My Waterloo Idea
Social Networking For Community Change
My Waterloo Idea was a bit of a social and technical experiment.
Inspired by the success of My Starbucks Idea, I wanted to see if I could create a similar site, where students could share ideas about how to improve the University of Waterloo.
My Waterloo Idea was a social networking site where members of the University of Waterloo community could submit their ideas about how to improve life on campus.
Visitors could then rank, comment-on and connect with one another in hopes that their ideas would someday make the campus a better place.
Wordress, CleanHome Theme
PostHaste, WP-PostRatings, Adminimize, Add Local Avatar, WP-PageNavi
I knew I wouldn't have very much time to develop the site - just 1-2 weeks part-time - so I made every effort to strip the functionality down to just the 'bare essentials'.
I focussed on providing users with the ability to share ideas (without entering a back-end administration panel), comment and vote for their favourite submissions.
Design & Development:
Early in the project, I decided that I would use Wordpress as a base for the site.
It already had many of the functions that I was looking for and I knew that, with a few custom tweaks and plugins, it could handle the functionality I was after.
Since this was a quick project, instead of creating a custom theme, I used Bryan Helmig's CleanHome Theme as a base for the design and made small changes to support the features I was adding.
By default, Wordpress only allows users to post from the back-end administration area.
I used Jon Smajda's Posthaste plugin to extend this functionality to the front-end and added a few tweaks of my own to simplify things for users.
To enable voting and the 'Top Rated' and 'Most Popular' ideas sections, I used Lester Chan's WP-PostRatings plugin.
For the sake of time, I kept the installation fairly vanilla, but it certainly would have benefited from some customization and integration with the theme .
In the short time that the site was active - just over a month - it was surprisingly successful.
Users submitted 27 ideas, 61 comments and 144 votes.
It had 228 unique visitors, served up almost 2000 page views and the average browsing time was almost 4 minutes.