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Designing Young Composers

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So far, what are everyone's thoughts with the new site? Please answer the following:

1. Are you starting to feel more at home now?

2. Do you like our new functionality? Why?

3. Do you make use of some of our current networking abilities, such as searching for composers, browsing music, making connections?

4. Do you make use of the Instant Messenger?

5. One thing you like about the new site, and one thing you dislike.

I would also like suggestions from people on how to improve the website (putting aside minor design and bug issues). Currently, network profiles are in a stable, but very incomplete stage. However, this website was designed to be modular (it can be added on to in a cost effective way, now that the essentials are complete). It is your turn to design the network the way you feel would be fit for this community. All suggestions must be unique! A unique suggestion could be taking an existing idea, and expanding on it further. Answer a few of these questions mentally when submitting your ideas:

1. What can YC do to make its network widely used? For example, do we need a wall for increased usage of a user profile? Is there a better alternative to a "wall" for Young Composers?

2. Thinking to yourself, "What need of mine can be addressed with a new idea?"

3. "Is my idea self serving, or does it serve the community?"

4. "What unique idea can be implemented that no other website does as well or does at all?"

I will proceed with future development based on ideas from the community listed in this thread.

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1. Are you starting to feel more at home now?

No, frankly.

2. Do you like our new functionality? Why?

A lot of stuff doesn't work, there are too many hoops to jump for to do something simple. Just today I tried to change my avatar... Couldn't figure it out... I looked everywhere.

3. Do you make use of some of our current networking abilities, such as searching for composers, browsing music, making connections?

Honestly.... Not really.

4. Do you make use of the Instant Messenger?

That annoying gray bar at the bottom of my screen? Nope. Not once.

5. One thing you like about the new site, and one thing you dislike.

One thing I do like is the way the forum is being managed. I'll think about the dislike but I gotta go. bbq

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I'm glad you brought this up because I think its time to tell the truth about YC as a website. I've been either complaining to Jason or keeping mum but I'm just gonna let it all out now and you do with it what you will. I do hope you heed the community's concerns because the site may fall apart if you don't, which, sad to say, is almost what happened last December.

To start, I'll answer your questions directly.

1. Are you starting to feel more at home now?

Nope. I'm at home with the community, to a point, but the website? No way.

2. Do you like our new functionality? Why?

Yes and no. I think the network sucks as implemented currently. The forum is ok, but could use plenty of work.

3. Do you make use of some of our current networking abilities, such as searching for composers, browsing music, making connections?

Nope. Haven't used it once because its too clunky and all the "fields" for searching aren't very well thought out.

4. Do you make use of the Instant Messenger?

Only when forced. Sometimes Jason will IM me but I never solicit anyone to IM over YC. Seems like a pointless feature personally and makes the place look like a mediocre Facebook wannabe.

5. One thing you like about the new site, and one thing you dislike.

Like? The graphic in the header, and the people. Good people here. Dislike? A whole lota stuff.

Now to answer some of your suggestions questions directly:

1. What can YC do to make its network widely used? For example, do we need a wall for increased usage of a user profile? Is there a better alternative to a "wall" for Young Composers?

NO! Absolutely not. This place is not Facebook and will never be it. PLEASE don't go down that road, even though you already did... :(

2. Thinking to yourself, "What need of mine can be addressed with a new idea?"

Lots. We'll get to this in a moment.

3. "Is my idea self serving, or does it serve the community?"

That's a bit of an idiotic guide question because the community is self-serving. People want something that will benefit them before they ever care about it benefiting the community. Thus, the site has to do both. It has to be selfish and selfless at the same time. That may seem like an oxymoron, but it really isn't. For example, if I want to upload my composition, I want to be uploaded in my way. However, once its uploaded the way I wanted, the piece can serve the community, like in comments on pieces. They can all be shared and we can work together, as mutual colleagues in composition, to write better works. Work together to accomplish a personal goal while gaining something in the process. Selfish and selfless at the same time.

4. "What unique idea can be implemented that no other website does as well or does at all?"

Absolutely. In fact, that's what I'd love to focus on the most, what makes YC unique from other sites while still being within this decade (as in 2010s) technologically.

