design @ IBM developerWorks
As part of the IBM.com family... developerWorks shares the common "IBM ID" that all IBM external websites use. When we first launched My developerWorks, our Edit Profile function would only allow a member to view their IBM ID credentials and other IBM profile elements.
We heard from many of our members the desire to update and maintain all their profile elements in a single place. As a result, we have just delivered an enhancement to Edit Profile.. and now allow the full edit of all of your profile elements from your My dW profile.
I have also heard much feedback on offering the ability for our members to change their screen name, expect this feature to be delivered in the next few months. Finally, our user testing (and my own experience) pointed out the awkwardness of registering at My dW.
We have a new registration process in the works... and I also expect this feature to be delivered in the next few months. I really appreciate feedback from our membership.. my goal is continuous improvement of our user experience on My dW, so please keep your comments coming!
One of the key strengths of community is not only the ability to follow the activities of other members... but to message them directly. My developerWorks offers a number of ways to directly contact or "Notify" other members through e-mail. One nice feature of My developerWorks is that even though we use e-mail to perform notifications, your e-mail address remains private, and is never revealed when you message other members.
Now let's examine three common methods that you can use within My developerWorks to directly connect with other members:
The first method we will cover is the most important... the peer to peer connection. One of the key benefits of making a colleague connection within our community is the ability to follow the activity of this colleague. But we also built another key feature into colleagues, and that is the ability to contact a colleague through their e-mail.
To add a member as a colleague, you simply click the "Add to My Colleagues" link from that members profile:
Once you have added a member as a colleague, this link will change to "Message colleague".
Clicking on the "Message colleague" link will pop-up a rich text editor where you can type a message or insert graphics to share with your colleague. This message is then sent to your colleagues e-mail address. Within the message, we automatically add a "Reply" link, which allows a colleague to respond to the sent notification... all while keeping both of your e-mail addresses completely anonymous.
E-mail from notifications will originate from: email@example.com
The second method to message your peers is found within My Groups. After you join a group, you can message the entire membership of that group via the "Mail Group" feature. Using this function, you can notify the entire group or just the group owners. Again, this will result in an e-mail notification to the group members.
The last method I will cover is the ability to notify members of a blog entry. Many times, we come across a blog entry that we would like to share with others. To do this use the "Notify other users" function, that is found under "More Actions" at the bottom of each blog entry.
As you can see.. to get the value out of notifications, you will need to provide a valid e-mail address in your My developerWorks profile. Additionally, a complete and up to date profile is important, as this is the compelling information that drives members to colleague each other.
As we plan the next release of My developerWorks, the capabilities to message / notify / and follow others will be greatly enhanced. However, two key factors to getting the most out of these functions will remain constant: A complete profile and a valid e-mail address.
Members ask: is there a vanity link (URL) to my developerWorks profile? You bet! When you create your developerWorks profile... we create a vanity link for you!
What is the advantage of a vanity link?
So what is your vanity link? All of our membership share this common root URL:
Simply add your Display name to the root URL for your developerWorks profile vanity link...
Members ask.. what is the trick to adding additional photos to my developerWorks profile? Adding your basic vanity photo or "mugshot" is a simple profile task... but what about adding additional pictures to my profile.. is this possible? You bet!
First, create an account on one of the many photo sharing sites available today. I already have an existing Flickr account, so I uploaded a few pictures that I wanted to share with the developerWorks membership.
Once you have uploaded your photos, you will need to get the URL location for each picture that you want to share. Here is a simple technique I use to get the URL location from a Flickr hosted photograph:
Now your ready to insert the flickr photograph into your developerWorks profile:
That is the trick! You can add multiple pictures to either My professional expertise or My biography and interests. Both of these areas of your profile are limited to 1,500 characters... but you know the old saying... a picture is worth a thousand words!
When you first registered at developerWorks, a basic profile was created for you. In this blog entry, we will examine a critical area of your profile, and explore how with minimal time investment you can make this area really stand out!
