I'm very pleased to announce that the next beta version of the RSA Networks platform is now ready for testing on the development site.
There's a full post on the RSA Networks live site about the changes we've made in response to the fantastic feedback we've received from users so far.
To summarise, we've internationalised the location mapping system and enabled 'find people near me' searches. We've also enabled skills and interest matching - so projects and people can now be matched according to skills offered, skills needed and matching interests.
This is really the most interesting development so far - it was a small brainwave of my colleague Andy Gibson's that all we needed to do was to separate skills from interests in how people describe projects and themselves, and we could draw lots more interesting inference about what people might be interested in.
We have already implemented this separation on the live site, in preparation for the integration on the 15th February - so please do edit your profiles and projects there, and get ready for a whole new level of relevance!
We've also tried to improve the navigation, tracking and accessibility of new information and discussions on the site, as well as enabling users to post images and video from popular media sharing sites (picassa, flickr, youtube, blip.tv etc.) to their discussions.
We hope all this makes the site easier to use, and that it generates another round of feedback so we can make further improvements before the changes are implemented on the live site after a forthcoming off-line meeting on the 15th February.
This meeting will be an opportunity for users of the system so far to meet and feedback live, talk about potential futures for the RSA Networks project and site, and bring some of their own projects to the table. My colleague Andy Gibson will post more about that meeting shortly.
In any case, please feel free to play with the development site, and feedback here or on the live site.
NB: Changes and content added to the development site will be wiped out on the 15th February. Some features of the new site will not work properly until then: eg. it won't send email (to prevent too many test recommendations being sent out) , and especially those features requiring your input - like separating out your skills and interests - will not work properly until they integrate with the live site on the 15th.