The Network

Not Just Another 9rules

Note: Wow, the chaotic story of this launch will be told another day, but for now here is the original launch entry that should’ve come out Monday then Tuesday then Wednesday and finally Thursday. Hit up the Rulers Community to report any craziness (and there will be a lot of craziness while Colin is on his camping trip).

We unveiled 9rules Communities in January to organize our members and make it easier for readers to find great content on topics they love. Today we’re taking it a step further and releasing the next version of 9rules Communities which will take reader interaction and member highlighting to the next level.

The New 9rules

Our new focus is on the Community pages, and the new features & functionality attached to them. Here’s a pretty overview of things:

Each Community

The page is broken down into 6 main areas, all of which correspond to features requested by either members or readers. Let’s go through each one with a fine-toothed comb that I use to need for my afro:

1 Starting at the top left is the new Featured Blog entry area for that Community. Our Featured blog is where 9rules Community Leaders come to talk about what’s going on in that Community, which members have posted excellent articles, or general analysis of that topic throughout the web. Admittedly this was a weakness in the previous 9rules mainly because our Community Leaders weren’t really sure what to do here and that was our fault by not getting our goals across to them. We kind of dropped them in them in the middle of the desert and wished them good luck finding their way home. However, we are all starting to get on the same page and you may have noticed this week an increase in the quantity of entries hitting the Featured blogs.

2 A new section on the Community page is the Community Leader featured area, where members who are their respective Community’s Leaders are properly recognized. This should seem obvious as to why it was done. Below that is a scrollable list of all members in that Community. In some communities, not having a scrollbar would cause pages to become a mile-long so to keep the page as compact as possible we decided to go with a scrollbar on longer lists.

3 Another new section on the Community page is the repurposing of the “Recent Member Articles” area, tentatively called “Random Members” and “Fresh Members” (coming shortly). In an effort to focus more on the member’s site as opposed to the most recent article title they’ve posted, now when a member posts a new entry their entire site is featured along with a few of the most recent articles they’ve written. The goal for site highlighting is to provide better “sticky” traffic to 9rules Member sites. Readers will be able to switch back and forth between “Fresh” and “Random” members on the fly.

4 The most interesting new feature of this launch is called 9rules Notes, and it’s essentially a way to let both members and non-members post topical content to a 9rules Community: think part forum, part blog, 100% interactivity. For each Community we will list both the most recently posted Notes as well as either Popular or Random ones (TBD).

9rules Notes is an integral part of this new 9rules Community and site iteration, and there will be many features associated with authors and their Notes they post with tagging and RSS to name a few. We let our members in on Notes early (member privileges and all that) so they could get their desired usernames and as you can see they dove headfirst into the Notes system with over 300 posts in less than 24 hours.

5 Both members and non-members are able to post a new Note via the Community page and it will show up in the “Latest Notes” area (Section 4) for everyone to see.

6 To make it easier to navigate between various Communities, a new Community Browser navigation will be present on the bottom of all pages of the new 9rules site.

A New Information Architecture

Each section on the new individual Community page will have a corresponding section devoted to it, as evidenced by the new subnavigation present below the green header. Readers will be able to navigate directly to pages dedicated to that Community’s Featured Blog and Notes section so it’s now easier to explore a Community in depth.

There’s More…

The redesigned Community sections are only one part of the full 9rules relaunch, but we feel it’s the most important for our Members and readers. During the week we will be highlighting new features and finishing touches that we are putting on the site. If you notice some things a bit off that’s probably because we still have a lot of work to do, but we are always open to hearing your thoughts and for this reason we have setup the Rulers Community where you can leave us Notes so we can stay on top of things.

For now go ahead and explore the new digs and get lost in great content. We know we will.