Transmission.cc site redesign

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Overview

Engage Media received a grant from OSI to redesign the transmission.cc site. This page is a place for the transmission network to organize the design and development process.

Process

Engage Media is going to contract a developer and/or web designer for the site redesign. EM will also contract a project manager to coordinate the process. Site redesign will take place in early 2010.

  • January-Feb: consultation across the network to prioritize features, design elements, choose CMS
  • March: contract project team
  • Early April: CMS install, test content, features development, design wireframes & draft design, feedback
  • Late April: final design, testing, (launch?)

Project Team

  • Project Manager: Sasha Costanza-Chock
  • Developer: ekes
  • UX/Designer: TBD
  • Documentation writers: TBD
  • Goals, Features, Ideas and Testing by TX network
  • and you!

Development Tools

Questions for the network

Your input to these questions will help shape the redesign of transmission.cc, both in terms of graphic design and functionality. First, we brainstormed possible features and goals and whatnot. Then, we turned that into a survey. Here are the survey results:


Message

What is the MOST IMPORTANT single message our site gives? The one thing we want people who visit transmission.cc to remember. What will they tweet to their friends? "Check out http://transmission.cc, amazing network of video activists using free software!"

  • There's a growing worldwide network of video activists using FOSS?
  • Video is a powerful tool for social and environmental justice? +1 (offering links to guides etc)
  • If you're doing video on the web - you really should do *these* things to keep it open .... +1 (this is the USP of TX.cc)
  • etc

Goals

What are our main goals for the transmission.cc site? In descending order, survey sez:

  • Make it easier for people to use FOSS for video activism (63)
  • Present tx mission and network (60)
  • Make it easier for people to view and share content from across the TX network (59)
  • Support open distribution networks and to enable syndication, distro and promo of social/env videos (57)
  • Be a best case example of how free media aggregation can work using FLOSS (54)
  • Get more TX affiliates (52)
  • Aggregate videos from across the network for anyone to watch, and resources for those who want to use FOSS video for organizing. (47)
  • social video bookmarking / curation style blog network for video activists and organizers (44)

Inspiration

What are some sites that inspire us?

The most popular answer was: "We're on some unprecedented next level isht!"

  • craigslist for video activism/organizing
  • tumblr / delicious for video organizers/activists
  • pirate bay for raw social/environmental footage
  • Facebook/BuddyPress/Planet GNOME for video organizers/activists: users (videomakers, developers, viewers) writing their own experiences on their own blogs, and we could feature their postings as part of a bigger inter-blog conversation (http://planet.gnome.org, http://buddypress.org/)
  • support open distribution networks and to enable syndication, distro and promo of social/env videos
  • Aggregation and Sharing, not Hosting
  • Combination of aggregated videos from across the network for anyone to watch, and resources for those who want to use FOSS video for organizing.


Users/Audience(s)

Who are the audiences/users? Be as specific as possible. We didn't have a survey question about this but people have said:

  • People interested in viewing social and environmental justice video +2
  • People interested in distributing their own or others videos +2
  • People wanting to design their own activist video website +1
  • movement orgs that want to learn how to use more video
  • Existing tx members
  • Video organizers/activists
  • people wanting to feature one or more channels/feeds of relevant feeds on their campaign website
  • People looking for server to host their videos and build a channel
  • current and former imc-tech memebrs
  • i would like tx to tell my ngo friends that it is not that scary to get a PC and install FOSS and start making movies and _distribute_ thise videos with _us_, the tx network

Actions

What do we want the audience(s) to DO? In descending order, survey results:


  • Learn about FLOSS video (32)
  • Learn about video organizing/activism (31)
  • Switch to FLOSS video (31)
  • find a screening/organize a screening (like bravenewtheatres.org) (29)
  • blog about video organizing / activism/ floss (29)
  • Add subtitles in their language (29)
  • Watch videos (26)
  • Join TX network (26)
  • Forward TX videos to their friends (26)
  • Video Volunteer (24)
  • Video Classifieds: collaborate, find, suggest projects, find help, offer services (23)
  • Take action linked to the vids they watch (23)
  • collaborate on video production (23)
  • use TX metadata standard (23)
  • Submit video feeds (22)
  • Discuss/comment on vids (22)
  • Donate (18)
  • share raw footage (18)
  • Submit videos (15)
  • use our OPML (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPML) (13)

Top Features

What are the core features of the site? The list of features that more than one person chose for their top 10, in descending order by how many people chose it. Top 8, selected by at least 3 people, are in bold.