So now, some thoughts on the website as it stands:

The fundamental problem with this site is twofold, a) the site design is not technologically up to date and good to look at, and b) the site does not entice people to use it because it isn't very user-friendly. I'll echo Drake's comments when he said "Whoever designed the Network were fools." I agree with him because it was done in the wrong way, in so many different facets. I'll explain my reasoning as follows:

Young Composers has never been a "site" so much as a community. It is the people that come here every day to post pieces and interact with each other that make up the website. This is a fundamental rule of all internet interactions: without people behind those usernames there's no community and thus the site is dead. Another rule of internet interaction is that people must become regular members of the community at a certain place that they are willing to congreagate to, i.e. a website, an IM chat box, a social networking site, a video game server. They all come to a common place and interact, much like real life. This is obvious and rarely said, but it's something I think YC has forgotten sometimes. What YC misses is that the community makes up the site. Upon the change to the network system last December, the community was totally torn apart because the regular place that people wanted to come to was taken away from them; rule two kicked in. Hundreds left and their usernames became inactive, leading for rule one to kick in. The site almost died; I was scared it might. But a few loyal people kept it up and running and very slowly YC recuperated and the damage was slowly healed. But we are never going to see the glory days of yore unless we seriously reposition ourselves as a site that people want to be at. And before Jason comes harping in about that uploads are greater than ever, I'm not talking about uploads, I'm talking about hardcore community interaction, which has waned ever since the new site.

Currently, I don't come here for the website, hardly. I come here for the people, what few (though growing) number we have; there are some great people here to meet. But for the site itself? Heck, I avoid it if I can, simply because it isn't user-friendly. And besides, compared to other sites out there, this one falls flat technologically by an incredible margin. The network doesn't work as it was intended, and with right reason, because it doesn't work very well. The wiki is in shambles; in fact, it was always in shambles, it was never really top-notch in quality. The forums are quite devoid of any serious discussion these days: one new thread a day tops, often not even that much. Back in the day we had 10-15 a day. How could that happen? YC forgot the community. We were forgotten because the site changed to the point where we didn't want to come back here again. There were not-so-loyal people who were gonna say "Screw this, I'm out" and left. On the technological side of things, it fell apart, and the community followed it right down to the depths.

Was this all part of the upgrade to the network? Well, yes, in a way. The vision for the network, as I understood it, would be a social networking site for composers, where they could post music and share pieces, talk to other composers all over the world, and showcase their music. Talk on IM, PM, wall posts, sort of like a hybrid between SibeliusMusic.com and Facebook. Well, that didn't exactly happen. We were required, check that, forced to use the new network thingy and lots of us blew a stink about that. Furthermore, the site was slow, looked incredibly ugly, and wasn't very pleasant with all these new rules and regulations by trident-touting new admins and staff who wanted everyone to obey and bow down. Indeed, it probably wasn't exactly like that but that's what it felt like. I detested the new changes for all those reasons, but more because I had had a past experience with this sort of thing.

The reason I detested the network's change so much was because of what happened to SibeliusMusic.com a couple years back. We had a loyal group of people who frequented the forums and we had a small community. The people there would post their pieces on SibeliusMusic through their system with the Scorch plugin and all was fine and dandy. The site wasn't state-of-the-art, but we were ok with that. It was a nice little home. Once Sibelius 5 was released, however, everything changed. The total playback engine of Sibelius was rebuilt and Scorch had to thus be completely rebuilt too. They screwed it up big time because it was new technological territory for them and they weren't exactly thinking ahead a few paces before they released stuff. Then, someone at HQ had the bright idea of redoing the entire SibeliusMusic site. This killed it for most of us. They started a beta, which is the right thing to do, and it was ok. But then they released it to the world and everything broke. The site was slow, it was ugly, it was sometimes not even functional, and it strained the community incredibly. I left, even though I was what you could call a loyal member of that site. The site was just no longer pleasant to be a part of. There were technological problems left and right and it started to deter the promotion of my music, so I took everything off of there and left. Granted, by that time I had set up by own new website and transfered everything onto there, so it was pretty seamless for me, but I was dismayed that I had to leave.

What I saw last December was YC going down a similar route. YC, being a much more valuable resource than SibeliusMusic ever was, garnered my loyalty and I kept it this time. However, I won't take it sitting down that YC is being managed by people who don't know what they're doing. The network was designed wrongly from the start, mostly because we didn't really find out what it was like until it was forced on us. A major upgrade like that needs a solid beta stage of AT LEAST six months, but you couldn't do that. The new network was forced on everyone almost right away and it was barely out of an alpha stage testing. At least thats what it seemed like. There was sloppy code, bugs, major errors, bad functionality, ugly design, a whole lot of bad news. I almost left, almost. But I was willing to wait it out and see if you would fix it. Luckly you did, sorta, and very slowly, I might add. BUT, what does the past have to do with where we are? Nothing really, just puts into context of why I feel the way I do and what I want to say about the site now.

