We launched this site in March/April 2010 with the lovely big beta sign on it, so that we could gather feedback, issues and bugs. As I wrote then, moving into a new website is a bit like a new house, in that you can’t know what you want to do, where the sun falls, what colour to paint the walls etc. until you are in.
So we launched the site softly, with the basics in place, and watched and learned, collecting feedback and measuring the usage statistics and talking to everyone. From this we found the bugs, spotted the design mistakes, understood how the site was being used, and generally got to know the system better. As well as squashing bugs on the way.
This gave us a list of feature enhancements, which we’ve got in a list of ‘tickets’ on our technical ‘tracking system’. We can’t do everything, naturally, but it’s all prioritised and logged.
We have arranged our budget to enable a second phase of development (that’s now) to do this mopping up and enhancing, and are keeping a bit more cash back for another sweep in the autumn.
Here is a list of things we have done straight away on the site in response to the feedback:
- People map – find people geographically
- Forums – meet and talk with transitioners, including a latest post list, subscribe to posts and/or people
- Initiative profiles – and groovy numerical list
- Media and visitors page for initiatives – and map – find initiatives with people to handle media and visitor enquiries
- Personal profile additions: add yourself as a facilitator and speaker so you can share your skills with those that need them
- Community Microsites update
- Projects map – find projects geographically
- New webservers – have a faster time surfing the site (without burning too much of the planet) – weyhey! Zoom Zoom!
- A wiki – set up and awaiting some love
- Tweaks to the Initiative Profile pages including general point of contact email and more
- Admin services including a ticketing system and other things that make the technologists’ lives much easier
- Some excellent bug squashing including the infamous ‘registration/password boogah’ bug which we have now identified and have under the microscope
That’s just the beginning – the developers are just warming up – some more technical action to look forward to in July/August/September:
- Events system – enabling us all to add our events which will appear in a new ‘events’ section
- Patterns directory – get involved with Rob’s work on our new Pattern Language (which will be a major part of the next handbook)
- Auto-save – the system will save your text as you input it
- Newsletter – we’re tightening up the newsletter service to handle bounces better and make Mike happy
- Captchas – we’re re-organising the dreaded captchas on the registration page as they’re not working for some browsers
- Updating all our drupal modules, adding more, removing some, moving to Drupal core 6.17 (phoooarr)
- Re-configuring stuff like ‘memory caching’ and other intense and deeply critical technical mojo that makes it all happen
- And more bugs, no doubt…
We are also assessing a ‘Patterns Directory’ to help Rob and Helen research and share their work on the Transition Pattern language for Transition Handbook 2, but that’s another story…