A whole new Zooniverse

Anyone heading over to the Zooniverse today will spot a few changes (there may also be some associated down-time, but in this event we will get the site up again as soon as possible). There’s a new layout for the homepage, a few new projects have appeared and there’s a new area and a new structure to Talk to enable you to discuss the Zooniverse and citizen science in general, something we hope will bring together conversations that until now have been stuck within individual projects.

Our new platform, Panoptes, is name after Argus Panoptes, a many-eyed giant form Greek mythology.
Our new platform, Panoptes, is named after Argus Panoptes, a many-eyed giant form Greek mythology. Image credit: http://monsterspedia.wikia.com/wiki/File:Argus-Panoptes.jpg

What you won’t see immediately is that the site is running on a new version of the Zooniverse software, codenamed ‘Panoptes‘. Panoptes has been designed so that it’s easier for us to update and maintain, and to allow more powerful tools for project builders. It’s also open source from the start, and if you find bugs or have suggestions about the new site you can note them on Github (or, if you’re so inclined, contribute to the codebase yourself). We certainly know we have a lot more to do; today is a milestone, but not the end of our development. We’re looking forward to continuing to work on the platform as we see how people are using it.

Panoptes allows the Zooniverse to be open in another way too. At its heart is a project building tool. Anyone can log in and start to build their own Zooniverse-style project; it takes only a moment to get started and I reckon not much more than half an hour to get to something really good. These projects can be made public and shared with friends, colleagues and communities – or by pressing a button can be submitted to the Zooniverse team for a review (to make sure our core guarantee of never wasting people’s time is preserved), beta test (to make sure it’s usable!), and then launch.

We’ve done this because we know that finding time and funding for web development is the bottleneck that prevents good projects being built. For the kind of simple interactions supported by the project builder, we’ve built enough examples that we know what a good and engaging project looks like. We’ll still build new and novel custom projects helping the Zooniverse to grow, but today’s launch should mean a much greater number of engaging and exciting projects that will lead to more research, achieved more quickly.

We hope you enjoy the new Zooniverse, and comments and feedback are very welcome. I’m looking forward to seeing what people do with our new toy.

Chris

PS You can read more about building a project here, about policies for which projects are promoted to the Zooniverse community here and get stuck into the new projects at www.zooniverse.org/#/projects.

PPS We’d be remiss if we didn’t thank our funders, principally our Google Global Impact award and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and I want to thank the heroic team of developers who have got us to this point. I shall be buying them all beer. Or gin. Or champagne. Or all three.

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19 thoughts on “A whole new Zooniverse”

  1. Nice updates! However, I noticed some of the classification projects I am working on are not listed in my profile description. Has this feature gone away?

  2. Having been away for a few days I returned to find the new format. While retaining my old log in name I had to change my pass word. Will I still be able to access my previous projects and favourites. Will my account details need updating. Thanks.

    1. Hi Roy,

      We are still in the process of migrating the info across from the old system, but don’t worry, you will have access to all your profile stats etc very soon.

      Cheers

      Grant

  3. This looks fantastic! I love the new logos! May I suggest that on changing which page you’re on for the home page, you scroll back to the top of the list of projects on load?

  4. Looks impressive! As others have noted, though, still a lot of work to be done (I am particularly looking forward to links to ‘retired’ projects) …

  5. I’d love to look at the new site but haven’t been able to log in this week! I thought I must’ve forgotten my password so I clicked to reset it but the email with the link hasn’t come. I’ve done this several times now in the last few days, including again this morning. Could you have a look at this please?
    Thanks.

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