It’s been way over a year that we’ve build the website as it is today. Back then, we just started having other chapters outside of Berlin and wanted to give our honours to them by being more inclusive but also document more of our processes. Since then a lot happened, but very little on the website.
Aside from having plenty more chapters by now, we’ve also developed and new formats. Neither of those are very accessible through the website today. On top, we’ve added more tools to our infrastructure – like discourse – and shaped more clearly what is it that we do.
Earlier this year together with the Melbourne team, I started playing around with implementing an interactive map to make it possible for people to find an opentechschool in their region using the public meetup.com API. I called this experiment “the locator”, a different approach to finding events and chapters close by than a long (and not up to date) list on the top of the website. Here is a (cut) screenshot:
It is an interactive map with a list of all globally upcoming meetup events of all opentechschool groups found on meetup.com. Depending on where in the map you are, it highlights the corresponding events and chapters. And if you’ve geo-location of the browser enabled, it even locates the closest chapter to you.
Motivated by the great results, I went further and implemented the same events-displaying on the Chapter pages, too:
And because it was so much fun, also added a feature to show the latest discourse discussions if a category was given for that chapter:
Taking all the nice features together and revamping the website using a similar approach, I came up with this much more interactive and inviting approach to the lading page:
Aside from those two new features (we already had the blog role, though I rewrote it for this one), I also revamped the header to be a bit more compact and visual. Under it we have space for “breaking news” and then the three-part separation of “learning more about OTS”, “starting to learn” and “joining the movement” with short paragraphs introducing the three main aspects that people want from the website.
With the new locator being in place, I also revamped the quick-navigation. As said before, it wasn’t properly representing our “structure” anymore. I replaced it with a clean and easy list of chapters and projects/formats accessible through the arrow next to the logo (which is also a proper font now):
This is still far from done. The design needs some more love (see the header?), the wording needs more thinking and aside from hackership, we don’t have any content for any of the project pages yet. Also the question whether it should be called “project” or “format” is still open …
But first, I’d like your feedback about it. And, if you like it, your help with getting it further. What do you think? Ideas, remarks, criticism?
If you want to try it yourself, it is the “locator”-branch on the official OTS-www-repo and should run usual.