An interactive map for the Community page

Amidst the various updates, improvements (and updates to the improvements), here is once that might fly under the radar: we have updated the map on the bottom of our community page to be an interactive display of students and visitors from around the world.

The Saylor Community Map

Apparently, just a map of the Earth.

The data represents four years of unique visits, from September 2010 to September 2014. Lest you forget, the older map is pictured to the right. Conversation among the staff went something like this:

“Can we get rid of this map? What is this?”

“That’s our visitors and students…where they come from.”

“They come from the United States?”

“No, from all those places…everything that’s green.”

“But the U.S. is darker. What do these colors mean? Everything else is the same.”

“Well, that shows more people. Um, the shading scale isn’t really very flexible.”

“But this is just a picture of the Earth.”

“Yeah, we come from everywhere!”

“Ah. I don’t think the message is getting through.”

Sigh. “Okay.”

Thus was born the new map, with a much better color scale and more available information. You can zoom in and click on pins to see how many people have visited from each place. If we have erred on any place names or if any pins are in the wrong spot, please do let us know — Saint Helena, for instance, wanted to show up in Washington state and Georgia the nation state was keen on being one of the United States, too.

Furthermore, let us know what you might like to see on a community page — what would make this page worth repeat visits? It is great to advertise our social media links and get people to join our mailing list, no question, but surely there is more of value we can add. Check it out and be in touch!

 

7 thoughts on “An interactive map for the Community page

  1. September 12, 2014

    Constantin Reply

    It is not so much about what we want on the specific ‘Community’ page. It is about the whole website being more friendly and treating both new and veteran students as a Community…

    Check some of our suggestions here:
    http://forums.saylor.org/topic/i-volunteer/#post-11768

    • September 13, 2014

      Sean Connor Reply

      Your point is well-taken, Constantin. As a start at least, ALL of the feedback that has come in this week will stay surfaced and be heard by staff. One small addition to this page, and I do mean small, could be a public features request link, with comments and status by staff. There is a risk that such a list becomes a standing list of “nope, sorry, we are not going to do that”, but it would equally be a powerful motivator to say “yes” — or at least to open up features for comment. I think using Discourse forums software and embedding the thread in a /features webpage could work really well.

      • September 13, 2014

        Kristin Jones Reply

        Sean, this could be my history as a software engineer rearing it’s ugly head, but the concept of a Roadmap has always served me well. Sure, take feature requests into account. But, also, list past, current and future “Releases”. Significant change is less jarring if it’s been published on a Roadmap for months and the decision making process underlying it was transparent throughout the process.

        It also makes “Feature X couldn’t be included in this release because Feature Y was a higher priority due to it’s added value and/or being less expense to implement” understandable for those outside the decision making process.

        I think a lot of the unrest this past week could have been alleviated if everyone had known months ago the what and why of the plan that’s being implemented now. Logging in one day to find 5/6 of the Majors de-emphasized was pretty darn jarring, a warning woulda been nice.

        • September 13, 2014

          Sean Connor Reply

          Agreed with the last. For a roadmap, I think the blog can and should serve some of that function, although it is not exactly persistent. I don’t think we’re in a position to get into the numbered releases game, but a general and generally accurate roadmap could certainly be published.

  2. September 13, 2014

    Kristin Jones Reply

    One of Saylor’s Students finished the History major today. In addition to everything I’ve mentioned in the thread Constantin linked to, I’d really like to emphasize that the community page would make an incredible location to celebrate successes like these.

    The map, while shiny, doesn’t really speak much about community so much as an internal metric.

    http://forums.saylor.org/topic/is-there-anyone-here-who-completed-all-courses-for-a-major shows community. Join us in celebrating David’s success. Highlight success on the community page. Highlight perseverance. Highlight community.

    A dot on a map isn’t community, not even if it’s surrounded by a thousand other dots. A half dozen people excitedly congratulating someone who “made it” is.

    Side note: If you use the mouse wheel to scroll down the page and it passes over the map on the community page, it scrolls the map size down really small and you end up with three complete worlds paper-dolled together.

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