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Gantry 5 user unfriendly

    • alexvd's Avatar
    • alexvd
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    Gantry 5 user unfriendly

    Posted 3 years 10 months ago
    • I am trying to set up websites with the Gantry 5 software now already for months (having 10 years of experience with Joomla and templates), but it is the most user unfriendly software I have come across in a long time. It seems typically set up by programmers, who have no clue how other ('normal') people are using software.

      Gantry 5 makes template management very complex, more complex than before, and it makes modules (for some reason now called 'particles' - a term that no-one understands) impossible.

      To give an example, I am now trying to change the images in the home page slideshow (yep, the one right at the top of the page) and no matter what I try I can't seem to change the directory for retrieving the slideshow images. Gantry 5 seems to force me to use a path or directory gantry-media:// but (a) I can't find this anywhere in the website's directory structure (b) nor in the gantry 5 documentation and (c) I want to decide where I want to store images and (d) I don't want to be tied to a specific template or to Gantry for storing my images because that will make future upgrades very difficult.

      So far I haven't found any advantages of Gantry 5 for the end users! Apart from tech advantages such as maybe speed etc, but they could have been realised without coming up with this impossible user interface?

      A serious note: after years of Rockettheme subscriptions, Gantry 5 means I am no longer going to renew my subscription.

      Joomla has a very effective content, module and template management system. Why messing that up by adding complexity and extra layers or shells in which most people can't find their way?

      Thanks,
      Alex
    • Last Edit: 3 years 10 months ago by alexvd.
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    Re: Gantry 5 user unfriendly

    Posted 3 years 10 months ago
    • Hi Alex,

      When Gantry 4 came along we had many members confused by the framework and what they could achieve. However, the majority of them eventually recognised the benefits. Now we have moved to Gantry 5 the same is happening. It is a big change and people don't like change. I know because I was one of them ;)

      Having built several sites now I am finding it so much easier in Gantry 5, provided you plan the site first. this means getting a solid brief from the client and in my experience that is where many developers go wrong. If you don't plan Gantry 5 layouts in advance and have several outlines then you may have to make repeated changes.

      As for particles, they are simply modules that can be placed in module positions or directly into the outline. We are currently working on better inheritance for widespread changes.

      With regards to your comments about image paths nothing is being forced. We have a default path to the template images but the path you are seeing also interrogates the normal images directory. I have just done a site and added extra directories and images to the standard Joomla images directory. I have loaded images via ftp and when I go to a particle that requires an image I click the selector and it shows the template image directories AND the default image directories.

      It will be a shame if you choose to leave before you have gotten to grips with the power of Gantry 5 framework and templates as they are very powerful in terms of layout and functionality. Provided you design the website with a sense of logic then the end user only ever needs to upload images and edit articles, modules and particles.

      Wishing you well for the future.
    • David

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    Re: Gantry 5 user unfriendly

    Posted 3 years 10 months ago
    • Hi David,

      Thank you very much for your detailed reply. I certainly don't want to be in the way of progress - maybe I am just getting old ;)

      What I don't really understand is that Joomla already has great content, module and template management functionality. With Gantry 5 we suddenly need to manage the website through Gantry instead of Joomla. Why still have Joomla at all? Gantry 5 is independent of platform right, it works for Joomla, Wordpress etc. Perhaps Gantry wants to replace them all?

      Regarding the image paths, many thanks for your explanation. I understand now that the normal Joomla image direcrories are there too.

      It is not really clear to me why I also need to see Gantry image directories here - that is just adding complexity and confusion.

      Also, I don't seem to be able to create new image subdirectories through these particles. Which means I need to go back to Joomla or FTP and create them there, then go back to the particle ... it's just not intuitive and user-unfriendly.

      Another example: the font colour of the slideshow text is black, which is not visible on many images so I want to change it into white. One would expect this is easy in Gantry 5, right? There should be a field in the settings? Nope, not at all! Instead we still need to create a custom template file for something as simple as a font colour. How user-friendly is that?

      Perhaps it is true that it has been built by and for developers, but is not serving end users like me who set up one or more websites with Joomla and by customizing a template.

      For new websites I will now look for templates with other providers and that is too bad, because Rockettheme templates WERE the best.

