Sharing Engine/Widget options

From TransitionWiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Introduction and purposes

The widgets are designed to be lightweight and attractive 'outposts' on the Transition Initiatives websites to represent Transition projects around the world (see the project definition here). They are also designed to be lightweight 'harvesting' tools to gather summary project information from a widening variety of locations to enable people ('Transition' or not) to quickly (and without a login) add interesting projects to the main projects directory (where they can be shared out to all the other widgets again).

They are not meant to be editing tools for users to edit their project information. Once a user has added their (summary) project information via a widget, all editing will take place on the Transition Network website (where they will have a username and login).

Find wireframes on this blog post

All (both presentation and data entry)

  • dynamically generated from website
  • linked to and embedded in the webmaster's site
  • measurable
  • presented in own lightweight responsive theme
  • re-usable on tablet/mobile devices should an app appear
  • To show 'powered by Transition Network' logo and 'Supported by Nominet Trust' logo

Three presentation widget options

1. Basic sidebar option

  • Zero interaction in small space - designed for website embedding only, to be as light as possible
  • Simple springboard into website from widget
  • Chronologically ordered 'latest projects' listing with project titles presented as links back to individual project items on

2. Tabbed sidebar option

  • Limited interaction in small space - primarily designed for websites and computer users - to be usable for app users
  • More sophisticated springboard into website from widget
  • Enable users to search by location or theme
  • Search result produces filtered ordered 'latest by theme/nearest projects' listing with project titles presented as links back to individual project items on
  • 2 tabs
  •     tab 1: landing tab: suggest present 'nearest projects' (drawn from proximity search to host website location)
  •     tab 2: search tab: offering search functions (proximity/theme/keyword?)

3. Full page option

  • Richer interaction in scaleable full page space - primarily designed for website and computer users
  • Most sophisticated interaction experience - users can stay on webmaster's site (?)
  • Include maps, status, other details and other affordances

One data entry widget option

As per the widget outline diagrams (Laura to provide) based on data elements in IA wiki page

Feedback from 'Alpha webmasters' on mailing list:

Helen Cunningham

I have had a look at the pdf's and it all looks clear to me. It seems simple to add a project, not too time consuming for the user.

Paul MacKay

What would be the context that would encourage groups outside of Transition to register projects through this?

ED: The 'why would they bother' question? We've seen that groups and projects are keen to promote themselves on various networks in order to raise their profile for local awareness, extra funding chances, appear in different places, google ranking, attract supporters of various forms etc.

And if they do, it says on the wiki that further editing would be on the site. Is that too much to expect for non-Transitioners?

Ed: Possibly. But if they're not Transitioners, they may not be that bothered with adding more information. Adding a project to the widget is intended as quick and relatively straightforward; but not to capture much detail. We figure it's best that, if a projects want to add more detail, then the more thorough and usable TN directory editing interface will have more cues, prompts, and options which will help the user make their project and its needs more findable on the TN directory. A project from the widget that is approved by a webmaster (1 second job) will automatically be set up as a node in with a related approved user account, so editing will be straightforward.

Where would the Help button take people? To an explanation page on That could be a good place to highlight a variety of reasons why its beneficial to register projects?\

Ed: A helpful help page on

Might an image field be helpful? And then the same images be shown on the display widgets?

ED: An image for each project? Or something else?

Paul - Yes I was thinking one image for each project (not required), that enables some level of visual identity.

Gary Alexander:

My only comment is that the 'about you' box on Adding a project, step 2 is a bit of overkill for just a name and email address. It doesn't need an explanation or such prominence. You might think about combining those 2 steps.

ED: Well - step 2a is still about the project, and step 2b is about the user, so they need some definition. That is the minimum amount of data we need about the user. Is it the visual prominence it's given that you think is too strong? If so, don't forget these are stripped back wireframes to give us an idea of content and layout...

Also, what about tags? At the moment the only way of categorising is through the drop down menu.

ED: Point noted. As per above, these are only wireframes so we're not quite sure what exactly will go in there, but the logic of the workflow is that the user will add this through the widget with a very small amount of information, making it quick and easy. Then the webmaster will get a quick one click approval email to check for spam or ranting. Then the user can add more details on the main site which will be much easier to add much more information like tags, project status and other stuff. Laura is also going to work on re-configuring the projects admin interface on So we keep the widget minimal, and encourage further information addition on the site... ? Naturally, this is all experimental, so the interface is far from settled!

Chris Setz:

Hi everybody!
Hope these suggestions are received in the positive spirit in which they are intended - we all want Transition to grow and prosper. I'm not a critic - I want us to be as good as we can be.

1) At the Southbank meeting a range of suggestions emerged. One of them was a 'thermometer' group to define the criteria for success but I can't see how that's been spun into the process here - was it a 'one-off?

ED: No, it was an idea generated that we didn't pick up on, but was noted. I'll put up a wiki page with those notes and keep it in front of project's mind.

2) Another Southbank suggestion was to hold meetings by Skype and I'm glad the paid group has done one but couldn't find the recording of the meeting - is there one Ed? If not, can you commit to recording them in future? Can you also not have meetings that exclude people?

ED: You suggested it. I wasn't aware of any keen sense of having them from the rest of the group. We have been having them to move the project on, yes.

All meetings are noted and documented on the wiki:

Any meeting by its nature is 'exclusive' as it has attendees relevant to that meeting and not everybody else. You will find the roles and responsibilities and timeline covers who is doing what:

3) Is it necessary to brand the widget with the funder's logo? They already paid and I didn't notice that we are obliged in any way to promote them. Some people are unhappy with organisations like Nominet.

ED: It is necessary to have the Nominet Trust logo on the widget.

4) Is the 'powered by Transition' logo needed? Every user will surely be aware that the widget is powered by us, as it's only use is to add project details to our network, so why do it?

ED: These widgets will be located out of the main site context. Therefore it is relevant to say from whence the widget cometh.

5) Databases are what the entire computing industry is founded on - it's as basic an operation as it's possible to imagine. For this reason every open source package offers the facility on every system that records stuff - why wouldn't you? In other words, please let's use what's already out there, and popular.

ED: I don't understand what you are saying here please can you elucidate?

So, has any work been done in looking at the thousands of other free and open source methods of maintaining a database so that we can use their work and not re-invent this wheel?
I hope Transition will dump Drupal and move to Wordpress but whichever one is used, the sorts of facilities this project wants to provide are already in Drupal and Wordpress for free - why not use them rather than re-inventing the wheel by trying to create an unusual interface or writing code?

ED: Again, I'm not sure what you are getting at here. The Transition Network web project is drupal based. It runs on databases. The projects are kept in a database which we are already using and has worked for the users on the main site:

I do have more points to make but am not sure how well this will be received and do not want to alienate the group - I'm really on our side and just want us to be better at what we do. I've kept quiet because I'd hoped others would gently resolve what to me are glaring problems with the project and I don't want to be the messenger that gets shot down.