Now that I am nearing the completion of my classifieds setup, after an extraordinary amount of extra and unexpected time spent, I offer with all best intentions the following suggestions to improve the application as well as the licensee's experience:
1. Understand that we're not all coders and are looking for efficient and easy to find solutions we can implement by looking in one place for answers. Using search is great if you know what keyword to use but you still won't often find the kind of nuts and bolts explanations to be effective at modifying code, templates and phrases.
2. I downloaded and used the Beyond Compare product you recommended ... and I would recommend you not be so quick to recommend it. While it can, I'm sure, be very useful in the hands of someone used to modifying templates, it also drastically improves one's ability to screw them up in a hurry. The information I needed I ended up figuring out through trial and error. A lot of it should be in a user guide authored by PhotoPost.
3. Reexamine your styles consistency and best choice of words for many of the application's interface. Examples:
- Upload help displays in a font size of 1 while Bids help is in font size 2.
- Custom fields display text in mixed sizes and are inconsistent with other entries.
- Consider that users are placing ads, not uploading products or reviews. In most places if you substitute the appropriate variation of "advertise" or "item" for "product" or "seller" you will be communicating in a much more understandable way with users.
- Consider the meaning of "upload product" vs. "place an ad" or "upload image" in place of upload product. If I am placing a help wanted or an employment wanted ad, I might be confused by terms like product and seller which have no application. As an admin, I don't want to have to field questions from my 2000+ members and visitors each day who become confused because the choice of words makes no sense.
4. Supply more templates for things many licensee's would use if available. To name a few I could have used:
- Event Announcements
- Bid Requests
- Positions Wanted
5. For vBulletin, improve the integration at least to the point where when I click on a user name or avatar I get the same results as when I am in vBulletin. I understand and see some benefits to having your own user information and communications section but my users are going to be confused by it and I expect to be explaining it to them for years to come. I can guarantee you that most of my members will expect replies to their ads to arrive by private message through vBulletin. I can also guarantee you that most members will forget to check for messages in your separate message center.