Time for a good ol' update and introduction from little old me: I'm Sarah Pappalardo, founder and editor of Reductress, a satirical women's magazine that has been around since 2013. As the rats have left the ship that is the "old advertising model", we've been exploring web monetization and the subscription model as a way to continue making content without relying on the perverse incentive of clicks = $$$. So, here we are, building out a little something we like to call: The Members Only Section, Phase 1.
Members Only is a special section for Coil-enabled users where they can engage with our content in a way that regular readers can't - specially curated feeds of content based on featured authors and irreverent tags we've used on all our legacy content, to create a new way to engage with our content beyond just the newest-first stuff you'd find on our homepage. Users will be able to upvote/downvote content within a feed, so that the most upvoted content will display at the top of the feed. That way, popular posts from years ago can still be enjoyed by our new readers/members.
We have a bunch of ideas for phase 2 and 3 for this section, which will be a fun hub to play around and interact with our content in cool ways, but here's how phase 1 is going so far:
Firstly: I may look like an editor, but I also spent many a day as a project manager and UI designer for mobile way back when, so I took it upon myself (ahem) to work on some comps for this project:
Mobile Version, collapsed state:
Users will be able to access this content via a login page (which is coil-enabled) - capturing login info will help us down the road when hopefully folks are able to comment on posts as well.
While building out this basic functionality has been more or less smooth (thank you, a few key WP plugins), we are still having some fun discussions around how folks on non coil-enabled browsers will get to interact with this content, so we are playing with a few user flows that will allow for the greatest possible availability to our readers who are still using mobile Safari (which is like, 80-90% of our readers).
Creating an app will be the ultimate solve for this, but that's coming down the road.
The other challenge we face is that, while it's easy for us to build functionality that would allow users to share these feeds on FB and Twitter, we really want to be able to do something similar for Instagram. Right now, it's Instagram that's getting in the way of that, so we may have to keep this to FB/TW for now.
We're still playing around with the subtleties of the design, but here's what we have so far if you wanna take a look - shoutout to Jibran for the fabulous dev work here:
In the future, our editors will be able to update those featured author and tag columns with whatever we feel is in the zeitgeist (#SeasonalDepression anyone?). And while in our proposal we foresaw commenting as being part of phase 2, it's looking more likely that we're going to create an app first, so we can streamline the user experience first before adding more bells and whistles.
When we FULLY finish phase 1 (so close) and begin phase 2, that's when I will personally be turning my attention to the marketing phase of the operation - making a lil' video and getting people to subscribe and join and play around in there. My film crew will be ready to go come November for that!
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