Think of your Audience: My Public Lab Outreachy Project

Hello everyone, it's week five of my Outreachy internship and I've learned so much. This week's blog prompt post is about my project - Improving Education Related Usability and Functionality. Before we get to the topic for today I want to tell you about Public Lab.

About Public Lab

Public Lab is an open-source organization that raises awareness about health impacts, improves scientific agency, builds new scientific and technological skills, and mitigates certain exposures. Public Lab makes it easier for people to reliably track local effects associated with environmental injustices — increased flooding, poor air quality, pollution, and destruction of wetlands.

About my Project at Public Lab

My project aims to make changes and fixes to the Public Lab site that will result in a smoother and more coherent system for educators across the US gulf coast who are working with students on environmental justice topics. It involves making changes to the draft saving system, username autocomplete in comment sections, and the co-authorship model. In a nutshell, my job is to make it easier for educators and students to learn about their environment.

What I did?

I'll be highlighting a few of my project tasks here. You can learn more about my project and see the first-timer issues I opened in my planning issue.

  • I added a table of contents to wikis and I discuss this in detail in a previous article

  • Created a drafts page to display all of a user's drafts. 125001488-b42d4700-e04a-11eb-848d-96b6dfc924fb.png

  • Cached and intermixed prefetched usernames and API responses. This task involved getting the recently active users from an API response and displaying the mentions result to show if a user was recently active. It's similar to when you try to @ someone on Twitter, the first few names show people you follow that match the search key. I couldn't make the recently active users show at the top of the usernames because of the default setting in the JavaScript library I used.


Who can contribute to Public Lab?

Public Lab is open to anyone especially people belonging to groups under-represented in free and open-source software.