Help Wanted: Testers for Streetsblog 2.0

As Aaron has mentioned, we’re hard at work on a redesign of Streetsblog, slated for release this spring. Coming up soon, we’re going to offer all Streetsblog readers a sneak preview; in the meantime, we’re looking for some early feedback from a smaller group of testers.

To start, we’d like to invite a few interested readers into our offices this week for short user testing sessions. Basically, we’ll sit you down in front of the new site and ask you to do a few common tasks, then observe your experience and ask for feedback. The whole thing should take about an hour.

We’re looking for three volunteers to come in this Wednesday, 2/27. If you are interested and available, please contact Bryan Lence at help [at] openplans [dot] org to schedule a time.

Thanks! 

Photo: myoldmac.net

  • Jeffrey Hyman

    ar you goin to put those lectrode thingies on my hed to observ my experience?

  • Nick,

    I, and I assume others, use Streetsblog as a calming diversion from the stress of the day and other websites. It’s ease of reading and calm but engaging discourse is soothing, like a nice drive through the countryside.

    Perhaps you should test to see that stress llevels of users with the new design remain low.

    Thanks!

  • Is there any chance you guys will make your current tempalte available to the masses? I’ve been trying to reverse engineer your calendar page for a few weeks now, and it is taking forever. 🙂

    The only reason I started using WordPress was because it’s what Streetsblog uses.

  • Jeffrey: Yes, the lectrodes are ready.

    Ethan: Perfect use of the lectrodes; will do.

    ubrayj02: We are, in fact, planning to release many of the custom plugins we’ve made for Streetsblog as open source. We’ll let you know when we do.

  • anon

    Speaking of wordpress, can you please credit them at the bottom of the page?

  • I think there was a post a while back asking what features we’d like to see on Streetsblog. I can’t find it, but I’ve been thinking it’d be nice to have a regular “Ask Streetsblog” or “Ask the Liveable Streets Experts” post. For example, here’s a question I have:

    Back in 2003 I lived on an “unsignalized intersection,” with a stop sign for the side street but nothing for the avenue. I asked the DOT to put a “Yield to Pedestrians” sign at the crosswalk to let drivers know that they were required by law to do so. After a brief study, the reply was that such a sign was “not warranted.” Now, in looking through the handy online MUTCD, I discover that there is no criteria listed for these signs. The drivers continue to ignore pedestrians in the crosswalk. How do I find out what criteria the DOT engineers were going by?

    What do you think? Is this a feature you’d like to run?

  • lee

    i find the comments and discussion of the articles as valuable, if not moreso, than the articles themselves. I am not sure what specifically to suggest, but a better comment system would be a great idea.

  • Adam Kadmon

    Angus – I’m pretty sure all they use is federal MUTCD, and sometimes California MUTCD.

  • fdr

    The DOT web site doesn’t specifically address Angus’ question, but it says it uses Federal MUTCD to decide on traffic signals or other options.
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/dot/html/faqs/faqs_signals.shtml

    Q: How does DOT decide whether a traffic signal should be installed at an intersection?
    A: Traffic engineers examine the existing conditions to decide if a traffic signal is appropriate at each location. They study the number of pedestrians, the traffic flow, the accident history, the possible presence of school children and bicyclists. The engineers evaluate this activity at the intersection to determine if a traffic signal is the best means of controlling traffic at each particular location. If we decide that a traffic signal would not be appropriate at a particular location, we may select another option to control traffic, such as speed humps, speed limit signs, stepped-up traffic enforcement, and Safety City programs.

    The standards for traffic control devices can be found in the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, which is published by the Federal Highway Administration.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    Right, Adam and Fdr, but the MUTCD (I linked to it) doesn’t give warrants for “Yield to Pedestrian” signs. So they must have been using other criteria. What criteria?

  • fdr

    “They study the number of pedestrians, the traffic flow, the accident history, the possible presence of school children and bicyclists.”

  • Angus,

    Thanks for bringing that up — I think it’s a great suggestion, and I’ll get Aaron right on it 😉

    The post you’re referring to, where we originally asked readers for ideas, is here . We’ve tried to incorporate many of these ideas into our redesign, and will continue to do so after we launch the new site. One request that we haven’t addressed yet is a better way manage discussions (many people have made similar comments, lee). We’re thinking about including a discussion forum (around topics or places) but haven’t finalized our plans just yet.

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