OpenWetWare talk:Community Portal v2

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I thought it might be useful to have an entire page that just dealt with discussions, rather than trying to fit it into a smaller area. We could lay out the portal with tabs similar to the getting started pages as a way to let users navigate easily. I thought

  1. Welcome tab
    • highlighting the ways to help out (kinda like pg3 of the getting started),
  2. Common Areas tag
    • point to protocols, eqiup, help pages, categorizing, etc.
    • e.g. how to make a "common protocol" from disparate lab protocols, etc.
  3. Discussion
    • The main discussion areas reshma outlined at the bottom of this page. Plus the 5 most recently edited OpenWetWare: pages, just to get people pumped ;)
  • Jasonk 23:40, 8 March 2006 (EST):Please give feedback on the idea of 3 tabs on the community portal, etc.
  • BC 01:13, 9 March 2006 (EST): This looks nice, although I would prefer to be able to see everything at once. For example, when I go to the community portal I would like to see the what needs doing and the discussion topics at the same time and then pick what interests me. I think the tabs make the most sense for something you want to linearly progress through, such as the getting started page. Essentially, I'd like to be able to click on community portal and see a link to everything that is going on rather than having to click to different pages.

Another option for laying out the discussions would be to copy the Village Pump over at wikipedia. This is how they manage a lot of their temporary discussions but I think its a nice visual layout that we could use for our discussions. Reshma's discussion categories could replace the 6 sections on the top of the table. Not sure that the Village Pump way is better, just another option that we can consider.

  • Jasonk 01:24, 9 March 2006 (EST) Yeah, question is whether you can fit everything in a single page and have it not be either too long (scrolling down through 3 pages lengths say) or too condensed (can see everything but have no idea what it means). Of course 3 tabs is the same amt of content as a long page - just think it looks nicer visually/organizationally. I like the village pump layout of the graphical boxes, though would be cool to have boxes that are big enough to fit a few of the subcategories reshma has been adding to each of the areas.
    • Jasonk 01:30, 9 March 2006 (EST): This also brings up the question of the purpose of the community portal. I was looking at it mainly as a way to recruit new power users and point them to areas they might want to contribute. I was assuming current power users would only visit the community portal to curate it, rather than to find what's going on today. I think that would occur mostly through SpecialRecentChanges pages pointing at the various discussion areas (e.g. OpenWetWare:Information Management, etc) That may not be the right approach though....
  • Jennyn 02:29, 9 March 2006 (EST): I agree with Barry in that I like to see everything on one page. I checked out the Village Pump, and it looked confusing, but I generally like to use color to categorize items so that when a user comes back to the page, they associate a particular section with a color or landmark of some sort (i.e. George's icons to the main page have made it easier to locate items with the image). I was thinking about using that idea with the different discussions on the Community Portal.
    • Jennyn 03:26, 9 March 2006 (EST): I also think it is important to be consistent in the structure of our content. Changing from one template to another may be confusing to a new user. To recruit users in becoming power users, we should make everything as easy as possible to SCAN (not read), ACCESS, and EDIT.
      We can start by standardizing our language (wrt: titles, descriptions, etc). Brevity is key!
  1. Use short, incomplete sentences (Attention Retention!)
  2. Memorable/comprehensive link title (we've got this one down)
  3. Begin phrases with positive imperative action verbs (i.e. Contribute to OWW)
  4. Short phrases[math]\displaystyle{ \rightarrow }[/math]Less line breaks[math]\displaystyle{ \rightarrow }[/math]More info/page[math]\displaystyle{ \rightarrow }[/math]Easy to scan![math]\displaystyle{ \rightarrow }[/math]Easy to access![math]\displaystyle{ \rightarrow }[/math]Easy to edit![math]\displaystyle{ \rightarrow }[/math]Power Users++!
  5. Typically, we retain [math]\displaystyle{ 7\pm2 }[/math] units of information. So, this line is just for looks.
  • RS 09:24, 9 March 2006 (EST): I agree with Barry as well. In my view, I saw the community portal as a way to keep on top of the current discussions and activities wrt OpenWetWare. And as recent changes updates more and more frequently, people will rely on the Community Portal more and more. Hence, a singe page that I can scan is preferable for me. I envision OpenWetWare: Getting started 3 as the page that recruits power users since it has similar content but with more detailed explanations. (Perhaps it should be linked off one of the top two gray sections of the community portal.) I also agree with Jenny's comment that all pages should have a consistent layout. Ideally, I'd like to see all the major common pages have the same layout as the Main Page (i.e. continue with the current trend).
    • Jasonk 10:04, 9 March 2006 (EST): Yeah, I like the idea of a page where I can keep up with the current goings-on, so long as it isn't so much that a new user sees it and is overwhelmed - OK, lets try it and see. The current layout though I think is too sparse for a new user to understand what to do. We need to figure out how to incorporate all the top-level discussion areas (e.g. OpenWetWare:Design, etc), plus short descriptions of them, plus a few sub-categories(maybe?). I think that would give new power users-to-be a better idea of how to help.
    • Jasonk 10:04, 9 March 2006 (EST): Also, I agree that OpenWetWare: Getting started 3 is a good place to start recruiting power users, but they'll probably only hit that as a brand new user. I'm trying to figure out how to convert the "I edit my lab pages normal user" into the "I curate a common area power user", not sure the getting started page will fill that role.
  • Jgritton 11:13, 9 March 2006 (EST): I'm starting to think that the way to get new power users is not to make it easier for them to contribute (the wiki is pretty simple once you futz on it for 15 minutes or so) but to get them excited about the site. When someone gets stuck on a protocol and their first thought is to post a question on the protocol's talk page (which then receives some helpful answers), they're going to think "this is great, I want to help." Or if someone can't get an article because their library doesn't have that subscription and then they stumble upon the OWW open science community (which we should have considering all the science hippies in the group) they will chime in. Maybe the community portal should just be some kind of a pep-talk (don't be afraid to join in, we want your help kind of stuff) and links to the active subgroups. The subgroups can organize how they want and if they each have some kind of subgroup: type naming convention anyone can track active discussions in their group of interest via the limited recent changes. Then maybe the job of the steering committee should be to minimize the amount of steering that needs to be done so we can go work on the subgroups that interest us the most.
  • Jennyn 13:44, 9 March 2006 (EST): That is a very valid point, Jeff. There's something that caught me eye in the March 1st MIT Tech at the VERY bottom with the Event Highlights calendar. I notice that they use icons to identify the type of event (science/technology, music sports, etc), and it makes it easier for people to find an event that is in their particular interest. In building onto Jeff's idea about making subgroups, we can use this format as a way to quickly bring users to a particular discussion based on their interest (making a simple icon that identifies with DNA, protein, design/graphics, materials, etc). We can use the icons to first bring a user to an area of OWW that they might want to chime in, and then have a brief description of the discussion. At least this way, users will have an idea of what is going on from a summary of the discussion rather than just the link title.
    • Jasonk 14:27, 9 March 2006 (EST):That's a good idea.