There is much to like in the current Explore page. So the following ideas assume that the new version will have similar functions and layout as the old.
Move the buried Identify and Download buttons out of the Filters and next to to the Map-Grid-List view buttons, as in the collection project pages when Observations is clicked. It’s a more prominent and logical place for it. I know that some iNat users haven’t known they could download data.
Add a 4th view - Seasonality – to complement the Map, Grid, and List views. The Map view does a great job allowing exploration of observations in their geographical distribution, and the new view would do the same for the temporal/phenological distribution. Instead of a 2d map with binned lat-lon grid squares or markers to click on that lead to observations at that location, it would be a 1d time of year view, Jan. 1 on the left to Dec. 31 on the right, with observation markers aligned to observation time scatter-plotted along it. The observation markers would lead to observations at that time of year.The abundance curve similar to the Seasonality plot on a taxon page could be underlaid. This timeline could be zoomed in or out to intervals of 1 year, 3 months, 1 month, 1 week, 1 day. Below this timeline could be other similar ones based on annotations values, like life stage = adult or sex = female. Note well that this time of year view would have different years combined together, not separate views by year.
Allow observation date searches by range of time of year (ignoring the year), in addition to observation date searches where the year is important. Note that ranges wrapping around Dec. 31 - Jan. 1 should be allowed: e.g., Nov. 15 - Feb. 1.
Add a user interface – even if buried into a new section of Filters – for some or all of the more obscure search options that we currently would need to edit a URL to use.
Figure out a way to have the prominent Location and buried Place search fields combined into a single search field and still work well. I know some non-power users who don’t understand the difference between the two fields and some don’t even know there are two.
Add a 2nd version of the Identify button that does almost the same thing but with this difference: Set up the search filters that the Identify tool loads with for someone who wants to look through all the observations returned by the Explore page one at a time without identifying. So both Needs ID and Research Grade would be checked, Reviewed = Any would be selected, and Sort order would be the same as in the Explore page. The Identify tool is the site’s best way to look closely at a series of observations, and the Explore page is a great preview of the series. I often figure out how to search for what I want to look at on the Explore page before wanting to jump to the same observations in Identify to look at them closely. It would be useful to have Identify’s search filters not overridden to exclude reviewed and RG observations for this purpose.
Polish up and integrate the taxon list page like
based on the search filters of the Explore page, so a complete species list with its own download link is available. Add a button for the taxon list page on the Explore page, perhaps near the moved Download button.