Forums/Community/Product Feedback

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Multiple forum improvement suggestions

Pulse
suggested this on June 09, 2011 22:10

We're coming from an Eve forum where we see in excess of 600,000 page views per month, so our forum usage is quite heavy.  Zendesk is a fantastic opportunity for us to expand our support system but as we're so used to certain features from the forum software -- things we've come to expect as basics -- the transition will be a bit of a step-down in terms of forum functionality for us.  

While I realize that submitting each of these as separate issues would be worthwhile for the "Idea" tracking nature of this forum, it's easier for me to just throw all these ideas into one thread and just get them out there.  (Plus I know a couple have already been suggested.)

  1. Nicknames.  If you've got multiple "Joe Smith"s as users, you can't tell them apart because their real name isn't unique; the email address is.  If you force them to provide a nickname as well, that could be used here (as my name "Pulse" is) as their forum posting name.
  2. Location.  Further to the nickname, it would help our agents greatly to be able to look at a forum posting and see the user's location and direct them to regional support based on that location rather than digging in to find their "time zone" and guess.
  3. Who made the last comment.  While It's convenient for us to switch the forum view to "Recent", the list only tells us what time the last comment was made, not who it was by.  That's a handy feature.
  4. Keep a Recent view.  While I think of it, if I click on Recent to sort my forum posts by most recent, it doesn't stay in that view if I follow a link and come back in my browser.  Just a nicety, not a necessity.
  5. Larger comment posting window.  As I'm typing this, I see what our beta users are complaining about; the comment window for agents is resizable or able to be made full-screen.  What's with the 7 lines that the users get?  This is tiny and makes it frustrating to try and review my post.
  6. Edit your own comments.  Number 5 leads me here -- this window is tiny, I can't see my entire post, I'm bound to screw up ... but if I do, I can't edit my own post, not even within a couple of minutes.  Many forum softwares allow you to edit your post within a window of time in case you typo, or post in anger and want to then go back and edit / remove your comment.
  7. Images.  Why can't users add images?  I know this is asked in other threads for things like screenshots.  For some reason our users have the "Attach File" link, but it doesn't work, just sits and spins around and around and never allows you to cancel it or complete you post.  If the forum had a simple ability to parse an image from a URL even, that would be fantastic.  Otherwise I'm stuck making a URL link to the image, eg. http://www.google.com/intl/en_com/images/srpr/logo1w.png
  8. URLs.  Speaking of URLs, agents have lovely access to HTML but it would be nice to have the ability to link a website without making the link the URL itself.  See above for an example of where the URL is stupid long but could have simply been linked with text.  Check out UBBCode for items 6, 7, 8.
  9. Embedded videos.  See images; why not allow Youtube links for embedding videos for users?  Agents can do it, it would be nice for users to have this ability also.
  10. Quote text.  Ssometimes it's nice to quote a user's comment in a box similar to preformatted text, this is more UBBCode >> [quote].
  11. Code.  Another agents-only thing, we can make preformatted text, but if a user wanted to post some code, it's not pretty. UBBCode does it with the [code] tag.
  12. Post views / Hot Topics.  While the Hot Topics widget is nice, it would be cool to see the number of hits each topic is getting in the forum itself.  A simple counter beside the comments counter would be handy.
  13. Wonky date display.  It's great that the date is shown ... but the year only shows up if it's not THIS YEAR.
  14. Zendesk's use of red and green, and button location.  Seriously Zendesk, what gives.  When you do things like log in/out or un/subscribe, you're shown an icon of a tick.  In red.  When an operation fails we are shown a green cross.  I'm not colourblind but it seems like the UI designer might be.  Also, what's with the CANCEL button being at the bottom right of the HTML window, and the submit button is on the left?  Yet in standard fashion of user interfaces, the positive action is on the bottom right?  (Example, the "Add" button to submit this post is at the bottom right.)
That's a long list of items but I'm certain that your capable code monkeys are more than able to get those features implemented to truly make Zendesk a complete solution!
I look forward to your response.
Chris
 

Comments

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Pulse

I take back the last comment about the red ticks -- that may have been our graphic designer catching some of the images to update in our stylesheet, but not others.  The comment about the button locations stands though, that's you guys!

