When we launched Make Something Edmonton in 2013, we weren’t sure if anyone would use the site. It was an experiment. It was a leap of faith. But you blew us all away, posting 80 projects in the first weekend alone, and over 1,500 more since then. To date, almost 3,000 individuals have MSE profile pages. Together, you've breathed life into what was once just an idea.
I'll let you in on a little secret: the original MSE website was built pretty damn quick. The team at Lift Interactive worked wonders with a 6-week deadline back in 2013 and the whole thing has held up remarkably in the almost four years since then. But we saw the site's potential to be even better, and so did many of you.
Our biggest goal, with the new-and-improved website, is for Make Something Edmonton to be the best possible platform for you: the organizers, artists, and entrepreneurs whose efforts make this city great. This is your city. You are the city. And we want to help you shape it.
We want MSE to be a better tool for those of you trying to build excitement and support for the projects and events you're working on. We want to make it easier for you to discover what other people are making, so you can collaborate, pitch a suggestion, or just encourage them to keep it up. And we want to create a better experience for anyone learning about the awesome, but often under-the-radar Edmontonians, we profile in the Stories section of our site.
Looking for a quick overview of what's new? Say no more:
The site looks better
Design matters. It affects your whole experience. Overall, we went for a more minimalist look and feel. It’s all about letting you and your projects, aka the beating heart of MSE, shine through. We also wanted to properly show off the work of our multitalented content guy, Shayne Woodsmith, and the other fine folks who contribute stories to our site. Did you even know we had a blog before?
The site works better
You can follow a project or event to get its latest updates and activity to your dashboard. And, so you can better engage with the community, you’ll get notifications when someone comments on, likes, or follows your project or event. One super cool change is that the 'project updates' feature works like a micro-blog now. You can include images in an update, your most recent update will appear right at the top of your project page, and a new tab displays all your updates on a timeline.
The site is better organized
Universal Search. One of the most exciting changes is that we've implemented universal search. Type something into the search box at the top of your page and you’ll get results from the whole site, instead of just the section you’re in at the time. For example, you can now look up “woodworker” and find all the people on MSE who have that word in their bio. This wasn’t possible before, and it’s a pretty huge improvement in terms of how people discover things and get connected.
Events Section. Since about half of what people post on MSE falls into the ‘events and festivals’ category, we decided to create a separate section. This way, you can quickly check to see what’s coming up. If you're organizing an event, this is a great way to get some extra exposure.
Categories. We’ve switched over to new project categories and subcategories that make more sense and will better accommodate the increasing number of projects on the MSE site. A lot of these new subcategories still don’t have projects associated with them, but they’ll fill up with time, and you can speed up the process. Guess how: by posting your 'something'!
I encourage you to go ahead and explore the site! Post a project or event you're involved in, follow other people's 'somethings,' read one of our new stories. If you have feedback or notice something glitchy, please give us a shout.
Much love from Chris, Carmen, and Shayne.
P.S. And a huge thank you to everyone who helped make this happen: the MSE users and volunteers who workshopped website improvements with us, the colleagues who contributed to this process, and the whole team at Lift Interactive.