Fairly complex website with plenty of features. The idea was to create an online community for skateboarders.
- Prin Tara (around the country) section where people could post photos of skateboarding spots and pin them on a map to aid discovery. Users could say they frequent a place and their friends could see that. Users could like and comment on spots or photos.
- Photos section was there for sharing skateboarding photos.
- Video section to share videos. Users could put youtube links and the video would be added to the website.
- Articles section was mainly for things like interviews with winners of contests or tips and tricks.
- News section was location-aware (a news article could have a city attached to it) meant to announce skate contests and events among other skateboarding news.
- Tricks was a start at a trick gallery where you could learn how to do a trick and what tricks you’d need to be able to do to be able to easily learn this one.
- User profiles included a lot of unused features: friends, photos, personal blogs, you could change the colours of texts and other things in your profile, you could add widgets to your profile that would display different kinds of information.
- A classic discussion forum, but was ajax-based so you wouldn’t have to wait too much when you write/edit something.
- Things in general had comments and likes/dislikes.
- Spring 2007: project started
- Late 2007: domain registered and first version published
- Summer 2010: WeSkate 5.1 (version described above) was prepared for and presented at InfoEducatie 2010. Development stopped shortly after.
- 2011: Project made open-source.
From memory, WeSkate had five major versions.
- Based on PHP-Fusion 6. Only had standard PHP-fusion features.
- Minor improvements, theme changed.
- Massive visual change, more features. Theme was light (white backgrounds) and red.
- First time to introduce friends into WeSkate. Theme turned dark with either red or green - users could pick. CMS updated to PHP-Fusion 7.
- Massive re-write, dropped PHP-Fusion, introduced the concept of user-generated content within “My WeSkate”, theme was light again and had a much cleaner design. Lots of code changes. v5.1 also existed.
Why it didn’t take off
A couple of reasons. I didn’t know anything about customer development back then. I was scared to ask good skaters for content. I didn’t have much content as my focus was on developing new features (that nobody ended up using).
It has so many features that it didn’t need or maybe could be used in really cool ways if users had an incentive to do that. As a platform for skaters it wasn’t structured very well: had social features that were sort of hidden and had general portal features promoted.
People were allowed to post things freely in those portal parts of the website, but I guess nobody actually knew about it. “My WeSkate” was an interesting idea: a central content-creation and content-management part of the website where you could see how much of WeSkate you own. You would own more of WeSkate if you contribute more content. However, users weren’t educated about it so nobody but me used it. Even if they knew how to use those, what would be the actual reward? Their friends weren’t on the platform and there was no incentive to invite them.
Newbie skaters were looking for content from good skaters to learn tricks and all. I wasn’t making any content and wasn’t trying to get content from anywhere else. I was thinking that if you make awesome features people are gonna come to the website.
It had about 100 users from which 3-4 (me included) would occasionally post something. Most forum posts were written by a friend and myself.