This is re-posted from Brett Gaylor’s blog. He is the Senior Director of Mozilla’s Webmaker.org.
Background: Webmaker as a community of craft
There’s been broad consensus in the Webmaker community that building a community of practice and enabling users to share their work is an important part of the Webmaker formula. So in 2013, Webmaker.org will evolve to be a place where users are watching, remixing, and creating their own piece of the web – acquiring web literacies, including media production, HTML, and analytic skills as they go.
Leading with making
We’ll build an information architecture and user experience that creates opportunities for our users to make something from the moment they arrive on our site. We want it to be immediately clear that this is a place to “get your hands dirty”. Part of how we’ll get there is by featuring great content made with our tools.
On Webmaker, you’ll be able to watch an artful presentation similar to NPR’s 2012 Musicians in Memorium, and then make your own. You’ll be able to string your favourite YouTube videos together in your own “Top 10 list”, and then have your friends leave media production tips on your work. You’ll be able to make audiovisual memes and mashups on your phone. And you’ll earn digital literacy badges to represent the skills you’ve picked up along the way. All of this will be presented as a consistent, unified, and seamless Webmaker experience.
To get here requires an evolution of how we think of “tools” and “projects”, as well as our product design process.
On the tools side, we will begin to merge our web apps together. We want users to have a “Webmaker” experience, rather than separate Thimble, Popcorn, and OpenBadger modalities. These code bases and projects won’t go away – Webmaker.org will simply become a “client” of the great foundational open source projects we’ve created over the past 2 years. The recent demo of Webmaker X (see screencast below, and Doug Belshaw’s excited blog post here, as well as Lyre’s breakdown on how MarkupAPIs could be a game changer here.)
On the projects side, we need to focus all of our activities towards building a community of craft. An essential aspect of getting there is a robust way to showcase the work of these communities. Building galleries of user’s work and robust user profiles/portfolios will be a key priority in Q1. We’ll need more nuance around what we consider a “project”. As a baseline, a project is a templated piece of content that invites you to contribute, reshape and remix/hack it. A video that needs an extra shot from you, a media rich web page whose meaning is changed when you hack the source code. Iterating on the FORM of these projects is a critical next step for Webmaker.
One of the ways we’ll do this is by leaning on our excellent partnership development team. Engagements with the Born This Way Foundation, explorations into the Mars Explorer mission, comedy hack days, and Cloud Filmmaking experiments are already underway. Our partnership process will start with editorial strategy and content. Our criteria will be: “what is magnetic, and will draw people in? What would be fun or satisfying to watch, remix or make in Webmaker?” We’ll let these efforts be part of an agile development process that can have a direct influence on the development of our platform.
We’ll also build the capacity for anyone to build projects – ensuring that we aren’t a bottleneck to the infectious energy of the Webmaker community will be something we bake into our work on user galleries in Q1. The entire Webmaker effort is built from “innovation at the edges” – Hackasaurus, WebMadeMovies/Popcorn, Open Badges, MoJo/OpenNews – these are all community inspired efforts that have not only had influence on our product: they’ve built it’s foundation. The Community Learning group will make sure this happens as often in 2013 as it’s happened over the last several years.
Mozilla staff will also work to innovate projects and content-types – David Ascher is leading an initiative to reboot Mozilla Labs, and within that structure we hope to see forays into games and other types of content that will eventually feed back into Webmaker. I’m also looking forward to having staff team members who can quickly make things with our tools to test out theories, engage new audiences and keep the site fresh.
Finally, it’s clear that we also need projects that address very specific parts of our Web Literacies framework. Our information architecture shouldn’t put these into a “learning ghetto”, setting them aside from interest lead projects, but we ought to be clear to our users that there is a pathway to learning specific skills. We’ll continue to build on the good work that’s been started in this area already – many of the projects currently found on Webmaker.org fall nicely into this category of project, and we’ll keep iterating, testing and improving how we teach these skills.
Webmaker roadmap 0.1
Attached are public links to the Webmaker roadmap. As you’ll see, we want to phase these improvements in over time in an agile fashion. We want to make sure we’re still seeing gradual improvement to our existing platform, while setting a goal of transitioning to these proposed changes at the end of Q2 2013.
View as slideshow
This slideshow explores:
- Our current challenges, and the solutions to these challenges
- Some proposed designs to address these challenges
- A detailed look at 5 releases of the Webmaker platform in the first 2 quarters of 2013
Let us know what you think! Share comments below or directly on Brett’s post.