A few quirks, but nicely done!

Very, very well done plugin. Extremely capable and pretty damn user friendly. And aside from the typos, which take something away from the professional quality, I think your "manual" could be a tad better. There are a few places where you say - I'll get to that later, but you never seem to get there. For instance, and this one was the most glaring to me, in describing the "postive/negative/avanced" feature of the levels. You never actually get around to telling why it would become so apparent that you recommend using the advance feature, and yet you do note the error message that will appear. That can be frightening if not explained - which it is not. A little testing does make it obvious, as there are levels where you would want both positive and negative to simplify the choices - but that cant be accomplished unless you're in the advanced section, hence, it the preferred method.

It would also be a nice idea to have an "all" or "nothing" setting, because it's not really clear what a "visitor" can or can't see, and in fact I've already come up with some conflicts that I'll try and work through on my own before asking for help.

So overall, this is the best plugin I've used here on WPMUDEV - thanks!

  • Paul Barthmaier
    • Code Wrangler

    Hi there, Bob,

    Thanks for the input. I'll see if I can get access to make some edits of the text. As far as improvements of the manual, would you be interested in providing some direction on what they would look like, if I could arrange? And also, do you think the manual would benefit from a different format, say a Kindle version, so you could have the 'manual' in your hands while making change on your keyboard?

    Looking forward to your input.


  • Bob
    • WPMU DEV Initiate

    Hi Paul,

    The manual, as seems to be the case with almost all that I encounter with plugins, themes and such, are written by developers (or their ilk) with the presumption that those reading it and working with their plugin are of the same ilk (or close enough). In reality, that flies in the face of everything that WordPress has come to be - an open platform that newbies can embrace and enhance. That's not to say that manuals should be an endless diatribe of how-to's, but rather that they should be written from the perspective of someone who is using the plugin. So when you casually say "that will become evident later" and it never becomes apparent, it becomes confusing and contradictory. And faced with confusion and contradiction, many will simply give up and move on. That of course doesn't bode well for sustainability and that of course is the history of these products to date - hit/miss, short-lived, and gone.

    As to the ideal media - for the user, video is best. But since a product, or at least one that is well supported, is apt to change continually, video can quickly become outdated and can be expensive to update. So PDF format is universally accessible and can be edited as the product demands it - assuming the creator is actually providing support. And if you follow the blogs and forums, it's easy to see that support comes up high on the list of must-haves now, and many a sale can be swayed by good support, or the lack thereof.

  • nusolutions
    • The Incredible Code Injector

    Being that I'm in the process of setting up Membership I'm more than willing to share some thoughts from the perspective of the newbie.
    I'm not proud to say that it took more than a few hours for me to read the manual as "I" truly had a hard time following it. This is not to say that it's hard to read for "others", as a first time user I just had a hard time finding my way around initially. I'm sure things will start to make sense after a few more reads.
    As stated above there seems to be a disconnect in how non developers, such as myself, could or would interpret these particular instructions. The one thing I find missing are specific steps on how to get anything done. You do a decent job in covering the basics but the thing that seems to be missing is how to tie it all together. I'm sitting here now after a long day of fiddling with this plus an hour in the live support frustrated because I still can't figure out the proper order of things. In one troubleshooting question it states:

    Q: Why are my users no in the user panel, but show in the Network users area?
    A: Chances are you also have BuddyPress running and your members are signing up through the BuddyPress registration forms this will create them a account with your network.
    Disable your BuddyPress forms and let your users signup through the Membership forms instead they will then get a role within the site on your network they are signing up through.

    I have BuddyPress activated and initially modified the fields of the default BuddyPress registration form with hopes of using it but this doesn't "appear" to be possible since activating Membership. I've looked and don't see a way to disable BuddyPress forms. I'm sure the option exists and is probably right under my nose but I don't see or know how to do it. I'm guessing my other choice would be to modify and add new fields to the Membership form(s) but I've yet to get that far.

    The Membership Usage page on WPMU PREM provide screenshots in the steps to install and activate the plugin. Beyond that we're left to figure things out using the manual. Would it be possible to include, a 1 2 3 on what to do once it's activated? What about how to integrate it with Pro Sites? BuddyPress?

    These are growing pains so I'm sure things will start to make sense after a few more reads.

    Another point to make goes for and against the use of videos. While I agree that they can become dated with new updates I do think they can prove useful when it comes to integrating with other plugins like Pro Sites, MarketPress, BuddyPress, and / or MultiSites. The demand seems to be increasing so a short video with documentation can go a long way.

    Either way I truly appreciate the work put into the plugin.

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