Toaster. New responsive design and future plans
We are pleased to present the new responsive design of the Toaster ! Now you can ask a question or give an answer with equal ease from any device that is at your fingertips.
Concealing a global redesign of the “Toaster”, we set ourselves three goals:
- Availability . So that you can ask questions and give answers at any time of the day or night, wherever you are.
- Clearness . The interface language without additional instructions should very quickly convey the meaning of the service and how to use it correctly.
- Flexibility . When adding new functions, there should be no obstacles in the interface for their quick and high-quality implementation.
1. Responsive design
It is necessary to engage in self-development and help others in this, not only during school or working hours, but also with any opportunity that opens up. And this in our time is directly related to the capabilities of those devices that we have at hand. What works well on a mobile phone, while we are traveling by train, the more we use it, we develop it. This was the main installation, when we decided to adapt the “Toaster” for all devices.
We had a choice: to make several independent versions of the service — for a phone, a tablet, and a computer — or to create one universal version that would be adjusted itself. We chose the second, it took us much more effort in the first stage, but we believe that in the future it will pay off with interest. Relying on a responsive design, we expect to introduce new features very quickly and fully support them on all major devices.
Talking about everything that has been done for the responsiveness of the interface does not make sense - it’s better to look at the new “Toaster” yourselfand feel live. We only note that the biggest difficulty in a responsive design is to think in advance how each of the elements will look on different screens, and try to design the most universal form, which varies little depending on the available width. So, for user lists and tags, it is no coincidence that we came to the form of a card.
We haven’t done much yet, we haven’t optimized, something may fail, but most importantly, the main functionality works! We will be grateful for the help in finalizing all the nuances.
2. Clarity of the interface
In a couple of examples, we will show how we tried to make the interface more intuitive and “talking”. Who cares, you can see a brief presentation of the service about what and how it works, we will show it to our guests who first get to the service.
A list of questions
The list of questions is the interface from which for most registered users, interaction with the “Toaster” begins regularly. The purpose of this list is to encourage a person to either write an answer or go in and read someone else's answers.
As it was. It was not clear what the numbers that occupy the most prominent place in each block indicate, why they turn out to be more important than the question itself. Information about whether the questions have answers received is lost in other secondary information.
How did it become. We removed everything superfluous, clearly identified the main elements, built them visually into the hierarchy, guiding the user's view from the main to the secondary: the subject of the question, the question itself, the availability of answers and solutions, the number of people who are waiting for answers.
Single Question Page
The question page is the most important part of the service. On this page, the main user interaction with each other occurs. About 80% of all visits are on this page. Most of the guests first appear on the “Toaster”, going from the search here. It is very important for us that this page is not only convenient for registered users, but also reveals the meaning of the service for guests.
This is how this page looked in the old design. For some reason, the most noticeable and striking element was the answer sorter (which, by the way, we completely rejected in the new design). Tabs occupy an unduly important place: the question is - subscribers - the history of changes. At the same time, it is completely unclear how to become the same subscriber. And the history of changes should cause awe in the beginner (=
And so it became. We tried to focus the user's attention on the two most important actions that we expect from him on the question page, relegating all the others to the background. These actions are given through clearly visible buttons: “Subscribe to a question” and “Like the answer”. Commenting, sharing, editing and complaints are taken to the background.
At the “questions and answers for IT-specialists” service it is important to understand that the questions are asked by living people, not virtual characters, which is answered by experts in this field, who occupy specific positions in various companies, and not random people without a clan and tribe .
And we tried to clearly demonstrate that specific people expect an answer to the question, and there can be many of them. Agree, the more people want to know the answer, the more important it is to give such an answer, the more enthusiastically they will answer. Also in the new “Toaster” we began to display real names instead of nicknames and added the ability to display a short signature “About Me” next to our name. See how the impression of the question and the answer to it changes as soon as instead of avatars and nicknames, community members show their real photos and names, and write a brief description of "About Me". (The coincidence of names and photos with real participants - by chance).
3. Future plans
Strategically, we are moving to ensure that as soon as you have an insoluble question from the IT field, the answer to which you cannot quickly find by searching, you would immediately recall about “Toaster” that there will always be people who know the answer.
Therefore, our main task is to attract a critical mass of qualified specialists from the most diverse areas of IT to the Toaster: programmers, layout designers, designers, marketers, analysts, managers, etc. So that in any IT sphere presented on the service, we would have our own active thematic community.
On the other hand, we strive to ensure that any question is answered as soon as possible and in good faith. And this is a question of the internal organization of the community that we are building: we need to be able to quickly and accurately deliver questions to the right specialists, as well as motivate them to answer.
What specific steps are we planning to take in the near future to achieve our strategic goal.
1. Improve the adjustment of the service for the interests of each participant
The uniqueness and strength of the “Toaster” is that all information is distributed by thematic tags. It is enough to subscribe to those topics that you are interested in to receive only the information that is directly related to you, without receiving anything extra.
With the subscription to the necessary tags, the most difficult thing is at the very beginning, immediately after registration. According to our statistics, only every fifth subscribes to at least one tag now. This means that the vast majority of users did not configure “Toaster” in any way for their interests and do not receive any information about new questions in their area of expertise, and therefore cannot give a prompt answer.
Therefore, the first thing we will do is try to convince a new user to sign up for at least 10 tags in their area of knowledge immediately after registration. Next, we will introduce unobtrusive background recommendations for tags that are close to the ones you are already subscribed to, so that you can regularly and slightly improve the setting of “Toaster” for yourself.
2. Speed up the delivery of questions to the right specialists
If a user has carefully described his area of knowledge by subscribing to many tags, this does not guarantee that he will regularly go to the service in search of new unanswered questions on these topics. It is necessary to make sure that the new questions themselves find the right specialists. In this direction, we have two ideas.
We plan to introduce an “enhanced" tag subscription. If you strengthen the subscription to the tag, then all new questions on this tag will be sent directly to you in the mail. This feature is especially important for those tags around which a regular community of specialists has not yet been formed.
The second thing we want is to give the opportunity to call the right experts into the question by sending them a personal notice asking them to answer the question. To do this, in each question, we will recommend those users who have previously proved themselves to be the best in question tags.
3. Improve quality and tagging issues
I want to answer smart questions. But practice shows that often the question seems stupid only because its author has poorly or illiterately formulated his idea. There are not many people among us who can speak out smoothly and convincingly. Why not ask such people to help us?
We plan to introduce collective editing of questions. Following the example of how collective tag editing is already working for us. Instead of complaining about the meaning of the question or its grammar, thus condemning the question to removal, everyone will have the opportunity to try to correct this question.
It will be possible to edit not only the essence and details of the question, but also the tags. And this will allow us again to speed up the delivery of questions to the right specialists. After all, the asking question often does not even know to which field of knowledge it is more appropriate to relate it in order to receive the greatest attention.
4. Introduce a reward system for achievements
Each member of the Toaster community should receive worthy recognition for their efforts. We already have such a concept as “contribution to the tag”, by which one can clearly see in which areas of knowledge each user is strong, for which the community values him most. However, this is a rather abstract concept that does not reveal all the details of the contribution, and also does not take into account many details that are not directly related to the answers to the question, but which help, nevertheless, to be born of these answers.
Therefore, we need badges that we can give out as awards for those achievements that we value. For example, for giving answers first, for responding to requests for help, for helping to formulate questions correctly, for giving high-quality and useful answers, etc.
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