Author Topic: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)  (Read 22452 times)

Offline Chris Bergin

So, here we are, over 11 years since I had a really crazy idea to start a news site and forum covering Shuttle processing flows as the fleet prepared for Return To Flight.

While we've moved through several iterations of the news site CMS and the forum software, we are very much "as designed"....with a news site and a forum - just a heck of a lot busier. I think that familiarity has a lot of value, so any changes should always work within that foundation.

However, thanks to the size of the community here, we've seen pretty much all of the talent associated with this site's progression come from within our community. As such, the next push forward should be designed by the community that the site serves.

We've done a lot of work in the background on the hosting side, as seen with us able to cope with massive events (although we'll still need to work on that as we're still growing and there's some even bigger events on the horizon).

This "Master Plan" push should be based on a mix of ideas and skill sets.

For instance - we'll work on the aesthetics of the site, including items such as an updated logo, where people who have a skill for designing such things can provide their ideas and we'll go with the best one, likely via a shortlisted vote.

People may have suggestions about additional ideas, from things - for example - such as a chat room, through to ideas I've never thought of. It'll be cool if people with experience of areas of interest suggest and offer to help set up. That's going to be an important requirement, but we can never have too many ideas to consider. I'd rather see 100 ideas of which 10 may work, than 5 ideas.

We'll also look to increase our writer/content pool, as an example of how wide reaching this is going to be, all via their own threads in this standalone forum section.

The goal is to hit 2017 with a familiar, but updated NSF, to coincide with the new era really kicking in.

This thread is for the ideas, so don't be shy, fire away. Ideas with "likes", or clearly look like a good idea, will then gain their own thread in this section. Those offering actual help in implementing ideas will be rewarded.

Offline Silmfeanor

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #1 on: 08/07/2016 11:58 PM »
I would suggest a way to have bigger pictures in news articles. Ie, have the thumbnails, in the normal article, but have some 'click to enlarge' or something. That way, renders and informative images are way, way easiert to see, and the visual element can help images; you could have text like 'as can be seen in the image to the left, damage to the interstage of this F9 was a bit heavier then expected; sources tell us it might be replaced'
Or- actually showing something that is talked about, ie the connection point for the SLS booster being given a new paintjob.

Tldr; bigger images in the news section.

Offline cwr

Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #2 on: 08/08/2016 01:00 AM »
I have a very similar comment to Silmfeanor - there are times I see an image in a NSF news article, that has a lot of details [such as a NASA slide] but the image in the news article is way too small to read the info it contains - there is no point to including such an image in the article since it contains little actual info.

I'm quite happy when I can click on the image and open it in a new tab or window and hence can read the info contained in the image or save the image to my system and hence read the contents, though I prefer the former.

I don't know if this different behaviour is an individual authors preference, or the size of the original source image or editorial policy or what. Just have the URL in the News article point at an image that has readable text.

I find quite a few articles significantly lose their value by embedding an image that is too small.
Thanks for listening

Carl


I would suggest a way to have bigger pictures in news articles. Ie, have the thumbnails, in the normal article, but have some 'click to enlarge' or something. That way, renders and informative images are way, way easiert to see, and the visual element can help images; you could have text like 'as can be seen in the image to the left, damage to the interstage of this F9 was a bit heavier then expected; sources tell us it might be replaced'
Or- actually showing something that is talked about, ie the connection point for the SLS booster being given a new paintjob.

Tldr; bigger images in the news section.

Offline Coastal Ron

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #3 on: 08/08/2016 01:17 AM »
Two thoughts:

1.  A link on an article that leads directly into the discussion for that article.  I know this is a really small item, and I don't think it's backend dependent, but thought I would mention it.

2.  What kind of semantic tagging is currently being used?  If "we" want NSF to become more visible as a resource, then semantic tagging is going to be important.

For instance, Google is now orienting towards answering questions, not just providing results.  But in order for Google to do that it needs validated sources that have structured information (think tables and such).  I'm not sure whether that is a goal of NSF, but if it is then we'll need structured data.

But even if the goal is not to be a source for Google search results, semantic data can lead to more visibility and better search results, both internally and externally.

Some references:

Semantic Web - Wikipedia
Schema.org - Wikipedia
Schema.org
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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #4 on: 08/08/2016 04:56 AM »
I certainly agree with the previous comments regarding the lack of full resolution images (or hyperlinks) in articles, that has been one of my main admittedly-minor grievances.

Aside from that, I have a few other suggestions.

