testing. testing. testing. 123. testing.

August 26, 2005 § Leave a comment

Cape Town, South Africa

The Cape Town meeting gave us a chance to test out a super early beta (alpha? sub-alpha?) version of our telecentre.org event-in-a-box site.


Based on Drupal, the idea is that we have a unique site for every event we do – in this case we put a site up at http://capetown.telecentre.org. Each site includes a front page blog to cover the event as it happens, a wiki page for notes and the evolution of ideas and a photo gallery. Also, there are tons of ways to automatically import content from participant blogs and mobile phones, and to push info out to the main telecentre.org site and other places.

Given the fact that we started from a raw plan and a photoshop file two weeks ago, the site worked brilliantly. The participants added and edited notes, and I did what I could to blog and post photos in spare cycles during breakout sessions. The content got up there and, based on comments in the closing circle, the participants were both impressed and appreciative. A zillion thanks to Alex Samuel, Boris Mann and the team a Bryght for making all of this happen in such a flash. Astounding human beings, all.

Of course, there were tons of problems and glitches. We didn’t have user accounts for all the people we expected to be second level facilitators and notetakers. The site was hanging a lot (international bandwidth or too many guest logins?). Access to the notes and gallery from the front page wasn’t obvious enough. Generally, we need to make the site look better and be easier to get around.

The next step is to improve the site template based on the experience from the meeting plus stuff we already knew needs to be fixed. Some priorities that came into focus during the meeting:

  • Review workflow for an event, and look at ways to reflect key content better in the event-in-a-box template. If think Alex told me that the event template would need to be different than our main site template. If she did, she was right.
  • Develop and write up an event prep process – setting up key user accounts, prepping people by e-mail on how to use the site, seeding content and wiki scaffolding, creating e-mail addresses to blog to.
  • Test. Test. Test. There are still lots and lots of small glitches and niceties we need to iron out. I was particularly confused by the lack of ability to add an image or URL using the Drupal rich text editor. Possible?
  • Figure out how to have a local version of our event site on a wireless laptop. I saw this as a long term priority, but realized with all the page hanging that we need to think about it sooner if it isn’t something hard to do.

It will be fun to take this to the next level and then keep evolving it. I think it is an idea that can really work for us.

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