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+1 to the unusability department

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by alexheizer, Apr 26, 2007.

  1. alexheizer

    alexheizer Active Member

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    I have to give credit to cPanel on this one. I didn't think you guys could make the system any more unusable than it is. I know you don't care about all of the complaints about how bad the usability is for WHM and cPanel, and I know you're going to disregard this message and tell me to file it as a "feature request" like you always do. But I think it's really stupid to take one of the few things that worked intuitively and screw that up too after it was already working. But, ah well, cPanel coders will be cPanel coders...

    What I'm annoyed by now is: When you go to "Modify an Account", it's listed by domain alphabetically, and it *used* to list the accounts by name, alphabetically. This was great because if I wanted to modify an account and knew the domain name, I could find it quickly by browsing, but if I knew the account name, I could also find it quickly. Now, in all their infinite wisdom, they order the domains alphabetically, but also the account names according to the domain's alphabetical order. So when I need to find an account, I *still* need to look for it according to the alphabetical order of the domains.

    What this means is, if you're like me and host over 250 domains on a server, but can't remember which account has which domains, instead of taking a second or two to scroll through the list of accounts alphabetically and discover what the domain name is, I need to waste my time looking through each account name, one by one, to locate an account name that may be at the bottom of the list, two-thirds down the list, or wherever it may be, even if the account name is 'aardvark'.

    Thank you, cPanel for taking another step backwards and forcing all of your customers to work more unintuitively than ever. We all know the one thing we need to succeed is to waste more time each day trying to find something that we've easily located for the last several years.

    I know this is falling on deaf ears, or at least ears that like to piss off their customers that are actually *paying* for the product, but ah well. I can't wait to log into WHM again tomorrow and see what new thing is changed to be worse than it was yesterday...
     
  2. alexheizer

    alexheizer Active Member

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    oh yeah

    I did want to say, nice new clean look.

    But can you spend the same amount of effort not breaking functional stuff that works?

    Thanks.
     
  3. cPanelNick

    cPanelNick Administrator
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    It still lists them in abc order.. I'm not sure what you are refering to.


    * I am using EDGE so I'm not sure about STABLE.
     
  4. cpanelinfoseeker

    cpanelinfoseeker Well-Known Member

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    I'm on WHM 10.8.0 cPanel 10.9.0-R10737 since this morning. Domains are in alphabetical order, Users are following the Domains order. This is only noticible if you have an "odd" name for the username for the domain.

    Ron
     
  5. larryl

    larryl Active Member

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    My STABLE install shows both lists alphabetically.
     
  6. alexheizer

    alexheizer Active Member

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    I'm using Edge too. It just updated in the last few days...
     
  7. alexheizer

    alexheizer Active Member

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    The point is, it shouldn't be "noticable" at all. The point is, if you have an either-or situation (either choose this or that), it's stupid and bad usability to have both either-or lists listing indentically.

    Please choose yes or yes.

    It used to allow us to find something quickly, especially when a customer says "Please park a domain on my 'aardvark' hosting account". If their domain name is 'xylophone.com', and I don't remember that they are a weird customer with a non-identical domain name for their account name, I need to spend my time looking at each account name individually until I get most of the way through the list.

    Choice is good. Changing the software to take away choosing between one or the other, and replacing it with choosing between one and one is dumb, and bad for users, and bad for customers.

    But this isn't the first time cPanel has changed something to be less usable and not pay attention to its customers when they make a suggestion. So, I'm not expecting anything useful to come from my rant except the reply that I should just suck it up and be happy to waste more time instead of being productive...
     
  8. cPanelNick

    cPanelNick Administrator
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    Ironicly this was done inadvertently. However, I'm not sure anyone is really going to _want_ to fix it after a rant like that.
     
  9. alexheizer

    alexheizer Active Member

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    It's okay, I don't expect it to be fixed. I don't think my rant will do anything except make me feel better, just like all of the nicely-worded suggestions to the cPanel developers and/or administrators that I've seen over the years have ever gotten anything more than a "please submit this as a feature request" and then promptly disregarded.

    Maybe if being nice doesn't work, ranting will. But by now I don't expect much besides just continuing to pay for what you feel like giving us.

    But it's not to say the features are bad, or it's unreliable, or unstable, or bad performance. There's a lot I appreciate and value with WHM, and I owe a lot of my business' success to the ease at which I can manage my servers and clients. My only point is, that over the years I've seen a *lot* of usability complaints that have either been answered as though the poster is annoying, or like I said, relegated to some feature request list and never seen again.
     