We have a problem with this site today in that it has an incredible identity crisis. Its not sure what it wants to be. Is it a forum? A social networking site? A place to store music? A youtube? A facebook? A soundclick? etc. etc. Personally, I think its trying to be all of these, and that just doesn't work. The common factor between all successful websites is that they grab (or even create) a community, serve *that* community, and they stick to ONE thing. YouTube has been successful because it has stuck to dealing with videos. It didn't suddenly go off and deal with uploading of PDFs and mp3s. It dealt specifically with videos, and the community associated with videobloggers and their ilk. Facebook has been successful because it focused on social networking and only that. It didn't go off and focus on mail-order bride services or car washes, it was strictly limited to social networking. And that's how it became the largest website in the world.

Granted, YC will never be Facebook because its purpose is too focused and its community too small. However, that's not such a bad thing if you do it well. In the grand scheme of things YouTube is a pretty focused site too (though they have branched out a bit); Scribd is even more focused. YC can be a great website being focused on what it is meant to do: serve the community of young composers, plain and simple. It should not be a social networking site, not some place to organize works, not be some place to get information, no, only a place that serves young composers.

But wait, aren't all those things a part of serving young composers? Well, yes, but they aren't serving us right now. This "social network" that Mike so desperately tried to create never became that because of technological hurdles. The network was designed poorly from the start and, in my humble opinion, should be completely rethought from top to bottom. It has some good elements to it, now that most of the bugs have been exterminated. However, the implementation of the network, as it stands now, just does not work.

I'll stop complaining now and instead offer a grand solution. It, of course, isn't perfect, but is a start to brining this place up to speed with normal websites around the internet.

My proposal: to reformat Young Composers in a far more dramatic way than you tried to do the last time and do it right. A lot of what I propose is already here and even working well, it just needs to be altered so the entire site is consistent and working for composers as effectively as possible.

See this lovely little chart I made up in Word. It shows a general hierarchy for the site's pages/topics. There's a few holes (such as in instrumentations of reviews) that could easily be filled in and are pretty self-explanatory.


Direct link here b.c the big thing is hard to read on the screen: Direct Link to YC Chart

As you can see, there's five different subdomains for YC. The homepage would be a completely new page that's designed for easy access to the other parts of YC. Here's a simple sketch:


On the left is an "about" box with a short gist of what YC is about, then boxes containing links to the 5 subdomains and short descriptions. The login is on the left. Simple, clean, and efficient. This is the biggest component of what YC is missing, a logical homepage that sends new users to what they need and fast.

Every user would have a site-wide profile, not one for wall posts, but one for showing a picture, basic information, and contact info (the most important). These would be accessible from clicking the username for each person.

The current "network" would be renamed "Music" and all the compositions would be uploaded there. The current forum would be split into two separate domains, one for reviews and one for everything else. This allows reviewers to clearly have a space designated as their own and that area, not necessarily a forum structure, would probably be similar to the setup we have now. All reviews on specific pieces would go there and people could discuss specific pieces there. Users would upload pieces in the "Music" area at will, and then all of them would automatically be processed and given a tag for review in the "Reviewers" area. The pieces would then be ranked in a hierarchical order of importance of review: pieces that didn't have any reviews after a certain period of time would be bumped up and pieces with many, and quality reviews would be ranked down. Every time there is a review, the composer would be notified in their PM box or by other means of notification if they so desire. The pieces will be sorted into their respective instrumentation "subforums" to help with organization according to their metadata that the user would provide upon upload. This would streamline the Reviewing process for reviewers and eliminate the need for "searching" for pieces to review. (This might be a good opportunity to bring back the "Major Works" forum though that's a whole other animal.) So the Music and Reviewers page would be quite intertwined but exclusive in their purpose. Music would be showcasing music while Reviewing would be reviews OF that music.

Then, everything else from the current forums page, from Composer's Headquarters to Off-Topic would go under the "Forum" subdomain. This area would serve as the center of the community and, as such, should get the most attention in that regard. If people want to converse about Beethoven, Atonality, Politics, Religion, Emotocons, or Egg Foo Young, they can all come here. The shoutbox would stay (since its become an integral part of the community), and would probably not change in function (though the functionality would HAVE to change since its hard to work with currently). Discussion should thrive here and people should be able to make connections here.

