November 29, 2007

Over six months ago I announced that we were beginning work on an extensive revision to the Fostering Sustainable Behavior website and listserv. While we are still a few months away from launching the revised site and listserv, I'd like to share with you the progress we have made and seek your feedback. Prior to discussing the upcoming changes I'd like to acknowledge the design work done for us by Justin Kuntz. Justin is a talented website designer and a pleasure to work with. If you are looking for a new website designer I highly recommend him (see www.creativesoapbox.com).

Listserv:

As noted previously, we will be moving away from our present format where posts are made via email to the FSB listserv. In the future, all posts will be made online via discussion forums. While posts will be made online, we will still be retaining the daily digest that is sent out via email. However, because the posts are made online we can have much more control over the formatting of the daily digest. You will no longer have to deal with a digest that is difficult to navigate or read nor will you have to open attachments to read posts (this is a problem for some users of Microsoft Outlook). Below is a link to the new digest format (ignore the text in the posts and the subject lines as they are simply place holders). http://fsb.creativesoapbox.com/daily_digest/

I'd like to draw your attention to several features in the new digest and seek your feedback on them. First, the digest mirrors the look of our new website. We are hoping that the use of a similar look to both will make it easier for new users to navigate both the digest and the website. As the link demonstrates, we are moving to a html-based digest (a plain text version will be available for those that prefer that format). As shown, the top area of the digest provides links to all of the major areas of the Fostering Sustainable Behavior website as well as to your account information where you can change your subscription options. Directly below this header is a table of contents for the posts that were made that day to the online discussion forums. We are organizing the posts around five main behavioral groupings (conservation, energy, transportation, waste & pollution, and water). Clicking on the red numbers below each of these five icons will take you to the respective posts in the daily digest. Clicking on an icon, in contrast, will take you to the online discussion threads for that behavioral category.

Further, the posts in the digest are set out in chronological order by discussion thread -- allowing you to easily read just the information that is of interest to you. Clicking on the reply icon below a post in the digest will take you directly the respective discussion thread online where you can add a comment if you wish. The other significant change is that for the first time graphics and reports can be submitted along with a post. The addition of this feature will make it much easier to locate information of use to you.

Website:

While I am excited about the upcoming changes to the Fostering Sustainable Behavior discussion forums and digest, the most significant changes are to the website. To view the new FSB home page click the link below: http://fsb.creativesoapbox.com/strategies_ad/

The upcoming website has several new features that I'd like to introduce you to and seek your feedback on. First, we have extensively revised the look and navigation of the site. We have worked to simplify site navigation, while at the same time providing at a glance information that is of most relevance to users. For example, the home page of the revised site is structured around the same five categories of behavioral change (conservation, energy, transportation, waste & pollution, and water) as the digest. Placing your cursor over an icon reveals the sub-behaviors nested under the overarching category (for example, mass transit, walking, biking, car pooling, etc. are all nested under transportation). Note that the sub-categories in the mock- up are not necessarily accurate (they are just text placeholders for the time being). When you are logged into the site the table on the main page will show you what information (articles, cases, forum posts and strategies have been added since your last visit -- clicking on those links will take you directly to that information).

In addition, each page of the site now contains a sidebar which is personalized with information relevant to you. This sidebar allows quick access to your account information, your forum profile, a listing of all discussion threads that you started (and recent additions to your threads), your RSS feeds (an RSS feed can be set up for virtually all content on the site), and comments that you have made to any discussion forum on the site. In addition, the sidebar includes the ability to do a site-wide search for content. Thanks to Brian Loomis, our database programmer, for his wizardry in allowing us pull of this type of personal customization. Most importantly, the new site will feature for the first time strategy papers. Each of these papers will illustrate how to bring about one specific behavioral change (such as reducing residential pesticide use, encouraging telecommuting, installing low-flow showerheads, etc.). We have put together an editorial review team of leading social marketers and environmental psychologists who will be assessing strategy papers for inclusion on the site. We expect over time to host literally hundreds of strategy papers with each providing easy access to information on best practices. Further, each strategy will have a discussion forum associated with it. Allowing those who utilize the strategy paper to provide feedback to other potential users.

Finally, if you are reviewing the new home page you'll notice a flash file with the title "Learn How to Encourage. . .". This flash file is customized based on the behavioral categories you express interest in when you register. For example, if when you register for the site you indicate that you are interested in transportation and water, this flash file in the sidebar will inform you of strategy papers that exist in these two behavioral categories.

If you have made it this far through this lengthy email, thank you. We would appreciate any feedback you have on the upcoming website and listserv/discussion forums.

Best,
Doug

Doug McKenzie-Mohr, Ph.D.
McKenzie-Mohr Associates
(506) 455 5061 voice/pager
(506) 455 0550 fax
dmm@cbsm.com
http://www.cbsm.com