Announcing: Launch of new site features and improvements

In light of ongoing member contributions towards enhancing the look, feel and functionality of the OAC, I’m happy to announce a set of changes aimed at improving site navigation, focusing in the first instance on the menu bar at the top of the page.

Menu Bar

The menu bar has been re-organized and de-cluttered to highlight three main categories of site interaction, now labelled Share, Discuss and Collaborate. The OAC Press menu bar item has new sub-tabs the “What’s New” tab consolidates the latest site-wide news and activity. Have a browse around and you’ll see that the existing sub-menus have been redistributed under these new headers (not implying exclusivity, but simply for ease of navigation).

In addition to the usual categories like Groups, Forum, Blogs and Offers, you’ll find some new site features:

Member Map

Under “Members”, there is a new sub-tab taking you to the Member Map. This fun application lets you tag your current location (or fieldwork location, if you prefer, which I think is a neat idea) on a map alongside other members. Apart from browsing profiles, there was never an easy way to link members up by common geographic references, so I hope that this feature will help us to do that. Pan over to Spain to see where I tagged my fieldwork location and don’t forget to add yours.

Announce, Start or Join a Project

Some months ago, Paul Wren suggested a new discussion forum for project announcements in response to member suggestions. Under Collaborate, you can now find the Project Announcements forum. Post any experimental, individual or group projects here to recruit collaborators or share resources. A good example of a project announcement would be Ryan Anderson’s brilliant Anthropologies series. You can share a well-developed initiative or just a new idea that you’d like to brainstorm.

What's next

The next stages of this extended announcement will include a couple of additional apps to help better organize our content and improve member engagement and sharing at the OAC. These will roll out shortly, so watch this space.

Menu bar redesign is just the first step and will require some homepage redesign as well, such as tweaking the style and location of the boxes currently found on the homepage. (Including the Groups box, as per this discussion). Please consider this a work in progress! Some of the new items might still be under construction when you’re visiting and your patience and understanding is much appreciated.

Feedback is welcome as always, and especially let me know if something isn’t working right.

Tags: admin, announcement, bar, features, functionality, menu, new, project

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I liked all, especially the map idea. Thanks.

I wonder one thing more; is it possible to draw a map of this website? This is just my thoughts rather than a serious suggestion, as this will be a technologically tricky work and I hope no one puts too much efforts for this. But a good vizualization technique, if there's any, might be helpful, though "what's new" tap can play the same role. (As I'm not a native English speaker, it takes me a little longer to read, and probably there are many people like me here. Visual techniques can be helpful in such a context.)

One more drawback is that visualization techniques can have counter effects if they are too fancy - when something looks too refined, it might trigger some aversion even.

What I have in mind is something like a tag cloud, or pictures/tools like these;

http://www-958.ibm.com/software/data/cognos/manyeyes/

http://flare.prefuse.org/ (I've just downloaded the program so don't know how to use it. I've just briefly scanned the tutorial and it indeed looks fairly difficult!)

or,

The information on the picture above is here;
Skupin, André . (2004) The World of Geography: Visualizing a Knowledge Domain with Cartographic Means. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 101 (I can't check this information by myself because my registration for the library I had an access to has now expired.)

Some tools for SNA might be useful too. I hope there's someone who knows an easy way (and have time) to do these.

Let me know if something isn’t working right: the anthropologies link

Thanks, Keith. Fixed.


Heesun, if you're looking for a visualization tool that's not too fancy, I've made some OAC wordclouds using Wordle.net (check my album here). We also have some member data here that you can feel free to mash up with other tools: http://openanthcoop.ning.com/forum/topics/the-other-side-of-the-oac

 

Thanks for sharing those links. Flare looks really fun once you figure out how to use it.

This is interesting! Every time I go to the main page there's a change in the menubar. Thank you.

Hey Fran,

 

I really like the collaborate idea!

 

BTW, thanks for the plug about the new project!!!  I am hoping to get others interested in both commenting and taking part.

The one thing I miss from the old menu bar is the "My Page" button. Could easily be replaced by turning the name in the personal information block in the upper right hand corner into a link.


John McCreery said:
The one thing I miss from the old menu bar is the "My Page" button. Could easily be replaced by turning the name in the personal information block in the upper right hand corner into a link.

It's been renamed Profile, John.
Thanks, Keith. Now that I know that, it won't be a problem. It is, however, not as intuitively obvious what "Profile" means as it was what "My Page" meant. "Profile" is more elegant from a visual design standpoint. It may, however, violate the core maxim of good webpage design: "Don't make me think."

Actually, the change was motivated by Ning's conflicting internal content labels. Pages are distinct from Profiles. For instance, "About the OAC" is classified as a page as indicated by its URL: http://openanthcoop.ning.com/page/about-the-oac. The old "My Page" link used to redirect to the profile directory: e.g. http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profile/Fran

 

Whoever designed the site theme that we're using neglected this distinction. At any rate, it was possible to visit an actual page and see a link to "My Pages" in the body and "My Page" in the header, which is just plain confusing.



John McCreery said:

Thanks, Keith. Now that I know that, it won't be a problem. It is, however, not as intuitively obvious what "Profile" means as it was what "My Page" meant. "Profile" is more elegant from a visual design standpoint. It may, however, violate the core maxim of good webpage design: "Don't make me think."

Out of curiosity, is there a way to sync my Facebook and OAE accounts?

I have a decent Facebook following of anthropologists, and it would be nice to raise awareness with updates like, "Ashkuff just posted in Open Anthropology Cooperative's conversation, 'Announcing: Launch of new site features and improvements.'"

 

--- Ashkuff | http://ashkuff.com | How to venture out of “armchair” scholarship, and into action? One anthropologist tackles occultism, violence, and more! He gets spooked and roughed up a lot.

Hi!

 

Thanks for these updates, I'm looking forward to the development of the 'collaborate' function - this is a really good idea!

 

Samantha

Anywhere you see the Facebook button (like at the end of my original post and in any blog, forum or media post on the site), you can share the content directly on Facebook. It will prompt you to sign in and/or link your accounts. Also check out the Connections page on your personal profile (http://openanthcoop.ning.com/profiles/connections/edit) to enable social media sharing on various platforms. Ning supports Single Sign On for Google, Facebook and Twitter. Hope this helps!

A. Ashkuff said:

Out of curiosity, is there a way to sync my Facebook and OAE accounts?

I have a decent Facebook following of anthropologists, and it would be nice to raise awareness with updates like, "Ashkuff just posted in Open Anthropology Cooperative's conversation, 'Announcing: Launch of new site features and improvements.'"

 

--- Ashkuff | http://ashkuff.com | How to venture out of “armchair” scholarship, and into action? One anthropologist tackles occultism, violence, and more! He gets spooked and roughed up a lot.

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