Monday, November 8, 2010

Sneak peek at new eBird data entry


We are working at the moment on a redesign of the online data entry forms. These pages have changed little since 2002, and we've found that a growing number of you want more flexibility in how to record the birds you see. The old process left little room for building in more options, so we're moving the whole process into a new and better (hopefully!) format.

One of the biggest visual changes will be moving from a three column format to a single column format. Internet research shows that it's tough for people to scan across the three column design, and that it's easier for folks to use the checklist if it's just in a single column. This will also improve eBird's usability on mobile devices.

In addition to this change, we're building in the ability to customize the checklist page with user defined preferences. These will include the ability to display comments boxes, age-sex info, breeding codes (a new addition), and a show/hide subspecies option. We feel strongly that the core processes of eBird need to remain simple for everyday birders, but that customization for experts is required. By building in this kind of flexibility, it paves the way for us to add increased data recording options in the future (e.g., heard only, count/don't count this bird, etc.).

So we're excited about this new development, and we're just now in the process of internally testing the new functionality. We would like to test the new data entry on a group of hardcore eBirders, as well as some beginners, to ensure we're on the right track. We hope to start that process sometime in December, or early in the new year.


Team eBird