BIG NPN Summer Website News

Written by: Mark Rickmeier

When Stephanie and I decided to start a family, we decided to return home to the U.S. to be closer to our families. We settled in Chicago and I found myself on the hunt for “dad-based” family activities. I started the Ravenswood Outdoor Movie Nights( last summer, and thus began my volunteer work with NPN.

My colleagues at NPN mentioned a desire to upgrade the NPN Discussion Forum to improve the user experience and expand into the mobile space. I had recently switched jobs and landed at Table XI, a Web application development firm that serves mid-market and local clients, as well as providing discounted services to nonprofit clients. Call it kismet: A partnership between NPN and Table XI was born, and in October I began working with NPN as technical advisor. Together we outlined a strategy and are implementing the latest technologies to give NPN members the features they want.

This summer we’ll roll out a new Discussion Forum filled with great features and enhancements. Here are 10 cool new things:

  1. Mobile Access: Read, search and contribute to the forums from your mobile device.
  2. Improved Searching: Find good topics and relevant threads quickly and easily through improved browsing, searching and filtering.
  3. My Content: Easily find all your topics, responses and followed threads—no more hunting for your conversations.
  4. New Content: Quickly identify what’s old and what’s new, as the forum tool highlights unread content for you.
  5. Childcare Forum: Daycare, nanny and babysitting services have their own forum so members can focus on topics they care about most.
  6. Personalization: Create your own display name and photo to personalize your NPN experience and develop your online persona while still having the option to post anonymously.
  7. Notifications: Control when and how you want to stay informed about new posts and responses, e.g., immediately, daily, weekly, by email, text message, system notifications and more.
  8. Social Groups: Easily connect with other Chicago parents by joining an existing group (such as Lakeview parents) or creating your own (such as Outdoor Movie Nights).
  9. Coming soon: Personal Messaging: Send other members a personal message via NPN Messaging, rather than having to post your personal info online.
  10. Coming soon: Classifieds: Easily trade clothes, toys, furniture and other products in our new "Buy/Sell/Swap" market.

We at Table XI will continue working with NPN to evolve its IT strategy and further improve the website for members. We’ll definitely want feedback as we roll out these new ideas, so please send us your thoughts and experiences with the new features once they launch.

GET INVOLVED! We’re also currently looking for BETA testers, so if you’d like to volunteer, please drop me a line at See you at the movies!

Posted on April 27, 2012 at 8:43 PM