(The Humanitarian Social Network)
This forum is dedicated to feedback and discussion by those invited to participate as Beta Testers of the AidSource network.
Please share your suggestions, comments, and complaints in the thread below. Feel free to respond to and discuss entries made by other beta testers.
We promise to take seriously every suggestion, comment and complaint. We do not necessarily promise to implement every suggestion.
Replies are closed for this discussion.
Having the My Discussion, Forum and Latest Activity self-updating feeds on 'My Page' is great. Everything comes together and you can clearly see what's happening on the site.
Give A Gift
I'm curious about the 'Give A Gift' function. It's cute and reminds of the Facebook craze five? years ago when all of my friends where giving each other these random little picture gifts to be seen on their wall. Trouble ensued when people kept buying the gifts and spending money.
I don't have an objection to the 'Gift' itself, just that you have to pay for 75% of them with credits which translates from money. Will the payments go to maintaining the AidSource site? That would be great. Or does it all go to Ning?
Are you considering the creation of a Jobs posting page under Work & Life similar to the Relief Web listings? Or perhaps it should be a Discussion Post - in which case can we differentiate between domestic and international postings?
In example, two Discussion feeds:
A) International Development Jobs & Consulting Opportunities (Domestic)
Meaning home office staff, DC govt workers etc
B) International Development Jobs & Consulting Opportunities (Field)
I also really like the ability to go back and edit post within a certain time frame.
I confess, I'm not sure what's up with the Give a Gift thing. It was automatically included when I set up this network and I'm not sure how to turn it off. As far as I know, no proceeds from this function to me AidSource. This will take some research on our part - watch the "Note" for an update on "Gifts" some time over the next few weeks.
It's possible that we may in the future include job listings directly in the "Work & Life" section. There are a number of things involved with making that happen, not the least of which being simply time! Also, since those kinds of services are heavily covered in other places on the web, my inclination, at least for now, is to link to them rather than wholly re-create what's out there elsewhere.
But I'd be curious for your expanded thoughts on why this might be an important feature to include on AidSource, and how, if we were to do so, we might improve on what's being offered on the sites currently being linked to?
The customization of "My Page" is good. I've tested it out using different themes and changing colors. There don't seem to be any problems with it.
Ning is good program to use for social networks like this so good choice on picking it.
I noticed you have a "working groups" page and a "working groups" subforum which may be slightly confusing and redundant.
Also would Work & Life be better put in the Resource Library submenu? If you were able take out two menu items you would only have 1 horizontal menu instead of a couple hanging on a new second menu below the first (thats how it looks on my browser, at least).
EDIT: two things about forum posts -
1) I also like the ability to edit my post after 15 minutes if thats an option you can change.
2) I noticed the newest replies are on top - Ive always seen the oldest forum posts be on top below the original post with newer ones following below. Personally, I think its easier to follow discussions because people dont have to read the topic, go to the bottom, then read up.
Jeffrey - thank you for this feedback. A few things, quickly:
1) We're still thinking through how to organize and where to place the "Work & Life" section.
2) Working Groups/sub-forum redundancy. Good catch - thank you.
3) On personal page customization, note that you can totally mix up the themes, as well. Take a look at Space Chimp and Mary-Anne profiles as examples.
Wondering what your thoughts are on having the actual smiley face emoticon option, rather than :) ? Some people detest the little things. Personally I like them.
Liking what I see here, J.! I don't want to spread around negativity just for the sake of it, but wondering if there is the option of having a "dislike" or "disagree" button for things similar to FB "like." It'd be interesting to see how the conversation could evolve.
I am a fan of being able to change around the "my page" option -- looks pretty cool and lots of way to play around with that.
Also, is it possible to change the order of the different right-side columns? Ex. Forum, then Photos, then Events....
Hey Pia - glad to hear that you're liking AidSource overall.
Yep: we can absolutely move things around the right-hand column (those things are called "features"). The decision to put things in the order they're in currently comes from a) a desire encourage members to use the tabs in the navbar ("Coordination Meetings" gets you to "forums", "Working Groups" gets you to "groups", etc.) so that, b) the right column can be more about the eye-candy - one particular area where the existing kinda-sorta similar networks out there right now are distinctly lacking :)
This said, we're definitely still in the getting-it-set-up-the-way-we-want phase, and of course always willing to hear input from users like yourself. All to say that things may still look differently on the main page one day...
