The Youth Music Network is fast approaching its first birthday. Unfortunately, websites cannot enjoy cake like us humans. Fortunately, websites love upgrades. Here's what we have in store...
Since November 2011, the small team at Youth Music who look after the Youth Music Network have been out on the road talking to people and using every bit of (free) software available to get an idea of what you want from the Youth Music Network.
So in the lead-up to the Network’s first birthday, I hereby present to you the ‘big five’ areas for development. Work is to commence shortly and we hope to begin testing in around five weeks.
1. You said you want MORE iNFORMATION ABOUT music projects in your area.
At the moment you can upload information about your project: however, the process is a little clunky and has not had the amount of take-up we'd hoped for. So we’ve decided to inject a little bit of adrenaline into the process. We will soon be uploading information about every single project Youth Music funds (that amounts to approximately 200 projects). Network members will then be able to ‘claim’ these projects and once verified by us, will be able to make further edits should they wish.
There will be improved linking from project profiles to organisation profiles and personal profiles so that you get to the right people at the other end. You will still be able to upload information about projects funded through other sources than Youth Music, and we certainly encourage this as it helps to create a more accurate map of music activity in the UK.
2. You said you want to engage in the things that matter to you
We are only twelve months in from launch, and in that short time we have been simply amazed by the amount of high quality content that has been added by Network members. The problem is that there is so much content, it can be difficult to filter this and get to the stuff you really care about.
We have been fortunate enough to come across a new piece of kit called Groups which will replace the Areas of Work section. Users will have the opportunity to create a group around any theme or topic of their choosing. For example you might want to set up a group based on a project you are undertaking. Perhaps you are particularly interested in progression routes for young people in the East Midlands. Within this group you can create blogs, upload events, add media. This content can be shared with group members only or you can make it public for all to see. You can make your groups open access, or perhaps you prefer it to be via application only.
We will also be providing a way for you to get notifications on specific content. If you are only interested in a particular author or region, then you will be able to get notifications on that area only.
3. You said that the amount of choice is sometimes confusing
Practice write-ups, blogs, events, jobs, media…There are a lot of ways in which you can make your mark on the Youth Music Network. But the amount of choice available to members can in fact be a little daunting (we apologise for being a little too eager!) and it's not clear what the various options do. We will be streamlining the ways you can add content to the Network. We'll keep it to the essential stuff and put clear guidance around the site where possible. We will also be improving our help section and guidance so that you can quickly get to grips with the Network if you are new member.
4. You said that you want to get more creative.
You said you want to be able to add media, files, pictures to your blog posts, events listing and other content. We say ‘yes’. Stay tuned.
5. You said you want to be recognised for your contribution
And why not? You’ve worked hard to create your blog. You’ve added comments here and there. But is anyone reading it? We will be looking at ways to signpost to popular and trending content on the site and recognising members who are going above and beyond to make the Network a real community.
The Youth Music Network needs you!
The priority areas above are still in the early stages. Even though we will begin work shortly, the difference between making improvements that are totally brilliant and helpful, or are a pain in the backside, comes down to you. We need your ideas and thoughts on the plan above. We need testers to play with new kit before it goes live and we are also looking for volunteers interested in helping new members settle in (all done online of course).
So please add your comments below! Let us know what you think of our plan and please put yourself forward if you are keen to help out in any way, shape or form.