Updates, Upgrades + New Things For Groups [february Release 2010]

The product and engineering teams here at EP continue to work late into the night on a regular basis to update and improve your experience here.  It is always a mixed bag of things we are able to tackle, but there are three things that drive what we are doing here no matter what we are working on:



1. Are we making the site easier to use with our changes and updates?

2. Are we making the site faster with our changes and updates?

3. Are we listening to users and basing our updates on what we get from you whenever and where ever we can?



This time around we have tackled the GROUPS section.  You will notice that a lot of the same pieces as before are there as well as some new ones.  The various options that used to be listed in the right-hand column have now been moved up top in a consolidated and clearer group header which contains all of the essential information about a group as well as providing you an easy jumping off point to navigate between all the aspects of group content from stories to discussions to guides.  This new group header is also shorter than the old version and should allow more content from the group's featured story feed bubble up without you having to scroll.



Listening to what you have said, here are some of the main things our changes and updates to GROUPS set out to accomplish:



a. Clean Up -- You have asked us to get rid of the clutter and the things you don't need in favor of the things you do.  Well, we have listened.  We have cleaned things up in terms of order and location so that you can find things more easily.

b. Clearer Functionality -- Moving some stuff around, we made all the sections of the group (experiences, polls, forum, answers, etc.) more accessible by placing it at the top in an easy to find, easy to use manner.

c. Easier to Read -- Larger group title text as well as other treatment of fonts and colors to make it clearer and easier to read for everyone.

d. Simplified Story and Content Sharing -- You always ask us to make things simpler, particularly when it comes to sharing.  Ask and ye shall receive - we have simplified the process to share content.  This simplified process makes it easier for you to post stories, start a discussion, or create a new poll.

e. Better Search -- We have made it easier to search the group's content so that now you can search the group's stories or the group's forum right from the main group page, or right from the top of the forum page.

f. Better Filtering and Sorting of Content -- We have improved the filtering tools to allow you to quickly and easily view your own stories and stories from your circle within a specific group.

g.  Special Tools for You and Your Circle -- We know your "Circle" is important and a key part of your EP day-to-day, so we have added the ability to easily filter by "my circle" or view "my own stories" which should improve your own navigation.  We have also have enabled better ways to search and find members in your circle that are in the group.

h. More Details on Members -- You wanted more member information, so we have designed a new format that allows you to get to know the members in a group quickly via a more detailed snapshot view. We have also made it much clearer and easier to find information about members in a group by showing their gender, age range, location, and snippets from their stories.

i. Member Search and Member Activity -- You asked for better search, so we have created a new set of options that allows you the ability to find active members in a group by looking at the authors, members who have posted stories to the group, and by showing their online status.

j. Rate It Up -- As requested, we have made the "Rate up" more prominent so it easier for you to show your support for stories.



Right now, we are just in the first stages of product testing for this new groups format to make sure we fix all the bugs and, as always, try and get it as right as possible.  While we are in "testing" mode, you can check it out as the layout and functionality for one specific test group: "I Can't Wait for the New Look of EP" (hey, don't blame me, I didn't name the group).



If you would like to take a look and take it for a test drive, please check it out here:

EP Link



I encourage you to take the time to poke around and please let me know what is working for you and what isn't.  Please feel free to send your feedback to me directly via PM or send an email to support@experienceproject.com.  I know we are all busy, so if you can't review this, please simply disregard this request.  But if you are feeling a bit of EP love today and want to play a larger role in improving the site, please send a few minutes poking around and send me your thoughts --- hopefully some good things I can tell the team as well as things we need to improve. ;)



Thank you in advance.  Happy Weekend!  (At least it has finally stopped raining here)



EPJakedatesFe

EPjake EPjake
26-30, M
5 Responses Feb 27, 2010

Recent changes to group layouts and search engines are not good. Search engine no longer gives right results and group layout no longer includes group icon pic and cloud suggestions are irrelevant to group topic.

I would prefer that the group we are viewing be limited to the exact group and not venture into "similar" groups based on similar words in titles of different groups.

IE: I start to read on the group "I am a chocolate eater" by 10 or 15 posts in I realize im reading posts in different groups like "I love chocolate".

THis may seem a little thing, but it drives me insane. I would rather only see the posts that were originally posted for the particular group I am viewing.

Rename "Most Popular" story sort tab to "Most Views" and split the "Most Recent" tab into "Date" and "Activity" (i.e. sorted by their creation date and sorted by their most recent comment timestamps).

Thanks for the encouragement Bisou. As some members of the team have been working hard on this groups task, we have others feverishly working away at just making the site run faster and fixing the daily bugs -- which are super important.<br />
<br />
If you get a chance to take the new groups for a test drive and provide feedback, please do. You have no idea how helpful for us to hear what you experienced so that we can dive into revising, improving and fixing. ;)

You guys are doing a great job! Thank you! <br />
Some people just don't get that just because they want ep to look a certain way, doesn't mean it's practical. <br />
Thanks again guys!