pages. They’ll be cleaner and it’ll be much easier to see who’s earned a given achievement.
  2. I’m fixing the “bulk award” achievement rule so that it doesn’t generate quite so much email. This is a little thing ’cause it’s not often that I introduce a whole bunch of achievements.
  3. I’m going through and fixing some of the older achievements to use better code.

General Stuff

  1. In an effort to make navigation a bit easier I’m totally revamping the left nav menu.  Rather than being clever with titles like, “Order of Battle” I’m going to be using the categories of Gaming, Narrative, and Modelling for the major features.  Theater will still be events.  Think, “Where, when, and who to play” and Gazetteer will be collapsed into Community.
  2. General bug fixes that probably won’t really be noticed.

Bug Hunt 2017

Oh, and don’t forget that Bug Hunt 2017 is running right now. If you have any bugs, feature requests, or comments, do not hesitate to zip over to the iToysoldiers Help Portal and submit them.  You’ll be entered for a chance to win $25 at your favorite game store.

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers

iToysoldiers Ragnorak Brings a Better Wargaming Calendar

iToysoldiers is pleased to announce the release of iToysoldiers 4.5-rc1 – “Ragnorak”.  Ragnorak brings some major improvements to the miniature wargaming event calendar and listings as well as some much needed improvements to the features of gaming clubs listed on the site.

Calendar and Events

The biggest change in this release is the look of Events on the site.  They’ve been totally overhauled and present the event’s necessary information way better than before.  Take a look at the calendar and a few of the events and let me know what you think!

Another pretty huge change is part of the “Regroup and Sally Forth Project”. In order to make iToysoldiers a bit easier to use I’m rethinking how all the myriad options and features on the site are presented to you. The first real step to this is collapsing some of the features.  Specifically events, leagues, tournaments, etc.  It’s annoying and/or confusing to have to pick the right one right from the get go.  Well, Ragnorak helps by collapsing the Event and Calendar Only Event types into a single form. One form to rule them all and in darkness bind them.  Ultimately the plan is to collapse leagues and tournaments into the Event form as well but that’s a pretty big undertaking and I need to plan that out.  But in the meantime, if you want to post your miniature wargaming event on iToysoldiers – and even leverage some of the management features we offer, you can do it from a single form.

A minor change to Events is a switch to indicate whether you’re the event organizer or not. This is pretty cool, actually.  Here’s the use case: If you’re just posting an event as an FYI to the community you may not want to be listed on the page as the contact for the event.  I mean, you’re just sharing the info, right?  Well, now your name only shows up as the event organizer if you flip the “I’m the event organizer” switch on the form.  Of course, if you’re enabling the iToysoldiers features this switch will be flipped automatically.

Oh, and I fixed the ability for event organizers to edit registrations if they need to.  Still need to address the issue with this for Narrative Campaigns but it’s a start.

Gaming Clubs

Events can now be tied to a gaming club.  If your club administrator has given you permissions to create events for the club you can either click the link on the club page or select your club when creating an event.  All the members of the club will receive an email notification when you do so.

Oh! And speaking of club notifications…  They’re better now.  They actually provide a link to the content that was created.  This has been something that’s been preventing me from using the club functionality all that often.  It just didn’t really help at all.

Clubs now have a calendar tab!  So now that you can tie an event (or a league, or a tournament) to a club, so what? Well, now folks can peruse the events that are coming up on the club page.

Along with the new calendar tab is a refresh to the look of the club pages.  I think it’s better for sure.  I used a similar look and feel to the events since they kind of share similarities as far as the types of info they provide.

Errata

Removing Text Format options.  It killed me to do this, but part of the “Regroup and Sally Forth Project”, I’ve decided to disable the wysiwyg editor on iToysoldiers.  To the folks who used it, I apologize.  To the rest of you: Welcome to a cleaner interface when authoring content on iTS.  I plan to be diving into the wysiwyg functionality again but before I enable it I need to address some of the issues it has when being used with mobile devices.

Some various patching and security updates for the site.  Yawn.  Boring.

Fixed the URL to the iToysoldiers Help Portal in emails from the site.

Whew!

And there you have it!  Ragnorak is all about bring better miniature wargaming event lists and entries to the world. If you know about an event that’s coming up, why not take a moment to share it on iToysoldiers.  If you have any issues, suggestions, or feedback I’m all ears! Comment here or submit a request on the iToysoldiers Help Portal.

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers

iToysoldiers Release Announcement: 4.5-BG575 – introducing Emoticons

Greetings, commander! iToysoldiers is pleased to announce a wee little release to address something that’s kind of been a problem for a long time but really reared its ugly head in the last couple of days.  As of January 23rd, 2017 iToysoldiers fully supports utf8mb4 encoding!  Isn’t that exciting?  Sounds impressive doesn’t it?  Well, what it means is that if your comment, post, whathaveyou has an emoticon or other special character the site will no longer toss an error and trash your content.  This was a particular issue when using a mobile device.  But it’s fixed now.  Yay!