From the Edit My Profile view you are presented with five selection tabs that allow you to further customize your profile. For this blog entry we we will take a deep dive into the About Me tab, which is where you describe who you are, why you joined our community, and what your goals are. These fields make up the heart of your electronic persona, and are used by the community membership to learn about you. Please take a few minutes to fill them out completely, it will make it easier for others to find and team with you, and for us on the developerWorks team to bring a better My developerWorks experience to you!
About Me is all about personalization and contains six categories that allow you to select your interests, skills, professional role, and goals for your My developerWorks experience. Plus, you have two rich text fields to further elaborate your professional expertise and personal background. This information is public and represents the real heart of your profile. It’s the basis for search and allows users to find and identify like-minded individuals. But, its also the information that we can use to further customize your experience and make logical recommendations that are relevant to your selections. Each category is covered in detail below.
Roles: Your role is important to us and other members of the community. If we understand the primary roles held by our user base we can better select technical content to support these roles on developerWorks. And just as is the case with all the information collected from you, these selections give us the basis for making relevant product, and skill development recommendations tailored to the you and your specific role. Further, if other members understand your role, they can use this information to facilitate cross-discipline teams to complete Activities or request like-minded individuals to join Groups.
I'm skilled in: Following a natural progression from roles, we ask that you identify your skills, given the likelihood that these skills support the tasks required by your role, however, they may also be unrelated. Regardless, you can identify your skills at a high level, selecting just an IBM product brand or technical topic or they can filter their selection down to specific products within the brand or themes associated with the general technical topics.
My areas of interest: Roles and skills pull from exactly the same list of IBM products and technical topics, however the context of their selection is very different. For some, their selections will be identical to skills, for others quite different. You don’t have to be skilled in a technical category to have an interest. Interests can represent technical areas in which you are knowledgeable or concepts for which your just have a general appreciation and want to learn more.
My goals: What is better to understand about our users then their goal for what they are trying to accomplish while spending time on our website? The insight we can gain from understanding your goals, allows us to build learning paths and promote themes catered to those goals. If we can understand if you are using our community to solve a problem or to connect with your peers to grow and build a skill, we are that much farther along with how we provide a solution or scenario to you.
My professional expertise & My biography and interests
The real benefit of these fields is for you the user. My professional expertise and My biography and Interests are simply the label to put your input into context, otherwise, the sky’s the limit. This is your opportunity to describe yourself in your own words. You control the formatting, can add photos, customize your input however you want, within the confines of the rich text field. You should consider this an overview of your professional life, summarizing the expertise and knowledge you have gained through training, projects, research, work history, and other business-related activities. For example, "I've worked in a variety of industries, primarily in the area of warehouse logistics. I started with barcode programming, but now I focus on wireless solutions."
Take a few minutes today to fill out the About Me section of your profile and help us bring you a better My developerWorks experience!
Your profile is your electronic
persona on developerWorks!
Its often the first step and the lowest common
denominator of the community experience, but undoubtedly, the profile
plays the most important role in a successful social network. The
more information we, as the community managers, acquire about our users,
the more we learn and this is the kind of knowledge that can pay huge
dividends to our community. But not only do we realize the benefits,
but the more that users reveal about themselves, the easier it is for
them to find others and start communicating on a one-to-one level. It
represents the most granular level of interaction.
A well thought-out profile showcases who you are, what your technical interests are, and why you have joined the developerWorks community, and this information is invaluable for everyone with a stake in the community. As a community leader, contributor, and member of our community, you should definitely encourage your peers to fill out their profiles completely.
While the actual creation of a profile is simple, you should carefully consider the information you would like to reveal about yourself. A completed profile is only as good as the quality of the information it contains. As the fields are populated, you should be cognizant of how others will use this information. Its critical to recognize that the profile is the primary vehicle that members of the community will use to find and reach out to you. Your profile should be thought of as an electronic business card. How do users want others to view you?
The first time you register with developerWorks your basic profile is created using the information collected by the registration process. You can update your profile at anytime, by clicking the Profiles link or Edit my Profile link found on various pages on our site.
This blog entry is the first in a series of "Members ask...?" I will be adding a number of blog entries to aid users in creating a robust Profile, starting a Group, and participating in Activities... so please stay tuned!