The online communities have become important cradles of information that is characterized by connections and exchanges between the community members. It is interesting however to note that the full potential of these community pages has not been tapped to its maximum. For instance, the search mechanisms that are offered by these online communities (e.g. forums) are of low quality. An investigation on classified structures of threads in these community pages has revealed that by use of thread structures which have been annotated precisely may result to major enhancements in retrieval capabilities as unlike when strong baselines are employed.
A case in point here is the National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA). This organization has grown to become one of the biggest debate bodies in the United States of America. The Organization has one of the best sites even though it does not have a community page for its members. It therefore needs to design a community page that will serve the interests of its members and fans. Community pages are used for a number of things, which include discussions on general topics and other numerous activities that are exciting but unofficial. These pages are not run by one author; all members who have registered or signed up can post anything they like. The Community Pages are designed to bring people with similar interest together. Community pages provide for an opportunity for showcasing what they are good at, and that includes things such as hobbies. This becomes a great source of inspiration to the rest of the members.
A number of customers visits NPDA website with a goal of gaining information about various activities such as upcoming debates, the NPDA by-laws, copies of past debates and the like. Since this is a large organization, NPDA should have a community page because of the many people who access there site for a number of reasons. Creation of a community page makes the members or the fans to feel more involved in the events of this website. It also makes it easier for the administrators and the users to work together in developing the website.
OBJECTIVES FOR DESIGNING A COMMUNITY PAGE FOR NPDA
We have therefore seen that it is necessary for NPDA to design a community page in their website. Let as now get to the basics of designing these community page. For this page to be a success, it needs to focus on the desires of the prospective clients. For it to be attractive there should be a list of the various areas of interest that will motivate the different clients. On their layout, the pages should enable for ease of access for its users. It should have a review of all of the diverse categories of interest to offer the numerous customers a humble time to find their place. When developing, these pages, an attractive and easy to read design pattern should be chose. This is useful in creating a difference when it comes to the layout of the pages. This will make NPDA’s community page to be unique and not similar to other communities.
In order to make this community page more effective, here are some of the objectives that should be met;
Should have a tagline. This should be the first thing that a client sees after opening the page. It that case, it should be clear and apparent. If it is not admirable, few clients will be motivated to browse the inner pages.
Should have a site search. Site searches are very significant element on a website just like the taglines. The users find it easier to look for something by just typing keywords in the text fields.
No too much graphics. The designers should avoid use of a lot of graphics since it is not good for the users. In many cases, they mislead the customers. What is required is an appropriate use of these graphics.
Should have site maps. Site maps are fairly fresh in the world of web design. They enhance navigation on the pages. They also augment the search engines. The site map should be organized in a rank order.
Should have hyperlinks that are easy to click on. The hyperlinks which are meant for clicking should not be too small in size thus making them difficult to use. They should be reasonably large since this makes it easier for clients to move their curser on top of them and then click.
Pagination should be done correctly. If the content is too big, there should be pages that allow for the content to be divided among the different pages. This makes the pages to process and download faster. However, use of a lot of pagination where the content is smaller makes the search engine optimization to lack effectiveness since their use is diffused.
Should have appropriate copy. Copy means the text content on the pages. It is read by the clients meaning that it should be clear to the eyes for processing. It therefore makes this component very crucial in the design of these web pages. Since clients do not read everything on the pages, the design should ensure that key areas stand out by use of a larger fond, high contrast colors or icon.
As seen from the above evidence, designing a nice community page for NPDA has a lot to offer to both the clients and the organization. People with common views and interests can share a lot thereby growing both individually and career wise. Another useful aspect of this community is the ability to allow the user a choice of the kind of people he or she will want to connect with. For instance if you are a student, you just need to search for a student which you will join.
Spam will be a big problem for the community page just like it is to other communities. The probability for spam which can either be mischievous or unintentional is very immense. By making the community to be public, all sorts of people will join. They will post a number of things, some of which might not be good or desirable. Even though it is possible to detect and delete them, it becomes a challenge to keep track of them at all times. Making them private will not ensure the exploitation of the full potential of these communities. Another area of challenge is the invitations component. A lot of invites to other communities from friends or connects in this community are conceivable. The bad thing with this is that it becomes a bother to the users since they find invitations to communities that do not bear their own interest.
Community pages have become very popular even though they are still a new concept in web design. These communities are able to bring together people of common interest, enabling them to share experiences and knowledge. An organization like NPDA needs to have a community page since it has grown so much in the recent past to attract massive visitors who can engage with each other on this platform. Before designing this community page, NPDA needs to put some objectives into consideration such as appropriate pagination, copy, size of hyperlink and the like. Nevertheless, some problems such spam are expected to come on its way.