Greetings fellow travelers!
We’ve used these first few months of the new year to dig into our Earhart release, gathering and responding to user feedback and ironing out core user flows. If you took the time to send us a note or even sit through a user testing session — thank you! All of this engagement is motivation for the team and provides endless fuel for a process of continuous improvement. Keep it coming!
I can’t list all of the changes that we’ve made in the last two months here without needlessly boring you, so I’ll summarize.
Most important changes from the Jan-Feb stretch:
- Built and deployed a completely new machine learning system to help identify likely anchors for incoming content and to help you find the right anchors when you endorse. The new system dramatically cuts down on false positives.
- Feedback throughout the app so that it doesn’t hang when you ask it do so something and lets you know when it’s working on your request (including spinners and ellipses to show actions in progress).
- Restored full bookmarklet functionality.
- Comment modals: flagging system, added title to preserve context from notifications, better submission flow including feedback, update unread comment counter immediately after closing.
- Share flow: let user place item link wherever they like, fixed characters remaining count, more apparent share icon, better UI, more instructive feedback after actions.
Taken as a group, these changes are fleshing out the product we envisioned and making the flow feel more satisfying and mature.
Additional changes for the more devoted:
- Nav bar on homepage is now for your followed anchors
- End of feed transitions
- Info cards interspersed with content items in feeds
- New image handling system (S3, etc.) to repair avatar handling (much higher quality images, more reliable uploading)
- Repaired anchor level ‘saved’ feeds
- Typeahead improvements
- Loads of UI tweaks and fixes across browsers and viewport dimensions
- Error pages
- Invite logged out users to register (anchor splashes and feed cards)
- Repaired profile page feed sometimes omitting certain items
- Repaired some endorsement module failures (in app and on add)
- Flag item, follow items restored
- Endorsement module: we now provide hints for additional anchors that might match the item
- Setup: added more realistic header preview, pattern selector including default patterns
We have been busy!
Coming up next: Expanded anchor coverage, performance improvements, ongoing machine learning refinement.
Are we missing something? Have a tip on how to get the most out of PLOW? Join us on Slack and let the community know!
All the best,
If you liked this post, we’d greatly appreciate if you’d click the heart below and leave us some feedback here or on Twitter. We have lots of more to say on how content filtering and social needs to change but very much want to hear from the community.
PLOW is an independent social platform and collection of communities where people find and share the best content without the noise of big social media, and get the information that matters with less effort.
Background on what we’re building: