Feature Requests for Webmakers

As part of the on-going efforts to help webmakers the world over build & learn together, **we’re collecting specs for event infrastructure.** The [Mozilla event menu](http://michellethorne.cc/2012/01/mozilla-event-menu-lite/) is a piece of this, guiding community members to the event formats that best suit their needs and interests.

Once they’ve decided on an event type, organizers need a simple way to write up the event, spread the word, communicate with participants, and track outcomes.

## Feature Requests ##

Thanks to conversations with Ben Simon, Jess Klein, Ross Bruniges, Matt Thompson, and others, **we’re getting crisper on what features are essential to the Mozilla event infrastructure.**

As an initial strawman, I proposed these features:

* super simple event creation & categorization
* localization-friendly
* easy & secure data portability
* good developer APIs
* participant email capture and ability to mail them

I also think **payment support** is important, but not essential. At first, I argued strongly for it, because some organizers may need to recoup costs. But perhaps this is addressed by clearer sponsorship options and encouragement to use additional payment services, rather than a core requirement of our event infrastructure.

Another bonus feature is if the tools are already **widely used** and familiar to our communities. I think this is important for ease-of-use and discovery. For example, my friend Johannes uses Lanyrd to explore interesting upcoming events. Just yesterday he booked tickets to a festival he just discovered on Lanyrd that day. This suggests that if we don’t use popular listing sites, we miss out on potential participants. At the very least, strategic cross-posting should be encouraged.

Ben Simon has written an [excellent post](https://engagingopenly.wordpress.com/2012/02/06/the-infrastructure-for-self-organizing/) in response to the feature requests strawman. In it, he argues for these additional functions:

* **Ability for event organizers to organize over time:** Communicate with participants before & after an event, plus allow sign-ups for single instances & repeated events
* **Groups:** Search & find relevant events by geography, theme, skill level, etc.

Both of these are right on the money in terms of what we want our event infrastructure to support.

## Prioritizing ##

Big questions we have now are:

* **Are the above features the most important?**
* **Are we missing any?**
* And, once the list looks right, **how to we deploy/build the infrastructure?**

Over the coming weeks, I’m hoping to chat with people who’ve already organized events like the talented Heather Payne in Toronto (check out her upcoming [Hive Toronto Pop-Up](https://torontoyouthhackjam.eventbrite.com/)), Mozilla Kenyans Cliff Argwings & Alex Wafula and Product Dundee’s Jon Rogers & Mike Shorter, as well as people who’ve expressed interested in hosting something like Nick Doiron from CodeforAmerica, Christian Villum from Platform4, and Henrik Sandklef from FSCONS.

**I’d like to get feedback on whether we’re prioritizing the right features and what would be helpful for them in future events.**

There is also a big effort at the Mozilla Corporation to improve their event infrastructure, and we should definitely sync up & share solutions as much as possible.

## 3rd Party Audit ##

In parallel, we’re preparing for **an audit of 3rd party event sites.**

Considering there are companies that spend all of their time building event platforms, I argue that we should use those services, insofar they meet our needs, rather than coding something from scratch and maxing the bandwidth of our software team.

**Ideally, the 3rd party site will feed into make.mozilla.org, a yet-to-be-coded aggregator for all the Mozilla webmaker activities.**

On the list to investigate:

* Lanyrd
* Eventbrite
* Meetup
* [350.org](http://www.350.org/)
* [Controlshift](http://www.controlshiftlabs.com/) (still being built)
* BlueStateDigital (which we currently use for some events and for Mozilla’s membership program)
* also the Mozilla wiki, [Where is Mozilla?](https://developer.mozilla.org/en-US/events) and other in-house solutions

**What other event sites do you really like? What do you use or see other people using well?**

*Images by [Cyberdees from the Knight-Mozilla Hack Jam in Dundee](https://mozillalabs.com/conceptseries/2011/06/03/knight-mozilla-initiative-round-up-of-the-uk-mojo-tour-dundee-london-manchester/).*

Comments (10)

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