  • Feed Aggregation (+18): Make it easy to pull rss feeds into the site, including rich media feeds. Combines: Ensure feeds conforming to the Transmission metadata standard can be imported in the system, and also that the outputted aggregated feeds also conform to the standard (+7); Aggregate video content from all tx partners (+5); an easy-to-use RSS import function, so that we can import pre-existing blogs, delicious feeds, twitter feeds, flickr feeds, and so forth (+4); aggregate and display blogs from network members (+2)
  • Subtitles (+6): Ability to find, view, and add subs to videos. Combines Add subtitles to videos (+4); Find subtitles for videos (+2)
  • Cross-site Search (+4): Search videos from all TX member sites
  • Resources section (FOSS manuals, etc) (+4)
  • Featured Videos (+3): Featured vids from across affiliate sites
  • Watch videos from all TX network (+3)
  • Download screening quality versions of vids (+3)
  • documentation about tx.cc site (+3)
  • Do No Harm (+3): remind people about appropriate use on upload/sharing
  • Map of TX affiliates (+2)
  • Share This button to post across social media sites (+2)
  • Dynamic map of videos by TX affiliates (+2)
  • Calendar of video / FLOSS events (+2)
  • tags (+2)

Additional Features

The list of all features we came up with while brainstorming:

Aggregation, Feeds, RSS Import

  • Aggregate video content from all tx partners +1
  • import rss feeds and retain formatting
  • automatic rendering of common video embeds, inclusion of pictures, text
  • an easy-to-use RSS import function, so that we can import pre-existing blogs, delicious feeds, twitter feeds, flickr feeds, and so forth.
  • import podcast rss
  • ensure feeds conforming to the Transmission metadata standard can be imported in the system, and also that the outputted aggregated feeds also conform to the standard. +1
  • RSS import function will allow activists to direct their pre-existing social media and social bookmarking to the transmission.cc site (see http://drupal.org/node/64976, http://drupal.org/node/68011, http://www.funnymonkey.com/share-bookmarks, http://groups.drupal.org/node/10531, http://sociallist.org/index.php).
  • aggregate and display twitter ( and other microblog) feeds for use in relevant conferences and gatherings
  • aggregate and display flickr (and other and other image) feeds for use in relevant conferences and gatherings
  • aggregate and display blogs from network members with help of planet software (than also on tx www)
  • pull feeds into 'conversation' like http://buddypress.org/
  • Syndicate content from VideoWTF

Search

  • Cross-site searching of Transmission member sites through the Transmission.cc site. +1

Editorial

  • featured videos from across affiliate sites
  • rate videos
  • flag videos as spam/hate speech/etc
  • comment
  • create 'featured' videos

Distribution

  • watch videos from all across the tx network +1
  • download screening quality versions of videos +1
  • publish videos?
  • embed codes for video and for video players related to keywords (cf: blip's players but simplified) ??
  • 'Share This Video' button
  • 'share this' for all videos, blog entries, FOSS manuals, etc +1
  • embeddable submission buttons for other activist sites (an add-to-transmission button, like the add-to-twitter / add-to-digg buttons)
  • subscribe to receive alerts about featured videos

Subtitles

  • add subtitles to videos +1
  • find subtitles for videos

Calendar

  • calendar of video activism related events +1
  • I-cal formatted events RSS
  • option to submit calendar feed (for moderation)

Maps

  • map of tx affiliates +1
  • dynamic map of videos by tx affiliates +1
  • map of blog posts
  • map/calendar of screenings

Social Web

  • links to tx presence across the social web, eg facebook, twitter, etc?
  • easy sharing buttons for all social websites, with precedence for any open source ones That Work.

Bookmarklet

  • bookmarklet style clipping tool (like tumblr, include highlighted text in submission, auto-detect movies etc)

Resources/Tools/HowTo

  • resources section (FOSS manuals, etc) +1
  • embed free software video documentation from FLOSS Manuals into the Transmission site and add a comprehensive list of relevant FOSS video tools.
  • link to documentation about tx.cc site

  • donate +1
  • specify list of tasks/functions that require funding, and separate and cost each one so that donors can choose what if anything to support. indicate progress towards funding targets to enable feelings of achievement.
  • option for names of donors to be featured ion the site, with thanks.

