Kindly consider this page as the dump page for all ideas relating to how to make agropedia more vibrant, relevant and user-friendly:
This is in regard to the user- interface:
Designing by Kuntal De: proposed certain logos for the KVK-Net, vKVK, along with some colour schemes. The voting is by now complete and the one with the three little ladies has been selected, the particular range of pattern is now to be voted.
There are few questions to agropedia technical team:
1. How far Drupal is graphics friendly? Can it handle transparency, image background, image treatment as the attached files have (agropedia home page)?
2. Could we create a html page as the agropedia home page and link it with the Drupal framework?
And a very important question for everybody:
1. Are all the information on the agropedia home page, equally important? could some of them move to other pages? What if we consider primary, secondary and tertiary information, what from the home page could come under these three categories (for an example, statistics, how important is it for the user? if it is primarily for us, as it has been for the time being, it does not need to be there on the first page),
2. What would be a hierarchical structure of the entire agropedia? Right now it seems all the information are equally important and that actually becomes an issue in the interface. Is agrotag a news in agropedia, or is it a part of the site? Or is an external linkage? Is it still necessary to have "about agropedia..." on the home page? or could it be in "about us/ something similar"?
3. Could structure the agropedia along similar lines of information hierarchy? New releases also has video help, is it the same as video assistance? if not, could we think of other word to term it?
4. Would it be critical to look at this from the perspective of interface, as well as the "look" of it.
Answer t You question #2
Info hierarchy-the basic principal which would be applied is the number of question hits,even if some thing is basic and is getting maximum hits, should be right on top.
For instance the most complex scientific concepts, had as low hits as 500 compared to some basic stuff.
Basically our plan is to design a user-driven basis of hierarchy in which to rank the contents.
But the question that remains unanswered:
What does the user want? and how do we render it the best with prioritizing the information? and that's where perhaps also the "show window" comes into picture...how does it reflect whats in the store?
One of the concerns we do have is the lack of images used, e.g, http://agropedia.iitk.ac.in/theagropedia/?q=forum, at this level the user perhaps has seen a bit of agropedia and either has decided to participate or is looking for specific information; now my question is: is she still looking at the user log in, or the user of the week, or the statistics? If she is, then has she already learnt that these are there, and has the ability to look for them? in that case could they be a little less important or the log in is made contextual (like the text on the table "Login to post new content in the forum." becomes a link to a log in window)?
Another example: http://agropedia.iitk.ac.in/theagropedia/?q=content/crop-calendar, here the most dominating text is "Add content" because of its size and a very visible position, but without logging in, the link takes you to a page saying "access denied". Do we clarify this link further and say "to add content, log in as user"?
Everything is there, but I guess we need to take a re-look at it saying well these are the entry points, and these are the exits, this is where you could contribute. the third part would be to create a language that is common in terms of branding (I mean to say the look and the treatment of the main pages, secondary pages and tertiary pages, depending upon ho deep are we in the information.
Certain points that could be emphasised upon in redesigning the site:
1. We may create something called a " hot content" just to attract and keep posting whats the latest.
2. again- 6000 users is definitely not a benchmark to create something, but yes a reference point, given the users and existing TG.
3. If we look at the basic theory of web browsing: where in : 1. i search on certain key contents say wheat 2. 100s of wheat related info comes, 3. i narrow the search again " wheat germ psalm India" then again we get to more pointed answers, then when we click on the particular page, this thing called" wheat Germ etc" would be in some loop and the user would have to keep clicking , till he gets to the right answer.
4. IF we look at the way wiki is structured, it has those 10 topics and then latest , picture, this week that year, etc etc. so for a regular user , its a quick glance to whats latest, and then i put a search , and get to my topic. simply put, if we let the user search what he wants, ( this is kind of contradicting my statement of putting hot topics, with maximum hits) , the website can be basic and everything else is search depended.
5. Further, like how google does those doodles, similarly , the search place can have things which can represent a latest, research invention or a scientists birthday ( famous) etc.
Point i think i am trying to make : Let the entire things be in the back, the front page is a simple thing, and let the user keep digging what he wants. that way , it saves a lot of trouble to trying to figure out whats the best thing to put on top etc
This is going to be most useful for a non-tethered agropedia - i.e. when it does become independent and public domain and philanthropically funded (with socialist characteristics, naturally!).