June 09, 2011 22:11
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Jake Holman
Product Manager

Nice to see a well constructed and constructive post! Thanks Pulse. 

June 10, 2011 10:08
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Pulse

Thanks Jake -- we're loving the ticket system; the features and functions it offers will be a huge improvement for our ability to support our customers.  We've just been using forum software for so long (11 years now) that it will take some getting used to not having certain features, but given the things I've already read while browsing through the support forums here, I'm confident that some of these things could be adopted by the Zendesk team.

Chris

(PS: "code monkeys" was not to imply anything derogative -- I wear it as a badge of honour!)

June 10, 2011 11:51
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Marci

#13 definitely -- when I first read the original post, I thought it had been sitting here, ignored since June 2009. In actuality, it was posted on June 9th -- so it reads June 09. The comments being in 2011 made me go back and look closer at the original.

June 12, 2011 21:00
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Neil Lillemark
electriccloud

This ticket is a great summary of some very useful features!  Hope we'll be seeing some of these in the near future.

I also read the date above initially as June 2009 - but reading the next comment made it more obvious (that's a mismatch in presentation that should be corrected).

Thanks!

June 28, 2011 10:20
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TJ Baker
joomlashack
Most interested in the ways of making the tracking of posts that need followup easier to find (#3), but all of these items would make Zendesk that much better!
July 14, 2011 22:42
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Renee
Code42

#3 and #6 would be fantastic.

RE: 6> Users really need to be able to edit their posts. I've had people submit support tickets because they had a typo or other formatting issue that they couldn't fix (or said something they wished they hadn't and asked me to remove it..like posting sensitive info by mistake). I'd rather not have to field that ticket in the first place. Just be sure to include an "edit date" timestamp :)

December 13, 2011 16:44
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Jeff

I would also like the ability to email certain or all end users to notify them of new forum posts, without actually subscribing them to the article. When I post new announcements or documentation in our forums, I need to use email or a ZD request to alert my end users (as far as  I know), or wait for them to visit the home page or forums (which may be a while).

 

Thanks!

March 22, 2012 06:09
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Spike

Jeff, just in case you're not aware, if  your end users go into the forum at the SURFACE level (just click the >> to enter the forum, but not inside a specific post) and then they click subscribe, they will receive automatic email notification of all new posts to that forum.  It works great. Problem is we try and try to get all our users to subscribe but most have not.  They either don't realize they must do this at the surface level, or they just don't read about doing it. 


I would personally love an option to automatically subscribe ALL end users to all forums... then have a link in the emails they receive to say "Change your forum notifications" wherein they get a list of each forum and can check or uncheck the box for each.  

March 22, 2012 09:39
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David
nirvana

A number of the original poster's comments were spot on.

#1 - display names, as that's going to be lost when we convert.

#3 - really needed.

#5 - crazy, unnecessarily small.

#6 - yes, please.

A basic synopsis of my opinion is that Zendesk is excellent at ticket oriented support, and support-to-community but is pretty weak in the community-to-community discussion and engagement area and needs to step up with some changes there.

David

March 26, 2012 12:02
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Neil Lillemark
electriccloud

David:

Exactly describes the gap that our team is looking at right now too. Tickets working nicely (apart from the formatting issue which shows up sometimes with code-samples), but for Forums, there needs to be some more table-stakes added.

BTW:  I did speak with Mikkel at the recent HERO seminars, and he said that Forums were being looked into at the moment, but that doesn't provide any specifics on what might be changing around the list presented here.

March 26, 2012 12:59
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Pierre Grenier
Product Manager

Guys, thank you for the comments on this.  We are in the process of re-designing forums with the primary goal to make customization much easier.  We will see if we can add some of the suggestions in that process.

