We're currently working on an update to the NewsCloud design with our friends at Blink Interactive in Seattle. Here are a few of our goals:
1. Improve the last major design upgrade (as seen on The Needle). We want to tune the widgets so that they better use space and encourage interactivty. We also want to tune the aesthetic of fonts and spacing. We really want to hone in on the specific set of default widgets for a social media home page that encourage participation and sharing. You can check out some early wireframes on the update from Blink.
2. We're creating two new themes so that open source users will have three themes overall to choose from when launching their site. And, of course, they can use any of these as a starting point to customize.
While this installation script is primarily aimed at open source developers, by the end of June we plan to offer an automated Chef-based installation which will drastically simplify this process for non-technical folks.
Today, we're announcing the third stable release of the NewsCloud Ruby on Rails Facebook-connected community platform. You can download the code at Github now. This release was generously funded by our 2010-2011 grant by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
Read the sneak preview of our open source work planned for 2011 - 2012. We're going to keep making this platform simpler and more affordable. Follow@newscloud on Twitter for announcements of our continued work.
We're working with our designers to try to improve the front page presentation and learnability of the NewsCloud open source platform. Here are a couple of draft design comps. The first is an example front page layout with some of the new widgets. The second is an example of a wider variety of widgets. Neither is complete yet / both are a work in progress.
We plan at least one more major release before the end of our current grant April 30, 2011. We plan to continue to improve the capabilities of the platform with a few new features and will continue simplifying the installation and administrative requirements of the platform.