      Many thanks,
      Alex
    • Last Edit: 3 years 10 months ago by alexvd.
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    Re: Gantry 5 user unfriendly

    Posted 3 years 10 months ago
    • Hi Alex,

      Gantry 5 is more like an expansion pack to improve Joomla. In the more recent templates we have included far more module positions in the default outlines for the templates. By using module positions in the outlines you can have as many modules as you want, where you want and at what size you want. You simply assign the modules straight from Joomla. You DON'T have to use particles. They are just another flexibility.

      As you say, web developers find it so much easier to create bespoke layouts to suit client needs by using Gantry 5. But that should not stop those members who simply look after their own site. As with all progress there will be a learning curve and Gantry 5 is no different in that respect.

      Because Gantry 5 is a framework that is consistent across applications such as Joomla and Wordpress it simply means that the delay between releasing Joomla templates and then releasing Wordpress templates is significantly reduced.

      At the Joomla and Beyond event in Spain this month, Gantry 5 was voted best framework.

      As for font changes you simply edit the colour in the section of the particular outline with the colour picker. For example if I wanted the default font to be white in some positions only then I would go to that position in the styles tab for the specific template. In some particles there may be a preset colour in the particle scss which may need to be edited or added to custom.scss in the same way as Gantry 4 or even our templates before Gantry.

      We are always looking at ways to improve and in our latest template, Topaz, the particles have the ability to draw content staright from Joomla articles and categories.

      Again, Gantry 5 is all about flexibility to bespoke the base template.

      I wish you well in the future and don't forget, if you can find some time to approach Gantry 5 with an open mind and just experiment, you may find, like I did, that it will grow on you.

      Best wishes.
    • David

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    Re: Gantry 5 user unfriendly

    Posted 3 years 10 months ago
    • Hi David,

      Thanks so much again for your reply! You have a passion for Gantry 5 and so I trust you that it must have some good benefits.

      I read throughout the forum, so not only in the Gantry 5 forum, that people are struggling with Gantry 5 and especially with the counterintuitive way it is set up and functioning. In the past I could create or edit a module, press Save and I was ready. When I try this via Gantry 5 I need to make changes in 3 different places and press Apply, then Apply & Save, followed by Save Layout or Save Settings. It is tiring, unneccessary and just not thought out well. Developers have difficulties to think from the end user perspective. (in a previous life I was system analyst - between my employer and developer)

      Many thanks for the tips re the colour picker, I am going to try to find that. I just wish Gantry 5 would not be such a labyrinth.

      That all being said, I will keep trying and looking at Gantry 5 with an open mind.
      I hope Gantry 6 and 7 etc will keep the advantages while including a logical workflow and distribution of functions.

      Many thanks and good weekend,
      Alex
  • Re: Particles try to improve modules. Big mistake.

    Posted 3 years 10 months ago
    • We have built about 100 Joomla sites but still cannot easily understand particles—-which cannot easily be edited in a front-end editor. How can I expect a client to love Joomla like I used to love Joomla? Clients will never hire us again if they cannot easily edit the site themselves.

      I suggest Rocket dumps Gantry 5 and goes back to Gantry 4. Sometimes you just have to admit a big mistake. Companies who refuse to admit big mistakes may die arguing they have the 'right' idea to themselves while fewer and fewer people listen.

      We have bought annual developer memberships to Rockettheme for many years. We cannot even think about re-subscribing because Gantry 5 is a nightmare. Literally. Did you even think about the user experience before you started down this path?

      Doubt it.
    • Last Edit: 3 years 10 months ago by Deb Williams.
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    Re: Gantry 5 user unfriendly

    Posted 3 years 10 months ago
    • Deb that sort of response is uncalled for. Why insult the RT team? That provides asbolutely no value and makes you look ignorant.

      That said I'm fairly certain that using Gantry 5 isn't that difficult if you READ the documentation thoroughly. It is well documented and has a simple step by step to understand how to use it.

      docs.gantry.org/gantry5

      I think a common issue is a lot of people get confused with modules vs particles. As far as I understand so far it all still works the same however within the Gantry 5 template you can assign particles and modules to positions on the fly without having to specify individually within each module which takes a long time.

      I wouldn't say that the Gantry 5 framework is bad, a lot of people just love to get spoon fed instead of actually trying to learn how it works. The learning curve is steep yes however it's not impossible and the RT team respond to all the support threads. Learning takes time and effort which I think people don't want now because they resist the change.

