GroupServer will soon be releasing a new base layout and design. When released, this will not result in an immediate change to the design of forums.e-democracy.org. However, it will present new ideas and techniques for displaying information, and provide E-Democracy with an opportunity to critically evaluate our existing design. In the long term, the new design will likely require E-Democracy to update its own design, as code that the current E-Democracy design relies on will become unsupported by GroupServer.
some rough ideas on the table
- A new home page that entices more people to join a local Neighbors Forum, and separates the organizational information of E-Democracy from the neighborhood forums. We also need some imagery, info graphics, site navigation improvements. We should follow the KISS principle: identify what users want to do, make it easy for them to do that, and remove everything else.
- Forum home pages that better display the life within and entices more people to join. Visitors currently can't easily get the vibe about just how active most of our online spaces are.
- We want communities to feel that their group on E-Democracy is their online home for discussion. Part of promoting that feeling is to allow a community to customize the look of their group. Doing this properly means we need to strike a balance between allowing a group the freedom to customize, maintaining a design and layout that is consistent across the site, and providing easy to use tools for communities to make visually appealing custom designs. Twitter strikes this balance well, and could be an inspiration.
- Further simplify the registration text and consider additional join via Facebook options - we need to better understand where we are losing people in the process
- A simple way for users to post to a forum via the website that bridges a huge generational digital skills gap
- A better directory for forums with some geo-awareness so people can find forums to join
- Better ways for people search and navigate our forum archives
- Build a design that could allow for experimenting with revenue generation ideas, such as: a Local Market option for E-Democracy donors, how to integrate sponsorship credits in a balanced public radio kind of way (looking at Addiply or other options), and local "community table" events at local restaurants.