  10. cPanelNick

    cPanelNick Administrator
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    The venue for your request is really the problem. You should be submitting something like this to bugzilla (http://bugzilla.cpanel.net), or discussing it on one of the relevant mailing lists (http://mail.cpanel.net/mailman/listinfo). Posting it here means there is about a 5-10% chance of one of our developers seeing it.
     
  11. alexheizer

    alexheizer Active Member

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    Okay, so maybe I was wrong... it's not always a request to add it to a "feature request list"...
     
  12. oulzac

    oulzac Well-Known Member

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    completly childish reason to get angry.

    there is a niftly little thing on the list accounts page where you can search for the account you want, and then when it pulls that up, you click the little box next to the username to be taken dirctly to the modify account screen for that account, a much more feasible way to modify an account.
     
  13. alexheizer

    alexheizer Active Member

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    Thanks for your opinion, and completely missing my point. But yes, if being able to modify an account was my point, I could see how it would be childish to get angry about the interface changing.

    Having another way to modify an account doesn't change the fact that the feature they labeled "Modify an Account" works worse now than it did before, and that part of my complaint is that, based on experience of anyone who suggests a usability improvement over the past few years on the forum, my complaint will be ignored, treated as an annoyance or referred to some list somewhere.

    And, as it happens, my post was referred to some list somewhere, as I'd predicted.
     
  14. cpanelinfoseeker

    cpanelinfoseeker Well-Known Member

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    It would seem that the water fountain is the place to complain, not at the offices where people do the work???
    This forum is a nice place to learn, and sometimes blow off steam, but to make a difference it would seem beneficial to make the statement where it may be acted on by those doing the work, not where they may (or may not) come to visit occassionally. I have seen changes actually made when brought up in the correct manner and place...

    Cpanel has some problems, but I would hate to be without it!

    Just my two cents (or less)
    Ron
     
  15. alexheizer

    alexheizer Active Member

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    If I knew that the people who do the work always stop in and check out the conversations at the watercooler, and I didn't want to walk down the hall, take the elevator to a different floor, then sign in at the receptionists desk where the people are who do the work, then maybe I would start a conversation at that watercooler which is right around the corner from my own desk.

    The point is, a cPanel person responded a few times pretty quickly, so you can't say they don't know about the problem I brought up now. So my posting it here worked to let them know that it exists. Also, traditionally the forum has been found easiest through http://support.cpanel.net, which is usually the subdomain where people find support for a product. And, what *is* the correct place to report something like this? They've changed the side menus before, do I report all changes to WHM as bugs if I don't like what they changed it to? What about the colors? The logo? What makes a change "a bug"? Is it a "feature request"? I don't know, is complaining because they changed something that was already a feature for years a "feature request"?

    Is it sensible to have someone take their time to offer a suggestion to improve someone else's product, and your response is "I see that you offered a suggestion. Instead of thanking you and taking the issue from here and bringing it to the team, please take more of your time to sign up for another list that you will only use once and will probably forget your login info before the end of the day, and submit this to someone who cares."?

    I'd say the cPanel person's reply was due to my ranting about the problem, but I got the exact same reply when I took a weekend of my own time to redo the architecture of WHM to be more usable for hosting providers and presented my ideas enthusiastically and happily. And, you know what, others replied to me saying they had the same experience where helpful suggestions fell on deaf ears. So, my ranting wasn't the issue, I got the same response whether I was nice or not, just like others have over the years, and in the end I just made my own WHM theme so that at least I could have a better UI.

    Bottom line, cPanel people read the suggestions and respond here. If they care about their own product, they know what to do with suggestions and complaints, regardless of the tone of the person offering them or where they see them. If they know about a problem and they don't fix it, they don't care about their product and they can't blame me for not reposting to bugtraq or a feature request list. They're just being stubborn or prideful at that point, and they should be appreciative that we take our time to make suggestions or report when something doesn't work well or at all, even if we're being a jerk at the time we report it. We're still taking our time to help make the product better. Even if we start out frustrated at the response we know ahead of time that we'll get.
     
  16. electric

    electric Well-Known Member

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    I no longer bother submitting suggestions or feature requests or even bug reports to the cpanel development area (bugzilla). I have about 20 of them in there spanning the last 4 years. None has ever been fixed or implemented.