      Keep up the good work RT team.
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  • Re: Gantry 5 user unfriendly

    Posted 3 years 10 months ago
    • You are making my point for me. Gantry 4 did not require me or my clients to read documentation or go through a 'steep' learning curve (as you put it). I also figured out my iPhone without reading documentation. Intuitive UI is the present and future.

      Joomla and Gantry 4 were going in a nice intuitive direction. Now that is all gone with Gantry 5. You need to go back to Gantry 4. Seriously.

      I guess in 5 years we will see who is right. If Rockettheme grows much more than other Joomla theme-builder sites, then I will be wrong. If Rocket memberships decrease dramatically, then I will be right.

      Perhaps if you add front-end editing to Particles, there may be a path forward for Gantry 5. (There seems to be no rush to develop this.)
  • Re: Gantry 5 user unfriendly

    Posted 3 years 10 months ago
    • I do agree that Gantry 5 is not intuitve and hope that RocketTheme might consider occaisionally developing a new Gantry 4 template.

      We have appreciated RocketTheme's templates and support over the years and in no way wish to tarnish their reputation. Perhaps if I find myself with hours of extra time on my hands I'll invest it in the steep learning curve required to learn Gantry 5 but, for now, I need to be able to produce work quickly so, I've mostly chosen to use old RocketTheme Gantry 4 templates or to create custom templates.

      I have actually attempted the Gantry 5 tutorials and was able to figure out how to use Particles. I simply don't see that they have a great advantage over modules and the fact that they can't be edited in the front end by our clients is a real problem. I trust that the developers of Gantry 5 will eventually rememdy that problem.

      I know the attempt with Gantry 5 is to make design and layout more flexible and fluid however, for now, I personally find it easier to simply work within the contraints of Gantry 4.

      Going forward we will keep our comments professional and constructive.
    • Last Edit: 3 years 10 months ago by Deb Williams.
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    Re: Gantry 5 user unfriendly

    Posted 3 years 10 months ago
    • Hello all,

      For the benefit of people who find this thread I think it is important to reiterate a few points.

      As a moderator here for a number of years I can categorically tell you that when Gantry 4 was released we had the same complaints about how hard it was. People could not get their heads around using the layout page. Just search the forums and you will see how many times we had to keep explaining that the 'layouts' page defaulted to the set up for the home page. So when people had 2 items in a section on home page set to 6|6 split and then clicked to set for 3 items at 3|6|3 and saved, they got the layout they wanted. But next time they would go in the admin they saw 6|6 again and started complaining that Gantry 4 didn't save their settings. And that was just the biggest and most common problem.

      Yes people are used to Gantry 4 and humans are naturally averse to change so anything new that takes some effort to learn is often berated. And as I was a specialist trainer in change management for a multinational blue chip company I have a lot of experience with people and change ;)

      The advantages of Gantry 5 are subjective. We have members who need complex layouts that simply could not be achieved with Gantry 4. Other members want to build their own particles so customers cannot edit them or break them. We also have members like Deb, who want to build quick and easy websites, either for clients or themselves. In this respect they can use Gantry 5 and set the outlines to just contain module positions and no particles. Then they can use any modules they wish, in just the same way as Gantry 4 but using Gantry 5 as a faster framework.

      In our latest release, Topaz, you will find that many of the particles now come with the option to populate content from Joomla articles as well as editing the particle directly.

      Before my father passed away 30 years ago he had two sayings that I still use now...
      1. Minds are like parachutes. They work best when open.
      2. Some people's mind are like concrete; all mixed up and permanently set.

      I personally see Gantry 5 as a massive new tool box. Most things I could ever need are there to use if I wish. It doesn't mean I have to use them.

      Could Gantry 5 be better? Of course and it will get even better as we are continuously working on the framework. Some of that work is based on feedback from our members, which is the way RocketTheme have always considered as important. That is why certain particles can now be populated from Joomla articles.

      The reality is that will never please all of our members all of the time, but we do try to ensure the majority are happy.

      Please remember that we document a huge amount of information. If it isn't in the documents then the moderators will do their best to provide the answers in a timely and appropriate manner.

      Cheers for now.
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    • David

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