1.2 Gwulo.com - new features
Later in 2021, I plan to spend time adding new features to the site. Here are some of my early ideas. I'll also welcome your input - please leave a comment below with your thoughts.
NB These are just ideas. I can guarantee not all of them will be implemented!
A. Better ways to navigate lots of content
Back in 2010 there just over 4,000 pages on Gwulo. We ended 2020 with over 44,000 pages. Are there ways to make it easier for visitors to find what they want?
A.1 Filters on maps?
The map of Central is good in that it shows how many Places we've documented, but it's very crowded. Could we add filters to let the viewer narrow down what they'd like to see? eg by year?
A.2 Find photos by location
On facebook recently I saw a question along the lines "Does anyone have any photos of Cameron Road in the 1950s?". Yes we do, but to see them we have to go to the map, click on the markers for Places along Cameron Road, visit each Place in turn and look at their photos. Could we have a map where when we click on a Place we see all the photos immediately, without leaving the map? Or drag to outline an area we're interested in, and see all photos we have of Places withing the outline?
B. Improve tagging
B.1 Allow users to add tags to other user's content
You might post a photo and tag it tram, but I might spot a rat bin on a lamp post and want to tag it rat bin as well. Can that be done?
B.2 See whether the Synonyms module helps avoid the problem of having multiple tags for one meaning
We allow users to create their tags. This often means we end up with multiple tags for a single meaning, eg: 2nd world war, Second World War, WW2, wwii, WWII, etc. Can the Synonyms module help avoid this?
C Help users follow their interests by tailoring what they are shown
C.1 Follow everything
This is the way the site currently works, with the What's new page showing everything that has been added to the site. For many readers that means they see a lot of pages they aren't interested in. e.g. when I look at the "What's new" page now, it shows a mix of posts with several about family history, several about ruined military buildings, and several that are a mix of other topics. I guess that most of the "family history" readers aren't interested in the military ruins, and vice versa.
C.2 Set up a fixed number of broad interests
Could we group content by some broad interests, eg:
- Family history
Would users prefer to see a "What's new" for one of those topics than for everything? (There would still be the "everything" option for those who prefer it.)
Who would assign the content to the groups?
How would content be added to multiple groups?
C.3 Or use tags?
Then show a "What's new" by tag, eg show a what's new for all content that's been tagged pillbox, or tram. or ...
C.4 Or set up individual interests?
I'd somehow flag what pages I'm interested in, and then see a what's new page for them?
C.5 Send alerts of what's new?
So as well as having the "what's new" page that readers can visit, send email summaries of what's new to them on a regular basis. eg a weekly summary of what's been added to the site that matches one of the groups / tags / flagged pages mentioned above.
D Place improvements
D.1 Show what's nearby a Place
I'll often be looking at a Place, and want to see what other Places we have that are nearby. We could show the other Places nearby as another layer on the map, or display a link that takes you to the main map of Places, centred on the current Place.
D.2 Show overlay maps when creating a Place
So when positioning the marker for a map, we can display the overlaid scanned paper maps.
D.3 Allow Places to be connected to Streets
@Klaus: If you want to find places along a street, one feature could be to create streets that are linked to all places along them. So in the same way we have Person "is member of" Organisation, we'd have Place "is situated on" Street.
D.4 Allow user to enter "Follow-up place(s) at this location" when creating a Place
@Klaus: When creating a new place, it is possible to add "Previous place(s) at this location". This is very helpful, but sometimes I miss another feature like "Follow-up place(s) at this location" to get a complete timeline.
If there is a place created already, the adding of previous buildings can only be done by the person who posted it. So you have to contact her/him and ask for addition - they not always respond. Of course admin could do that, but a new feature would solve it.
E. Other map improvements
E.1 Draw a map that can be embedded in a page / comment
We used to have this (https://gwulo.com/How-to-draw-your-own-maps), but it hasn't worked since 2014!
For a simple "share a location" could we use the current maps but with a crosshair displayed?
E.2 Centre map on current GPS location
So if you're hiking, you can centre the Gwulo map on your current location to see if there are any Places nearby.
F.1 Show a thumbnail of this Place
Each Place page currently shows a list of photos that the building appears in. The photos often show several buildings, so it takes a while for me to work out one we're talking about. It'd be helpful to show a single thumbnail that shows just that building.
F.2 Show a thumbnail of this Person
Ditto for Person pages
F.3 Show the thumbnail on the map of Places
So when I click on a marker the pop-up shows both the name of the Place and its thumbnail.
F.4 Show a thumbnail of the whole image in the what's new lists
Where photos are displayed in the "What's new", it currently just shows the name of the photo. It would be helpful to see a thumbnail of it as well.
F.5 Show a thumbnail of the whole image in the search results
@philk: A search containing images would be helpful if it returned the actual images rather than just the title. That way it is easier to glance through the results to see if it is relevant rather than having to go into each item to look.
G. Person improvements
G.1 Add place of death
@eurasian_david: From a family history POV, under 'People create' having an option of a death place would be useful since a lot of individuals move a lot during their lifetime. You have birthplace, why not death place as well?
G.2 Show relations in groups and in order
Currently the list of relations (parents, children, etc) are displayed in no particular order. Make it clearer by displaying them in groups and in time order, so parents, siblings, spouse, then children.
H. Search improvements
H.1 When searching for several words, rank results higher if the words are closer
When we search for two or more words, eg https://gwulo.com/search/node/david%20landale, is there a way to rank results higher if the words appear close together?
So a result with an exact match, ie the text "David Landale", should appear higher in the list of results than say a Juror's List page that has the words David and Landale in the text but at widely separated locations.