signup made easier

  • eydaimon

    eydaimon - 2009-11-28

    hi. Great and powerful program. I'm getting family to use it, and I have some feedback on the interface.

    I've watched people go through the signup motions. And here's what I've found:

    1. People can't tell what are links to click. They are just as likely to try to click "No account?" and the actual "help" button, and not be able to find where to even signup.
    2. The GEDCOM INDI record ID is confusing. People don't have a clue what that even is. The fact that the field is not mandatory doesn't help. They still get confused. Can't the admin handle this? or make the field optional to display?
    3. No one fills in the comment box even though it's required. Why? because comment boxes are NEVER required otherwise. In fact, this is the first time I've seen a comment box which is required. Also, name should be sufficient to establish relationship. I keep my site as private as possible, so it is entirely clear as to what "data" the user has to enter their relationship to.

    I should note that the users are otherwise fairly savvy. So this is not really an issue with them. I seem also to recally being someone puzzled about where to start myself.

    I think just having the entry point easier would help a lot to get people using it.

  • Stephen Arnold

    Stephen Arnold - 2009-11-28

    Dear??  (You have no name associated with your ID and failed to sign your post.)  

    1)  What's so difficult about "No MyArnolds Account yet?" and a following  
         LINK: Request new MyArnolds user account  
    Do you have the LOGIN BLOCK on your WELCOME page? 

    2) What field requests the GEDCOM ID number? Don't the questions ask, are you related to someone listed, or who should be listed, on this site?  While providing an INDI-ID# would certainly be most helpful, out of the some 300+ users we have, only a handful have done so.  

    3) The comment box is hardly mandatory, but of course I won't begin to think of registering someone who won't tell me to whom they are related, what purpose they have for site access and whether or not they have read our site's FAQs and agree to abide by our site's terms and conditions of use as well as our privacy policies and restrictions.  I can't imagine you would wish to expose your personal information or that of your immediate family or cousins to someone on a fishing/phishing expedition, either for quick, easy genealogy information on living persons, or for nefarious purposes.  

  • Mark Hattam

    Mark Hattam - 2009-11-28

    Hi eydaimon

    The Login Block might make life easier for both new and already registered users. Unfortunately this block isn't displayed by default. Without it users have to find the single text "login" link at the top of the page (on the default theme that is).

    But when you do get to the Login page, it is quite clear in two places what to do if you want to register as a new user.

    On the login_register page you then get as a prospective new user, there is nothing about a GEDCOM INDI … indeed it would be strange if a prospective new user could find themselves in the GEDCOM already as they'd be hidden by privacy to non-logged in users.

    There are two lines that are run together at the top of the table … (quick fix probably)

        Request new user accountYou must enter a user name.

    And the comments field is shown as mandatory, and in my experience almost all prospective users have entered useful comments.

    So I'd recommend that you activate the login block


  • eydaimon

    eydaimon - 2009-11-28

    1. I'm just giving feedback on what I observed users doing.  Have you tried watching someone sign up for a new account? I suspect that people are not finding which one is a link because they're not underscored or blue. Just gray.
    2. Try going to signup for a new account.
    3. It most certainly is mandatory. It's true that it's tricky to sign someone up without knowing to whom they are related. The comment box serves a purpose. However, the name is misleading. I suggest naming it something else.

    Bear in mind, my website is closed. You **have** to create an account **before** you can browse information. I don't want my family tree publically available, which is why I have done this. So for **2.** there's simply no way of getting the INDI ID.


  • eydaimon

    eydaimon - 2009-11-28

    @Mark: You also indicate not seeing anything about INDI ID on register page. Would you check my register page to see if yours is somehow different than mine?

  • Mark Hattam

    Mark Hattam - 2009-11-28

    I do not have the GEDCOM INDI record ID field in that form … neither on my public website or my private SVN one. I'd presume therefore that it only appears due to some setting to do with the "closed" or "require login" setting.

    I also don't have the "change language" either, since I only enable English on the site(s). Is it really "change language" or is it "set preferred language for your login account" … I can't tell.

    But the "GEDCOM INDI record ID" appears not to be mandatory.

    You can see my version of the page at

    I agree it's a bit difficult for people to explain how they're related to people who might or might not be included on the site if the site is "closed" … but there's not really an easy way out of that one. Depends on your reasons for making the site closed to start with.


  • eydaimon

    eydaimon - 2009-11-28

    You're right that it's not mandatory. If anyone can suggest how to remove it, It would be nice.

    I still feel that the name of a required field being "comments" is really what's misleading. Also the error message saying that you have to explain how you are related to the data  when it's closed, seems odd.

    As far as the site being closed, I value my privacy, but what's more, I'm really in charge of my family's privacy  as well, and as such I need to respect the potential that there are members who may not want it to be public. Finally, my last name is so unique that everyone is related. That's an open invite to potential stalkers or what not can result in being too open.

  • Anonymous - 2009-11-28


    I guess one of the things that is not immediately obvious to many new users is that as Open Source software PGV is extremely customisable. The standard product has a certain amount of adjustment built in, such as the huge array of options in GEDCOM config, and different themes. But if you as admin for the site want or need to go further, that can also be done very easily. It is expected that the site admin takes some responsibility to set up his site the way he wants. It is impossible for the standard product to suit everyone's tastes. So is your choice, use whats already there, or change it. It really doesn't take a programming genius I can promise you.

    A couple of small examples:

    1 - links are not obvious. So go to the theme of your choice, the style.css file, and change the display tag for links to something better. Perhaps larger, or brighter, or underlined. Or create a new theme completely.

    2 - the words used are not right. You want to change "comments" to something else? Go to the lang.en.php file and change it to whatever you want. Easy. Better yet, create an extra.en.php file and enter all the new words you prefer in there, then they won't be changed back when you upgrade (see the WIKI for more info about this)

    3 - Take a look at my new account registration page to see how far you can go if your really want to…

    4 - The "GEDCOM INDI record ID" only appears if your site has "Require authenticaion" set to YES, as you have. Again, a small change in the code (login_register.php) would remove it.


  • eydaimon

    eydaimon - 2009-11-28

    @nigel:  sweet. thanks for the tips.

  • Wes Groleau

    Wes Groleau - 2009-11-29

    > I still feel that the name of a
    > required field being "comments" is
    > really what's misleading.

    You can create an extra.en.php file in which you replace the value "Comments" with whatever you would like it to say.

    I borrowed a "Quick Start" block from a PGV spinoff project.  You can see that at  If you click the "request account" link you can see how I describe what I expect.  (Some of this was also borrowed.)

  • eydaimon

    eydaimon - 2009-11-29

    @wgroleau: thanks for the tip. appriciate it.


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