We all have a communications discipline devoted to web-based representations of knowledge and information, which I know next to nothing about. However, this may be worth a thought - it's been probably 6-7 years since Reuters introduced 'news-ml' which is an xml for news, ergo, for organising short pieces of information that change rapidly and depend on reusable elements for continuity. I have no idea about
the science behind news-ml but have at several times thought it will be good for agropedia - especially when TVP has discussed agrovoc and the localisations of agrovoc. Just think of the possibilities if we had an agri-ml that lent its strength to district-level GIS!
the 'active' cloud from the economist is seen in better detail at http://infomous.com/site/economist/ and calls to mind the cmap-based knowledge models TVP and team developed. I think this is a very useful idea thread to follow.
As far as these technical issues are concern, our view is:
For point 1: Drupal can handle things like image background and attachment quite well, but we haven't work with transparency much. All I know is the current agropedia logo is a transparent image.
For point 2: Yes, we can have a different html/php page and link it with drupal running theme (http://drupal.org/project/front). Though we haven't tried this sort of stuff before but it seems to be doable.
In regard to agropedia content:
Relevant paras on Agriculture and Food from the President's address to Parliament to be followed
1. happy that my Government's continued emphasis on Agriculture has yielded fruit. The agricultural sector has grown at 6.6 per cent during 2010-11, the highest growth rate recorded in recent times. The country witnessed a record production of241.56 million tonnes of food grains during 2010-11. We have achieved record production of fruits and vegetables at 231 million tonnes, pulses at 18 million tonnes, oilseeds at 31.1 million tonnes, and cotton at 33.42 million bales. My Government incentivized public investment in agriculture through its flagship programmes like the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, the National Food Security Mission and the National Horticulture Mission. The pro-farmer price support policy of my Government of the last 7 years is being continued. During the year 2011-12 the minimum support prices of selected agricultural commodities were raised by 10 to 40 per cent over the previous year.
2. Credit to agriculture reached about ? 4,60,000 crore in 2010-11 which is 22 percent above the target. I am confident that the 2011-12 target of ? 4,75,000 crore will be achieved. An interest subvention scheme was implemented to ensure the availability of crop loans to small farmers for loans up to ? 3 lakh at the rate of 7 per cent per annum. An additional subvention of 3 per cent is being provided to such farmers who repay their short-term crop loan in time, reducing their effective interest rate to 4 per cent.
3. My Government will take steps to reduce the gap of about 10 million hectare between the irrigation potential created and the irrigation potential utilized by strengthening the Command Area Development Programme and merging it with the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme. The National Water Mission will be implemented with focus on improving water use efficiency by 20 per cent in five years. My Government will make efforts to realize the farming potential of rain-fed and dry land areas by ensuring healthy participation by all stakeholders and convergence of various Government sponsored programmes.
4. Availability of all subsidized fertilizers has been ensured as per the requirements during the year. The Ministry is working on a comprehensive fertilizer monitoring system which would present information on fertilizer availability to the farmers through SMS, internet and telephone. My Government has decided to revive eight urea units of Fertilizer Corporation of India and Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation to create an extra installed capacity of 9 million tonnes of urea. We are aiming to achieve self-sufficiency in urea production in the next five years.
5. As I had announced in my address to the Parliament in June, 2009, my Government has introduced The National Food Security Bill in the Lok Sabha in the last winter session. This will provide the statutory framework for assuring food security. My Government is simultaneously working with the State Governments towards complete computerization of the Public Distribution System.
But is giving credit a solution? if it was we would not have 2.5 Lak farmer commiting sucide.the credit is going directly to the input providers like seed cos fertilizer n pest companies. Agriculture is a dying stroy in our country ~thats hard fact.
We should have that 'policy' section running on Agropedia.
Points regarding the user-interface:
Points to note:
1. We can also link up all the important agriculture related links etc , which will hook up to the respective govt policy links.like mopfi, apeda, etc.
2. further, we need to create a section called markets, which will pull information from various market sources like: Agmarknet, commodity exchanges ( domestic & international ) , this will help.
3. We wish to see the portal is a one stop shop, so anything and everything on agriculture will be there itself.
4. maybe we should create a search engine like the google, which can be a default engine in the browser- like how we have google today- which will throw up everything about agriculture and also keep putting the agropedia content (TVP) your views please.
5. also , request all to have an ID, though requesting for new password would be preferable.
6. so if we all can use it and keep adding on to this page, am sure, there will be a lot of things which will emerge. lets just put our ideas, without striking it down or debating about it right now.then maybe once we have the dox ready say in next ten days, and based on our user expereince as commoners, we can sit and debate and make a poa accordingly.
Reagrding the agropedia content again:
1.The interest in prices and mandis - an oldish topic for some of us as we had some ambitious ideas about this over two years ago, which were deflated by ICAR's myopia, is encouraging.
