New Bag Page: A Wider Layout for Networked Curation

During last several weeks, we were working on a new bag page design to improve the user experience on our site. Today all our bags get a new look. Beyond most curation tools’ capability, BagTheWeb enables users to build networks of bags. This way bags can be linked together to provide rich and complete information about any topic. The new bag page design aims to bring you an effortless way of building networked curation.

Here is a brief description on the new bag page and other changes.

1. Fixed, two-column layout

Instead of expanding tabs, now every bag page has a fixed, two-column layout, for both public view and editing modes.

For bag readers, the current webpage links section is wider than the old one. The wider layout brings a more eye-friendly browsing and reading experience.

This is also good for bag creators who can see exactly what a bag will look like when it’s published, without switching between edit and view modes.


Large size image

2. Recommendation and Hashtags

The new layout moves the recommend button under the bag icon and separates it from the regular share buttons. This makes the recommend button more outstanding to encourage you to share more interesting bags to your followers, no matter if you are the bag’s creator or not.


Large size image

The recommend box uses a pop-up window. You can write additional comments comfortably with a bigger edit box while you are recommending a bag.


Large size image

Hashtags people used are also displayed at the bag summary as a part of the identity of a bag. It is useful for bag readers to explore more related bags through the hashtag page.

3. Always display bag links section

If a bag doesn’t have any bag links, the old design hides the whole bag links section from the bag page. The new layout always display the bag links section. The result is that bag pages have a consistent, easy to read layout.

4. New Picture inserting interface

We implemented a new, more user-friendly process for uploading a picture. Now you can insert a picture three ways: upload from your computer, grab a publicly available image URL, or select from a set of images found on a particular webpage. For bag icon, user icon, and post’s picture, you can use the first 2 methods but not the last.

5. Display popular hashtags at the top of explore page

Hashtags people used when they recommend bags is a great way to explore quality bags. The new explore page displays a cluster of popular hashtags at the top.

6. Support more rich media contents

Bags will automatically display rich media content, such as video and photos, originated from certain sites. Check out the following list to see what site we are supporting:

— YouTube.com
— Vimeo.com
— TED.com
— SlideShare.com
— TechCrunch.tv
— Ustream.tv
— 5min.com
— Flickr.com

All you need to do is add a link to a bag, and the video or photo will be recognized automatically and become embedded into the bag. We will add more sites to the supported list soon.

Try it yourself to see if the above change if it is more friendly, helpful, and fun to you. As always, we are eager to hear what you, our baggers, think about these new changes. Click on the “feedback” link at the bottom of any page and tell us what you think.

Advertisements

Service Back to Normal. Thank You!

After two days of intense work, we finally reinstalled all the pieces needed for running BagTheWeb onto a much more reliable server environment. Hopefully, this will prevent future interruptions from happening.

we are back

During the past two days, we got a lot of inquiries from our users. We really appreciate all your interest and encouragement!

@live2learn

We are very sorry for the temporarily down. Now everything is fine. All of your accounts’ information and data are safe.

@TSSVeloso

Thank you for your patience and support. We will continuously improve the performance of our site and present you more useful features.

The redesigned site and added features

After a few weeks’ hard coding work, today we are presenting an updated site to you. We hope the new features and changes will make the site more useful. Here is a brief description.

1. Now you can follow baggers (bag creators)
This way you may see the bags they create and recommend all the time. You also can build bags to share interesting topics with your followers. With this function, it is easier to keep track of baggers you like and the bags they build, update, and recommend.

2. Registered users can recommend bags
Consider this function as BagTheBag’s tweets. By clicking the “recommend” button, you can share any bag you see with your followers, no matter you are the bag’s creators or not. Even you do not create bags, you still can find and share good bags by recommending them.

3. Rich media content links
Bags will automatically display rich media content, such as video and photos, originated from certain sites. What you need to do is just like before: adding URLs to a bag. Then, the videos or photos will be embedded. See this example. Right now, this function supports YouTube, Vemeo, and Flickr. We will add more sites to the supported list soon.

4. Plus, the site recognizes tweets
When a URL of the Twitter site is entered into a bag, its corresponding tweet will be displayed in its entirety including the tweet text and the twitterer’s image.

5. Unpublished / published feature
Users told us that they do not want their bags to be instantly public when they are still creating them. For that reason, we added one step for bag creation. Now a bag is considered “unpublished” until its creator clicks the “Publish it” button. However, unlike private bags, an unpublished bag is not private, for it can be seen if one has the right URL. You can use this “semi-private” feature to share a bag with your group, if you do not want the bag become fully public.

6. Now you can save your favorite bags
By clicking the star icon on the sidebar, you “favorite” the bag you are viewing. The favorited bag can be found in a dedicated section.

