theljstaff (theljstaff) wrote in lj_2008,
theljstaff
theljstaff
lj_2008

Update to Development Priorities

Back in March we provided you with our Development Priorities for 2008, and updated you on the progress we made on the original 100 day plan. We also mentioned we would continue to engage with the community on future plans, and in subsequent updates talked about the Advisory Board elections (April) and Basic Account proposals (July). Thanks to everyone who gave us feedback on all our previous entries. We have read all of your feedback (every single comment), and discussed much that you have put forth with regards to Basic Accounts. We know a lot of you have been awaiting our decision on Basic Accounts, so watch this space for an announcement August 14, 2008. Any changes to Basic Accounts will also affect how we deal with Basic Communities, so you can also expect an update on that.

Our goal on today’s post, though, is to update you on our service performance and product roadmap both in terms of what has been done to date, and what we have planned for the rest of 2008. We know you always hear how we are investing in our services, in performance, product features, and functionality, so we want to share our timeline for some of the more anticipated pieces. This way you can help keep us honest and focused.

First, here is a recap of the development priorities we mentioned in the March update, with a status report on each. You will see that many have broadened in scope to include new product features and enhancements happening through the rest of 2008.


SERVICE PERFORMANCE


  • Speed and performance - we started using a global CDN (Content Delivery Network) partner, and already achieved a global speed-up of userpic and static content delivery by an average factor of 2x-4x. Enabling compression for JavaScript and CSS allowed us to further increase the speed with which the LJ pages load. We are in process of purchasing servers to be installed at our new co-location facility in Montana. As part of this process, we will be replacing the old equipment with new, more energy-efficient and higher-performance equipment.
  • Back-up – as part of our colo move, we have designed and will implement a remote location in the US for offsite data storage.
  • Search – we are still working on improving search, and have made it a priority for the rest of the year. We are working on three feature sets: a friend search on the site through public email addresses to allow new users to find their friends already on LiveJournal (September), MyJournal search for Paid users, which allows you to search within your journal, and site-wide improved search for interests, tags, and more (December).


PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT:

  • Engage new users – with all the work we have done over the course of the year to update the site and satisfy our current users, this has honestly taken a back seat to date, but we still have this on our radar.
  • Audio-visual – we are nearing completion of updating the Rich Text Editor for release later this month, but significant improvements to AV posting has been postponed this year as we feel there is more basic functionality (such as search) that we should be concentrating on for the rest of the year.
  • Community platforms – since Release #31, OpenID users with verified email addresses can comment in journals where once only “registered users” could comment.
  • Statistics – this has already been launched for Cyrillic users as a trial service. We plan to roll out parts of the stats package, such as the “My Guests” feature and ratings by the end of the year for all users.
  • Development Center - lj_labs  has been launched as a showcase for internally and externally developed tools and services that integrate with LiveJournal. In addition, we are committed to the integration of OpenSocial throughout our site to improve the customizability of LiveJournal and allow our developer community to create new features that anyone can use. We will be adding new public APIs to support this effort.
  • Account structure – we continue to review structure, as with Basic Accounts, and develop enhancements to existing Sponsored, Paid, and Permanent account levels
  • Editorial – we have recently hired new staff to work on introducing community discoverability for those people with shared community interests. On the flip side, we are going to be introducing new privacy measures to allow users/communities to opt-out of this type of discoverability.
  • Translations – in Release #35 we released an upgrade with enhanced translation system performance.
  • Local partnerships – we are excited to be partnering with Caferati.com in India for a flash-fiction writing contest, to be launched August 11.

Here are some more things we are currently working on this year, aside from those mentioned above:

  • Single-post suspend – as announced in lj_policy  this will be ready in August.
  • Design - we plan a profile redesign for September that should make that page cleaner, clearer, and more user friendly. The design team’s goal is to improve the user interface and user experience in a number of areas including a consolidated settings page, categorization of Journal themes, improving the UI of the v-gifts feature, and rethinking the user experience around community creation and management. Watch lj_design  for updates.
  • Creative Commons implementation – we would love to hear from our users as to how you would like to see this implemented, or if it is a good idea at all. We hope to have more information and a poll on feedback  in the next month.
  • Increase limits for poll votes (specifically those viewable under detailed results), comments allowed per post, bans, friends, and more in October.
  • A la carte purchase of additional userpics to be released in November, and increased limits for free userpics for Plus and Paid accounts
Keep an eye on lj_releases  throughout the year for updates on all of the above.


Finally, we are actively hiring to fill open positions in our offices in San Francisco. We are looking for people with a global perspective, who pride themselves on creativity and personal expression and want to help us move forward with all that we have described above, and much more.
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