2. The crop science community that Agropedia is supposed to be for will do nothing useful for it - this is certain for the psychologies of the NARS is well-known.Those who are connected in one way or another to cultivation and food will.So - the new wiki section is a good idea to serve as a bin for these ways forward.
3. What we really really need is some kind of spider, a linguistically ambitious 'makri', which can find non-English news reports from a set of say 30 sources we give it, and use Agropedia's semantic tech so that 'makri' can spin the connections between prices, policy and crops.
4. To Sankara: thanks much for the SIA 2011-12. Heaps of useful data in the annexures
- a look at the fertiliser consumption is hair-raising - and you'll noted that the Pres made special mention of the ferti units to be revived. Now we wait for the lords of potash to set up their own commodity exchange.
5. A query for the tech group in Agropedia - can your OCR black box gobble up this file and spit out tables for Agropedia users?
6. Fertilizer abuse is a hard fact, for instance RCF is second largest ferti unit in the country- says 80% of its sale happen in three crop; wheat,cotton, sugar. so effectively two commercial rather three commercial crops practically take up the entire 80-90% of the govt. subsidy on fertilizers.
7. Couple of years back in 07, punjab govt. was dissuading farmers to grow wheat, because the land was filled with fertilizers and yeilds had dropped dramatically.
8. If you look at the costs of the farmers, major components ( we had done a study on this);
a. Inputs ( fertilizer,seeds,pestcides)
b. Waters & electricity
So now, if you give hime a dole ( loan wavier), where is he spending on buying higher inputs, costs of which have gone up. now compared to this look at the output prices. he still is struggling to get a resonable price for say a potato, tomato, or any crop.
however, who is making the money- the intermediaries, traders and the manufacturing cos.
So for his input costs- he borrows, when the time to sell comes, he is unable to get the expected price. so he does into debt- for waving off
loan, where does the money come - from tax payers. so effectively each of us are paying to those seed companies who in the name of technology continue to raise prices, push for more inputs- as thats what the modern or scientific technology is preaching. Please note, we are living in world of volumes ie, everything is driven by volumes. In fact if you look at modern medicine, one needs to take at lest 3-4 pills to get our of a common cold. So these are times of VOLUMEs.
The objective is clear, if we continue to ignore then one day we will be forced to use bio tech, in the name of raising productivity yield etc. as if you notice, as per FAO by 2050, there would be 2 bln additional population which would be needed to be fed. where will this come from. Even in india, ifyou look each year we are adding about 11 mio new mouths, which are ready to take a bite of a roti, where is the production going to come from?
So eventually over next few years, we will move to bio tech food 100%,the ground for which is being prepared right now.
9. one more thing, can we have a section which will talk about natural farming/organic farming etc- am sure ICAR would hate it , but why not.
A rapid summary of costs and subventions is correct.
1. Last year with inputs from the Kisan Swaraj group I had done a small cost of cultivation balancing - none of the useless C2 C3 rubbish the Plan Comm likes and which the economists can't get rid of.It showed how impossible the MSPs were based on what cultivating families actually incurred. In contrast, some organic produce farmers who have maintained balancesheets have shown that removing the high-input costs (the chemical stuff the fertiliser, seed and biotech companies push) makes a 1 hectare plot an earning plot.
2. The Plan Comm / Min Agri / CACP / DARE cost of cultivation is a devious tool designed to ensure circuitous cash flow to the same high-input industry sectors.
An article from Development: Greening the Economy, Volume 55, Number 1, March 2012 would help.
Related to forming the technical assortment towards forming Metadata and the user-interface:
instead of grey scales, giving the green shades would be preferred
We link in the google maps into it, so that, once the location of the user is locked, immediately a map shows where he is located, just a thought.
Having a agrotagger *QR code* appended or embedded with "agrotagger") would help
The agropedia UI send earlier (there were 3 of them-all different style) which are not yet finalized.
Can that be also discussed here, so that we have a final face for agropedia.net as well.
Also user-friendliness requires a more picturesque site, so a visual section with expressive and meaningful, relevant photographs would be welcomed.
A more visual agropedia will be more appealing too, Images are a must on front page, so needs a redesigning, such that it presents India's most thoughtfulwebsite on all things agricultural and cultivation. Agropedia is unlike ICAR, is about growing and the biosphere that humans inherit.
On the focus of agropedia: our target group whom we want to hear our thoughts:
Basically, agropedia"s ultimate beneficiaries are the farmer groups.
But, they have not full-proof access to agropedia......so we need to reach them through connecting with the agricultural scientists, the extension/KVK scientists, and the SAU students who potentially, will further the propaganda of the agropedia vision. So, any content in its making should bear a clear picture of its targeted audience group.