For as much flexibility as Ning offers in terms of you tricking out your personal page, it's a somewhat restrictive platform when it comes to us fine-tuning some aspects of user functionality. Those cool smileys and a "dislike" button would be among those things we don't have the ability to add. Sorry :( -- Thanks for your feedback!
OK....so if I want to post in the Work and Life section, how do I do that or is it still under construction?
You will need an intro to the site cuz most people are going to expect it to be like FB and if people get irritated from the start to use it, it won't work so well. I am going to email you my login and password for a site I belong to, a community of herbalists. www.herbmentor.com. worth checking out. it's top down driven but has a community attached to it. Their layout is very clear which is what I like about it, but want you guys to check out the 'tutorial' video they have and you might want to think of doing something similar with screen shots or by videotaping your screen being shared with a voice over (which is how they have done it, effectively).
This feels cluttered to me right now and I don't know why yet. Could just be I am not familiar with it.
More comments from me soon, the more I start using it! Thanks for the invite guys :)
I slept on it and I'm back :) Just wanted to see what it looks and feels like as i get more familiar with it.
The fonts etc everything on the front page all seems a bit 'cold' to me. Photo is good but to me, the writing is too block-y and like a P11 form which we all hate.
Maybe if we all listed 'front pages' of blogs or other media sites that we like it would give you guys an idea of visually what is pleasing. I agree that content needs to be number one but people also want to look at something nice if they are going to spend time there. (might just be me but I don't think so...presentation gets high marks and for all the trainings/workshops/panels we have sat through we know that people get wow-ed be presentation without even listening to content).
Websites/front pages that work for me:
My profile on aidsource :) (it's too warm/dark for you guys though but I changed the fonts too..not cheesey like comic sans but just something easier to eye)
FrontlineSMS. I think because of the smaller writing, more things fit on the page. I know I was talking about cluttering before but with smaller writing the page seems to open up more and I don't want to scroll so much to see things but just have everything there...like facebook has as well. Ib think the way you have things organized/placed right now is good, but i just want to see more of it with the illusion of space. Like their headers/tabs are smaller.
Those are the two that I can think of now (short on brain power till Feb)...but really just to illustrate what I mean by less cluttered...
Anyone else got 'front pages' they like and why?
Keep putting things here since not sure where else to put them. can't seem to start my own group. Want to have a livelihoods/food security group and a cash transfers group please. Are we able to start our own groups? Might be good to have a note on that, what kind of groups you are OK with, terms of engagement etc...though not necessary I think. Linked In has groups that function in some capacity--some more than others...
Anyhow, if you guys get the two groups mentioned above started, I can start filling in content :)
Hey Zehra -
Thanks for all of your comments! This is the right place to put them.
Regarding groups, please see my note entitled "Working Groups Added." Members cannot add groups - just discussion threads ("Forums"). You can always add a forum inside an existing working group, or an independent forum. At some point we'll probably create a third (or more) category of member with "groups" privileges. For now, let us know what groups you want and we'll add them.
Re: "Clutter" and general visual appeal. Yeah - I hear you. If members want to share links to sites and/or networks that they like, that's great, but we anticipate a great diversity of opinion on the "look". I'm consulting with a couple of graphic designers at the moment on the overall look and functionality of the main page. So that everyone knows, the look that you see now is not the final product. I'll write a note soon (maybe even today) asking for more specific feedback on specific elements. Watch for that and get ready to comment!
I like the idea of an "intro" to the site. It's kind of what I was going for in the "About AidSource" page, but won't hurt to beef that up a bit, perhaps even including a graphic tour or something.
Cool thanks. LLH/FS and cash transfer groups please. And how do i start delving into the work and life?? No rush actually....i'm still thinking through stuff and have week from hell. but will have a good chunk of time week of 19th so i expect to be hanging around here poking around more.
I did put up a poll on my page though everyone...go see it! Not sure it shows up on your pages too but I am guessing not...
I've added the "Livelihoods" and "Cash-based Programming" groups. You (or any member) can add forums inside each of those that focus on any aspect of livelihoods (like 'food security') or cash programming (like 'cash transfer') that you like :)