Devblog


Archive for the 'Design' Category

December update – new features and changes!

You spoke and we listened!

Our developers are currently hard at work on a big update for CommunityOfSweden.com.
The update involves upgrading the entire community platform to a new modern version but it also involves some major feature and design changes that I hope you’ll enjoy.

As I mentioned earlier, the CoS starpage currently has some flaws.
It is not

  1. Converting new visitors into members
  2. Encourage activity amongst existing members
To improve this we’re launching a new startpage for guests and for members.

Some key features in the december update:

  • simple and clean start page for guests. Focus on inspiration to join (video) and some value propositions and quotes from the guest’s fellow countrymen.
  • registration and sign in by using Facebook Connect!
  • Feed of activities from your friends!
  • Show photos and stories on a map!
  • Real map coordinates on photos and stories! (no more geo / city tags)
  • Improved tag input system when creating your content
  • Easier to find new friends with shared interests
  • Recommendation of photos and stories that we think you will like
  • A new system to indicate a member’s level of activity and popularity. This will replace the current points system.
  • and more….
See the prototype wireframe below for a sneak peak into what’s coming on the new logged in member start page ;)

How should your new start page look?

We’ve started a big project here at VisitSweden to improve and expand http://CommunityOfSweden.com.

This project involved a lot of the areas of improvement and new features that I posted earlier here but in this post I’d like to focus specifically on the CoS starting page.

The CoS starting page today is not fulfilling its two most important objectives:

  1. Converting new visitors into members
  2. Encourage activity amongst existing members
The main reason the start page is lacking in its current form is because it is a compromise showing the same content for guests and logged in members alike. We will change this.

I’d very much like your input in the comment section below regarding these two objectives.

Some questions that might stir some thoughts to get you started: What made you join up in the first place? What expactations did you have that the start page met? What do you think would help a new visitor to take the leap to register? And perhaps more important for you existing members: how would you wish your logged in start page looked like? What info there would encourage you to upload photos, write stories, stay in touch with your friends etc?

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated. This project is happening right now and it has just started so you have the opportunity to make yourself heard and influence the development of CommunityOfSweden.com, as it should be :)

Crowdsourcing logo design

VisitSweden crowdsources logo design at 99designs for our Adademy of Sweden concept. 900 USD prize! http://bit.ly/9KzjVa

Do you want CommunityOfSweden.com content on your site?

Now you can :)

We’re developing a “widget” for CommunityOfSweden.com. This widget might best be described as a web page element that you choose how it will look and what it will contain and that you can then paste into your own blog or website.
Right now we’re focusing on showing photos and stories in these widgets.

So if you have a blog or website and you want to show some of the amazing photos from CoS on that site, now you can! It’s completely free. We get visits to us from clicks in the widget so everybody is happy :)

Here below are two simple design mockups of the widget.

This design mockup of the CommunityOfSweden.com widget shows the creation process. Available sizes, number of photos and stories, color themes, tags etc

This design mockup of the CommunityOfSweden.com widget shows the creation process. Available sizes, number of photos and stories, color themes, tags etc

CommunityOfSweden.com design mockup widget - examples

CommunityOfSweden.com design mockup widget - shows examples of three different sizes: normal, slim and wide, and various amounts of photos and stories.

Disclaimer: The design mockups above are created in a software called Balsamiq Mockups. I got a free license by agreeing to test it out and write about it here.
I have to say I love it! I created these mockups with lightning speed. It’s very easy and the design result it just right according to my taste. This is what my own mockups look on paper anyway ;)
So you’ll be seeing more of these mockups in the future, I’m sure.
View a video of how it works here.

VisitSweden’s new website live!

On tuesday the 26th of August at 09:00 the new website for VisitSweden went live!
http://www.visitsweden.com

new visitsweden

It’s been almost a year of hard work and we’re very happy with the result. It’s been a few days now since it went live and the response so far has been amazing!

I’d especially like to mention:

  • Popular and relevant user generated content from the CommunityOfSweden.com is shown on the new visitsweden.com
  • An extensive implementation of Google Maps to show special points of interest in Sweden and to navigate the site.
  • Bigger, better and more beautiful photos!

Our own Margareta Björnberg, senior webmaster, has been the project manager of the entire project.

Design by Starsky.
Development by Cloud Nine.

New features in CommunityOfSweden.com

I want to mention three updates on CommunityOfSweden.com.
You’ll already be aware of these updates if you are an active member.

