Are you obsessed with dance? At ExploreDance.com, we are definitely obsessed with dance.
This project will give readers of ExploreDance.com the ability to subscribe, create their own custom home pages and influence ExploreDance.com's coverage.
ExploreDance.com was started in 2000 to bring the worlds of dance together. We have now published over 4250 articles about dance in many styles and from many places around the USA and the world. The site has evolved from a completely hand coded site with a few pages to a massive, database driven site.
ExploreDance.com is a professionally written and edited magazine (our hard working writers, photographers and editors get paid, modestly). We pride ourselves on honest and supportive coverage. The magazine strives to be author-centric, so there are diverse viewpoints and voices. We cover both concert and social dance.
We are asking for your support to fund the next step in ExploreDance.com's evolution. We will build a new feature set that will allow readers to subscribe to ExploreDance.com. The first subscription benefit will allow a subscriber to create a custom home page showing the categories they want to read and support the most. (This will lay the groundwork for more subscriber benefits later on.)
This is a snapshot of the current ExploreDance.com home page:
We have chosen to highlight articles in six categories: Performance reviews, Previews, DanceSpots (places to go social dancing), Special Focus (special articles we want to stay on the home page for a while), Press releases (both because they are a good way to find out what is happening in the future, and also to keep press releases separate from other articles) and Interviews and more (a catch-all for everything else). The most recently modified article in each category is shown in the home page.
While this home page design highlights some of the main types of stories ExploreDance.com has been publishing, and includes both articles about past events (the yellow to orange boxes), and future events (the blue to green boxes), you might want to highlight other categories. Below is an example of a hypothetical subscriber's home page.
Alex Duncan, our hypothetical subscriber, is mainly interested in Galas, San Francisco, Dancer profiles, Salsa, Ballet reviews, and Arts and Education. S/he has chosen to place these categories on a customized home page. This will make it easy for Alex to find the kinds of articles in which s/he is most interested. Each subscriber home page will have a unique URL that can be shared with friends, such as from a Facebook or LinkedIn profile page. If Alex's interests change, s/he can change the categories on the custom home page.
Initially, the custom subscriber home pages will be based on the current ExploreDance.com home page. At a minimum, subscribers will be able to choose the categories shown on the custom home page, how the categories are arranged on the page, the number of boxes, the background color of each box, how many article listings are shown in the boxes, and how much teaser text to include for each listed article. Subscribers will also be able to display their name (or not if preferred), and a personal message or motto. There will be a password protected part of ExploreDance.com where subscribers will be able to log in and set these preferences. After the initial subscriber feature set is built, we will communicate with subscribers to find more ways that ExploreDance.com can better meet subscribers' needs.
As part of this project, backers will get "Choices" they can use to influence which categories new articles will focus on. We will commit to creating one new review or other article for every 100 Choices. It is likely that a subscriber's Choices would match the categories s/he places on her/his custom home page, but Choices and custom home pages can also be different.
Another backer reward you can choose is a copy of Dance Your Verbs, a children's book suitable for ages 0 to 4 or so. It includes stunning photos and engaging verbs, all drawn from ExploreDance.com's more than a decade of coverage. The book is available in both paperback and board book formats. Want something small and fun? Get some Smile Stickers (the photo is from Jennifer Muller's Momentum).
If you want an advertisement on ExploreDance.com, there is a reward that is a great value for that. Don't need an ad for yourself? Get one for your favorite dance company or studio! Or promote your favorite hard-working dance teacher!
Finally, here at ExploreDance.com, we like to think we can cover dance anywhere. We are based in New York City, and have concentrations of coverage in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, Indianapolis, Ohio and Philadelphia. Recently we added coverage in Tennessee. And New Zealand. So, we have created rewards where you can challenge us to cover a dance show in any city of your choice, anywhere in the USA, or anywhere in the world.
Please help us continue to provide high quality coverage of dance.
A photo essay illustrating the diversity of dance styles covered by ExploreDance.com
Risks and challenges
There are three main challenges regarding completing this project after it is funded.
First, there are the challenges of writing good code. The ExploreDance.com team has been building out our code base for over a decade. It is in the nature of code that problems will arise. We keep moving forward until the problems are fixed. In terms of the custom home pages, the core code already exists, so it is just a matter of adding the ability for subscribers create new pages with their preferences.
Second, there is the challenge of creating new articles to meet the interests of the backers. Our diverse team of writers has found something to say over 4250 times so far. Writing about dance well isn't easy, but we get the job done. And when things get really difficult, we have the luxury of an editor.
Third, our $3600 project goal does not cover all of the expenses required to build this feature set and new content. We are going to build the feature set, create the chosen new content, and fulfill all rewards, regardless of how much is raised by the campaign. The individual rewards are sustainable no matter how many people sign up for each, and even if only half of the cost of the new programming and design is covered by the campaign, it will be significant progress and prepare the road for what comes next. Or to put it another way, the campaign is a way of pre-selling subscriptions to ExploreDance.com. Our ideal target at present is 200 subscriptions, but we don't need all 200 subscriptions up front to make the subscription feature set viable. If and when we reach targets above our goal, we will announce bonus rewards.
We've been at this dance coverage thing since 2000. ExploreDance.com is here for the long haul. Dance is a journey, not a sprint. We don't always know where we will arrive, but ExploreDance.com is dedicated to helping make sure that there is dance there. Join ExploreDance.com for the journey!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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