The tutorials would have their own dedicated space and forum. They would be divided into subcategories pertaining to topics and these would be called "Masterclasses." There would be an "Orchestration Masterclass" which would have all the tutorials pertaining to Orchestration grouped together in a coherent manner. They would be written as one big unit rather than haphazard stuff and Teachers would have to collaborate to make it cohesive. The tutorial structure would also be customizable to any particular teacher's demands so that different subjects could have different forms of organization as the Teacher sees fit. These tutorials would also be interactive with exercises and media etc.

Finally, the Wiki would be a Wikipedia-esque database of information for composers. This could be derived from the tutorials, from other internet sites, personal research, anything reliable. This database would be geared towards composers, young composers who need quick reference material of the ranges of instruments, musical definitions, form examples, pieces of a particular composer, or other bits of information useful to composers. This wiki would be a great resource for the community.

All the pages should have a similar "style" but each should probably have a different color scheme to differentiate them. I would even make the colors of the staff members' names match up with these color schemes. OR, they could all be the same color and be customizable as to the color scheme according to the user. This is up to how customizable to community wants it.

The entire site would have a "Web 3.0" feel where most everything would be movable according to the user. This is inspired by YouTube's "movable boxes" where all the "widgets" or "modules" are movable according to the user's fancy. I think each user's dashboard page (the page with all the latest news and updated content) should have this feature. Users should be able to customize their profiles (to a point; we don't want this to become Myspace :) ).

In regard to staff, there would be individual staff members for each section of the site. The music page may have staff but if its completely automated, little human interaction will be necessary. The Reviews page would have, obviously, Reviewers. The Forum page would have Moderators. The Tutorials page would have Teachers. The Wiki page would have Editors. This is much like the scheme we have now except Moderators do not trump everyone else. They will be exclusive to the forum. The Administrators will have control over the entire site and be responsible for site-wide operations and Staff appointments.

Notice that a huge chunk of this already exists, its just not cohesive. That's what makes a great site, having quality content put in a cohesive and logical setting. It is a grand scheme and obviously couldn't be implemented all at once. But given time, energy, some proper developers, and some input from the community, this place could REALLY soar as an amazing resource for composers on the internet. All we have to do is try and make it amazing! Lets work together to create something great and use our common passion for Music for the better! :)

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1. Are you starting to feel more at home now?

Yes and No. Yes because overall this place looks exactly the same as it did 5 years ago. No, because you suck.

2. Do you like our new functionality? Why?

The problem is that no one really knows what to do with the function. I recently discovered the whole friend thing and added people. When I chat with maelster on it and close it it ask me if "I want to live the session" LIVE come on! Fix that typo! Plus, I hate closing the chat instead of minimizing it. Which brings me to another point, I know I can minimize friends online list after clicking on it again, but it doesn't hurt to have the x - option on top because people are in the habit of looking at things there.

And that's another point. You claim this site is a social network, but honestly it looks exactly just like a forum. OK, you can add friends and chat, but that's hardly a social network. Physicsforums offers what this forum can do (minus the chat) but probably has a more together and active community. There's a number of reasons (better management), but the most striking one is that when they do updates...they work and basically have subforums for everything a person needs.

Plus, this whole on the wire thing. I don't like checking people's page to see if they changed status. Why isn't it fed to me? It really isn't on the wire if I got to go to their page to see it. And seriously...who uses it? Lastly, the wall looks ugly. It isn't even a wall, it's just a comment page on a profile...like every other forum has now. Why do you even call this place a social network. It's lame!

3. Do you make use of some of our current networking abilities, such as searching for composers, browsing music, making connections?WhAT NETWORKING ABILITIES! You can add friends, join groups...ok. Every forum has that now a days. You aint selling me something awesome (yet you paid for this...so it's kinda sad.) I can't really say I use search from composer or browse music. I stick to the policy of listen when asked. However, making connections. I don't think your site helps with that per se. I think the fact that a site exist where composers come together is what makes the connection. I don't believe your site helps in making those connections other than existing.

4. Do you make use of the Instant Messenger?I do, but I don't like how I have to close the session instead of minimize. It should be able to minimize and flash when the user replied.

