Mirror Island: First Post.
This is web site people can post and share stuff on. Since there are literally thousands
or websites that already do this, most people probably wouldn't notice this one.
But we have built it anyway.
Because we needed something different. Really
We use Mirror Island to keep in contact with the people we wanted, in the way that we wanted. So far, nothing has really been a proper fit for our own needs. However, if others were going to use this web site we took that in mind as well. We aren't designing this to be a social network; that's web 2.0. Instead we're designing this for the next level, web 3.0, and are building this to have the semantic web in its genes from the start.
Throughout the entire development process, we kept focus on three principles:
: Anything posted can be edited or removed by the person who posted it.
: We wanted it to be fast
both in usability and in performance.
: Most of all, any features we add to it need to be useful.
With those principles kept in mind, we could then turn our attention on what this website and (eventually) its related network-enabled apps do best.
At its core, Mirror Island lets you share just about anything such as a simple idea or message to the world using posts that allows photos and files to be attached like an email, but publicly visible. We didn't want it to be limited to users on this website and wanted a system that would work whether other people were on it or not. We have found other services claim to "connect people" but only if
the people you want to connect with are already
on the same service in the first place (or were subsequently invited to sign up.) We wanted a system where people didn't have to be a member to interact with or contact other users on here, but also put the necessary features to prevent users on this site from being unnecessarily spammed either.
In terms of control, we wanted anyone who uses this website to have complete control of whatever they publish or post, including editing and deleting anything put in public or private. It was an idea that we played with where anything
can be edited or deleted. Even instant messages sent a long time ago could be modified or removed, and that is one of the biggest advantages of a digital world; nothing
is set in stone forever so it shouldn't be treated that way.
The speed of posting and editing were also heavily invested in. From sign-up to first post, and searching through posts, we took the approach where if it took more than a few seconds to do something, change it, and if it can't be changed, then we removed it from the primary toolchain. An example is where fine-grained controls are hidden behind presets; the presets are faster to use and adequate for most cases, but the fine-grained controls are still available for those who don't mind the extra time in setting up a post.
Lastly, it needed to be useful. One example is when we needed a quick and easy way to transfer photos from a mobile phone to somebody else's laptop. The email-style post editor was more of a scratchpad of sorts, but it worked reliably. Every time on every device. At the start it felt like a half-hackish workaround because we didn't install an app that would of made the process more streamlined, but we found the more we used it the quicker it was to transfer files and photos between devices.
We recognise that not everything is perfect on this, but it has worked so far
, and that to us is enough of a first step. Additional improvements we are currently working on include:
- The mobile compatibility of this site is rather poor, making use on a mobile phone not as easy as we would like it.
- There aren't any websockets or long polling feature yet, a reload button is on the top of the page but only refreshes sidepanel instead of visible posts. We are currently writing our own. Therefore, instant messages aren't really instant but they can be reloaded when clicking on a contact's name in the sidepanel.
- Mark down formatting is limited to basic lists (like this one,) primary and secondary headings, as well as strong
text. Some combinations don't like to work, such as a list immediately after a heading.
- The email interface isn't very comprehensive. Individual emails are displayed as separate items in the sidebar, leaving a crowded list of messages to scroll through.
As for bugs? You bet there are! But this project is just the beginning, so we're open to feedback from anybody interested in using this.
Thanks for visiting! You can keep up to date with how this website is progressing on our profile page, Sam and Janis Allen