1. I am not entirely sure how difficult it would be, but I frequently sit at different lengths from different monitors and would love if zooming in on articles resulted in not just larger text, but larger text that does not widen beyond the width of the screen it is viewed on. SpaceNews.com is a good example, a potential improved NSF might appear like SN but with more images for each article (as well as the premier spaceflight forum ;)

2. Along with the site's behavior, some aesthetic aspects could be improved upon. First and foremost, I would personally recommend that the site move towards a universally flat design language. Second, strive for greater symmetry, alignment, and consistency in that language (essentially construct a list of rules that that language follows and ensure that no visual element breaks those rules). Finally, the source image for the RSS button at the top badly needs a refresh!

Offline sfxtd

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #5 on: 08/08/2016 06:07 AM »
I would love to see some improvement to the handing of live events. My initial thought is having a page with a couple of windows for chat-room-style push feeds for the update threads and the discussion threads. That could eliminate the need for constant refreshes.  Also, good would be links to the important live feeds, perhaps with small insert windows for those feeds.

Many of us put together screens that contain some of these elements, but having them formatted for ease of access would be great.

That said, having the record of live events as a forum thread for reviewing (and searching) events that one has not seen or wishes to see again is very important and I would not want to lose that.


Offline apirie98

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #6 on: 08/08/2016 07:46 AM »
I'd like for the page formatting in the forums to not break whenever somebody posts a really long URL (like, forcing the URL to wrap onto multiple lines instead of just stretching the size of the text field)

Edit: Something else popped into my mind -

The site being segregated into three main parts as it currently is (the news articles, the public forums and the L2 forums) is great in terms of storing all the information that's available here in the places it's meant to be stored, it doesn't necessarily lend itself to reference or content discovery, especially for casual users.

While there is a search function, and the forums are sorted by topic, both of those tools do to a degree require the user to a) know what they are looking for, and b) know where to look for it, and don't specifically lend themselves to discoverablility. I think it would be faster and more user-friendly to serve up information in a way that negates the need to have such a specific idea of what you're looking for in mind. For example, have a list of all the launch vehicles that have been proposed or flown (perhaps sorted into active vehicles, retired vehicles, proposed vehicles and vehicles in development) and going on from there to find all the relevant information and threads much more easily.

Clicking on a specific launch vehicle might bring up a topic overview page which has the relevant articles and threads from the forums attached - searchable and sortable in their own right via tags on each thread - so information and discussion is easy to discover from quite a broad starting point.

I agree with what is said a few posts down about having wiki-style pages for topics; it would certainly be nice to have factfiles which contain information - and more importantly sources for all the information, chiefly to improve the quality of the conversation in the threads and to try and reduce the arguments about which press release said what and such.

Moreover having a bank of reliable and accurate information that can be treated as a source itself would be a great asset to have, especially if it could be integrated seamlessly with the articles and threads on the topic overview page as suggested above.

« Last Edit: 08/08/2016 08:49 PM by apirie98 »
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Online seanpg71

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #7 on: 08/08/2016 10:00 AM »
I'd love to have a list of the next couple upcoming events (launches, flybys, spacewalks, etc) with local times and links to the live thread and/or webcast on the homepage. 

I paid attention to when upcoming shuttle and now spacex launches were, but for most of the rest I only see them if I happen to check the site and notice the live thread in the recently commented list.

Offline TheSpaceRod

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #8 on: 08/08/2016 11:03 AM »
A couple of suggestions:

1. Caption images.

2. Add abbrevation dictionary. If a user sees an abbrevation he can click on it and get an explanation. For example, "SSME" is mentioned in an article. He/she is not sure what that means, so he/she can click on the "SSME" and "Space Shuttle Main Engine" pops out. Or something similar.

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #9 on: 08/08/2016 11:29 AM »
Good start guys! First one, about the images, is something I can play with and I'll start a thread as I could also use some people versed with Wordpress. The "click for bigger image" was a pain on several fronts (spend more time with images than words) and photos being "link stolen" which other sites suffer from (wordpress direct link to use the image and not the article...blah blah), but thinking we could use the opportunity to update the article look and go with bigger images. Captions always seemed like a problem to insert, but we'll look into this on the thread I'll set up.

Keep them coming, good ideas will get their own threads.

Offline Space Opera

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #10 on: 08/08/2016 11:56 AM »
I would suggest wiki-like topics or articles where everyone could contribute. This would be particularly useful for topics such as "Planned launches for 2017" that needs to be updated on a daily basis, or topics such as "Facts about the MCT" that require to have all information in one place. It's such a pain to modify the first post of a topic, where one need to add and delete new posts, to wait for the original poster to update the first message, etc...

