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A Progress Report
For the past year we’ve been consulting all of the partners on The Buddhist Centre Online project - garnering feedback that will help us build version 2 of the website. It’s great to have clear data after a few years of use - and, as it turns out, very consistent responses too!
We’ll start working on this second iteration in spring alongside working on a completely re-designed, integrated Free Buddhist Audio. And over the next two years we’ll be rolling out in stages a deeply integrated, mobile-friendly (with apps) platform involving FBA, The Buddhist Centre Online 2.0, renewed Order spaces online, and a new Triratna Cloud service to help everyone archive and access the history (and current life) of Triratna worldwide.
A wish for this kind of integration of resources online was one of the main pieces of feedback we received, and indeed you’ll be able to access the new system with a single account - the one you already have for The Buddhist Centre Online. Some of this is already live and drives Order-specific services on Free Buddhist Audio, as well as services for everyone on the new Dharma Training Course for Mitras site. Another major request was for individuals to be able to do a lot more on the site outside of institutional contexts (Projects, Groups, etc.) - with more customisation options in terms of what sort of spaces and content they see when they log on. Each of the reworked sites in the integrated system will allow for that - and will share consistent design aspects with menus that make it easier to navigate within any site, and to move between them.
We look forward to sharing previews of the work with you as we go - if you’d like to help us with testing and ongoing consultation, volunteer [at] thebuddhistcentre.com (let us know anytime by email!)
A third major area of feedback was around “finding stuff”. With 4 years’ worth of content (thousands of posts) on the website - and many more on (at least!) 20 Triratna social media spaces - it’s a job of work to keep it all accessible. The re-design will take care of any navigation issues and mobile access - but indexing and (re-)presenting all of the content is something else…
To this end we’ve started a significant project to improve search on The Buddhist Centre Online (and across all the Triratna spaces mentioned above). Actually you can already see the progress made as we’ve just gone live with phase 1 of the changes!
Have a play. Type anything you like into the site search box…
Or try these searches: bodhisattva | london | mitra | meditation classes | going for refuge | mindfulness | metta | tonglen | Subhuti | espanol | India | Order Convention
What’s new and improved is:
Try the filtering menus - and the advanced search options. It’s not perfect, of course, but we think this is a major improvement - and we also very much see it as just the beginning, the foundation for a deeper set of changes that will result in a radically improved experience across all of Triratna’s online resources - and help bring those Dharma jewels to an even bigger audience around the world.
You can also see the benefit of this work in tag searches (what happens when you click the tag links on any particular post). Try these searches to get a sense of how this can help enable quick access to specific kinds of content (a theme, an event, etc.), with the emphasis on most recent material:
Buddhafield | Adhisthana | environment | Pan-American Convention | Urban Retreat 2015 | commonality [OM only] | community | Complete Works | six emphases | mantra
Again, this is a work-in-progress. And one where we are much more dependent on the kinds of uses people find for The Buddhist Centre Online - and the accuracy of tagging when users make a post (sometimes, alas, not very!). We’ll be looking at ways to encourage - and to improve - tagging, and ways to make it easier to automatically index and identify content uploaded even when tagging doesn’t give clear enough information.
We hope you’ll enjoy the new search improvements! Comments below are welcome.