7 Replies Latest reply on May 7, 2009 11:19 AM by greg2

    Feature Enhancement Request: Pictures and Avatars

      Hello - this is more concerning Clearspace and not ClearspaceCommunities.


      I have found that some of our non-technical (and/or older) users are somewhat confused about the subtleties and differences between a profile picture and an avatar in Clearspace 2.x.


      Being a developer and someone who has used the Internet for some time, I fully understand the distinction, but have recently come to appreciate that I take such "intrinsic" understanding for granted.  Apparently, this is confusing many people, especially in the context of an enterprise in which we are using your product.


      That said, would you all be receptive to merging these features into one?  I think Facebook has done a nice job with their "profile picture" feature, and I think they are now actually using some primitive face recognition technology (not face identification - more like the auto-focus stuff on digital cameras these days) to automatically generate a thumbnail version of the picture for use in the Wall, etc., where there isn't much screen real estate to work with.  This thumbnail, of course, is analogous to how the avatar is used in your product.


      They also let the user crop their pictures into a thumbnail version with a statically sized box that they can drag and drop over the full-sized picture to select their thumbnail.  It's intuitive and works really well.


      Is this something on your roadmap?  If not, would you consider it?  Having an avatar doesn't add much value in the enterprise context, and from my experience thus far, it seems to actually be detracting value...





        • Re: Feature Enhancement Request: Pictures and Avatars

          I would add that our users tend to upload rectanglar photos for their avatars (which then get "squared" and make them look chubby).  Some mechanism to all the users to upload a photo (no matter the aspect) and then "crop" to the square would be helpful.  I believe sites like flickr do this pretty intuitively.  Thanks, Ben

          • Re: Feature Enhancement Request: Pictures and Avatars

            Joe, sorry for the delayed reply. Yes, this idea is one that we've been wanting to do for a while and it just came up again on Friday during a product planning meeting. The idea is to give people a way to select a portion of their photo as their avatar as you described. Hope that helps, and keep the ideas coming!

              • Re: Feature Enhancement Request: Pictures and Avatars

                We really need this feature too. Our experience is that those few of our users who have uploaded profile pictures have not set their avatar and the few I have spoken to are not aware that there is a distinction.  Those who use another service like Facebook where the features are combined will form their expectations based on that experience which makes Clearspace feel deficient by requiring them to act twice to set anice pic and a little peson to represent them as separate activities.

                  • Re: Feature Enhancement Request: Pictures and Avatars

                    Hi Mark,


                    Have you checked out the feature in Jive SBS 3.0? We changed the workflow around selecting avatars to integrate it better with the profile photo, including the ability to crop a portion of the profile photo as the avatar.




                      • Re: Feature Enhancement Request: Pictures and Avatars

                        Thanks, I have to agree with Joe and Mark.  We're on 3.0 now, and it is better, but frankly having two concepts, Picture and Avatar, is just an extra moving part that adds complexity and becomes a step that takes time or is forgotten in getting a new user integrated into the community.  We have a professional community where participants will have photos, not icons, just like Greg has.  The word Thumbnail is friendly and represents a related concept to a picture, not a new and foreign one.


                        Facebook does detect the face to center the thumbnail, just like newer digital cameras do, but that may not be required.  Mostly giving us an option to merge it into a single concept for the user, even if there is a step in the upload sequence to confirm the cropping of the thumbnail.


                        A related issue is that several of our users did not realize that you add or edit pictures and avatars by clicking on this.  I dont believe there is any explanatory text.  Why not just provide a Browse box/button at all times (like the Attach control at the bottom of the compose window), or at least an explicit link or action?  (Avoid secret handshakes! :)

                        • Re: Feature Enhancement Request: Pictures and Avatars

                          Hi - I'm a brand new user, we're still not even deployed yet.  But, I just had a frustrating experience with this, so will chime in.  The first issue is that out of the box, using a photo as an avatar is not enabled.  Once I learned that (since I had no option to upload a photo), it raised some usability/worflow issues:


                          1. If you have a setting that enables it, why wouldn't the default be 1 in terms of how many you can upload?  Why would you ever want a situation that you've enabled it, but allow 0 photos to be uploaded (which is the default)?  This just leads to user error and/or, if you're paying attention, an extra step.
                          2. It's not clear if there is a way to set yourself up to automatically receive moderation notices?  It's configured to require avatars to be moderated, which is good, but I'm an admin and I didn't get a notice (I manually went in, found it, and approved it).  This could lead to people uploading photos to be used as avatars, but then having a delay if the moderation queue is not watched religiously.  It would help the moderator to get notifications (again, this could be a new user not knowing that it can be configured as such).
                          3. It appears that once my avatar is approved it doesn't automatically become active (unless I did something wrong).  I had to go back in and re-select it.  Again, a user won't want to do this.
                          4. Lastly, and again this could be new user not knowing better, it appeared that after I configured in admin that uploads were permitted, as the user I had to log out and back in to make that be the case.  I would hope such a change becomes active immediately to all users.



                          Hope this is helpful.  2-4 may be new user ignorance, but 1 seems clearly like a usability issue.

                            • Re: Feature Enhancement Request: Pictures and Avatars

                              Thank you, everyone, for the great feedback. It sounds like we have some more work to do on the avatar and profile photo usability. I've added these comments to enhancement request CS-13320 and moderation.


                              Randy, the moderation-specific issues you ran into are captured in enhancement CS-8770 and I added this incidence of the issue to that item.