Grainne Connole is the 'star turn' in Cloudworks. She is Oprah. This is a channel, a network, a show. To stand out, let alone to be attractive to users, it requires this kind of 'ownership.'
This 'online filing system' is weak because of how it is presented NOT for what it does and can do.
It has the potential to be a social educational campus/network. The key is to overlay ALL assets with an image of the person who composed the material, i.e. the entry into the content is the person or if not an image, then at least the opportunity to add a 'book cover/sleave' i.e. something visual, relevant to the content, personal and engaging.
Facebook has the right balance between form and functionalty. There is a caareful balance of personalisation and prescribed layout/design. (Like a good TV channel, you know where you are when you're in Facebook).
Often I see ideas screaming out for the input of a designer
Here I mean a visualiser, an art director kind of designer, someone who can take the excellent functionality, the problem solving, engaging, satisfying programming/sites - and add some feeling.
We are emotional beings, we respond and are motivated for subjective reasons. We chose one thing over another because we 'like' it, not necessarily because it is better than another product or service.
In time it won't just be an art director that is required, you'll need a producer
... someone who can run the 'channel' as a living entity, as a live-show, that will include video. Am I describing the librarian of the 21st century, an 'asset manager' who is not working in the City of London?
If you give the new bubbl.us a go I promise that some of the things it does, and how it looks, makes it a joy. Every time you create a new node or bubble it automatically offers a different, though matching, graded shade of the previous colour.
(Six months ago it was more child-like - you deleted a bubble you didn't want and it bursts into flames! Now they fade away like mist on a Spring morning).
There is a war going on out there.
Make yourself attractive. People haven't time to compare sites, they'll just run with what looks right and if it delivers they'll stick with it.
See Visualising the Learning Design Process, A. J. Brasher, below.
See Information is Beautiful, David McCandless.