The NewsCloud platform offers tremendous flexibility for choosing the layout of your site's home page. We've designed a variety of widgets that you can choose from - and the layouts can be customized and adjusted at any time through a simple drag and drop interface.
Here are some example home pages from our partners:
Our latest design, reflected in The Needle and Carolyn Hax's site above showcase some new widgets that we think work well to promote the growth of community.
Designing the Home Page for Community Growth
At The Needle, our showcase site for Seattle, we place a few key widgets at the top of the home page to drive activity: We use the triple box feature widget to showcase popular items (based on quantity of Likes), the list widget to showcase new items and the featured article widget to showcase our own content. We believe this provides a balance of new, popular and curated content to draw readers in and get them to participate.
Each of these widgets can be configured in different ways. For example, you can use a list widget to showcase popular items instead of new items. The triple box widget can show either new or popular items or you can manually drag and drop stories to feature. There are also other feature widgets for showcasing specific curated content. The featured article widget can showcase more than one recent entry to give the site a look and feel similar to a blog. We're always adding flexibility to the home page widgets based on requests from partners and open source adopters.
There are a variety of ways to add content to our site, both manual and automated. Many of our widgets, like the triple box above, are designed to integrate automated content from feeds.
To keep the site as real time as possible, we use a Newswire widget to showcase headlines from other Seattle sites. Readers on The Needle can choose to post these "wire" stories to The Needle and add their commentary. We also use a Twitter List widget to show tweets from a curated selection of Seattle-based twitterers.
There's also a welcome panel widget to explain to new users a bit more about the site's purpose. And, there's a recent users gallery showing the faces of other recent site participants. We found in our earlier Hot Dish climate change site research that visitors gradually become familiar with each other on the site and returned daily to see what their online acquaintances were posting.
Showcasing Community Features on the Home Page
NewsCloud offers a variety of interactive and crowdsourced features to enhance your site e.g. peer Q & A, shared multimedia Galleries, a Predictions game, the Classifieds feature, Discussion Forums, Idea gathering, Resource Directories, Event Calendars, et al.
Each NewsCloud feature has several widgets that can be presented on the home page. Here are a few examples:
These widgets allow you to further customize your site and promote specific features or usage scenarios that you want to showcase. They can be easily re-arranged or modified via a simple drag and drop interface at any time.
If you have more questions, please visit http://support.newscloud.com
Read the previous post: Many Ways to Add Content to Your NewsCloud Community Site