Search

In january, two months after the launch, we finally added Search. You can now search amongst stories, members, forum posts and photos. The search automatically searches through all these types by default but you can also limit your search to just photos, for example, if you know that’s what you are interested in.
Discuss Search here in the forum.

screenshot search

Share

We recently added the feature “Share” which makes it possible for you to send the web adress(URL) of the current page you’re on to one or more email addresses to your friends.
The share button can be found on member pages, photos, stories and forum posts.
Discuss Share here in the forum.

screenshot share

Newsletter

We’re now conducting an online survey on CommunityOfSweden.com. It asks 10 questions about how the perfect community newsletter should be. If you want a CommunityOfSweden.com newsletter and you want to make yourself heard then here is your chance. Go to any My Page on CommunityOfSweden.com and the survey should start.
Discuss the Newsletter here in the forum.

Thanks!
See you around in CommunityOfSweden.com

Tommy Sollén, Community Manager

VisitSweden redesigns it’s website visitsweden.com

2 months after its beta launch, Community of Sweden, surpassed 1000 members. Next step is how we let visitors from the official swedish website – visitsweden.com – get travel tips from our community members. And how to we trigger potential visitors to Sweden to share their travel tips on the Community.

That is one big issue in the development of visitsweden.com. Another important issue is how we take our Google Maps application one step further and let visitors make online bookings by navigating the map.
A third issue is how do we implement the new site based on Content Management System Epi Server 5.0, a .NET platform.

Let me also introduce myself: I, Margareta Björnberg, work as senior webmaster and project manager of the development and re-launch of visitsweden.com. You’ll soon hear more.

“Top 100 highlights in Sweden” now on Google My Maps

Do you like Google Maps. We do.
Since last May we use Google Maps on visitsweden.com to guide our visitors to Swedens greatest attractions.
On December 3, we launced a Mapplet in Google My Maps for these attractions. You need a Google account to view the Mapplet named “Top 100 highlights in Sweden. The Mapplet leads traffic back to our website. We hope of course that this Mapplet will attract many new visitors to Sweden.

Click here to check it out!

The name is official: “Community of Sweden”

It’s not easy naming something. Whatever it is that you’re naming has to live with this name for a very long time. It’s taken a while to come up with a name but we’ve finally got it and we’re very happy with it.
Let me tell you the story.

Selection process

We started to write all kinds of names on a whiteboard in Basecamp. Any suggestion was ok. Even a bad name can lead to a new good idea.
After we had a good long list and no more suggestions seemed forthcoming I started the selection process.
I first threw away some that I knew would never make it.
I then had a list of about 20 names. How to proceed?

Letting you guys vote

We wanted to publish this list here on the development blog to let our readers vote on which names they liked. This would be the ultimate way to pick a name for the community and we loved the idea!
As we were about to do it though, we changed our minds. What if somebody likes a name so much that they steal it? Register the domain for themselves. We would have to register all the domains on the list just in case. This whole idea suddenly seemed risky and ineffective.

Internal voting

So instead I emailed every single person in the company and let them pick three favourites. Everybody chipped in and I quickly got all the votes needed.
The winner: mysweden.com
Great name! We loved it! It makes you think of communities(myspace, hello?), user generated content, a personal touch, everything we wanted really. We even started to use it as a working name for the community.
Unfortunately it turned out that this domain was already taken and the owners were not willing to sell it.
We offered millions and still they refused! Ok, perhaps not millions…

So, back to the list.
It’s somewhere around here that “CommunityOfSweden.com” started to sound really good.

  • It is completely self explanatory. Not everybody has the queens english you know so an easy name is important.
  • It’s 100% search engine optimized. We like that. No, we love that.
  • It has a strong name with some extra familiarity to brands like “Tiger of Sweden” and others, I’m sure.
  • And let’s not forget our amazing embassy in Washington: “House of Sweden”.

I tested the name on everybody in the marketing and communications department and after sleeping on it everybody agreed on the name.

Phew… it’s been said that Swedes are slow to make decisions but when we do make them they are well anchored in the organization. I think this whole process proves it. :)

Go ahead and visit http://communityofsweden.com
It’s almost time for beta testing ;)

Give Feedback on our Design

I’m happy to be able to show you a big glimpse of what the community will look like.

Below you can see the whole process.
And please, write a comment and say what you think :)

designprocess_1
Above: The wireframe that was the foundation for the design work.

designprocess_2

Above: The first design proposal by Oakwood based on the wireframe.

designprocess_3

Above: The final design proposal by Oakwood after VisitSweden’s feedback.

A few words on what you’re looking at above.
We liked the first proposal by Oakwood very much but we also felt that the community should be less power design and instead warmer, soft and more playful. Oakwood then came up with new proposals which finally resulted in the last design seen above.

I’m not going into details about the functionality seen in the designs but I can promise you that the Explore Sweden map will be something very special ;)

Notice something missing?
Yep… there’s no name for the community yet!