• using the OpenPlans site

last modified October 5, 2006 by natalie

comments on ways to make the site more user-friendly

12/21/2005  Some observations so far from your friendly OpenPlans guinnea pig about changes I'd love to see:

--- More direction on how to post (above or below last comment)
--- Some visual cue distinguishing the end of one post and the start of the next (other than a space - people use those within posts and so it can get confusing looking)
--- Date updates that reflect all relevant content: on the "projects" page, certain projects seem not to have been updated when in fact they have, and it's frustrating to have no way of knowing whether a "page within a page" (e.g. "a page to coordinate our efforts to get the DOT on camera" within project "Car Free Central Park") has been updated without clicking on it - no easy way to know where recent changes have been made without clicking on everything, constantly. (or if there is, I don't know about it-)

--- an RSS feed type feature that can let me know when there has been activity on some part of one of my projects of interest

--- A method of quickly identifying changes on a page with a lot of text - since the latest post may not be immediately above or below old text, but rather within the text itself, it would be nice to have it highlighted or something the first time any given user reads it, to avoid having to scan long posts playing where's waldo if you know there has been a change but it isn't immediately obvious
--- A method of knowing whether people have read your posting and simply chosen not to respond, or not know whether it has been seen. I know that technically email is the same way, but I think we have a fair level of confidence that people check their email at least once daily (in professional settings) whereas I have no way of knowing how often people are logging on to OpenPlans and whether then they have found their way to my comments
--- Just reiterating that it's a bit annoying to have to click on everything in order to see if there have been any changes, especially if I'm doing that throughout the day and there are a bunch of different active pages that may have been commented on

--- new idea: once you are logged in, you should be able to personalize your "projects" page. right now there are only a handful of projects, so scanning a list in alphabetical order is fine, but it would be better if i could create a priority list of projects, or tag them into groups that i can check, or something. i don't like constantly scanning through items that are of no interest to me (like plone marketing, or whatever) in order to find things i am concerned about, and this problem will only be exacerbated once more users come to the site.
--- also, would be great to have the ability to save drafts, privately, rather than having to immediately save something as an edit. so that it could be possible to revise a bit in the same workspace that is eventually used to publish the text.

--- another new idea: since one of the many uses which a community group can use openplans for is as a tracker of their efforts to contact elected representatives, maybe some more structured template can be developed to be employed for this purpose, so that this page can be slightly more intuitive and organized than the general wiki pages. this is the type of page i mean: http://www.openplans.org/projects/mark-lanes/here or http://www.openplans.org/projects/carfreepark . it should be some happy medium between these two - the first is a bit too narrow, doesn't let you put full texts in, while the second is a bit tough to read.