Saturday, 20 June 2009

GigJunkie's new improved website launched, check it out!

For several months the team at GigJunkie and I have been working on making massive improvements to the GigJunkie website, with a strong focus on improving our users' experiences with it.
I am proud to say that the team has just launched the live version of the new, improved GigJunkie website, and I invite you to check out many of its cool features.

Some of the (geeky and non-geeky) features which I am particularly proud of are:
1. The Gigs calendar. On the Gigs main page there is a calendar that lets you drill down quickly into a specific day's events. If you sign in or register with GigJunkie this calendar and page becomes even smarter and more powerful as a future gigs listing tool, highlighting days with either your gigs only or those of your friends and favourite artists and venues included. There's even an option to have GigJunkie recommend gigs for you, based either on the geographic area you entered as your hometown during registration, or searching throughout the UK for all gigs.

2. Better search experience. The search experience has been totally revamped, and now lets you search the blog as well when you're looking for your hot gig tidbits. If you've got a friend on GigJunkie you'll now be able to search for this friend's username on GigJunkie as well, and if you're already logged in, this will make adding them as your friend on GigJunkie so much easier.

3. Rate your favourite photos or reviews. If you're logged in, all photos and reviews are open for you to rate, just click the thumbs up (gig it) or thumbs down (junk it) buttons. The best rated reviews will pop up as featured reviews on our main page, and guess what, that review could be yours if the GigJunkies all say they love it!

4. Microformats abound. Each page is not only now well-formed HTML, but also embedded inside each are  microformats.  These little chunks of semantic markup are what make a search engine's or other computer program's job of understanding the context of the data we've published much easier. The microformats we chose to make most use of are hCard, hCalendar and hReview.
Tools such as Oomph for Internet Explorer and Operator and Tails for Firefox will help you exploit these if as a traditional GigJunkie you're feeling the urge to step up your game to the Power-GigJunkie level.
If you're like me and got a bit of hacker/techie in you, these microformats embedded throughout the site are the way I would actually use the data on the website in my own mash-up.

5. Geo tags (where possible). All gigs, venues and photos are geo-tagged with the geo microformat whenever the information was available to us to publish. While the team didn't have time to exploit this cool stuff fully yet, what this does mean is that anyone who wishes to build a mashup using geo-location type goodness can do so on GigJunkie's massive listing of gigs as a source of data.

6. GigJunkie's twitter feed. While this has been on the GigJunkie blog for some time, it's now been brought into the main page. The GigJunkie founders often scour our own gigs listings as they come in to find hot gig deals, and if you're on Twitter and find one that isn't mentioned or have some inside scoop you'd like to share with the world, send a tweet with an @gigjunkie mention and once it's legit these guys will be sure to RT (retweet) it for you on our main page (with attribution to you as the originator of course).

7. Last but not least, all our content is under a Creative Commons license, which allows anyone who's got an inkling of hacker culture to take the site data, mash it up, and re-use it for their own commercial or non-commercial purposes, all you have to do is attribute GigJunkie and the website as the source of your data.

There are many more cool features in the site now, I've just scratched the surface by mentioning the ones I'm particularly proud of having contributed to. I'm sure the guys will mention their own favourites in the GigJunkie blog, but why wait for them to? Check out the site yourself, send some feedback (there's a feedback button on every page) and let us know what you like, what you don't like, and what's missing that you would like to see on the site.
And from me personally, congrats to my team at GigJunkie on the great new website's launch!