Just one more in a long list of improvements to authoring content on iToysoldiers!

Now… I know there’s other annoying things so if you have any that are really driving you batty please let me know.  The best way is through the iToysoldiers Help Portal.

Carpe Acies!
Rob @ iToysoldiers

Ragnarok: Planning the Next Major Release

Greetings, Commander!

So I’m giving thought to what’ll come after Kilgrave.  One thing that comes to mind is that the event pages are pretty lame.  So the next major release will be “Ragnarok” and it’ll deal with the the lists/views/display of Warzones and Events.  It’ll probably also address event/warzone views for clubs and battlefields.

So if you have any suggestions on what you’d like to see on event type listings let me know at our Help portal or comment here or drop me an email at rob@itoysoldiers.com.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

Kilgrave mK III: Modelling Stats and a new Dashboard

Ahoy, Commander!

So I’m working on Kilgrave mK III, the last mark of this particular release and here’s what I have planned:

  1. Modelling Project Stats
  2. A Revised Dashboard that shows things that require attention.
  3. Bug fixes identified by mK II.

Now, that’s not to say that I won’t go back and revisit the profiles and player stats.  It’s just that I think I have this bit sorted for now – or more accurately that I’ve achieved the goal of providing certain features.  So if you’ve found a bug, have an idea for an improvement or what have you… Bestest: Support Portal.  More best: Comment here.  Best: email me at rob@itoysoldiers.com.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

Kilgrave mK II is now live: Content Stats!

Greetings, commander!

On Friday I released the newest version of iToysoldiers: Kilgrave mK II.  In addition to all the really slick stuff that was part of Kilgrave, there’s now content stats!

If you visit your player profile you’ll see a “Stats” tab.  Click on that.  Then click the “Content” sub tab.  There you’ll see an overview of the content you’ve submitted to iToysoldiers along with some page view, comment, and salute values.  I wanted to make sure that if you’re using iToysoldiers to chronicle the glory of your miniature wargaming armies that you can see that folks are reading your stuff. The detailed statistics are largely based on the kind of information that Blogspot provides.  I figured if it was good enough for them it’d be good enough for us.

Also there’s some bug fixes – specifically new players and how their profile displays.  Now there’s no more floating headers without content. I’ve also tweaked some bits of the theme to be a bit more “what you might expect”.  Little fiddly bits (like the logout button doesn’t show up if you’re not logged in – stuff like that) which weren’t huge but needed to be addressed.

So now, Kilgrave has all the above plus what was announced here.

If your curious here’s what the Kilgrave release contains (including all marks) to date:

  1. Updated Player profiles
  2. Updated Home page for anonymous visitors
  3. Updated Stats page layout
  4. Updated Content page layout
  5. Updated Battle Stats
  6. Updated Content Stats
  7. A new Help Portal
  8. Various Bug fixes

Now I just have to get Kilgrave mK III in the wild and then I’ll be able to start work on “Ragnorok”.  Yay!  As always, if you have any comments, issues, suggestions, I aim to please.  You can email me at rob@itoysoldiers, comment here, or submit something on the Help Portal.  Zip on over to iToysoldiers and checkout the new hotness!

Carpe Acies!
Rob

And Now… Kilgrave mK II: Fixing some stuff on Player Profiles

Good morning, Commander!

So last week I released Kilgrave which did some really cool things for player profiles and battle stats.  Alas, as per usual, I found some stuff that made me unhappy when it actually hit the site.  The most glaring of these is for newish players.  Profile and stat screens had headers all over the place and no content in the section.  Why? Well, it’s cause there wasn’t anything to display.  That’s kind of annoying.  There were also a couple of other bugs introduced by some of the backend stuff I put into place.  Nothing huge but still…

So… What I’ve been working on this week is Kilgrave mK II.  It’s primarily a bug fix release but it’ll also bring content stats into the stats page (stuff like how many page views, salutes, comments your blogs, galleries, modelling projects, etc have).  Hopefully I’ll have this released by Friday.

After that I’ll start work on Kilgrave mK III.  The plan for this bad boy is to address modelling project statistics and the dashboard (which I’m going to be revamping).

So that’s the short term plan.  If you haven’t checked out the new stuff then zip over to your player profile and take a gander.  I’m pretty pleased.  Oh! And of course, if you find any issues do not hesitate to let me know.  You can either visit the new Help Portal or drop me an email at rob@itoysoldiers.com.  ‘course you could comment here.  I’m pretty flexible.

Carpe Acies!

Rob

New Home Page and Player Profiles Live

Greetings, commander! iToysoldiers is super pleased to announce the release of “Kilgrave”.  The Kilgrave release introduces a brand new home page for folks who aren’t a member of the site yet as well as a brand spanking new player profile and stat pages for every player on the site. We’re also introducing our new iToysoldiers Help Portal, which isn’t huge news but still pretty slick.

