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First revised Peer Directory mock-up

By Jay Garmon Contributor ·
As promised, here is the first Thursday Reveal for your consumption. This link (http://techrepublic.com.com/i/tr/profile_draft1.gif) will take you to a mock-up image of our proposed Peer Directory Profile Page. This is just a rough draft, but we want your feedback on the implied features.

A few things aren't immediately obvious from the image, so I'll elaborate here. The row of grey boxes near the top respresents where a user's Merit Badges would be displayed. Based on certain site activities, users could earn badges that would recognize certain types of expertise or behaviors. For example, the member who had a certain number or percentage of Tech Q&A answers accepted under the Network Administration topic might earn the NetAdmin Expert badge. Clicking on a badge would display a list of all other TR members who had earned that badge, allowing your to commune with your peers (or locate experts on topics you're a little rusty with). This idea is just barely on the drawing board, but it has proven pretty popular in other places.

Also, you'll note that the Technology Supported and Interests fields are filled with hyperlinked items. Our thinking is that any comma-delimited item placed in these fields would be hyperlinked to a "Library." Each Library link would lead to a list of TR members that have displayed the same interest, as well as a collection of relevant content, newsletters, and possibly RSS feeds for that topic.

If you have any questions about any of the other features displayed in the image, please post them in this thread. We're anxious to know what you like, what you hate, and what's missing from our first attempt. Your opinions will directly influence the development of our community features.

Thanks

Jay

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All in all, I like it

by maxwell edison In reply to First revised Peer Direct ...

Top to bottom evaluation

1. Site Alias - not much difference including job role, company, and location. This is just fine as long as the member has the option to conceal his "real" name, company, etc.

2. I like the "merit badge" idea - kinda' like the Boy Scouts (to whom I'm very partial). TechRepublic editors will determined these, is that correct?

3. How does the "Journal" differ from the discussion activities?

4. I see the recent discussions, but will there be a recent Q&A as well?

5. On the Technology Supported and Interests fields, is this something that we define, or is it automatic based on our activity?

6. The same question on the Interests fields.

7. Username's network - Is this a kind of address book for the TR members?

8. Groups - could you explain this a little? Is it internal to TR or outside groups as well?

9. Testimonials - what would prevent someone from flaming another member? Could I control what stays and what goes? I'd hate for Oz, for example, to be able to blast me in my own profile. (Just kidding, Oz.) But the concern is a valid one. I don't think anyone would want a testimonial to say something like, "This guy doesn't know squat. He gave me some bogus advice and I lost the contents of my entire hard drive".

10. Leave feedback - I assume this is to reply to the testimonials? Or is it to leave a testimonial for another? (Or both?)

11. Bookmarks - Same questions as in groups. Is it internal to TR or outside bookmarks as well?

All in all, I like the look and content. I assume the photos would be optional. I also assume that a monkey or a '66 Chevelle SS or something could be used in the photo box.

Hint to the other insiders. The page is difficult or impossible to see on the screen, at least it is on my screen, but it prints-out large and clear (11x17 tabloid).

More later......

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Answers to your initial questions

by sMoRTy71 In reply to All in all, I like it

2. The merit badges would (most likely) be based on your site activity. For example in Jay's NetAdmin Expert example, we may look at the number of answers you've submitted in networking questions in TQ&A, the number of posts you've made in the NetAdmin discussion area, the number of answers accepted in networking questions in TQ&A, etc. Each of things would have different weights.

3. The Journal is basically a blog. You would be able to post things that aren't necessarily discussion or TQ&A material (Oz_Media's Friday Yuk seems like more of a blog post than a discussion post to me). Members could subscribe to your Journal's RSS feed or they could visit your profile page to read it. In addition, some of our more advanced members might have their Journal posts feed into other areas of the site. For example, if you are a security expert, your journal posts on security may be featured on a security-specific content page.

Also, you could use your Journal to save those solutions that are asked over and over (and over) in the Discussion and TQ&A area. You could link people over to your journal instead of retyping the explanation again.

4. Yes, you would be able to see TQ&A activity as well.

5. & 6. You would select those items. This would help you show more about your areas of expertise as well as let members find others with the same interest. As Jay mentioned, each of those items would link to a page with other members who list the same interest or technology.

7. Yes, that is exactly what the "network" is. We are hoping that members will want to use some of these new tools in order to connect in different ways (i.e. not just discussions and TQ&A). For example, if someone keeps a Journal that you like to read, you may add them to your Contacts list so that you can access it more easily. And for member's visiting your profile page, it is another way to "qualify" you.

8. Groups will allow members to form topic- or location-specific groups. For example, you may see a San Jose MCSE group form. This group would have a forum, a calendar and other tools than would allow them to keep in touch. We hope that some groups would actually like to take their activities offline and meet in person.

9. That is definitely a concern that we also have. To be honest, we aren't far along enough yet with our thinking on that one.

