During the two online technical sessions organised in the context of the 2010 Dgroups Partners meeting, representatives from member organisations as well as groups administrators had the opportunity to preview the new look and improved functionalities of the redesigned Dgroups website.

For the  sessions, Damir Simunic of WA Research prepared a video to show the new look and feel and demo some of the new functionalities of the site.

[vimeo http://vimeo.com/17291959]

In his presentation of the new platform, Damir highlighted the following elements:

  • The process of  developing and deploying the new platform has been taking much longer than expected; employing world-class designers was a learning process. Nevertheless, we believe the final result was worth the wait.
  • The redesign is completely focused on making it easier for administrators to manage groups, as admins are the primary users of the site
  • The technical objective of the redesign is to simplify the user interface (for example, number of clicks for common tasks are reduced, ‘announcements’ feature is now merged with ‘discussions’) and modernize the platform to use the most modern browser technologies available (HTML5, CSS3, etc), while still working for older browsers.
  • In the process, we wanted to make Dgroups beautiful for admins, to make them proud and happy to show it off to their colleagues.
  • Thanks to new technologies, the platform elegantly scales from large desktop screens to mobiles form factors – Dgroups’s first entry into mobile space;
  • The video show off some of the new user interface features like drag&drop attachments and pasting; large user avatars; significantly simplified means of adding new members; modern tabbed design, and many more
  • .

In the Q&A part of the session, some of the issues discussed comprised the following:

  • Track status of messages: this will be possible with the new design, similar as it is now to track invitations to groups;
  • Stats and tracking usage: This has always been high on any admin’s priority list, and the new design will provide the technical background needed to implement many of these statistics in the near future;;
  • Improved options for content sharing: “hidden” urls for RSS feeds to allow server-side subscriptions without the need for passwords;
  • improve Dgroups integration with other sites and platforms, a API will also be further development
  • Compatibility with older browsers: The new site is designed to benefit from the most modern browsers. However, Dgroups has always been about inclusion, and it will also work on older browsers; obviously, features that only new browsers provide won’t be available on older ones.

We’ll soon provide the link to the test site to all Dgroups administrators. The date for the full roll out on the new platform will depend on the results of this test phase, the feedback received and the improvements required but if all goes as planned, by end of January 2011 the new site will be launched.

It is very important to note that the January launch is about modernizing the user interface – new additions will be coming continuously during the whole year and beyond.

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