My main innovation with Kottu was WordPress and I guess the color red. Both are now gone now, leaving only ideas. Kottu is now truly designed by the younger, faster and better Janith Leanage, and it is good.
What have we been working on? First, this new layout is, what’s the word, I keep forgetting, responsive. That means that as you resize the screen, the sidebar and other elements change size and pop under as you need them. This is merely amusing if you’re resizing the screen, but it means that one layout can serve for mobile or tablet or a range of devices, things just pop under as they’re not needed.
There is information, then there is information about information, which we will call meta. For each post there is an image, a time and a rating. That stuff is now separated layout wise. On the side of each post there’s a thumbnail, a timestamp, an aggregate spiciness measure (more on that below) and the option to Tweet or Like.
Each post now has a spiceness rating. This is based on clicks from the site, Tweets on Twitter and Likes on Facebook. It basically tells you what’s ‘hot’, or popular. Note that this isn’t equivalent to good, but vaguely connected. On the right, you can drill down into what’s hot today, this week or last month. I want to make that a bit more prominent UI wise.
Encourage Them (Blogger Karma)
I know that this generation of bloggers are not ESE (English Speaking Elite), the majority of Kottu is now Sinhala and slowly expanding out of Colombo. I think, like the cricket team, the blogosphere is stronger if we get more people involved. Young people like from the Hakmana eVillage and Inginiyagala Media Unit start blogs but too often disappear. The goal is to immediately support them with comments and then build something to
A) structure that support, perhaps offer karma badges to bloggers that mentor
B) support their blogging, through English and Unicode training and perhaps some guided topics and prompts
Supporting those kids for one, but also USER ACCCOUNTS. Why? Because the government asked me for everyone’s deets. No no, we’ll have to encrypt and make any personal data secure and easily dumpable. What I mean is more like preserving your preferences so you don’t have to keep selecting English/Hot every time you visit. Or allowing you to say ‘I don’t like this blog’, or ‘more like this’.
We’d also like to use other data to spice up the meta section. What’s your latest Tweet? Where have you checked in on FourSquare? What badges have you earned on Kottu? This won’t be another login, the hope is to make it poss to login with your FB/Twitter/Google account.
All of this stuff would of course be optional, it would only be relevant insomuch as it provides user value.
Another thing is to automate adding blogs. Right now I literally read and manually add each blog into the database. Which is a huge bottleneck, I sometimes take 5 days cause I’m busy, which is uncool. The idea is to perhaps add blogs to a public queue where the community can thumb up or down, or at least automate it where an admin can add with one click rather than three windows and SQL commands.
Also, stuff? What do you want? This is all core functionality, but we have bigger plans as well. Anyways, check it out: www.kottu.org. Again, this is Janith’s genius code. My role now is to contribute ideas and basic guide the process, but the boy is a genius and my main job is to really stay out of the way. Let us know what you think, and feel free to check out the code.