As promised in my last feature preview post, here we are with another set of previewed features for your reading enjoyment.
One rather cool addition we’ll be making in the coming weeks is a new page on your profile called My Recommendations. Unlike the current way we handle recommending stories to readers via classification (based mostly on tags and categories), the new My Recommendations page will actually base the suggested reading list on a combination of your favourites, markers, and story and branch ratings. On top of that, it will suggest authors for you to check out based on their similarity to your profile.
I think this is a pretty useful tool for readers and will give a bit more of a view of the site content that’s tailored to your preferences and reading style.
More personalization options
The first thing you may (or may not…) have noticed is that we added the ability to add profile pictures over this last weekend. Now if you go to edit your profile, you’ll see that you have that ability to add an image to your account. This image will show up on your comment postings, story postings (in the right-hand story info bar), author RSS feeds, and in a variety of other spots. We’re still tweaking the sizes (and the way it resizes images) to get everything right, but we thought you all would appreciate being able to make your profile look a bit more personalized.
We’re also planning on adding optional email notifications, so that you can update your profile to notify you by email when a new branch is posted on one of your stories, or if someone comments on your profile, or follows up to a comment you’ve made. More details to follow on this one when we actually launch the feature.
Last (but not least), we’ll be making Protagonize link badges available to everyone quite soon. The new link badges will allow you to add a link from your blog or web site back to your profile and the list of your stories very easily.
Additional community features
Several new community-related features are in the works, too. Most of these are pretty small, but altogether they should definitely improve the user experience on the site and give users a bit more of the community feeling we’re striving for.
The new Who’s Online? list will give you a brief visual overview of who’s currently reading stories on the site. Members who have profile images will show up as images in the list, and members who don’t will just show as a generic Protagonize icon. You’ll be able to link from the list and comment on someone’s profile or read their latest postings if you so desire. We’re also adding the ability to hide your online status (via a setting on your user profile), so you just show up as an anonymous user, if that’s more your style.
Also using this new mechanism is a new box you’ll find on your profile: the Who’s Favourited You list. This control just gives you a quick visual overview of people who have added you to their favourites. Hopefully these additions will allow the site to feel a little less cold and a little more homey. Eventually we’re thinking of adding a little animated burning fireplace to the corner of the page, too — just kidding!
Well, that’s it for today. I’ll be posting a more long-term feature plan in the coming week, with some spiffy new site enhancements that should keep you coming back for more.