Adobe Groups – An Alternative Approach

FlashGen.Com IconI’ve just seen that my friends over at Emak Mafu have posted up a suggestion regarding Adobe Groups and why it’s not that useful. The example given is the fact that Chester over at Emak Mafu runs the Flex London User Group – which has over 1000 members – and uses Meetup.com to manage get-togethers. Imagine trying to migrate not only the details of everyone, but then getting the same 1000 individuals to stop using that site and migrate to Adobe Groups. Sounds simple doesn’t it, and that’s only the beginning…

Now couple that with the fact that Groups is still rough around the edges (I’m being tactful here) and has a few defects at this time – like a working search, (try searching for Flex United Kingdom as a term. Bizarrely this will return results from Toronto, Dallas, MAX North America). Even funnier is the fact that as a resident of the United Kingdom I, as many other British nationals refer to our home country as the UK. This is unfortunately not allowed as a search term as UK is only two characters. It doesn’t inspire you to take the plunge and start to organize your “thousand ‘man’ virtual march” from your current home to a new one on Adobe Groups does it?

Chester has a simple solution. Instead of attempting to get every established user group to migrate to the behemoth that is currently groups.adobe.com why doesn’t Adobe just provide a nice interactive listings tool? Heck it could even be a cool AIR app. It could easily link to the current site that the group occupies and still provide a central site for people interested in Adobe technologies to go and find a group. I’ve linked to the wireframe that Chester produced for context

As Chester says

The functionality goes something like this:

  • User enters location
  • Google maps zooms in
  • User checks the checkboxes of the technologies/apps they are interested in
  • Groups pop up on the map
  • User slides the ?distance? slider to set how far they would travel (eg. 2km, 10km, 50km etc.)
  • Groups appear/disappear as this is increased/decreased

So while the current incarnation of Adobe Groups may not be viable for all it doesn’t need to disappear – just provide something more suitable for groups who are happy where they are. As it currently stands if you’re not on Groups then as far as Groups is concerned your group doesn’t exist.

Mike Jones

One Comment

  1. Hi Mike,

    Thanks for the feedback! We know search on Adobe Groups is still in need of some work and have been working hard on getting that fixed. :) Assuming all goes well in the next dev cycle it won’t be too much longer before we have some new features to make search much better and more precise.

    I think an AIR app for finding local user groups is a good idea and one that we could look at doing at some point, but we want to do more than just point users towards discrete groups. Before Adobe Groups launched in November, we did have a web listing where users could see what groups were online and visit their websites. There were two main problems with that approach:

    1) It put more burden on the user group manager. Not only did they have to run their user group, but they also had to build and maintain the group website. Not everyone had the time, money, or skills to do that. We’ve seen a big increase in the number of new user groups forming since the launch of Adobe Groups, and the fact that you don’t have to go out and build your own website to start a group is part of the reason why.

    2) It fragmented the community. For example, if you wanted to know what meetings were happening at more than one group, you’d have to go to multiple sites to check in. With a more centralized resource like the Community Calendars, finding out what’s going on becomes much easier.

    I’m really glad that you’re taking the time to blog about more ways to help the community. We want to build a site that everyone in the community is happy with, and we need feedback to keep us on the right track.

    Again, thank you. Please keep the ideas and suggestions for improving coming!

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