Let’s chat about the new home page first.  The old one was kind of dated and had a few issues.  The first of which is that it didn’t really tell anyone what iToysoldiers was all about. Well, now it does. Yeah, it’s kind of a marketing page for the site but I think that’s okay ’cause it’s important to let people know what iToysoldiers has to offer the miniature wargaming community.  I built it to show off the player functionality ’cause that’s what most people are interested in.  I’m going to be working on the Ironmonger program (for local game stores) and the event management pieces shortly.

Now.  The really cool bit of Kilgrave is the new player profile pages and the stats pages.  Here’s some of the new features:

  • A consolidated statistics page that covers all of your activity on iToysoldiers.
  • A great new player “landing” page that highlights your best stuff on iToysoldiers and provides easy navigation to all of your content, decorations, and media.
  • A fantastic new battle statistics summary page with new charts, and even competitive play stats.  Check it out on the Stats tab of your profile.

And lastly, I’m introducing a new support portal – one that I control rather than a third party so I can be sure that all the usage follows the iToysoldiers privacy policy.  So if you ever have a question or wanna find our faqs you can zip over to http://help.itoysoldiers.com.

And that’s what’s in Kilgrave.  If you run into any issues don’t hesitate to let me know at http://help.itoysoldiers.com or send me an email at rob@itoysoldiers.com or you can comment here.  Curious to know what you think of the new stuff.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

Double Post Double Post

Greetings, commander!

I know that the double posting (usually of comments, but other things too) has been a thorn in everyone’s side.  Well, not everyone.  I think it’s mostly folks on mobile devices – especially iOS devices ’cause Safari encourages double clicking of links to make them work.  Well, it’s been driving me batty as well.  The good news is that I think (this time I’m a bit more confident) that I have a solution and it’ll be released with Smaug.  yay!

So I was doing some searching on what’s causing the problem and I found this post: https://www.drupal.org/node/107358.  It’s pretty hilarious.  The participants spend an awful lot of posts “proving” the issue.  As it turns out it’s a function of clicking the submit button after the server has received the comment but before it returns a response.  Something that’s a common occurance when we’re using cell data rather than wi-fi (which is where I tend to test things so I hadn’t been able to duplicate it).  Thankfully, my development server is slow slow slow so after reading how to duplicate I did so.

Then I found a really slick module that disables the submit button for a couple of seconds (I’ll need to play with it to get the right amount of time) so that the server can return a response and thus double posts will be eliminated.  How cool is that?

Anyway, I’m always trying to get stuff working better for you and if you run into any issues at all or have something you’d like to see on the site then by all means, please drop me  a note at rob@itoysoldiers.com and I’ll take a look at it.  I aim to please, after all.

Carpe Acies!
Rob

Army Profiles Get Some Love

Ahoy, Commander!

I just released the oh-so-cleverly titled Release 4.3-rc5 release on iToysoldiers.  I know.  I need better names, right?  I should use really cool code names like other software developers.  Yeah, we’re going to do that starting now!  Henceforth this release is code named, “Stormageddon”.  So, Stormageddon has two major facets.  The first is an attempt to address some of the bugginess when creating and editing content on smart phones and tablets.  Who knew there was a secret number for the font size that triggered zoom?  Anyway, in order to make it a bit easier to manage on a mobile device I’ve set the default editing screen to a “Basic” format.  It’s essentially a text box without any bells or whistles.  It’s great for the down and dirty stuff like responding to discussions, or reporting a battle or simply uploading a photo.

The Advanced screen (there’s a toggle at the bottom of applicable text fields that lets you switch between the two) has all the nifty features like embedding images, cool formatting features and the like.  So if you’re like me, sitting in front of a laptop or desktop all day, you can fiddle with the formatting until it’s just right.  The advanced filter is still a bit wonky on phones – it behaves okay on tablets and I’m going to continue to work at it but this should address most of the issues.  Also, because the javascript isn’t loading up initially (or at least rendering), some of the double posting issues and text replacement bizarreness should be minimized. Let me know if you’re still having issues.  I’m working on getting it better all the time.

And now it’s time to talk about the second facet.  Army Profiles.  So the idea behind Army Profiles on iToysoldiers was to have a place where you could bring all the elements of your army together and kind of show it off/tell its story.  For you 40K players, I pictured a kind of “Index Astartes” article type thing.  The Stormageddon release adds some cool features to make that a reality.

If you start a new Army Profile (http://itoysoldiers.com/node/add/army-profile) and scroll down past the description you’ll see a series of buttons.  Each button describes a “kind” of content block.  There’s headers, notable units, etc.  I look at these as building blocks for building your army profile.  If you zip over to my Dark Eldar profile, The Kabal of the Malfean Dawn, you’ll see what it looks like when you utilize these functions.

Oh! I also added a block on the sidebar that shows all the modelling projects associated with a particular army profile.  Cool, eh?

Anyway, give it a whirl and let me know how it all works for you.  I’m excited to add some more content to my profiles so you can all read more of my sloppy prose.  Feel free to ping me at rob@itoysoldiers.com or on the site at http://itoysoldiers.com or here in the comments if you have any feedback, suggestions, or what I’ve done is driving you batty.

Carpe Acies!
Rob