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HELLOOOO? Is there anybody HOME?

May 20, 2011

This evening I decided to make a quick little code change to KitchenPC.  It only took about 20 minutes, but I think it makes a huge difference in how people will see the site.

The majority of my visitors who go to the home page are not logged in.  They see a generic version of the home page with a few suggested recipes (basically just a query for random recipes with a five-star rating that also have images) and an empty shopping list.  There’s also a mocked-up News Feed section with one hard-coded item that says “See what your friends are up to”, enticing them to create an account.  Since user subscriptions are extremely rare on the site, I decided to use the news feed area to show recent happenings.  Users who are not logged on will now see the last 30 events that took place on the site.  For logged on users, the News Feed will behave exactly the same.

To avoid too much clutter, I only show new recipes, modified recipes, five-star ratings, and comments on recipes.  I don’t show anything “personal” such as calendars or cookbooks, or new subscriptions.

I think this sort of information makes the site look a little more “active”; as if people are actually home.  Maybe seeing other activity on the site will create more buzz and excitement, and foster a sense of community.  Of course, it there’s only a few posts a week, the strategy could backfire and create the illusion that nobody is home.

What’s your take on the change?

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