Offline Kasponaut

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #11 on: 08/08/2016 11:58 AM »
Good start guys! First one, about the images, is something I can play with and I'll start a thread as I could also use some people versed with Wordpress. The "click for bigger image" was a pain on several fronts (spend more time with images than words) and photos being "link stolen" which other sites suffer from (wordpress direct link to use the image and not the article...blah blah), but thinking we could use the opportunity to update the article look and go with bigger images. Captions always seemed like a problem to insert, but we'll look into this on the thread I'll set up.

Keep them coming, good ideas will get their own threads.

Hi Chris.

Great idea for a master plan to create an improved site :-)

1) I concur that larger pictures that you can click on to view separately would be a BIG improvement.
2) Also a list of upcomong events such as launches, EVA's etc.
3) A launch vehicle database with detailed launch vehicle specifications.
4) A longer list of recent forum posts. 10 instead of 5.

« Last Edit: 08/08/2016 12:08 PM by Kasponaut »

Offline First Mate Rummey

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #12 on: 08/08/2016 01:06 PM »
Also would be nice to see some youtube videos embedded in the articles (when available). Other sites include them, NSF only includes small images IIRC.

Offline Martin FL

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #13 on: 08/08/2016 01:16 PM »
Great idea. I'd also like to see a new logo, something that would work really well on t-shirts. The current one is great, but updating it would be even better.

Offline Rocket Science

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #14 on: 08/08/2016 01:28 PM »
How about having a "launch event status board" on the main page during live event. It would show either green of red at a glance without having to read and refresh update thread. The live chat for details would be nice and has been discussed over the years perhaps along side the board.
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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #15 on: 08/08/2016 02:06 PM »
I type this with my eyes wide shut and ready for a torrent of abuse... ;)

NSF covers an awful lot more than just NASA Spaceflight. Is it time for a name change perhaps?

Obviously to be done in such a way that a transition is a gentle and  seamless thing with automatic linking, but I just feel that the name does not indicate the breadth of coverage contained within these hallowed pages, and may perhaps deter those who do not know her (NSF that is, not a spacecraft) from coming in to play...

I do not mean to be blasphemous, it is just a thought, so please be gentle with me!

Offline Eer

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Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #16 on: 08/08/2016 02:34 PM »
I'm spending more and more time on the site via phone and pad, less via desktop browser.  I've used tapatalk for past few years and now am back to trying the mobile-friendly browser interface from my phone.

One open issue is there's no good way to read articles / news stories on a phone.  Finding some mobile-friendly presentation really should be some sort of objective for 2017, I think.

I'm enamored by the flipit style interface WAPO and flipit app have adopted, but am certainly open to others.

Thanks

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #17 on: 08/08/2016 03:25 PM »
Is it time for a name change perhaps?


I can rule that out right away. It's like "maybe you should change your 12 year old daughter's name" to my mind. ;D

I get the point, but one has to stick with the name. Maybe we should create more splinter sites? :o

Offline Chris Bergin

Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #18 on: 08/08/2016 04:04 PM »
I'm spending more and more time on the site via phone and pad, less via desktop browser.  I've used tapatalk for past few years and now am back to trying the mobile-friendly browser interface from my phone.

One open issue is there's no good way to read articles / news stories on a phone.  Finding some mobile-friendly presentation really should be some sort of objective for 2017, I think.

I'm enamored by the flipit style interface WAPO and flipit app have adopted, but am certainly open to others.

Thanks

Answering some of these in reverse order, but I am reading them all. Tapatalk sucks (in the style of Rainman's Dustin Hoffman talking about Kmart)....just my personal opinion and because some people like it, that's why we have it.  I'm overruled ;)

I use google chrome on my phone for NSF....but mainly desktop. If there's alternatives, we can check into that. This will be a thread in this section too. (Will be standalone threads for major items of investigation).

Offline GWH

Re: NSF Master Plan for 2017 onwards (Help create it)
« Reply #19 on: 08/08/2016 04:49 PM »
2. Add abbrevation dictionary. If a user sees an abbrevation he can click on it and get an explanation. For example, "SSME" is mentioned in an article. He/she is not sure what that means, so he/she can click on the "SSME" and "Space Shuttle Main Engine" pops out. Or something similar.

This would be great, especially when one gets into an article on a rover or probe and each instrument has its own acronym, it gets to be quite hard to read. 
I think it would be pretty seamless if rollovers were used to provide a brief acronym definition rather than a separate page.
« Last Edit: 08/08/2016 04:53 PM by GWH »

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