5. One thing you like about the new site, and one thing you dislike.I like m4. He's cool. I dislike you. You're not cool.

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1. Are you starting to feel more at home now?

Yes and no. Yes because we're getting more members and more activity than one the site was first launched. Also yes because we're slowly approaching the old site design we had but with more powerful software. No because there's still a lot of work to be done in the design. There are just too many little bugs and errors that make this place still feel like a test site. It's really distracting and keeps me from using certain parts of the site such as the music browser, the wire, I can't even use my dashboard because I have a space in my name, which is ridiculous.

2. Do you like our new functionality? Why?

I like the potential, but I don't think it's quite reached yet. Like above, there are a lot of little minor kinks that I believe should be sorted out. The notifications idea is brilliant, but it's buggy. The music browser page is neat, but it doesn't list the composers or the date posted or rating of the compositions listed - this could easily be addressed. Also, a lot of the new functions are confusingly labelled or redundant. Like the "Browse" function. It's really a search function for composers. Why wasn't this combined into the main search function of the site? It should be. Also, using the search bar on the forum searches the forum. Using it on the network searches the network. That's nice, but this is really annoying. It should be one search with tabbed results: Music, Composers/Members, Forum topics, Wiki articles. Something like that would be the pot of gold end all solution. Likewise with the redundancy, we have the wire, we have activity, and notifications. I think this should be all one thing. Activity. It shows your notifications off to the side, and it shows sitewide activity and wire posts as two tabbed choices. There you go. All three functions on one dynamic page. Is this what the dashboard does? I don't know... mine's broken. :dry:

3. Do you make use of some of our current networking abilities, such as searching for composers, browsing music, making connections?

Not really. There are a lot of formatting errors that are discouraging me from using this as a social network. Searching for composers and music, formatting errors like I mentioned above (browse displays works, their composers, date posted, rating) and when I search composers or the entire site the main name of the entry should be in bold and maybe different colours for different sorts of results. Just make stuff look pretty. When things looks pretty it makes people want to play with them. When things are still formatted to barebones and there are typos and this and that, people stray away from them because they look underdeveloped.

4. Do you make use of the Instant Messenger?

Duh. I don't like how you have to "friend" somebody just to instant chat with them, but whatever. Chat itself is okay. I don't like how it says "Chat sessions 20219423098049" when a convo has ended. I don't like how you have to click on the chat name to minimise it. Can't you just put a minimise button? That's what we all look for. And put the close button next to it, too. That's much more intuitive.

5. One thing you like about the new site, and one thing you dislike.

I like the music management system - tags, genres, styles, etc. Dead fun. But I can't really use it because of reasons mentioned above concerning the browser.

Additional comments

How to get more use out of the social network? Well, first off fix it so posts/comments display properly on the network when viewing compositions. Seems like 80% of people are still browsing music using the forum. The lack of line breaks and parse of quote blocks and etc is really annoying and that contributes to why I don't use the network to browse music as much.

Too many things to pay attention to! "HERE, new guidelines!" "READ here to see how our site works!" "LOOK, check out this outline on the wiki!" Just... WOW. Too easy to get lost in all the help and guidelines and site tutorial. I know your working hard on covering everything, but can it be condensed? Can it be searchable... using the search bar? You mostly use the wiki for portals and guidelines and rules and such, but they're just on so many pages and it's like a 500 page manual to go with joining the website. Not to mention the welcome page for new members.

Homepage is not representative of the entire site. First of all, design wise. I think this is simple as colour scheme and css border and all that jazz, but the forum and wiki just don't match the network or vice-versa. It may not seem big, but it really hampers the site-wide unity I know you are trying to achieve.

It's noble to feature newly registered members on the homepage, but is it really necessary to have that much acreage devoted to the cause? On the old forum it just said "Welcome to our newest member, yaddayadda." Well, why just bring that back, but list ten most recent members (actual "name, comma, name, comma..."-style). Yes, I mean take away the avatar picture. Most newly registered members won't have an avatar yet. Lot of members even never get one. No use wasting homepage real estate on blank faces. So in short, just put an abbreviated form of this new members box below or above the online users box. (speaking of which, the text in that box is huge on the network... )

Latest activity box/section. To conserve and make better use of space, I'd suggest removing this box all together and sticking with the online users like this:

Music uploads per day: 17 | Registered Today: 4 | 2088 Media are Uploded (uh, typo... )

I copy pasted those and just put them horizontal which is more space saving. Notice the capitilisation inconsistency and how the last item isn't the same format (should be Media uploaded: #). Again, I think you should actually take care of details so people have room, time, and energy to get to complaining about bigger things.

