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  • Dave 27 posts 79 karma points
    Jun 11, 2018 @ 15:20

    Just a thought, field description hindrence messages

    Hey all, just a thought more than anything but its one ive had since I saw the new walkthrough for 7.9.2(?? - probably the wrong version), but either way, in 'one of the more recent versions' when you log in for the first time you are presented with a nice walk-through showing you what to do, where to go and generally how to use the system. You've all seen it right, nice little thing. Gives the back office a little polish.

    Well unfortunately the more you polish one area the more the other, not so polished areas start to really show, and truth be told its one of the only real gripes I have with Umbraco.

    The hint messages:

    (Displayed under property fields - configurable on the doctype)

    A common scenario for myself is wanting to put more helpful messages for my content editors than what the current display style of the field realistically allows. Realistically is important here because whilst the actual field itself allows for any length, you are realistically limited by how it displays.

    For example:

    example of a long field description

    So I guess my first question is how do you guys manage this? Surely there's a better way right? I mean if not then if I could make a few suggestions on how it could work using already existing functionality.

    Each field (if has a description) has a [link] that, when clicked shows the field message, using whats already being used in umbraco I thought about either a popup, same style as the walkthrough at the start. Or the right pane that's accessible by altering grid properties or adding a macro.

    However what happens in reality, at least for me, is you end up trimming messages down, ultimately realising the trimmed down version isnt near as helpful as it could be and could infact cause more confusion than anything (Think: Like a 90's text message), and you end up taking it all out and dropping it in emails to clients or taking notes in an external app.

    It'd be really nice to not have to have this separation, and have a way to display these messages nicely.

    • Fields would be pretty much underneath each other, not accounting for ones with obscenely long names. But for the most part they will be all spaced evenly.

    • Either of the two methods above would allow for more information to be displayed, possibly even moving into having html help messages which could link to useful resources.

    • Wouldnt impact on the clean editing experience as they only show when needed.

    Triple win right?

  • Jan Skovgaard 11280 posts 23678 karma points MVP 11x admin c-trib
    Jun 11, 2018 @ 16:57
    Jan Skovgaard

    Hi there

    I don't think the right answer is to change the description. Some people will even say that the title should be enough - If editors can't figure out what to do in the field based on the title then it's imply not clear enough why it's there and what it should be used for - Roughly. This is not my own opinion though but I know some people have this opinion and I think there is some truth in it.

    But sometimes I like to add a short to the point description in the description filed as a supplement depending on the context.

    I think that you should consider having a look at either the uEditorNotes package or the Notely package - This way you can either add a longer message at the top of the tab explaining what should be done in each field. If I remember correctly uEditorNotes has a setting for allowing the message to be "toggable" or expanded in the settings of the datatype. I have not tried Notely myself yet but it seems like you can somehow add messages/descriptions in the context of the fields if I'm not mistaken by the screendumps on the package page.

    Also there is a SEO Meta data package that might be worth giving a shot. It has a nice preview where the editor can actually get an idea of what the SERP would look like in Google for instance making it a wee more editor friendly and make the need for a long description unnecessary maybe? :-)

    I don't think that any editor would have the patience to read that long description you have provided in your example to be honest so maybe the above suggestions is a better way at going at it?

    It is also possible to roll your own property editor of course if you're not completely satisfied with the options that comes out of the box with Umbraco or if there is no available package that does things just the way you see fit.

    Those are just my 2 cents - Hope it helps :)


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