Battletech Live

Online, Turn-Based Battletech – Development Logs

Construction of a self-regulating helpdesk system.

Yesterday, I began working on a better helpdesk panel for Battletech Live.  I wanted more than just a form for users to fill out, and to eliminate the need to send email responses to users.  Looking at http://www.stackoverflow.com and others as a guide, I wanted users to be able to ask questions and have the panel auto-update as a mini forum.  Other users, not just moderators, should be able to help answer questions and leave comments on threads, while only moderators should be able to flag official answers and make edits to posts.  I also wanted a number of filters, such as the top 10, top 100, most active, most viewed, unanswered, as well as custom keywords and sort by category.  The first screenshot is my first draft.

Picture 3

While it all works, it’s a bit cluttered.  The first two buttons take up too much space.  I looked at them and thought that they could easily become elements within a combo box, and the section to the right, to be used for word filters, looked much too empty.  Within the grid, the three columns are aligned to the right since they contain numbers, but the headings look really off.  Finally, it seemed to take up too much space.

So, I decided to make it wide and short.  The word filters are moved to the left edge, the buttons have been consolidated, and more options added to the combo boxes.  The grid was made a little wider, and a few pixels padding added to the numbered columns.  The thread was then narrowed and moved up and to the right, with statistics moved to the bottom.

I’m now working on enabling replies and comments, as well as various administrative and record-keeping tasks.

Picture 2

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August 28, 2009 Posted by | Project Development | Leave a comment