    It's a pointless waste of my time to "help" cpanel improve their product.

    Cpanel isn't going to be interested in improving the usability of the product, adding "basic" features that are standard in other control panels, etc.... until they start losing significant market share.

    One day they'll wake up and wonder where their customers went.
     
  17. electric

    electric Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Nick.

    I must admit that I have noticed an improvement in the several months with regard to your participation in the forums.

    It is encouraging. I hope this continues, and is a sign of "changing times" at cpanel. :)
     
  18. cPanelNick

    cPanelNick Administrator
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    I went though your reports in bugzilla, all of the bugs that were reported are already fixed in 11.x. 4-5 (or more) of the features were implemented in 11.x as well. There are probably about 500+ things in bugzilla that have been fixed and/or implemented but its just not very well maintained. Our QA dept focuses on our internal tracking system first, and bugzila gets updated if they have time.

    This particular one:

    http://bugzilla.cpanel.net/show_bug.cgi?id=2626

    _might_ get into 11.x as its in our internal system.
     
  19. cPanelNick

    cPanelNick Administrator
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    As its been discussed in these forums, we don't answer every thread in here. Some weeks we don't even have time to look @ the forums. If you need a response, then open a support ticket. It will be answered every time.

    Of course we are going to listen, even if you aren't presenting your information in best possible way. However nobody wants to listen to rants all day, so we would like to make every effort to discourage them. I only found this thread because another staff member emailed me about it. He mentioned that even though the way you presented the information upset him, he thought it was a good idea. The point I'm trying to make is that there are better venues for presenting this information which are much more effective. Developers read the development related mailing lists (xmlapi,edge-users [and sometimes themedev ...but that one is mostly directed at design]). Posting something here means you have about a 20% or so chance of someone from cPanel noticing it and may prove to be merely and exercise in frustration. You are of course welcome to do so, but you will have much better success if you actively participate on one of the lists.

    Likewise, the screen shots attached to this thread were posted to the edge-users list yesterday.
     

    Attached Files:

  20. alexheizer

    alexheizer Active Member

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    Those screen shots look great, for those of us who host a lot of domains on one server, it could really help to have extra info and ways to locate an account/domain. This is the kind of thing I mentioned earlier about how cPanel has a lot of great functions that let us manage our servers, which in turn, lets us keep our business running.

    It seems like there's two issues being discussed here: usability and notification. The first, usability, is important to end-users, and cPanel has some bad usability issues. The functions and features are there, they are just often in inconvenient places. When we're in the middle of a bunch of tasks and we have to go look for something that should be in a better or more intuitive place, sometimes we just want to rant. Even if it's not heard by anyone.

    The second issue, notification, is important to both the developers and also the end-users. But each needs different notifications, in different environments. Mailing lists and wikis are dev-friendly but horrible for end-users, and forums are good for end-users but seem to be a big turn-off to developers. I don't know why, but I haven't met a developer who prefers forums yet, and mailing lists and wikis tend to make end-users' eyes glaze over. I'm not non-technical -- I've used Linux as my OS since 1998, most of those years were with Slackware. So, I know mailing lists. But as a cPanel customer, I dont want to sign up for a bunch of mailing lists, I already have a forum sign-in and I can search through all messages at once (which you can't do on a mailing list). I don't care about the day-to-day development of the software, and I shouldn't have to. That's what developers are for. I have too much of my own work to do, as much as I do like helping out. But as a company, you need to make end-users giving you feedback as easy as possible for *them*, even if another method is easier for *you*. In order to be successful, you need to make the job of being a customer as easy as possible, which sometimes means accepting that the customers aren't going to sign up for 27 different lists, and choose the right one to post to, and file bug reports, etc. Keeping customers means when someone who is paying you for your software logs into a forum and say "this doesn't work", someone within the company, who gets paid to do stuff, will transfer that into bugzilla and respond to the customer. If you make things harder on customers who are taking thier time to help you, they'll just give up. I'm not saying this to be difficult, I'm in a good (non-ranty) mood tonight. But, from my experience in other projects (Linux, CMSes and others), this is just how communities work best. You know your software, customers know what works and what doesn't, and like I said earlier, when you change something, sometimes it's not so clear which list we *should* post to, even if we're signed up for all of them that are available.

    Just some thoughts, of course. I look forward to the changes you posted the screenshots of.

    Alex
     

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