Now what to do with the freed space? Have a box for tutorials. Have a box for the wiki. Featured competition, featured article, featured tutorial, possibly bring featured profile back too. Latest or hottest items in the store. All golden. You already have a box devoted to latest forum posts, so that covers everything.

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Thank you for all your comments, and I am strongly considering everything being said. Is there anyone who is a decent designer, who would like to take a shot at helping me design YC?

I am considering applying the following to the site, after doing some research about current web design trends:

1. Static "fixed" center, not a re-sizable center.

2. Narrow header.

3. Better usage of white space, and possibly different website colors.

4. Better looking logo.

5. Cleaner overall design - Simplicity

6. Fix html/css browser bugs for a faster, cleaner experience.

As far as functionality goes, I am considering the following:

1. Static homepage closely matching Tokke's layout.

2. Take what is currently on the homepage, and place that content elsewhere (perhaps on everyone's dashboard).

3. Make YC a private network (only logged in individuals can view content on the network).

4. When logged in, everyone's homepage will BE a dashboard. www.youngcomposers.com will be a private feed of some sort (tracking forum posts, music uploads, comments).

I think with the above changes, especially the design issues being fixed, this should increase user experience. If anyone would like to work with me on a design for YC, let me know :) Thanks for the feedback so far.

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I willing to work with you since I know stuff regarding HTML/CSS, however, I won't be much help on the raw code stuff such as php and Java since I'm not familiar with those languages. But conceptually and figuring out how things should look I can eagerly help with. :) Getting what you want into code, however, will require some actual experts.

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I think many of the bugs right now that exist are CSS bugs, and this is contributing to some of our design flaws. The developers I have on tab specialize in "raw code", functionality, and lighter design. Ideally, for best results, I would have to pay for two sets of people, developers, and designers. Of course both are expensive, and the developers are crucial for the functionality.

I'd be grateful if I can be provided suggested design layouts for each page of this site. Then with the layouts, I can take these layouts to an actual web designer and ask him/her to create mockups in photshop. With these mockups, I would then have to provide them to the developers who would piece everything together. What makes it so hard to design this site, is that it is powered by a complex system, not straight up html.

So, I will take you up on your offer. I know James is helping as well. Here is the list of pages on the network, that would have to be addressed. We may even merge some of the functions on these pages into a feed, to simplify the site, so keep that in mind as well:

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Okay, so here are my new sketches. Chopin and I discussed this - that we've come a long way as a site and it's a good thing that we've done everything we have because now we can see how much of it we wanted, how much of it we could condense, and if anything was missing. Yeah, we should probably still be in beta, but, we're not. So let's see what still needs done for the next time we decide to fix things up.

First, new homepage sketch.


That's full size, I made the sketches small.

First, notice how we can salvage the current banner by condensing. See how I changed it to make it less tall.

Second, check out the primary and secondary navigation bars. This will NOT change throughout the site. The secondary navbar can have more on it (like CoC, link to About YC/history), but other than that I suggest this is what appears across every subdomain of the site (except the store). If you don't see a link on the main nav, it means I've decided to get rid of it or combine it with something else.

Third, notice how all the boxes are red. This reflects various colour schemes available to the user. Default would be brown, then there should be red, blue, green, maybe a few more.

Fourth, each section has it's own devoted div. This makes the homepage highly customisable if we ever wanted to add or remove or move things around.

Fifth, this is basically a realisation of Tokke's design layout. Each major section of the site is outlined in a very brief paragraph, as is the site itself as a whole up top. The uploaded compositions box is pretty self explanatory - only a minute difference from the one that exists today.

Sixth, the Site statistics box at bottom should exist on all pages of the network and forum. Consider it the site footer. It will consists of Online/Active users, the Staff legend, Music uploads per day, Upload count, List of newly registered members.

Following is the Profile sketch.


First, obviously the login fields at top welcome will actually be the user panel instead.

Second, notice that this is configured as "My profile". If I were viewing for instance Tokke's profile, instead of "My uploads" it would say "Tokkemon's uploads".