April 19, 2012 12:19
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Clay
microvellum

#1 - Please! It would also be nice to not allow name changes, but allow the user complete control over aliases or nicknames.

#3 - Yes, this would be great!

#6 - This is the biggest complaint our users have using our Zendesk support site. We really need to have this feature! 

#7 - This is the second biggest complaint.  Our users need to be able to simply post a screenshot without needing to save it to a file, then upload the file.

#9 - This would be a great addition.

 

Any ETA on when we might see some of these changes? We love our Zendesk support tool, however our company relies heavily on forum activity too, especially for peer-to-peer support.  Having these tools mentioned by Pulse, would really make our new system shine in the eyes of our customers and truly make Zendesk a complete, top-shelf support tool.

 

April 23, 2012 09:13
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Clay
microvellum

I wish I could have edited my post above. :) I would have added this...

We don't allow our users access to their profile page.  Believe me, I wish i could, but since the system is designed around open support, restricting access can only be done based on tags, names, and organizations.  So, if we allowed users to edit their profile, we'd loose track of people... changing their names from "John Smith" to "WhoKnowsWhat78".  Tools to help companies like ours reinforce the locked down support concept would be greatly appreciated. 

April 23, 2012 09:19
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Tony

I've just started using the forum on a regular basis and I desperately want/need #5 Larger comment posting window implemented

July 18, 2012 02:11
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TJ Baker
joomlashack

@Tony, you can change the size of the window with some CSS, like:

/*make the wysiwyg window in forum taller*/
.mceIframeContainer iframe { height : 300px !important;}

That's what we've done, and it works nicely.

July 19, 2012 09:30
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Clay
microvellum

Thanks TJ for that suggestion.  I plugged it in and it worked perfectly!  However, we desperately need fixes for the other items mentioned above too.  I hear from some within Zendesk that there is a new beta Forum in the works. has anyone else heard this?  How do we sign up for it?  Our customers are sticking with our old forums site as this one in Zendesk is not up to par.  We'd really like to have one system for forums and tickets soon.

Thanks Zendesk.

July 19, 2012 10:00
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TJ Baker
joomlashack

I totally agree we need the other items addressed .. the forum is very much lacking, and I am very much looking forward to an update :)

July 19, 2012 10:23
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TJ Baker
joomlashack

...and happy to help, Clay! :)  

July 19, 2012 10:24
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Eli Blankers
accelitec

+14

literally.  Because there are 14 suggestions here.  Maybe this should be separated into separate feature requests so we can discuss them better and have a more realistic chance of getting zendesk to see and act on it?  Just my 2 cents.

July 19, 2012 10:39
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Pierre Grenier
Product Manager

Hi guys, we are getting busy creating the next-generation end-user portal and forums.  We are starting a beta program and we are looking for people interested in participating.  All details and subscription here: 

https://zendesk.wufoo.com/forms/help-create-nextgen-zendesks-web-po...

August 22, 2012 23:11
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Spike

A couple suggestions that we'd love to see here at TIcket Turtle:

1) include the end user's ORGANIZATION name with their comments.  Org name is included in the original topic with the user name, but not in the comments.  We associate all users to an organization, as the organization is our client, and often has many users.

2) Add ability to REQUIRE subscription to a certain forum... or rather, make subscription automatic and mandatory.  We have an Announcements forum that we use to post details of added or enhanced features, system maintenance/down time, system outages, etc.  It's our best way to let clients know what is happening, but many are not subscribed.  We've tried and tried to emphasize the need to subscribe, but alas...  We actually have it written into our client agreement that they must read our updates (newsletter, etc) and this is a very important piece.  We lose a great detail of CS time answering questions of clients who have not received the announcements forum emails and have not read it for themselves.  

March 25, 2013 12:11
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Bob Morreale
thetuningschool

Hi guys, any progress on the forums?  We would love to see some improvements because our users are used to a much more "normal"  level of functions, like Vbulletin for example; and they are letting us know.    

So, please let me know if there are improvements on the near horizon.  :) 

thanks!

August 16, 2013 20:20