Pattern Tap 2.0 is officially in Alpha stage.
What does that mean? Everybody uses alpha and beta differently, so it probably could use a bit of defining in our case. For us, alpha means that we’re giving everyone an in-progress view of how Pattern Tap 2.0 is growing and how it has changed from Pattern Tap 1.0.
We’re feeling very experimental about the whole project so things are probably buggy, working best in webkit browsers, and definitely only working well in modern browsers. The alpha is limited in functionality as we slowly release new features and improve on PT 1.0.
With that said, feel free to leave feedback. Please try to be constructive and take into account what is written above.
Improvements on Pattern Tap 1.0
The number one change in Pattern Tap is that we’re making it searchable. Currently, the search feature only searches collections, tags, and titles, but it will eventually be more comprehensive and will likely have some advanced search functionalities for pro users.
We’re experimenting with a new style of pagination. Impressed by the showcases of AJAX-oriented fresh page content, we’re now pulling in pages on demand at the bottom of each 30 image section.
Ruby on Rails
The first version of Pattern Tap was build using the PHP framework, CodeIgniter. While it is a good framework, Rails is simply one of the best frameworks out there right now for quickly building web applications. It took very little code to get the current alpha version ready because the Ruby and Rails community has an awesome plethora of libraries to do just about anything. So much so that we spent most of our time for the current alpha thinking about features and not code. We like that.
What are the main areas we’d like to grow?
Image Navigation with Related Images
We’re mostly concerned with making sure images are easy to find when you’re in a bind for that tricky navigation or just need a great set of list styles. But we also want to help you move through the site in a more visually-minded way. Sites like FFFFound have done this well; so we’re taking a lesson from them and implementing some visual subnavigation on the secondary pages like this one.
We’re taking a step back and assessing User Sets — how to either improve them or ditch them. They definitely get used. But at this point, they only get used for personal collections and not for sharing which is what we’d like to see happen more. We’d love to hear your ideas around User Sets and collecting for your own usage.
We’re hoping to have a broader range of collections that accommodate the wide range of web elements, tools, and technologies that are being used well across our industry.
There is lots and lots of other stuff that we’ll start talking about and showcasing over the coming months.
What will we maintain moving forward?
Editorial control of what goes in and out of the tap remains one of the main marks of differentiation between Pattern Tap and other design inspiration sites. We want to continue to maintain the highest quality design styles and ideas. Along those lines, we’ll be introducing ways that you can say “Hey, this image was cool two years ago; now it stinks!”, so we can review it for removal. We want to keep the bar for getting into the tap high while making the tap easier to use and more integrated with your normal web workflows.
How can you help?
Give great feedback! Tell us where we’re making strides. Tell us where we’re making mistakes! Feel free to shoot us sample code or suggestions with design; we’re open to it.
Who is Pattern Tap?
Pattern Tap was the design freakout of Matthew Smith, Principal at Squared Eye, a small interface design studio in Greenville, SC. It’s first iteration was built by Chris Pollock of Simplified. Pattern Tap 2.0 is now a collaborative effort of Kevin Smith – idea guy and Rails Chief, Jamin Jantz – Project Manager and Brain Tease, and myself spearheading visual design and creating problems with outlandish suggestions.
We owe a huge thanks to the CoWork Greenville office for continued support, but especially to Sean Gaffney, who helped code the Alpha front end, Jeremy Jantz who is constantly coming up with great suggestions, and Emily Smith who’s IA talent is constantly being teased out of her with carrots or other organic material.