A NEW Mind Map View!

Important changes to showcase your mind maps at their best…

Work on updating and improving the Biggerplate website never really stops, but as some members may know, we’re currently undertaking the biggest website update project in our history! There are a number of key reasons for doing this, but the Top 3 project drivers are as follows:

  1. The need to create a responsive website experience that works on screens of all sizes, including tablets and mobile devices
  2. The need to update the overall site design to reduce/remove clutter, and achieve a cleaner, more modern look
  3. Provide a more solid technical foundation upon which to build innovative new functionality over the next few years

As part of this overall update, we decided to start in the most logical place: the page that’s used to showcase your mind map creations. We imaginatively call this the ‘Map View Page’, and given that there’s a Map View Page for every single mind map on Biggerplate.com, it’s obviously the most prominent and visible page design we have. We’re therefore delighted to publish some really great first phase improvements to the page this week!

Want to see for yourself? Just go visit any mind map on the site!

Out with the Old

Below you can see a screenshot of the old page design, which has served us very well for many years, but had a few key issues… (don’t we all)…

Screenshot of old map view page (Nov 2017)

Problem Areas

The biggest issue with the page was how unresponsive, and non-mobile friendly it was. Viewing a map view page on your mobile phone was very difficult, and you probably wouldn’t bother more than once. Tablet sized screens were a bit better, but still lacking finesse. On your desktop or laptop computer, the experience was fine, but if like me you often display several windows side by side on your screen, the Biggerplate map view page not re-sizing itself to fit your window was still a pain, though less of a major problem than the mobile/tablet issues.

A more general issue was a sense that the page had become cluttered over the years, as we continuously experiment with ways to ensure members have access to key information when they’re looking at a page. The risk is that you can easily start to load up a page with too many things to click and too many words to read, even if your intentions are good! The old page was in need of an end-of-year declutter…!

Community actions/engagement was also visible on this page, but in need of updating. The presence of a ‘Dislike’ button for maps was something we started to ‘Dislike’ ourselves, and the comments section looked uninteresting, even though there are often several comments on mind maps. We needed to make the community engagement aspects of the page more positive, prominent, and pro-active!

In with the NEW…

In trying to address these problem areas (and others), we think it’s also very important to ensure that these key pages still look and feel familiar to members, even after they have undergone significant improvement work. We expect many members will look at the new Map View Page and not immediately notice much change, and we’re ok with that! In case you’re not seeing much difference, here’s a summary of what we’ve done in the first phase update…

The NEW mobile-responsive Map View page (Dec 2017)

Responsive Page Design

The big change is the creation of a responsive page design, which means the page will now seamlessly organise and re-size itself to fit whatever screen size you’re using. Go ahead, try resizing your browser window now, or open up a Biggerplate Map View Page on your phone…. see, we told you.

There are still a few bugs to iron out, but we work on the principle of getting these updates live at the earliest acceptable stage, so that we can put them under pressure, and gather real feedback and learning from people using the pages! We plan to iron out the Phase 1 wrinkles over the next few weeks, and overall we’re pretty pleased with the result and early stage feedback!

Reduced Clutter

We’ve reduced the word count on the page significantly, and hopefully the result is a page that has a bit more space to breathe! Replacing words with symbols (e.g. ‘Views’ and ‘Downloads’), re-locating less important information, and simply removing non-essential words and info from the page have freed up space, and hopefully reduced distractions.

We’ll keep working to simplify this page further in Phase 2, and you can expect to see some of the currently visible information being tucked out of sight with options to ‘Load More’ if you really want/need to see the extra detail.

Likes & Comments

Gone is the option to ‘Dislike’ a mind map. There’s enough negativity in the world, and we’re not going to add to it! The new ‘Like’ button is more prominent, and it’s also easy to see if you have already ‘liked’ a map, and also easy to remove the ‘Like’ if you have a change of heart…!

The ‘Like’ function is a key driver of map visibility on the website overall, and helps us to serve up the ‘best’ mind maps as indicated by our community, so we encourage you to use the Like button much more as you move around the website, so that we can really start to see which maps are getting the best reactions from members.

In addition, we’ve also livened up the comments section by simply adding your profile photo alongside your comment. It’s a simple first step, but it already helps to show the community engagement more visibly!

Modern Finish

You’ll notice fewer colour gradients, drop shadows, and a bit more ‘flat’ design. Aren’t we trendy? Actually no, we’re several years behind, but the main thing is, the new styling on the page is much more in line with current web and mobile design, and hopefully that means these are nicer pages to look at!

What next?

Next on the update list is the Search Results page, and actually any page where a ‘list’ of maps is displayed. Again, the process will be tackled in two phases. The first phase will update the page structure and design to our new cleaner look and mobile friendly design. It will look familiar, and yet, a bit better…

The second phase for these ‘List’ pages will be to implement new sorting and filtering functions, so that it’s easier for members to find mind maps that suit their particular preferences. For example, you might search for “Project Planning” but only want to see iThoughts mind maps in the results, rather than all of the different software formats. In another example, you might be browsing within the Productivity Mind Maps section of the library, but only want to see mind maps in French language (bien sur). We’ll be making all of this possible through the new options we’re building.

An additional area where better sort and filter options will also help is the member profile pages. Where a member has contributed lots of mind maps to the library (like our friends Toni, Chance, or Wojciech) the new ‘List’ page design will also help you more easily explore the mind maps created and shared by some of our most active contributors to find what’s most interesting for you!

You can expect to see improvements on the ‘List Pages’ coming in Q1 of 2018, and we hope you’ll like what you see on the page, and what you (more easily) find in the mind map library as a result!