10. That link would allow someone to leave a testimonial for that member whose profile they are viewing.

11. Bookmarks would be internal TR stuff and external stuff. We want it to be a page that you use to save the most helpful IT info you find. We also want to do a List feature within the Bookmarks that allow you to share lists of Bookmarks with others. For example, you may want to create a list of "Top 10 sites for VoIP info" that other members could access.

All of these features are in the very early conceptual phase, so if you see something that just doesn't resonate with you, let us know. Also, if you have ideas for enhancements to anything you see, share that too.

Thanks for the questions,
sm

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Boilerplate Answers

by willcomp In reply to Answers to your initial q ...

I especially like the proposed ability to post common answers on Peer page. In the few months that I've been active in Q&A, have seen several repeat problems, some more than twice.

Dalton

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All in all, I like it

by maxwell edison In reply to First revised Peer Direct ...

Top to bottom evaluation

1. Site Alias - not much difference including job role, company, and location. This is just fine as long as the member has the option to conceal his "real" name, company, etc.

2. I like the "merit badge" idea - kinda' like the Boy Scouts (to whom I'm very partial). TechRepublic editors will determined these, is that correct?

3. How does the "Journal" differ from the discussion activities?

4. I see the recent discussions, but will there be a recent Q&A as well?

5. On the Technology Supported and Interests fields, is this something that we define, or is it automatic based on our activity?

6. The same question on the Interests fields.

7. Username's network - Is this a kind of address book for the TR members?

8. Groups - could you explain this a little? Is it internal to TR or outside groups as well?

9. Testimonials - what would prevent someone from flaming another member? Could I control what stays and what goes? I'd hate for Oz, for example, to be able to blast me in my own profile. (Just kidding, Oz.) But the concern is a valid one. I don't think anyone would want a testimonial to say something like, "This guy doesn't know squat. He gave me some bogus advice and I lost the contents of my entire hard drive".

10. Leave feedback - I assume this is to reply to the testimonials? Or is it to leave a testimonial for another? (Or both?)

11. Bookmarks - Same questions as in groups. Is it internal to TR or outside bookmarks as well?

All in all, I like the look and content. I assume the photos would be optional. I also assume that a monkey or a '66 Chevelle SS or something could be used in the photo box.

Hint to the other insiders. The page is difficult or impossible to see on the screen, at least it is on my screen, but it prints-out large and clear (11x17 tabloid).

More later......

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Sorry about the double post . . . .

by maxwell edison In reply to All in all, I like it

.
...it happened because I hit the Refresh button.

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Looking good so far

by Oz_Media In reply to First revised Peer Direct ...

Your layout is extremely well done, easy to navigate (for the most part) and seems to be a much more concise read on the members activity.

The graphic does enlarge (with XP just hover over the bottom right corner and use the full size button), or just make sure your auto image resizing box is unchecked in IE options and it comes up really nice.

I agree with Maxwell on the testimonials section (especially me, right Max?!)

The BLOG option is a great idea, I assume people can subscribe to the blog if they choose to.

The merit badges are great! I suppose you could also come up with Chief Peer (or Eagle peer for our US peers).

As for profiles, I think real names would be okay but that's about it. Photo's I see as okay too, but I think as Max suggested, just having some form of AVITAR would me more widely accepted.

Making much of this content MANDATORY in order to build a profile would be something I am interested in, I think it is too easy for people to sign up in 2 minutes, offer NO information and simply start flaming or asking for help, with no information provided, people don't close questions and don't respond to help when it's offered. I would prefer these people didn't find it so easy to come and go but actually wanted to become part of the community and stick around, make a few friends/enemis and be a part of the whole program.

DEJA has a BBS that's great for those who just want answers but there is no commmunity aspect to it at all. Friends aren't made, peer networks aren't built etc.

I do like the overall page LOOK and style though, can I suggest some background color? As I am sure you know, the Builder.com site uses a charcoal backer that lends some contrast to the sections of the page. If not, perhaps some backgrounds on the various DIV's. Just to break it all up a bit. Even greater padding/margins in the DIV's would help the text flow and you would't require the fat borders.


Overall, well done though!

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Some fields will be mandatory

by sMoRTy71 In reply to Looking good so far

To address the issue of members not filling out profile data, we will require that certain fields be completed (interests, tech. supported, job title, maybe bio) before a member can post.

As for the color scheme, this is just a grayscale prototype. The final version will be much more colorful and detailed than the mock-up.

Thanks for the comments,
sm

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For those who don't know sMoRTy71...

by Jay Garmon Contributor In reply to First revised Peer Direct ...

...he's our chief Web designer. You guys basically have a direct line to the guy who will be deciding what all of the community improvements will look like. Take advantage.

--Jay

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Hi sMoRTy71 !

by Oz_Media In reply to For those who don't know ...

actually I have 'seen' you around from time to time, but Hi anyway!

OM

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Looks good to me

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to First revised Peer Direct ...

I just hope you can manage to construct it without too many problems.

Col

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