We’re getting very close now. To put things into perspective, we’re estimating just under 100 hours of development work to get the website ready for market.
Yesterday we more or less wrapped up some time and location functionality for the website. A user may enter their full address, or just a city and state as their homebase, and as the homebase of any groups he or she creates. At that point, the system queries the Google API to validate the information, and to set the timezone, geographic coordinates and other helpful data points. The most important piece of this is the timezone settings; it saves people from scrolling through a long list of zones to pick their own. This data is plugged into the events module that we’re in the process of building out, letting the user schedule video conferences and other events according to their local time zone. Other users can join those meetings from anywhere in the world, and it all works out, clean and simple.
After we’re in beta, we’ll begin use location information to build out a robust search application for Staunch that will enable people to network with others in their area based on distance and other factors. For now, people may either use the basic website search to find other members, or they may peruse our business networking directory.
Today we built out a social signup and login module to simplify the registration process for users. Rather than filling in the registration form, users may now just click to sign in through LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook. We thought about adding other networks, but we wanted to keep things simple for now. We might add more later.
In addition to registration, the module will import some basic profile data from each of these respective users if it’s available. This will save people a lot of time in getting their profiles up and running, until they have time to begin optimizing their content. We’ve got a few bugs to work out, and we need to add a prompt that allows users to choose whether or not to import the data.
The biggest tasks that we’re working on at this point include tying the video conferencing application to the event scheduler, a bit more work on our members and groups search engine, some tools for group administrators to track attendance and engagement, and some bug fixes. Once we get these pieces rolled out, we’ll begin our “soft launch” to onboard a few preliminary users to test the platform while we use their input to improve our service. After that, we’ve got some really cool stuff on the horizon for post-beta. Stay tuned!