Spacelog: things we did right-ish
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Spacelog: things we did right-ish

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OGN presentation from February 2011 on some things we did okay while building Spacelog. Accompanied a similarly short talk by Andrew Godwin on some of the technical choices we made, and whether they ...

OGN presentation from February 2011 on some things we did okay while building Spacelog. Accompanied a similarly short talk by Andrew Godwin on some of the technical choices we made, and whether they were…wise.

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Spacelog: things we did right-ish Presentation Transcript

  • 1. Making 40 years ago seem newSaturday, 12 February 2011Something 40 years old can’t possibly be interesting.
  • 2. Saturday, 12 February 2011There’s nothing awe-inspiring about early spaceflight.
  • 3. Saturday, 12 February 2011Nothing exciting.
  • 4. Saturday, 12 February 2011And no one knows these stories at all. So no pressure.
  • 5. Saturday, 12 February 2011We had a huge number of ideas for features, only some of which we’ve had time to build sofar.
  • 6. Saturday, 12 February 2011Today we’ll just talk about some of the underlying ideas that helped guide us as we built thesite.
  • 7. NarrativeSaturday, 12 February 2011Particularly with Apollo 13, something we felt strongly was a need to give a narrativestructure to the mission.
  • 8. Saturday, 12 February 2011But surely everyone already knows the story?
  • 9. Saturday, 12 February 2011
  • 10. Saturday, 12 February 2011Most of what people remember is probably wrong — down to that famous line, “Houston wehave a problem”, which nobody ever said.
  • 11. Saturday, 12 February 2011In order to present Apollo 13 in a way that made sense, we had to identify and break downthe different elements and map how they related to each other. Some people call this“information architecture”, but here we’re really thinking about telling stories.
  • 12. Saturday, 12 February 2011A story has a beginning, middle and an end. Plus, it has exciting bits, and quotable lines.
  • 13. Saturday, 12 February 2011So do space missions. Our narrative structure allows people to dive straight into parts of thestory…
  • 14. Saturday, 12 February 2011…or to go through the entire thing, either from a high level where you’re guided through theimportant points…
  • 15. Saturday, 12 February 2011…or down in the nitty-gritty of what was actually said, with the most important bits calledout for you.
  • 16. Saturday, 12 February 2011And course a photo now and again is just great.
  • 17. SharingSaturday, 12 February 2011One of the most important things we did was how easy we made sharing.
  • 18. Saturday, 12 February 2011That sounds obvious…but when we launched we didn’t have a like button, or even tweeting.In fact, when you’re reading the transcript, there’s nothing to distract you — deliberately.
  • 19. Saturday, 12 February 2011But when you find something you like, you can grab a link to it to share around. Peopleshared stuff on Twitter before we added the ‘tweet’ button, and they shared on Facebookbefore we added a ‘like’ button. And this worked because of magic…
  • 20. Any sufficiently advanced URL scheme is indistinguishable from magicSaturday, 12 February 2011There’s often a rush to build the cool bits of websites, hurrying into the Javascript andmaking everything gorgeous. A lot of people talk about “doing it right”, but we think thathere we really did. On top of the URL structure and the basic pages, we use more magic (thistime Javascript) to make things fade in and out, and load when you need them. But becauseeverything is addressable using very simple URLs, it’s really easy to share. Hurray!
  • 21. Any sufficiently advanced URL scheme is indistinguishable from magic http://apollo11.spacelog.org/page/04:14:03:20/ mission timestamp//apollo11.spacelog.org/04:14:03:20/#log-­‐line-­‐396200 mission timestamp highlightpacelog.org/04:14:03:20/04:14:03:36/#log-­‐line-­‐396200 start end highlightSaturday, 12 February 2011 There’s often a rush to build the cool bits of websites, hurrying into the Javascript and making everything gorgeous. A lot of people talk about “doing it right”, but we think that here we really did. On top of the URL structure and the basic pages, we use more magic (this time Javascript) to make things fade in and out, and load when you need them. But because everything is addressable using very simple URLs, it’s really easy to share. Hurray!
  • 22. Saturday, 12 February 2011We think it worked: this was our first week. Note that at the shallow end of the curve we’restill getting thousands of visits per day, and tens of thousands of page views. Over our firsttwo months, stickiness is actually better than this: 10 minutes average time on site, 9 pagesper visit and ~ 36% bounce. There are site that do better — but we’re pretty proud.
  • 23. Building a communitySaturday, 12 February 2011One of our other goals was to encourage and enthuse others to help out. By the end of Apollo17, NASA generated over 30 thousand pages of transcript. And then there’s Skylab, theShuttle, the ISS…not to mention the Russian space program. So we knew we needed the help!
  • 24. Saturday, 12 February 2011So far we’ve launched three missions: Apollo 13 and Mercury 6 we did ourselves, but most ofthe work on Apollo 11 was done by Matthew Somerville. Andrew’s already talked about howwe made it easy for people to contribute. You can fork space missions on github!
  • 25. Saturday, 12 February 2011Since then, a growing team of volunteers has been working on Gemini III, Gemini IV, Apollo 8and Apollo 10 — but there’s still a huge amount to do, so please GET INVOLVED!
  • 26. Thanks toSaturday, 12 February 2011
  • 27. Saturday, 12 February 2011The Spacelog team: Ryan Alexander, James Aylett, George Brocklehurst, David Brownlee,Hannah Donovan, Ben Firshman, Mark Norman Francis, Russ Garrett, Andrew Godwin, ChrisGovias, Steve Marshall, Gavin O’Carroll and Matt Ogle.
  • 28. Saturday, 12 February 2011The Mercury astronauts: Alan Shepherd, Gus Grissom, John Glenn, Scott Carpenter, WallySchirra, Gordo Cooper and Deke Slayton.
  • 29. Saturday, 12 February 2011The Gemini astronauts: John Young, James McDivitt, Ed White, Pete Conrad, Tom Stafford,Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, Neil Armstrong, Dave Scott, Gene Cernan, Michael Collins, RichardGordon and Buzz Aldrin.
  • 30. Saturday, 12 February 2011The Apollo astronauts: Roger Chaffee, Donn Eisele, Walt Cunningham, Bill Anders, RustySchweickart, Al Bean, Jack Swigert, Fred Haise, Stu Roosa, Edgar Mitchell, Al Worden, JamesIrwin, Ken Mattingly, Charlie Duke, Ronald Evans and Jack Schmitt.
  • 31. Saturday, 12 February 2011…and the rest of NASA, too numerous to count, but most especially Bob Gilruth. The VAB isthe largest single-storey building in the world, and the fourth largest by volume (bigger:assembly buildings for Boeing, Airbus, and a giant airship hangar in Germany). 526 feet tall,taller than the Great Pyramid at Giza. Apollo 10 on its way to the launch pad.
  • 32. Saturday, 12 February 2011… Tom Stafford…
  • 33. Images by • Ben Firshman • Chris Govias • Matt Ogle • NASA • Universal Pictures / Imagine EntertainmentSaturday, 12 February 2011
  • 34. http://spacelog.org/ @spacelogdotorgSaturday, 12 February 2011