In an effort to make creating new regions (or whatever we end up calling them) within LocalWiki as frictionless as possible, we should provide an autogenerated "Front Page."


The idea is that nobody should feel like they're taking an entirely new project by creating a few useful pages for a new area.

The Front Page, despite being the primary timesink for new efforts, is actually the least important page for successful projects.  Most visitors will simply use the search function on a project, or visit a page directly via a search engine.

The Front Page is also the page people try and fidget with design the most on.  The Facebook "cover art"-style design could work well.

A good Front Page:

  • Helps people find the search function
  • Helps people begin exploring.  Contains prominent links to pages that themselves contain lots of interesting links.
  • Gives a rough idea of what the project is -- e.g. a community-driven project and a LocalWiki project.
  • Is beautiful.

All ideas

What should this look like?  What could it contain?

  • List of pages
  • List of tags?  By most popular?
  • A little map?
  • A search box?
  • Recent changes feed or something else that says "hey activity is going on here! this is not a static thing!" Recent changes is good because it provides serendipity and shows what people in the community are working on right now, but these same goals can be accomplished with something else as well.
    • One way to display this might be with a map.
  • Calendar/events in the area
  • A call to participate or some other way of communicating that this is an open project.
    • If project has mailing list, meetings, etc., can include info on getting involved with the project. Alternately, the site can include a way for people to communicate with others on this project via a list or some other mechanism (maybe).
  • Should include something visual (can be map or other stuff)
  • Nearby projects
  • Leaderboards (or a link to leaderboards)
    • Things that are currently on the Dashboard
    • Pages that need work (stubs, "needs images," "needs references," out of date/stale entries)
    • Active/top contributors
  • A widget that has a clipped list of pages tagged whatever. Let people decide what tag they want.
  • Depending on the scale of the project, can have a map/list of projects within that space or that include that space. So, for example, the SF homepage might have neighborhoods, but the Mission homepage might have SF & the bay area.
  • Editing instructions to encourage people to edit?

First draft

The first draft should be just good enough to get this off the ground.  No new underlying features (e.g. page quality ranking, leaderboard, events -- those will come later).  What's the minimal thing look like?

  1. Big banner at top with facebook-cover-style image placed behind it.
  2. Random pages.
  3. An overview map with "View" and "Nearby" (link to Nearby Pages that Jonathan is working on)
  4. Recent changes
  5. Tags / list of popular tags / tag cloud thing

Branch for this is autogenerated_front_page.


We could possibly autogenerate a list of "nexus"-type pages -- pages that have links to a lot of different pages and meet some kind of quality threshold (n images, a map, a good-but-not-excessive amount of text).  This would entail a good amount of work we haven't done yet, though, so for the first draft of this we should probably skip this.

In the future this could end up replacing all front pages if it functions better. Who knows. But at first, it probably makes sense to allow the Front Page to be built manually (e.g. check if "Front Page" exists)


Question: Do we know if there are most-popular types of info that people seek across different localwikis (eg, restaurants, jobs, history, etc.)?