I got this idea from "Best Design Competition", but this is not a competition.
I need you fellow creators to rate my site and I would like to rate your's. I think it's fun and a way to interact. My site is Out Of The Past- http://msoldschool.ning.com
I had posted a plea for help which was basically ignored. I want the old transparent music player back. To see what I'm talking about---I have one on a blog that is still intact. If I edit it will be converted though, so needless to say, I am not going to touch it. Here it is:
Let me know what you think. I've been able to convert most of my players but I cannot override that horrible "opaque" wmode code. Does Ning actually have any developers? I pay for Pro so I want some answers please. How can I override that opaque code and make it transparent again?
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I'd rate your site as outstanding! The theme is very well thought out. Design sense wise it is very clean and comfortable. Maybe a couple minor usability issues, for instance the top navigation links blending too much into background. Most importantly, your members seem to enjoy it, and you as well.
I really like the emphasis on social media...music. In fact, the old radio/ jukebox is a perfect compliment. Listening in, I liked what I heard. There really is something to be said about the quality of music from Out Of The Past. It was a genuine pleasure to experience your site.
With that said, you are so right on with your appeal for the transparent player. Transparency is almost perfect for a color scheme every time, and it's hard to understand why Ning would not make that a standard option anymore.
Thank YOU! There's no need to rate my site. I'm totally tuned into you. What's going on?!
I love your music players... I am really trying to do the same thing with my music players, but at a lost right now... I think your site is relaxing with that old school effect, especially the music... My site is geared towards the new school, but I really dig it...
So I looked a little deeper into your site. That blog on Miles Davis is really nice. Of, course, what I am really enjoying is the music! That music in particular makes web browsing far more enjoyable. I explore a lot of Nings and there's a lot of action happening around the music themes. So I think your concerns should have added resonance.
What you have there on your music themed social network is far more than just music sharing. I draw comparison here to music. Some people produce music that is popular, but lacks quality and depth. Jazz as we know is music for musicians though- there's the discriminating ear. Anyone can intuitively enjoy it, but anyone who has an intimate understanding of music will particularly appreciate all the finer intricacies. Everything counts in the performance, and that includes the atmosphere of the setting, the social vibe, the context, etc. That kind of attention to detail is well laid into everything you have done with your site.
The one thing that stands out of place though is the solid music players. You have a background/ foreground that together invites scrolling. There's the music, but it's also accompanied by photo, essay, and interactive commentary. It's like someone's cell phone ringing during the performance. You want to deliver your media without distractors and in the perfect resolution. Otherwise the experience is off, and that's going to affect the end-user experience. So if your media player was transparent, people would naturally go with the intuitive flow of the page and continue scrolling through. The mood would be all quality, and that's the kind of perfect evening that leads to better things.
I see what you did with the workaround. Sorry to hear you had to invest so much of your energy into trying to get back something you had incorporated into your "social media environment". That's time and energy you could have spent helping your site to reach its full potential. The workaround is not that attractive, but it does probably improve upon the solid version.
I wonder what we can do to get to the bottom of the issue with Ning. Here on Ning Creators, there seems to be a lot of shouting about things and so I get the feeling it's just too much for the advocates to process through. Issues like this can lose steam and get passed over. It's a simple enough request, and I agree at your user level that you at least deserve satisfactory address.
The Rate My Site idea is not lost on me. Something like that could help keep the thread active and closer to the top of the forum that maybe you might get the attention. That other thread you mentioned that gave you the idea is an entirely different animal. I've checked into it actually, but I think it's an obvious ploy for self promotion. I enjoy testing my own assumptions though. So I'm keeping my eye on it just in case I'm proven wrong.
I find your approach actually more of an intellectual exercise. On what basis would people rate a site? My site, for example, is entirely qualitative and extremely simplified. It's very intentional and after 4 years of research and development, I am at present the only member. I've asked people to critique my site in the past, but the response was not all that insightful.
You have to look past appearances to intention. Every individual person is significant in their own right. When someone posts a discussion, something you feel is genuine in spirit and that you can connect with them on, do they not deserve some reciprocation? It matters what people experience on a social network- it's a disservice to treat people as mere end-users on some kind of quantitative popularity contest or drive to reach adserving traffic.
So I think it's a worthwhile question. How to rate a site? On what basis do members of a Ning rate that site? From what we learn creating online communities, how do we apply that to rating someone else's site? Finally, how do you rate your own site- what value do you find in doing this- what value do you intend to deliver- and what value should Ning provide to help you materialize that vision for a passionate community????
I've been doing a lot of pivoting on my site, a BETA pre-release pending sponsors, but I think I may finally have it set up how I want. You are welcome to rate it. Based on what I've learned talking to you, I would be interested in any insights you might offer. www.norcal.ning.com
Thank you Edie!!
That's some very useful information.
Now my target audience are not likely to view this from the perspective of a creator, and most have yet to encounter Ning in general. They are most likely to compare to Facebook or Linkedin, and if you look at it from that perspective you can glean how it is actually rather complete. There is more information one level deeper if someone were to follow any link, but whether it be lack of latest activit or actual media, getting people to that next link is something I've thought a lot about. Lack of completeness is a dynamic that I've considered already for Ning users because I know what I am doing is very much outside the box from recommended main page engagement concepts. However, there's something about your genuine feedback that reminds me about the strengths of the alternative version I've been pivoting back and forth with. This current approach is based on an assumptive first impression, when on the other approach I use it as a model for my consulting clients, and their exposure is after the fact of my introduction in person, via e-mail, or other social platforms.
The logo is also going to be familiar to enough people in my target audience. It's a styling and brand that's actually in the public domain...and seen on bumper stickers and t-shirts throughout Northern California. However, there is some differentiation and that includes some artistic license that generally gets the same reaction...can't read it, lol! So again, while I'm not thinking of changing that, I'm going to factor that into my initial presentations and not be assumptive. In my alternate version, I actually have a presentation where I describe the design elements of that and how those correspond to actual successful branding and aesthetics I specifically feel it needs to associate with. As a stand alone first impression though, I have to be careful about assuming people might get that. When I meet people in person, I actually give them a branded business card that is much cleaner- just the star and address. Altogether I have to be very careful not to be assumptive on how people will react to it, or rather assume they will react the same way you did! Thanks again!
With regards to your other question, this represents over 4 years of research and development. These are the kinds of things I think about on a daily basis- design sense, web usability, and optimizing the end-user experience (both for me as the creator and my community). I turn people away from it all the time. I've had Nings with hundreds of members. The last couple years I've focussed on refining this project to ensure whatever happens I am happy with it. These last few months I flip it from one version to the other and sleep on it for a day. Both have pro's and con's. So now it's a matter of making a decision, mitigating the weaknesses, and making sure those pro's are effective toward my goals...which at the end of the day is I'd rather be playing soccer, lol!
Thanks you SO much. I wanted you to know that I relate somewhat to you in your project, and having painstakingly studied every aspect of my site allows me to fully appreciate the quality of your work. This is why what seems like a simple unimportant detail like music player transparency can send someone into a year of excruciation trying to come up with a semblance of satisfactory workaround. Ning's fairly oriented on enabling people to build passionate communities, but what I think they might miss is supporting passionate Ning creators.
Thanks again, and you can definitely consider me at your service however I might be able to help.