Improving the user experience

There are quite a few little bugs (and lots of them are BIG) on iSpot, and of course changes/tracks do not work at all but will be restored by September.

But what quick and easy changes can be done immediately to improve the user experience while the more difficult to solve and complicated bugs are being fixed by the team?

Here is my list in order of frustration.

  1. Get rid of the small intermediary windows when one clicks in the Gallery Views, and in the Browser.
    They do nothing at all, except waste time and bandwidth. Just open the observation immediately (if the user wants to go to the dictionary, they can click on the ID name and be there in as many keystrokes). The correct window to open is:
    in projects, observations, dictionary, OO Carousel: the observation;
    in the browser and dictionary (yes, there should be a gallery view there too), and on the ID in the ID box, and the Interactions Carousel (yes we want it back on the Observation!): the dictionary observation (List) page (not the taxonomy page).

  2. Fix the locality name match in the Add an Observation.
    The ability to reload a previous locality by selecting from the autocomplete an old locality was immensely useful and popular. Why is it missing. Restore it.

  3. Ditch to ridiculous new layout for our observations’ pictures and give us back the old views that worked, were fast, and showed everything at once.
    The old pre-Sept 2014 layouts were perfect! Give them back to us: we dont like the new ones.
    We dont want gimmicks: we want fast and easy to use pages.To open up the full picture, just click on it. Hold your mouse over the picture to see the picture title (as it says it does when you add an observation, but then does not).

  4. Any window that stops or hinders one opening a new page in a new tab. There are quite a few of these for some reason. Make all pages able to right-click>new tab or mouse-wheel-click or pad Ctrl-click.

  5. Not being able to edit a comment. This is infuriating: I always miss mistakes in preview. Until someone answers I want to be able to edit. And I want to be able to state: DO NOT ANSWER THIS and be able to edit indefinitely!!!

I have lots more, but these are my top five bugbears at present, which infuriate me. What are yours?


I agree with 3. But I would prefer users to make a personal choice between a tiled,carousel or gallery view or the present zoomed view. The last is taking too long to download and I cannot see that it will be popular.

That is four views:

  1. Tiled (pre Sept 2014)
  2. Carousel: the 2014 option
  3. Gallery: what they gave us in 2014 after we complained about 2 taking too long
  4. Zoomed: what they gave us now because 2 was not inconveniencing enough.

But I hope you realize what the programmers will merely do (what they did in Sept 2014). Instead of giving us a choice of downloading the Carousel (full) or Gallery (much smaller) View , they increased the download time and size by giving us both, and then letting the html decide which to display afterwards, thereby doubly punishing South Africans for daring not to like 2…
So now they will merely download 4 times as many pictures and then give us the “choice”.

Sorry, but I am a cynic.

PS: thanks for keeping up all your IDs by the way! I will generate a changes for you the moment I get a data dump that allows it. Please keep up the comments too.

Of all those (and the 2 most obvious things) this is the one I find most annoying - the rest on your list are not urgent for me but, I believe, essential for others’ well-being!
Zoom, specially, is a waste of Coding - it is less large than large made large and loads VERY slowly and manages appallingly - otherwise it’s OK
Somehow I don’t find it difficult to believe… that… [quote="Tony_Rebelo, post:3, topic:248]
I am a cynic

My priorities are:

To automatically open selected obs in a new tab when in list view

To be able to call up a menu of previously used localities by typing the name in the location page when adding obs

A filter by location option in list view, and/or in “Your observations”.

Fix the tag selection problem

I’d prefer a return to the carousel view we had before the change - it worked well as far as I was concerned. Click for full page, and ditch the zoom view (unless it’s better for people on mobile phones or something).

I find this annoying:

Hey there! heart_eyes Looks like you’re enjoying the discussion, but you’re not signed up for an account.

When you create an account, we remember exactly what you’ve read, so you always come right back where you left off. You also get notifications, here and via email, whenever new posts are made. And you can like posts to share the love. heartbeat

This happens when you get an email and click on the link and come here.
Why do our web browsers not log us in? I presume that this is a setting on the forum site. Does anyone know if it can be “preferenced” so that clicking the email does not just take us here, but logs us in at the same time?
Or is this a setting that the administrators need to enable?
Or is it impossible for some annoying and silly reason?

Anyone have any idea?

it just takes a quick click on the top right hand log in, but it is a tad annoying.

