Big Changes are Afoot

I spent the day today with my AppsLab brethren sequestered like a jury in the Thunderball conference room in sunny Pleasanton, CA. Or maybe it’s Dublin.

Anyway, Paul called us all together to hunker down on some design work. Well, some new design and some redesign.

If you’re interested in the future of the Connect and eventually Mix versions of our as yet unamed platform read on, and by all means, add your two cents.

We have two big projects right now.

  1. Finishing OpenSocial
  2. Redesigning groups

Doesn’t seem like a lot, but there are a lot of moving parts. Anthony has had the OpenSocial 0.8 Shindig container implemented for a while, but we’ve been lagging on packaging up the UI pieces. Here are some of the pieces we need to design and build specifically for OpenSocial:

  • A repository or gallery of OpenSocial apps
  • A preview page for each app in the repository
  • A page to submit an app for inclusion in the repository

We also need to package up a sandbox environment and populate it with developer toys for enterprising new OpenSocial developers. That’s not a must have right now, but it should come soon after we deploy the new stuff.

So, not that you can browse and view apps, now what? We also need to jazz up the profile and home pages, which are in dire need of some TLC. Plus, we know groups needs a makeover, too; Paul has been wanting to do that since we launched Mix. So, add to the list:

  • Redesigned profile page to support OpenSocial apps
  • Redesigned home page to support OpenSocial apps
  • Redesigned groups page to showcase activity in your groups
  • Redesigned group home page, with a dash of obvious

On top of all that, we’ll be thinking about how to do a Files app. We’re hoping to support both Beehive and Stellent, if I could get Billy’s attention, maybe that would go faster.

Lots of changes. Curious, well check out the rough thoughts Rich put down today. Poor guy is the mockup machine and the UI guy, although I suspect he’ll want my help, such as it is.

Here’s a shot of the changes to the profile page:

Like that? How about these changes to the groups page?

For the OpenSocial stuff, we have some examples to borrow from, e.g. iGoogle, MySpace, orkut, Facebook, so I think we’ll come up with something that works well. The individual group pages will be more focused, no more “Post a topic” and pick from idea, question and blog post. That’s always been a bit confusing to everyone.

We’re going to emphasize the collaborative aspects, and in that spirit, sound off with your thoughts on the Mix/Connect UI pieces we’re redesigning. What do you think of the plans? Do you like where we’re going? Would you add/remove something or change the focus?

Find the comments.



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