Second and a half, instead of the four options below the avatar (could be five, add "Change icon/avatar"), there are enough room for six if we need them. If I were viewing Tokke's profile instead of my own, the options there would be "Add friend" "Instant chat" "Send PM" "List friends" "User playlist" "List auctions". Additionally, where Tokke's status is, instead of an edit button, there would be a Comment button and would drop down a comment box. After typed, it would display "Comment posted."

Third, the box that displays Member rank, Total space, Space left, and etc. would be moved to the Account page, accessible from the secondary navbar at all times.

Fourth, "About" and "Statistics" are just the two main boxes that already appear our profiles today.

Fifth, "Recent visitors" is relocated to the left. Small avatar, then username. Usernames should be coloured according to their staff position.

Sixth, "View Topics/Posts" will be a much taller box than it is today. On clicking "Click to view... " it will expand.

Seventh, Fans and Favourite composers list small avatar, followed by username (coloured by staff). Favourited works lists composer and composition title by most recently favourited and has a link to the full page. This and the link below the main profile avatar are the two places one can view the full Playlist of favourited works.

Eighth, about the comments box, I hate to say it, but this would be a bit like a Facebook wall, except only for comments. If somebody said "I really like your profile picture, is that a Gibson?" somebody else could comment ON that comment (as shown in the sketch) "Looks like a Les Paul to me..."

Lastly, the Uploads section. Genre/style on the left, then composition name, then on the right the current rating. If all the user's uploaded compositions do not fit in this box, there is a "View more... " link. Upon click, the box expands downwards to reveal the entire list.

The feed:


Doesn't necessarily need to be called "Feed", but that's what it is - a feed. This is a combination of the pages we have today: Activity, The Wire, and Notifications. It has three filters, Global, Private, and Notifications. Notifications is only stuff like "Blahblah commented on your composition" "8 people rated your composition" "Soandso commented on your profile" "Joeblow added your as a friend, accept/ignore". The global option displays the activity of all members on the site. I have examples of the different things you would expect to see. I don't think we need any more than the type of items I give as examples. The private filter is the same as global, but it only displays the activity of people you added as friends.


This is mostly for chopin, because this is my vision as to how we could condense many of the network pages into just a few concise, dynamic pages. If anybody sees any issues or holes in this plan, feel free to speak up. If you'd like to know what happened to a certain page that exists currently and doesn't exist in my sketch, ask, I probably thought about it already. I'd like to see something like this happen since chopin does seem like he wants another build of the site.

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This is mostly for chopin, because this is my vision as to how we could condense many of the network pages into just a few concise, dynamic pages. If anybody sees any issues or holes in this plan, feel free to speak up. If you'd like to know what happened to a certain page that exists currently and doesn't exist in my sketch, ask, I probably thought about it already. I'd like to see something like this happen since chopin does seem like he wants another build of the site.

Well of course he doesn't! He spent a lot of money on it and I don't blame him for trying to get his money's worth. However, I think in the long run, a site designed as one cohesive whole will be necessary for the site to survive.

Nice job on the sketches BTW.

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I have a question for the community - something else we're considering is dashboard vs. homepage. When a guest views www.youngcomposers.com, they see the homepage as I sketched it above in my post according to Tokke's idea. However, when you log in to the site, www.youngcomposers.com is instead the dashboard, which displays feeds - what is going own among your friends and what notifications you've received. I think this is what chopin is suggesting to me, I could be a little off.

I have an opinion on this, but I'm not going to explain it - what do you guys think?

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I have a question for the community - something else we're considering is dashboard vs. homepage. When a guest views www.youngcomposers.com, they see the homepage as I sketched it above in my post according to Tokke's idea. However, when you log in to the site, www.youngcomposers.com is instead the dashboard, which displays feeds - what is going own among your friends and what notifications you've received.

I have an opinion on this, but I'm not going to explain it - what do you guys think?

They do it like that on FB where if you're logged in, you see the dashboard rather than the homepage because it redirects. I like it better that way personally. I thought of the homepage as a type of "invitation", if you will, to get new users to come into the site and get involved.

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I feel there is one big area in which this site is wasting potential. YC is a quit rich accumuliation of new works, but all pieces just falls in one big hole of endless forum pages. Even the best of pieces are burried after a while. It would be great if all these pieces would be presented in a clarifying way to people who visit this forum in search of new music.

A way to present to interested visitors, (potential)members and even those with bissiness purposes is to make charts. Their is a vast amount of composers visiting these forums who are all more or less capable of criticizing a piece, so a chart would be a way of showing the above mentioned people what pieces we all think are good.

