Notes: Marquee

http://marquee.by

Describing themselves

Marquee does not shy away from calling a web page a “page” or the task before its users “publishing.” It embraces traditional descriptors and focuses on improving the process. “Web publishing, reimagined. Your content deserves better.” On their about page they note: “Marquee is a new take on how to publish everything you make on the web in a way that's simple and fun to use. It works with all types of digital content — images, audio, videos, and text — and can be used to showcase just about anything you can imagine.”

An important signal is being sent through their URL, though. They use the Belarus country “top level domain” .by on their name instead of the more typical .com or .net. This results in a URL “marquee.by” which they follow with the username and page name in such a way that you get a meaningful semantic URL: “http://marquee.by/efctesting/minnesota-prairie/” for example. The signal is that Marquee puts its users front and center, not just their pages.

Marquee, of course, is a noun not easily “verbed,” but it is a useful noun. They don’t appear to be doing this yet, but they could easily decide to refer to Marquee-generated pages a “marquees” and it would work well grammatically. No evidence of this usage is on the site as of 9/30/12.

Marquee is still very much in startup mode. The language in their welcome email emphasizes this: “We're still in the early stages of development, so you should expect to see improvements to the site daily. We're also going to be making some big changes soon, and can't wait to show you what we've been working on.”

Signing up

Homepage
On first approach, Marquee presents a homepage with a guided path to getting started, “Let’s make something nice together,” and an illustrated list of key features (Dropbox integration, beauty, sharing).
Username
The emphasis in Marquee is focussed on the user. To create an account the user is guided to fill out a username box that is prefixed with “marquee.by/” which reinforces this message that your username will be an important part of your Marquee experience. You create that name (with nice immediate feedback about whether the name is available) and click the “get started” button.

On the sign-up page that follows you can link your account to Twitter or Facebook, or create a separate Marquee account with an email address.

User Profie
Once the account is ready, you land on a series of pages with very simple requests that fill out your profile information (full name, hometown, description, photo, cover photo). Then you land on an empty profile page with a plea to “make something nice together.”

Email contact

Welcome message was sent, but no new message upon page publication.

Functionality & features

Dropbox Integration
The most unusual feature of Marquee is its integration of Dropbox. You can link your Dropbox account to your Marquee account and then incorporate files from Dropbox on your Marquee page without uploading them from your current machine.

If you are logged into an account, then the homepage redirects you to your account page. You are the center of Marquee’s universe.

Editing

Editing in Marquee is fairly modal. While it does not pop up a literal “dialog box” it does essentially the same thing, not editing text in place and requiring a confirmation click on a “save” button for each element. However, while you are editing in the modal sense, the actual text of the page is changing in the background, giving you a sense of the outcome before you click “save.”

Theme Options
While there are very limited style choices for individual elements, there are fairly open choices for the style of the page overall. The user can specify the color of the title text and the background of the title area, fonts (font, color, size) for heading, body, and quotes, a background image for the main page content area, and an accent color. Choices are reflected in page content immediately after they are made.

These choices are called a “theme” and can be saved in a theme “piggy bank” and reused on other Marquee pages.

Any changes made to Marquee pages are persistent, there is no “save changes” button or functionality. However, changes are not made public until the “publish” or “publish changes” buttons are clicked. All pages you have started, even if they have not been published, are available to you from your profile page.

Sharing

Sharing
Marquee provides each page with a short URL (such as mrqe.co/Pny0i3) which resolves into the longer Marquee URL (in this case, http://marquee.by/efctesting/nifty-new-page/). Rediscovering this short URL after it is first announced can be tricky (it is on the page editing sidebar under the radio-tower sharing icon), but it can be manually copied and pasted into any tool that takes URLs.

Otherwise, sharing is limited to just Twitter and Facebook, and those only if your Twitter or Facebook account has been linked to Marquee.

Community

Marquee does add a large “powered by Marquee” footer to any page created with Marquee. This footer shows metadata for the page, its title, creation date, and information from the profile of the creator. It includes a “see more” button which will go to the creators profile page, but no commenting or social options.

No global catalog of Marquee pages is available yet.

Publishing

Published Page
Pages are published with a human readable URL: “http://marquee.by/efctesting/minnesota-prairie/” for example. This can be sensibly reduced to “http://marquee.by/efctesting/” and retrieve all the Marquee pages for a single user. This makes turns each user into the first layer of curation.

Privacy

All pages published with Marquee are public. Edits to pages that have not been published can only be seen by the creator, but there is no public access to pages that have not been published.

Mobile

iPhone
While Marquee pages themselves are responsive to being shown on phones and tablets, the profile pages and editing environment are not yet ready for mobile devices. The pages get nicely scaled and resized on an iPhone or iPad. But the profile page suffers from odd artifacts or poorly done resizing and the editing environment, while technically “working” is practically unusable on a mobile device.

Comments

You are welcome to edit this page if you have the password. You can also choose to just leave a comment below, if you like.

Robert Hatta / 10 October 2012 / 10:18

Marquee is a 2012 TechStars NY graduate.

Cherilynn / 27 June 2013 / 15:02

Deep thinking - adds a new dimneison to it all.

Kaeden / 27 June 2013 / 15:02

Pleasing to find sonemoe who can think like that

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Eric Celeste / Saint Paul, Minnesota / 651.323.2009 / efc@clst.org