New Groups User Interface

posted Dec 8, 2010, 12:38 PM by Paul Edison-Swift on Ecunet   [ updated Dec 8, 2010, 8:53 PM ]
PLEASE NOTE: this new Web interface hasn't rolled out yet on www.ecunet.org, this is just advance information for those who are interested.

Read more about the new features that are rolling out to the Google Groups Web interface:

http://www.groups.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=1046906

These changes don't effect the way you use Ecunet via e-mail, just the appearance and features of the Groups interface on the Web.

Here's a summary of changes:
  1. You can opt in or opt out of the new Groups user interface
  2. If you opt in, you will notice that the preface for the URL for your groups will change from http://groups.google.com/a/ecunet.org/group/ to http://groups.google.com/a/ecunet.org/forum (e.g. http://groups.google.com/a/ecunet.org/forum/welcome)
  3. Some group tasks (mainly for the group owner), will revert to the old interface.
  4. When you create a new topic in a group, you have a number of new options if you are the group owner (display the topic at the top of the list of topics, make it read only, attach a file to the topic).
  5. New terminology seems to be cropping up, with "Google Groups discussions" being used to describe the platform, and the word "Forums" being used to describe groups ... but the interface still seems to have retained "Groups" language (e.g. "My Groups")
  6. A left-hand navigation bar lets you switch between a Welcome screen and a My Groups screen.  If you click on a particular group, you'll see the particular Group/Forum screen of topics, and then if you click a topic, you'll see the Topic screen.
  7. For each topic there is an "Overview" tab that provides a topic summary, profiles of active participants, Web links referred to in the topic, and an outline view of the topic structure.  On the topic "Discussion" tab you can select to show a flat or tree view of the topic and to expand or collapse all posts.  New options are there to link to the topic or subscribe for e-mail updates for JUST that particular topic.  That last one is redundant if you are already subscribed to the group via e-mail, but may be useful if you mainly read the group on the Web, but want to track one particular group topic more closely via e-mail.
  8. For each group you can decide if you want your public Google profile to display in group discussions.
  9. The left-hand navigation has a Favorites section where you can drag shortcuts to your favorite groups.  You can also create folders to organize your groups.
  10. In groups that have e-mail delivery disabled, the group owner can turn on a "lightweight" comments feature where participants can post a brief (140-character) comment to any post.
  11. The Web has a rich text editor for including font attributes, images and links in posts.

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