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Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Help us redesign!

This fall, we'll be redesigning the Connect home page (the "dashboard") and the groups home page (what you see when you go to a group). I certainly have some ideas about what needs to change, but we really want to hear from you.

We need at least a half-dozen volunteers who are willing to work with the company doing the redesign to give input and answer questions via phone and email. If you're interested in helping us make Connect even better, please leave a comment or contact me at jlevine [at] ala.org.

I promise this won't be a huge commitment but if you don't have time during the next 6-8 weeks to help with this, please leave comments here with feature requests and suggestions for redesign changes. I can already tell you that we're looking at making the pages less text-heavy, updating the look and feel of the template, adding more action items (verbs!) directly to the home page, and streamlining the group home pages. Other suggestions are most welcome.


Aaron Dobbs's picture


I'm in!

(I will be suggesting things like reverse chronological order based on most recent comment activity & other friendfeed-esque behaviors)


Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


***** "Always remember everyone is working to make the organization better in their own way."
-Eli Mina, ALA Parliamentarian

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Dude, I'm totally counting on you for this kind of thing. :)


Kathleen McCook's picture

I am less concerned with technical and more concerned with content. So few people seem to have joined it got to be an issue of my time versus impact to keep up my groups. I have many many more people reading my e-lists and blogs. Very few joined my union list here at ALA Connect (27). I hope it can be different.

Kathleen de la Peña McCook

S.G. Ranti Junus's picture

Although most of stuff that I had in mind were pointed out already on your intro and by Aaron. :-D 

Technically, I'd like to see an option to tailor the content of my dashboard e.g. pick and choose what to be shown there. Like the iGoogle. That, in a way, could also help reducing the text-heavy look on the page. 

Karen Schneider's picture

"reverse chronological order based on most recent comment activity" -- I really see this in Groups. Having to dig to the last page to see the most recent info is a turn-off.

Re Kathleen's comment, I think the lack of content is driven by several things.We, after all, drive the "content." when enough people use Connect, the content will be there. A lot of activity is still happening on lists and so forth. One question is whether we can or should integrate list activity into Connect -- in other words, let people keep communicating via lists but make it easier to participate in list behavior within Connect. A sort of hybrid approach.

I'm also going to take a look at Connect via my iPhone and my iPad.

Incidentally, I really LIKE the ability to reply by email (though I'm not doing it now because I needed to see the interface :-) ).

Karen G. Schneider

University Librarian

Holy Names University, Oakland CA


Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Thanks, everyone. Aaron and Ranti, I'll add you to the list for giving feedback on designs. Kathleen and Karen, do you want to give specific feedback, too, or are you just providing general comments?

This is probably a good time to reiterate that this particular project is strictly a redesign of screens using existing functionality. We'll look at adding new features during the new calendar year, after we get through a few big projects.

Another question for Aaron and Karen - FriendFeed comments are in chronological order, so reversing them in Connect would actually go against the FF model. Right now, I'm leaning towards talking to our developers to see if we can default to chronological but give users a setting in their profiles that they can default to reverse chronological. Would that be a satisfactory resolution for you?  I think I'd rather let users decide this one according to their own preferences if possible.

Ranti - dashboard customization is definitely in our [unfortunately-not-immediate-near] future. :)

Karen - Connect works well on my Palm Pre, so I'm assuming it did okay on your iOS products, but please let me know if you ran into any problems. Also, there's a Sympa module for Drupal, so that's on our drawing board for the future, too. It's nice to have the option of too many potential things to add, but it would help if there were more hours in the day to let us get to them all....

Did I catch everything? Really appreciate everyone's feedback - keep it coming!


David King's picture

"FriendFeed comments are in chronological order, so reversing them in Connect would actually go against the FF model" - I always get confused with the whole "reverse chronological" thing ... but Friendfeed puts the newest messages up on top, on both the "everyone view" and the personal "just what I said" view. I think that's what we want - newest stuff up front, rather than oldest.

But I agree with you - giving users the option to do either is best.

Jenny Levine (staff)'s picture

Maybe I'm getting confused by the terminology. When I look at FriendFeed, the site puts the latest content (or content with newest comments) at the top of the stream. But comments in individual pieces of content are in chronological order, oldest to newest.

Connect puts the newest content at the top of the stream (on the group home page) and puts the comments in chronological order.

So David, are you asking for comments on individual pieces of content to be ordered newest on top (like Aaron and Karen) or are you talking about something else? I just want to make sure I understand the request.


David King's picture

Same as Karen and Aaron - newest on top, always. I think I just got hung up on the FF thing, but didn't check it enough to glance at the individual comments under each entry...