Take Action

  • take action

Profiles

  • project/affiliates/organisation/person profiles linked to content?
  • functionality of buddypress

Do No Harm

  • Do No Harm / PRIVACY (data privacy, best pracitices in video privacy, blur faces, etc)
  • remind people about appropriate use on upload (are you putting someone in danger by uploading this vid?)
  • 'autoblur everyone's face' :)

Blogs

  • simple blog-like interface for publication
  • group blog about video activism +1
  • aggregation page of all sites at transmission.cc, individual blogs at transmission.cc/blogname




Content

a what and why transmission.cc video (potentially something best done over a number of conferences? as people converge on spaces, those with access to questionaire/vox pop questions etc could interview ppl from the projects involved as they are present, with one person/group collating all vid into a short doc)
  • syndicate content from videowtf
more concise overview of what the website is about

(combining Kris's comments below with szczym's suggestion above in general structure?)

floss manual integration
needs some ajax/css adjustments as per the instructions on flossmanuals.org
which manuals?

Design

How would we describe the site we want

Feel free to describe in any way: adjectives, colors, feelings, etc

  • adjective (eg 'clean,' 'edgy,' etc)

'wysiwyg', 'user-focused', 'simple', 'uncluttered', 'striking', 'well-rounded'

  • colors

'bright'

  • feelings

'internationalist', 'inspiring', 'collaborative', 'inclusive'

  • etc

What are some sites we like, and why?

Please add a link to a site you think is a good model and explain why: graphic design elements, functionality, colors, fonts, composition, images, style, feel, navigation, etc.

  • Mobileactive.org, because it provides a good overview of the realm of mobile activism w/clean graphic design, a database of local mobile activists, etc
  • Global Voices Online, because they translate content from around the world and then aggregate summaries in one place so that people can quickly get a good overview of the blogosphere outside their home country.
  • makeinternet.tv, because it is simple and welcoming and starts from beginner level then offers links to more detail
  • etc

Visual elements

  • Are we using the TX red satellite dish logo?
  • Are we making a new logo and/or header? Yes +1
  • Logo design contest, in-network?
  • css/design to match Oomleo's txap image?
  • video thumbnails on front page +2
  • specialist user-interface design for maximum access and inclusivity throughout

Drupal Theme

One output of our process will be a Drupal theme for video aggregation sites. We may want to consider updating and customizing the FilmForge theme: http://drupal.org/project/filmforge_theme

Or, to start fresh and clean, with Zen theme: http://drupal.org/project/zen

Research Adaptive Theme: http://drupal.org/project/adaptivetheme

UI / Design team

Graphic / UI Designer(s) / Drupal Themer: kaho. Kaho is responsible for working with Project Manager, Developer, and TX network to create a beautiful and user friendly theme for the new tx.cc site. Use an iterative design process with several points for feedback from the TX network:

Mock-Ups

Video Feeds

List of video feeds to pull (add yours!):

(5 themed feeds from the visionOn.tv network)

(this is what mute has for the moment, we have video's in lots of places and are trying to get it together)

Content Management System

Here we will discuss which CMS to use for tx.cc.

