I'm Eva, I'm a web designer and I'll be working on a new design for the Public Lab dashboard (among other things).
This is something that I can't do without you, so please, when you can, check out the mockups, designs, all the crazy ideas and let me know what you think.
I would love to come up with a design that is not only pretty but also useful and easy to use!
So here we go.
I'll be sharing two mockups to start with, with brief explanations for each one of them. Let me know what you think, which you prefer, what works and doesn't work for you. I promise to read all comments and consider everything you say very carefully :)
I think a good way of organizing all activities and encouraging people to get involved (and get involved locally), is to group everything by chapters. This could be a country chapter, city chapter, project chapter, topic chapter - with an emphasis on geographical location. We would also offer a step-by-step wiki on how to start a chapter, organize events etc (I think you already have most of the information).
3- column design, with the Feed in the middle. The feed can be filtered/displayed by type of content (research note, questions etc). The first is the recent activities of My chapter(s). The user is encouraged to contribute (ask a question, write a note), at the top of the feed.
On the right is the User's area with the user's stats (chapter membership, topics followed etc).
On the left, there is a chance for the user to expand their area by following the most popular topics or seeing what else is out there in the big world (other chapters!).
This is a more Facebook-style design where the user interaction (comments) and most recent activities are the most prominent.
This is to encourage people to check the news often and to engage in comments.
There is also a notifications widgets on the right, where the user would be shown the number of new comments and new activities since the last time they were logged in.
The rest is very similar to the first design (except, no chapters).