7. Embed a bag to your blog or sites
We add an “embed” tool so that you can embed a bag to your blog or website. It is useful to add a bag of related web links as references to your blog posts.

8. Your personalized home
We changed our homepage, for both before signed in and after signed in cases. After signed in, your personalized home is named “bagstream” that displays all bag items published and recommended by baggers you follow. It is an easy way to discovery interesting bags you may never encounter. Bagstream is a bag filter contributed by people you follow. You can control the flow by following and unfollowing them.

In the past few months since our site went online, some users recommended BagTheWeb as a good bookmarking tool. That was half right. BagTheWeb can help you collect and organize websites and pages. However, it does more than that. Essentially, BagTheWeb is a Web content curation tool. Users can create bags of different topics. With the Web’s information overloading situation, the need of content curation is becoming more imminent everyday. In a recent post, Robert Scoble extensively described the need and design for such a tool. You can read it here.

With the added social networking component, the BagTheWeb site will be able to connect both bags and users. The site will become a social “content network” of Web information. We are eager to hear your comments and suggestions so that we will make further improvements along the way.

An Editable Web, a Linkable World

What Is BagTheWeb, Really?

Since our beta launch, friends and analysts kept asking us about the essence of the site: “Are you a social bookmarking site?” “This looks like a URL sharing tool. Right?” “Oh, it’s a web publishing tool, isn’t it?”

The answer to all these questions are the same one: “Yes. You are right. However, this service can do more than what you have discovered.”

To better describe the essence of the site, we wrote a white paper and put it on the site’s About page.

Essentially, BagTheWeb is a universal web connector. What it provides is a new basic functionality: linking web pieces together. With user-created bags, originally disconnected pieces can come together to form a new entity for a purpose. This can be easily done by ordinary users with only basic web skills.

You are welcome to tell us what you think about the site at feedback. In the meantime, we would like to invite you to build bags and add links for your work, study, and daily life. Let us know if you have questions, problems, and suggestions. With your input, we are continuously working on improving the site and adding useful features.

Stamp #TED to Spread TED2010 Bags

The most anticipated annual TED conference is back again! On February 10, this year’s TED will start its four-day session in Long Beach, California. As always, its speaker list includes the top thinkers and activists of our time. As academics, technologists, futurists and artists, the TED speakers deliver thought-provoking lectures to entertain and intrigue the world’s intellectual circle.

Here at BagTheWeb, we are eagerly waiting to see what will be talked about and discussed at the conference. We know that the TED speakers and their talks will have an enduring impact to what we think and what we do for a long period of time. Thus there is a need to re-visit the talks and share them with friends. To make all the TED 2010 information better organized and more accessible, we have created interlinked bags for the web community.

Different from the TED conference site where all the sessions are listed in chronological order, all the bags about TED 2010 are inter-connected. From either a speaker or a session, you can click on links in a bag to jump to see more information.

Furthermore, a bag can go beyond the conference. Webpage links and bag links in a bag can easily include background or related information from anywhere on the web. A bag is far richer than what a conference website can be. Also, anyone can build bags to achieve the same goal.

All bags stamped on TED - BagTheWeb - 20100208

We recently developed a new feature called “stamp.” When you create a bag about TED2010 or see a good one, just stamp #TED, then other bag users will be able to see it by clicking on this stamp. Similar to Twitter’s hashtag, this is a neat way to aggregate and to find bags about a specific topic.

Bagging is a new way to organize and publicize conference information. When you organize or attend a conference next time, try to use this new tool to put relevant information in linked bags. The information becomes much easier for you to access and to use later. Plus, your co-attendees and colleagues will be pleased when you share your bags with them.

Bagging is Helping Haiti

Haiti is still the focus of the world’s attention. From governments to NGOs, from celebrities to ordinary citizens, the world is moving fast to help save and assist the survivors of the January 12 Haiti earthquake.

To do our share, we made a bag, 20+ Ways to Help Haiti, right after the quake. That bag listed the websites of major charitable organiztions. Within days, thousands of visits came. People used it to make donations to charities and shared it in online communities. We tried hard to keep it updated and to link it to more related resources including the bags users created.

Beyond our bag, we also saw that people are building bags to disseminate information and to coordinate Haiti relief efforts.

For example, a user in Portland, Oregon, created a bag to display links of all the Haiti relief activities in the area. Thousands of people used it and reweeted it to promote various activities, events, and donations. Portland mayor Sam Adams was among those who retweeted it.

Twitter - Mayor Sam Adams- RT @GOODinPDX

It’s good for us to see that information bagging is becoming an effective way to help Haiti.