Public Lab Research note

Do you like this design for keeping track of events and projects?

by edie_blues | | 119 views | 7 comments |

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Hello @warren, @liz (and everyone else!),

I've received quite a lot of feedback about users finding it difficult to keep track of projects in their area (either area of interest or the actual physical location). Since the current /projects page is quite empty, I was thinking we could add a style page for keeping track of projects and events.

I've combined projects and events under one single page - because I think they are connected (they are both about interacting with others).

The projects page would feature a map of my area - with pins for activity near me.

I could also see the projects that I currently follow (so I wouldn't miss any updates), and there would also be a suggestion engine for recommending me projects with activity near me.

I would like to see how many other users are involved in the project. I would also like to see the tags for each project, so I could quickly interpret what a project is about and decide whether I want to join the project.

By default, I would like to see projects in my location. If I haven't shared my location yet, there would be a prompt for me to do so.

It would be easy and straightforward to add a new project.

Perhaps I would also like a quick way of creating an event from the projects page (i.e. quickly organize an event about my project).

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Instead of the default "project" view, I could choose to click on the "events" tab.

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The events page would feature a calendar. I could RSVP to an event and this would be added to my calendar (and synchronized with my calendar manager - e.g. Google calendar). By default, we could add all online events and encourage users to add events happening in their area (we could add specific tags for "OpenCall", "barnraising", "workshop" etc). I could see how many people are currently going to the event and it would be easy for me to RSVP (or change my RSVP).

I know there currently already is an /events page, however, this one (under the /projects page) would have much less information, it would be geared towards RSVP-ing and keeping track of things in my calendar. We could obviously link to the main /events page, so users could get more detailed information there.

Let me know what you think :)

Thank you!



I really appreciate this thoughtful mockup!
I like how the prompt to "add your location" is integrated into this page right where it's so relevant.
Thinking about Events: So far, the events management we've built into the website is minimal, and over time @stevie and I have migrated towards using Eventbrite when organizing events on behalf of the non-profit. Eventbrite is not integrated with our website, but perhaps it could be?

Thinking about Projects: The overall situation is that there is not much content tagged "projects" as it seems like individuals don't take the time to describe their project aims, concerns, location, methods, organizing and advocacy strategy all in one place, but rather just start posting progress updates. Having a set of "projects" clearly described is a desire across the organization from @joyofsoy in Communications to newcomers looking to find what's going on near them. It is an incredibly large editorial burden to create this documentation if the actual researchers aren't doing it. Ideas welcome.

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I also vibe with the graphic calendar in rectangular form -- that was a request we heard from people during the user interface interviews about -- that the "agenda view" should be changed to the "calendar view". It would be great if someone clicked "Edit" on the /Events wiki page and just changed it now.

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We've had some discussions about site navigation and the need to have stories more visible for newcomers, especially those who don't know what we do—so they can understand the broad scope of the Public Lab community's work.

In my dreams, we'd have a topbar navigation similar to the site, where the buttons along the top (on their site, where it says CO.DESIGN, TECH, WORK LIFE, etc.) would be variables that are essentially just tags. (Click on TECH, for example, and you end up at The navigation of the site would essentially be a glorified tag search.

Variables could be things like:

  • stories (pollution from the Tonawanda Coke factory, industrial sand mining in Wisconsin, flooding in Pensacola)
  • issues (climate change, factory farming, lead contamination)
  • methods/technology/kits (spectrometry, microscopy, trawlers, odor logs)
  • region (NYC, Gulf South, Southeast Asia)
  • events

The goal is that I'd be able to easily share with others all of our stories related to climate change, for example, in a way where the results are like items—a clear "these are the fifteen stories we have related to climate change," instead of getting results of six notes about community workshops and three notes about kits and twenty questions about hurricanes—all tagged with climate change. Similarly, if I'm interested issues related to landfills in China, I'd love to be able to navigate to that in two clicks (hover of Issues and dropdown to landfills, then refine search to region: China).

A change like this is obviously a huge proposal, a total reworking of the site, and much more than the scope of your work on this project, @edie_blues, but that's some background about where I'd like to end up.

I agree with @liz that it would be a big editorial burden, at least at first, to tag and categorize everything so neatly, but it's something I would be excited to take on. If we're worried that researchers aren't doing these things themselves, perhaps they would if we built it into the posting process with a few (required) dropdowns to choose from.

Ultimately, I just worry that it's currently too hard for people to find the content they're looking for, and that there isn't a clear hierarchy in the structure of the site.

Sorry for the long (and mostly unrelated) tangent!

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Hiya @liz and @joyofsoy,

Thank you both for sharing your vision! :)

I think we would solve some of the issues by adding required fields (ideally with smart suggestions) when posting projects (as well as any other content).

Once things are posted in a proper way (with info about location, time, tags), it will be much easier to display the right information in just a couple of clicks. So I could say: climate change -> filter by region -> filter by type (question, project, research note etc).

And a navbar with tags on top - like joyofsoy suggested - could also be a way to go. We could add a dropdown menu with the way of participating. Donate and Store buttons could be somewhere in the sidebar, and the rest could be moved to the footer.

My contract finishes today, but I'm confident that we will cross paths in the future :)

Keep well!


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@edie_blues Thanks so much for all of your help!

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Hi, all! I just wanted to start by chiming in in response to @joyofsoy's input - i think we could very easily start out with one of your categories: stories, issues, methods/technology/kits, regions, events, and begin collecting them on a 'holding' page. @joyofsoy, can you start using a unique tag, like story:frac-sand to tag a collection of pages?

Here's an example you can build on:

Distinctly, we can also further develop the "card ui", here even. Joe, you had a sketch for a card UI from a while back and I wanted to see if you'd share a link or image? I think there's a lot we can dig into in the individual card designs. @edie_blues just for thoroughness would you link us to other places you've tried a specific cards design?

I also wonder what the map would look like -- would it display a set of projects near where you're currently searching? Or near your current position? Would people browse using the map, like searching on AirBNB?


Thanks a lot everyone!

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