If the pieces stay in their catagories there will be no bias in that direction. So my proposition is a sub-page in which the pieces are listed based on the amount of positive ratings they have accumulated.

I know and reconize that this is art and it isn't a popularity contest, but on the other hand it will be a good way to represent our capabilities to outsiders and to make new music more accesible.

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I am posting this because I feel my views are not being heard by the admins of this site. I am not "a baby in a pram that wants her own way" I just feel that the views I am expressing are similar to those of other members here and continually ideas of the new site are being forward to move this site in a direction that would mean, if YC was a TV show, we would be "jumping the shark."

When I first joined YC it was for one reason - I was at University and I was the only one in my year that seen gun-hoe about being a composer. During my time, here I have not been constantly here because of how real life turned out. But when I first joined, it was because I was a composer and I wanted to be able to discuss stuff related to composition and improve with other composers.

What I put in bold is the key reason I am here. I am not hear because I want to be connected with lots of different members and have a message on a news feed come through every time they do something. Yes, I am interested if they have a new piece but I don't want their, or others, music shoved in my face constantly.

The problem is that the way Chopin has been describing his ideas is that he wants to add things like a news feed, like and dislike buttons and so on - things that would make us a social network. Basically, in Shoutbox, my reckoning is that he has jumped on the "FB hype" train and we, as a site, are heading toward being a FB clone at 100 miles an hour.

We are not a Social Network and if Young Composers want to succeed in making its a website for composers then, in my opinion, YC has to go back to its roots and the staff have to stop thinking about going down the social network route right now before more money is wasted. In the very much majority, I agree with Tokke's post before so focusing solely on music showcasing and raising the profile of the site, here are some of my ideas which have NOTHING to do with Facebook.

Showcase Our Composers

There is on the Wiki a section of Composer profiles. It has been with us for years (mines rather dated now) but the emphasis has moved on the profiles which have very limited customization options. If you want to showcase us then let us have our say without restricting us to like the profiles do.

Suggestion - Update the profile section to allow people to view a custom style page - i.e like the Wiki style profiles but easier to make and personalize - where on the left hand side or top of the page there are options to

- Send a message to the composer

- Add as friend (since that idea isn't going away)

- View their music (links to threads with their music)

so on

Suggestion - Composer Section We have Music section up there - why not a composer section? We use to have Composers of the Month. Lets bring them to the forefront of the section. So the homepage would link into the profiles of composers who had uploaded pieces in the last X hours with the headliner being the composer of the month/week (featuring their a pic from the profile, a short bio and then link to a recent piece) We could also highlight composers who "win" the mini competitions on here for their pieces. Make actually winning something worthwhile.

Raising the profile

YC is a Composition site for Young Composers ... yet we are very isolated from other sites and organisations that could help with promoting the music of our members.

Suggestions - Get funding grants or sponsorship or partner with a Composers organization This is not my suggestion fully but the feeling was YC is an educational site and could get money as grants. I am going to go one step further and say why not try to get an arrangement with some organization out there (research needed) that would raise the profile of the site while helping the members i.e. a society or organisation that once a month has a "organized chat" involving the members and for example, Joe Bloggs a professional tuba player who can answer members questions about the tuba and discuss his experience with playing, for example, the common errors composers make etc.

Suggestion - Beef up the educational side of YC If YC began beefing up the educational side. We have had a wiki for years, why not modernize it? Make it designed as a study section. Think about Sparknotes.com - they have a huge variety of educational material plus a forum and even publish revision guides. We shouldn't go too mad with the educational stuff but more people will come to the site if they can get something out of it. This would also tie into the above suggestion because if YC goes a tad more educational than social network, I am sure someone out there would be interested in giving us some money.

These ideas have come from about half an hour worth of sitting by more computer and seriously considering our position ... where we were before this site when mad and what we were good at. Notice none of the above are things which are completely new - they are just building on the foundation that we have. Even the third suggestion which would be a noticeable difference has roots in this site - we have "teachers" and we have a "store" but this would just move us in the direction of raising our profile. Do that and we won't need to be a FB clone.

Chopin and the guys that control the future of this site seem to be fixed on making this site another FB. I am not saying my suggestions are the answer but I reckon if you take all the mainstream sites, FB, YouTube etc out of the picture and think, then ideas will emerge that are more inline with what our forte is.

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