Candidates

CMS Matrix

Features comparison
Feature Drupal Mirocommunity Wordpress Plumi (other CMS)
Aggregate Video Feeds Y, multiple solutions, requires multiple modules and config (see http://planetdrupal.tv/about) Y, Built to do this, works out the box. W? P? O?
View Subtitles Y, requires various modules, config, for example: http://wiki.transmission.cc/index.php/Transmission_Subtitle_Tutorial_in_Drupal / http://developmentseed.org/blog/2008/jun/05/adding-multilingual-subtitles-videos-drupal-jw-flv-media-player / Maybe, MC coders say subs will be in next release W? P? O?
Create Subtitles Not really, would require significant development. But could use non FOSS eg http://subtitle-horse.org/index.php Currently, no. PCF is working on a solution for this though. W? P? O?
Cross-Site Search Y, once vids have been imported from feeds Y, out of the box W? P? O?
Resources Section Y, multiple solutions (pages, content type, tags, etc) Y, but probably requires some custom code? W? P? O?
Watch Videos Y, but requires various modules, jwplayer, install and config Y, out of the box W? P? O?
Featured Videos Y, fairly simple config ('promoted' vids?) Y, works out of the box W? P? O?
Download Videos Y, fairly simple to add download link Y, think it is simple if available W? P? O?
TX.CC Documentation Y, multiple solutions (pages, content type, tags, etc) Y, but probably requires some custom code? W? P? O?
Do No Harm Y, multiple solutions (pages, content type, tags, etc) Y, but probably requires some custom code? W? P? O?
Map TX members Y, multiple solutions, config Not currently, would required new coding & functionality W? P? O?
Map TX Videos Would require adding geodata to videos, multiple solutions, new coding required, high dev cost Not currently, would required new coding & functionality W? P? O?
Share This button Y, multiple solutions, simple config, eg http://drupal.org/project/addtoany Not sure, shouldn't be too hard to add but don't know if supported W? P? O?
Calendar Y, simple to add calendar, but to pull calendar feeds from partners? not supported, would require custom solution, is there already a shared calendar resource to pull from? W? P? O?
Demo sites http://planetdrupal.tv/ http://tx.mirocommunity.org W? P? O?

Other CMS arguments

Drupal

pros:

  • Various TX members already using & also developing drupal
  • popular, frequently updated, lots of modules;
  • Ekes' work on cross Drupal site video integration (http://wiki.transmission.cc/index.php/Quick_installation_of_FEM_and_patches) +1 ..)
  • Add the IFIWatch.tv created Drupal aggregation tools to bring in more video feeds to the site, improve their display and searchability and ensure the site is regularly updated. The added benefit of these tools, compared to miro community site, seems to be that different types of content can be tagged and aggregated together eg docs, events etc. However this is not yet easy for new people to implement- Zoe wanted it on zoeyoung.net but the techie setting it up was not yet able to make the aggregator work)
  • very extensible, future features can be implemented as modules developed by d community

cons:

  • multiple solutions for all features, lots of time to research, config, make solutions 'play nice' w/each other even for seemingly simple tasks
  • usability not stellar, learning curve for site admin & editorial

Mirocommunity

pros:

  • simple, focused tool. Do one thing, and do it well.
  • most important feature request, aggregation of video feeds, works out of the box
  • demo took just 1 hour to set up: http://tx.mirocommunity.org
  • Could save money on development, or use it to create new functionality for mirocommunity
  • code developed by another tx partner (participatory culture foundation)
  • django based means that modifying is simple
  • full theming and customization available

cons:

  • lacks extensibility, flexibility. More difficult to add new features over time?
  • just one developer? (not counting all the django devs out there)

Discussion

  • What kind of cross site searching were people looking for? there seem to be a few drupal based modules that could be implemented, but I think they only look at other drupal sites - these would need investigation. -1
that sounds rather pointless. I *imagined* that the search would find material within the various media feeds etc aggregated through the site, but this is not on the basis of knowing what is actually possible. the search tool in ifiwatch.tv is certainly wanting... a more user-friendly search strategy is needed there.
  • how do people feel about google? They have a cross site searching api that gives you a (non google branded) search bar on your site and is dead easy and lot quicker to to implement and can include non drupal sites.
how does this work - admin provides a limited set of sites for users to search through? might work. but replying on google could be a limitation..
move away from the blog/cms/portal type site and toward a presentation/networking type site.
this can and proabably should still happen using something like drupal
removal (via css?) of things like who posted what and when? +1
I like the idea of dated posts, even on static pages, so that the data on any page can be contextualized -1.
I find it looks messy, and for the average visitor, it is simply clutter on the page. is it not possible to have the data there in the background somehow for those interested in the date to easily click through to see?

Note: different entry vectors for different users:

  • film makers could be offered buttons 'where and how to publish' and 'why not just use youtube' ,
  • the general public would perhaps first notice a button on 'what is transmission' and everyone would be invited to 'watch films', 'look up films about ***[search box]' and 'take a tour of participating sites' etc +1
  • developers would be offered... (?)


remove/hide the "user/login" nature of the site
leave that type of thing to the wiki... +1
what are the ongoing resources needed for the website in the next few years to maintain and update? - design, money, time, accountability.