A Change of Focus

Creating something out of nothing raises some interesting questions. One of them is, how do we make this thing?

When I wrote about our approach in September, we were about to start coding, and I said that we would build the following products:

Identity — includes login, user profiles, privacy controls and more
Engage — includes tools for journalists including specific tools for user-generated content collection and management
Conversation — includes tools for discussion and exchange between community members
Curate — includes tools for engagement editors to manage, moderate and elevate contributions of all kinds
Admin — includes tools to install and manage Coral-compatible products
Analyze — includes algorithmic analysis including anomaly detection and comment quality
History / Logs — includes capture logs and analytics
Core — common libraries that allow Coral products to work seamlessly together or independently

As we worked on our task, we realized that this was the wrong approach. These eight products might be clearly delineated from an engineering point of view, but for a publisher who wants to use Coral in their newsroom, it’s hard to understand.

We need to stay focused on our personas. The question we keep returning to is: What are our users trying to do?

Through that lens, the above list of products doesn’t make sense. What’s the point of a curation system if you don’t have any content to curate? What does a ‘capture log’ mean to Margaret or Larry?

With that in mind, we’ve restructured our technical road map based around three main pieces: Trust, Ask, and Talk.

 

Trust

This is the ‘brain’ that helps you understand who is in your community, how they communicate, and what they are contributing. With Trust, journalists can find new sources, reveal troublemakers, and identify useful contributions at speed. They can also set up lists that trigger actions in Ask and Talk.

Trust is highly flexible, and updates automatically as new contributions come in.

Status: A working demo is currently being shown to newsrooms to receive feedback to assist with further development. You can see our demo in action here. Beta testing with newsrooms begins May 2016. Stable release planned for Q3 2016.

Help us: Let us know if you’re in a newsroom and interested in seeing our demo.
 

Ask

This is a flexible system for creating ‘call-outs’ within articles, and managing the responses. These call-outs allow journalists to ask for targeted contributions – such as text, photos, video, audio, as well as polls, surveys, and potentially other crowdsourced interactions – via a simple embeddable module that can be placed within their articles.

Ask will also allow journalists to quickly and easily manage the contributions, and to display the best of them within the embeddable module.

Status: Currently coding. Working demo due Q2 2016. Beta testing in Q2-3.

Help us: Share your favorite existing tools, and wishlists for future call-out tools

 

Talk

This piece allows community members to talk with each other, as well as to respond to an article, in real time.

Talk will be somewhat similar to existing Comment functions – with many new features to encourage more meaningful engagement, and to protect people from harassment.

Status: Front-end wizard demo Q2. Working demo in Q3. Beta testing in Q4.

Help us: Share your favorite comment UIs and features, as well as the features that don’t exist (but should)

 

We’re also going to relaunch our website to be more focused on how to get involved. It will contain better documentation of our repos, as well as other ways to participate in the project.

As always, we want to do this together, and in the open. Let us know in our community what you think, and tell us what we can build with you.

 
Photo by Eric Wüstenhagen, CC-BY-2.0

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