Welcome here John B
I would hate that too but have never seen it. Maybe its just for Menai Bridge library users - Ha!
and[quote=“Tony_Rebelo, post:7, topic:248”]
is it impossible for some annoying and silly reason?


so, I absolutely agree with the lost locality data. Having to re-input the GPS data every time I enter an observation is a proper pain.
So is the fact that the ‘confirmation’ only involves clicking on the confirm button – where is the preview? I need that!
CHANGES!!! I want that back! more than anything because right now, iSpot is perhaps only 5% funtional without it.
and the age of time it takes to reload observations. that’s really silly.

When you enter a grid reference the location page (of add an observation) zooms the map in to the locality. But it doesn’t zoom it in very closely. If it zoomed in more closely I would be able to verify that the location was correct (i.e. the GR was typed correctly - I’ve gone over to pasting the eastings and typing the northings so iSpot doesn’t complain about invalid GRs) and read off the street/road name to use as the location.

That’s one that worked both ways. I tend to have observations with the same location name, but different grid references, so in the old days I had to respond with “name only” when I entered a previously used location nane.

well… sure, now thing are more specific but even if it can’t remember previous inputted GPS positions and we have to start again, why can’t it remember locations we input in the new iSpot? it’s a tedious waste of time, specially when doing multiple uploads

which absolutely doesn’t help (though it never has) when using marine observations.

Tell me how you used to add precise location in Marine please.

I seem to be continuous logged in now, even if I haven’t visited iSpot or the forums for a few days.

I’m finding these forum pages very confusing, there seems to be many of them and its just pot luck where one enters.

I notice that links to old posts still send one elsewhere, is this going to be fixed or have we lost all our previous connections for ever

so, there was the vague way, where you more or less knew where the reef was and used the pin to estimate the position (frowned upon by other users) and then we made a list of dive sites with GPS points (which we got from home grown mapping efforts and from skippers’ drop marks) which we posted on a southern African forum for reference. Then, the first time the user uploaded an observation to say, the Rockeater wreck, s/he would have to consult the GPS list, and copy and paste. Second time the user made an observation on the same wreck, typing in ‘Rockeater’ would yield a popup, and clicking enter would add the co-ordinates. Easy Peasy. Today? not so much.
the locations are not remembered. so the GPS co-ordinates must be copied and pasted every time – and these days, if you don’t have your own list of GPS co-ordinates, well, too bad. Because, so far as I know the reference list has been ‘lost’. Very offputting for new comers and a pain in the backside for previous users.

Thanks…Yes, wasn’t it…

Tony_Rebelo 23days ago
(of Location Tags) "This is now broken. Logged as a bug But no one is looking at our bugs list …"
Me…"Are we wasting our time here?"

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bring back the old Tax-panel? Who can find the longest in the new system?
Sacrifice Tweets? Preferably as a waste of rations.
Sacrifice New Projects if necessary as Chrono-list can be found in ‘Projects’

Personally I find this nicer than the old Taxi Ranks. Just as easy to navigate and perfectly understandable.

I just wish that clickinig on it would open the Observation > LIST view (with the Gallery and Map tabs) rather than the silly Taxonomic tab. Who other than a fully trained taxonomist can make any idea of what is happening on that page? And who cares?
The only useful thing on the page is the number of observations but who on earth knows that the names next to them mean. How many users will be able to tell us what the “Ixiaea” is, or the “Lilianae”? I bet only a handful!

An improvement in my opinion (but that would require twice as many lines) would be to have the rank as well. so:
This would end ~ Ixioidaea [subfamily] / Ixieae [tribe] / Gladiolus [genus] / Gladiolus (Homoglossum) [subgenus] / Gladiolus (Homoglossum)(Tristis) [section]

But note that the species is Gladiolus hyalinus and NOT: Gladiolus (Homoglossum) (Tristis) hyalinus

Another example of a loss of major functionality that the programmers are not even aware of. How far superior the old site was to this current travesty.

On the old site, the locality resolution was stored as the number of decimal places that the locality was recorded to. So the map zoomed into show the locality at the resolution of the data (few decimal places = course = large area shown; many decimal places = fine = small area of map shown).

Now we get some rubbish that the site shows all the data the same, “but it is stored as it was entered”

Well the old site recorded the locality resolution (in decimal places) from the map depending on how much you zoomed in. But the new site does not do that, and all users who are trying to be accurate with their locality resolution are posting corrupted data on the site meantime.

Clearly the Open University does not care that the data are being corrupted, otherwise they would have fixed this as a very high priority. And I bet that they will not go back and fix the corrupted data.