Subject: [NYCGA-IWG] what's up with nycga.net?
From: Sam Zimmerman
Date: Fri, 4 Nov 2011 08:50:16 -0700 (PDT)
To: internet working group

hi all -

The week that the current version of nycga.net launched there was
discussion on this list of improvements that could be made to the IA
and messaging of the site to improve it's utility and strategic focus.

Comments have included:

1. The activity thread on the home page does not add value and this
important real estate could be better used with other content

2. The "How To Help" landing page has two honking give money buttons
above the fold, communicating that giving money is the most important
way people can get involved (is it?)

3. The use of large icons on Groups landing page and the dynamic
sorting makes it very hard to learn the full set of groups and adds
work for the user to find a specific group. With so many groups to
represent, oversized icons create more visual noise than add
wayfinding information value

4. The implementation of events requires the user to do work to sort
out small work group meetings from major actions.  Many many people
outside of the park who want to know the big stuff that is going on
and come to the site looking for a curated list

It is unclear to me whether any of these issues will be addressed, who
is responsible to assessing them, who would do the actual work, and
what is the correct process for working on this particular topic.
We've had conversations about it on this list.  I started a thread on
the IWG forum on the site about it, which was immediately turned off.
I submitted comments to the site feedback form, and a couple weeks
later I got a response from Lippe thanking me for the comments and
encouraging me to get involved!  I've also heard chatter on the admin
IRC that the current nycga site is going to be turned into an intranet
and that different public site coded in Drupal is on the way.

All this basically boils down to it seems impossible to participate in
improving the current site.  This may be an intentional decision that
the current site will not be improved - can anyone confirm this?

If not, then I would like to state, again, that I feel that the basic
communication requirements for the GA to connect with the outside
world are not being met.  Thousands of people are coming to
the site to find out:

- what are the major public actions happening in NYC the next week
- what are the immediate priority topline issues that the GA is
dealing with yesterday and today
- what is the movement about
- how can they participate

The version 1 site did a pretty good job covering these bases. In the
version 2 site, right now, it is hard to find the info for the first
three items in this list.  There are thousands of motivated people who
are constituents for the site that cannot use it effectively to plug
in to the movement at precisely the time the movement needs to focus
on outreach and scale.

>From some spot polling that I have been doing, people outside the park
who regularly attend actions are turning to occupywallst.org to get
their information to decide how to plan where they will plug in to
every week.  If that is the appropriate place for medium- and low-
level involvement people to go, I think that it would be good to
indicate this in the site, like on the home page.

Again, this might be a strategic decision that has already been made
to focus on serving highly-involved internal groups (a few hundred
people) much more than outreach and engagement to medium- and low-
level involved people (several thousand people).  Can anyone confirm
this?

As a long time website project manager I get pretty concerned seeing
the discussion on this list about a range of new projects under
development while the big live project still seems half-baked to me.

I welcome any feedback on this, thanks.

- Sam

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