Home NewsDevelopment What happened in February and what we’re doing in March 2015

What happened in February and what we’re doing in March 2015

by James

We’ve been wondering how best to communicate what we’ve been working on, what’s currently being worked on and what we have planned in. In the past we’ve tried weekly video updates, which seemed popular but weren’t easy to keep short and pithy. So we thought we would try a monthly update here on the blog – we would really welcome your thoughts on the format as our aim is to keep you in the loop.

Firstly, this is our task board, loosely based on a kanban board. It documents the tasks, in as ‘discrete’ a way as we can, as they go from research to development, review, acceptance and deploy. There’s a heap of writing around agile ways of working and I’m not going to go into it here – but we try to be agile in the way we work to be as productive as we can be (being a small team of mainly part-time staff). The tasks to the left are the backlog – tasks ready to bring in when we have the resources to do so. These backlog tasks are organised by ‘feature request’ and ‘bug / issue’.

folksy board march

In the last month the main tasks we’ve been working on are:

  1. Undertaking user testing among buyers and sellers – the main findings of which are: search needs to be more obvious; section pages need to be improved to support browsing (not goal-orientated search); shipping dates are too ambiguous for buyers who want to know when something will be delivered.
  2. Reworking the server architecture to better manage SSL certificates (we’re about to deploy a froxy server as the front end, which will host the SSL certificate).
  3. Getting the homepage elements into the beta app (our development environment has an older Alpha codebase and a newer Beta codebase and we’re migrating different aspects of folksy.com to the newer codebase, bit by bit). So far the smorgasbord and the drop-down nav have been done (using the JS test framework).
  4. I’ve been researching community investment and community businesses.
  5. Camilla attended the excellent Sprint Feverbee workshop and conference which discussed best practice community practices and we’re working on practical ways we can enable buyers and sellers to organise groups.
  6. Squashing bugs: banner resizing issues; adding scroll to the ‘buying from me’ field, making the basket more obvious in mobile view (it was hidden in the menu), fixing button wrapping in android / mobile chrome, fixing a postage fees bug on non-UK shipping.
  7. Updating our GoCardless integration.
  8. Reviewing search performance (seeing how items and shops are represented in Google).
  9. Launching and running “Twitter Hour” which in its second week was the second most significant trending item on Twitter, second to some big scandal on EastEnders (that I know nothing about as I don’t watch Eastenders but see from a quick google search that it involved someone called Lucy. Poor Lucy.)
  10. Working out a framework to test JavaScript and implementing it.
  11. Integrating search terms into sitemaps (code implemented, although we’ve not pushed the terms, yet).

Of course, there are a ton of things I haven’t listed that we do on a regular basis (marketing activity, support tickets etc) and we’ve taken these as a given, even though they are very important.

Coming up in March

  1. We’re having a review of the service, to see how we can improve the way folksy.com is seen, especially by people searching on Google (we follow best practice in SEO but wanted to have a review of what we could be doing that may have a positive impact).
  2.  Tom Stafford is working with me on analytics and data (he’s spending the next 2-3 months as our Data Scientist in Residence) and he’s going to be blogging about some of the things the data tells us about how people shop on Folksy.
  3. We’re going to start work on bringing tags / keywords back into Folksy. If you have a long memory you might remember that we stopped using tags back in 2012 as they were becoming unwieldy to manage and maintain. But they were popular and we know they can help support browsing around Folksy and now we have a strategy to make it relatively easy to maintain them. It’s a small thing but we’re really excited by it.
  4. Planning a way to help groups within Folksy self-organise (teams / groups are something we’re really keen to support). This may bleed into April, but the process will start this month.
  5. Camilla is undertaking a workshop on events – to help us work out how we can support sellers in their offline activity and what should follow the successful Folksy Summer School and Folksy Workshops.

If you have any suggestions for features you would like to see implemented on Folksy, you can add your ideas and vote for others on our Knowledge Base >>

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Sue Bentley March 4, 2015 - 5:35 pm

Great idea to tell us in this way what you’ve been up to – I had a great Folksy February and its good to know what goes on behind the scenes!. Some of the tasks, you’ve explained, in ways I understand, why the task matters to Folksy and, therefore, ultimately matters to me. I’m afraid I’m not very technical and the importance to me, as a Folksy user, of some of the other points has not been expressed in a way which I can fully grasp. Technical Folksy users probably appreciate the tech-speak, could you please just spell out the relevance to those of us less clued up.

Sue Bentley March 4, 2015 - 5:37 pm

PS. Keywords!! Yay!!! Welcome back ASAP – thank you!

Helen Smith March 5, 2015 - 3:56 pm

It’s good to know what you’re working on, and I’m really pleased you’re thinking of bringing back tags. I’ve found it pretty impossible to write concise descriptions for my ffflowers and yet still include all the relevant terms that I know buyers search for, without sounding really artificial.

Gwin Kerry March 5, 2015 - 10:13 pm

Yup! Like this format for letting us know what you’re all up to at Folksy HQ. Didn’t understand half of it but that’s by the by – The bits I did understand were interesting ;)

Elaine March 6, 2015 - 11:39 am

Oh my, and I thought my “to do” list as pretty long. I love your post-it note board – great to see so many in the “DONE” section. I admire you all for your dedicated hard work, especially as you say many of you are part timers – you are all doing fabulously. Brilliant that the keywords are coming back, that’s really good news. Thank you all. Elaine

Lucy Bramley March 9, 2015 - 8:11 am

Love the update blog postings, it’s a really inclusive way of communicating. Also glad about the tags – be interesting to hear more about what analytics we can access on tags in future.
Keep up the good work!

Sarah Cryer March 10, 2015 - 8:55 am

My other job is in IT development so as well as understanding what changes are coming up for my shop it’s really interesting to see how you work. Your board is very busy, and great to see it used across the organisation as well as on the IT side, I think I may suggest it to my business team….. Oh and I’m always happy to help with UAT. Keep up the good work!

What happened in March and what we're doing in April - Folksy BlogFolksy Blog April 8, 2015 - 11:38 am

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