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Attackpoint - performance and training tools for orienteering athletes

Discussion: Web / Membership / Event / Volunteer management

in: Orienteering; General

Feb 26, 2016 7:04 PM # 
ROC is undertaking an effort to improve our web site. We have this list of desires:

Website - organization pages, event pages, etc.
- Links - Appropriate other websites, ousa, clubs, sponsors, meetup, fb, attackpoint
- Intro - What is orienteering, basic tips
- BOD - meeting minutes, member reports, position openings, pictures and bios
- Results - past, current, permanent course, temporary course
- Permanent Course/Training - ability to buy/download courses, training maps, seasonal courses, member courses
Membership - join/renew membership, login, private member-only pages, member contact functions (mailing and email lists).
- Mailing list(s) for non-members "interested in" club activities / specific events.

Payments - For membership, events, swag.

Schedule - easy to read, links to location, signup, description of
event, volunteer opportunities.

Volunteers - job descriptions, sign-up for upcoming meets, mailing list.

And it would be helpful to know who uses what - does your club's website do all of these things? Is it a repeatable setup?

If you could respond back to me - stylock at - I will build a spreadsheet with the information I receive.

I don't know what to ask for yet, but let's start with talking about:

Hosted Service / Hosted Site / Custom
[Service = someone defined it all and you filled in the information, Site = you built the site on someone's web service, Custom = you built the entire thing on a server / virtual server and run it all]

website software? (if you know)
drupal, wordpress, etc

does the site support your club membership? (guess you'll have to describe how)

private (member) pages / content?

financial transactions?
Events, Membership, Items?

Pages for local and national events, registration, payment?

And - would you recommend your setup / environment?

And also - do you think your setup / environment can be reasonably cloned?

If you have separate platforms for these, please list them (we have a website on google, payments through paypal, events through eventbrite, etc).

If you can identify other features that you have (or would want), please also send that along.

From AP, this thread is from 2013:
And an older discussion of hosting platforms:

I'll tip my hand and say I'm very interested in a hosted site like

Feb 27, 2016 6:04 PM # 
Take a look at the web site for a club site that seems to work well for many of the above, and both for computers and (importantly nowadays) mobile devices (phones, tablets). I'm not the designer though.
Feb 27, 2016 8:48 PM # 
I'm glad you like the RMOC website, Jim! I always feel like I don't have time to keep up with it, and that it falls short of what I'd like it to be. But I guess it gets the basic job done...

Backend details for Steve:

* The RMOC website is hosted by, and they are outstanding as a hosting service. When I need tech support, they're incredibly responsive and helpful.

* The RMOC site uses the Joomla content management system. Joomla has lots of features, plugins, and free templates...but in retrospect, sometimes I wish I had chosen something much simpler.

* Our hosting service includes (unlimited?) MySQL databases and the phpMyAdmin interface. RMOC's membership database, pre-registration details, results, and some web content are all maintained in the MySQL database.

* Our online pre-registration system is barebones -- it only collects name, course, and map count, but it does NOT tie-in with PayPal (b/c I don't know how to do that). I have a PHP script that links the pre-registration details to our membership database in order to generate Entries files to import directly into our OE2010 e-punch software (to minimize data entry at the meet).

Cascade OC seems to have a more robust system for online pre-registration and volunteer sign-up.

* RMOC has a PayPal account that we use for membership payments and A-meet registration fees. It was kind of a chore to get verified by PayPal as a non-profit organization (to qualify for lower transaction fees), but worth it. As I mentioned above, I don't know how to integrate RMOC's PayPal account with our online pre-registration form, and I don't expect to have time to figure it out anytime soon...

Good luck.
Feb 28, 2016 4:12 PM # 
+1 JimBaker and bbrook on RMOC website: easy to navigate, right to the point, information over design priority. All that a club shell want, in a nutshell.
Feb 29, 2016 2:36 PM # 
There is a joomla extension for paypal but the issue you will probably have is if it doesn't quite what you need it could prove a challenge:

All of the various content management systems will serve you well. Most of the club sites for Scottish Clubs have been set up professionally (by an orienteer) using ExpressionEngine as the platform (a not-free CMS), here's ours: . Personally I've used Drupal, WordPress and Joomla and all suit the needs of an orienteering club, with WordPress being by far the easiest to use if you are doing this yourself.

I don't know so much about the US for hosting but I'd recommend you don't go for one of the really big providers, they are just there to get as much business as they can and tend to have crap support (e.g. GoDaddy, if they are in the US too) - go with someone slightly smaller but has good support and a personal recommendation, like the host bbrooke suggest above.

Where you talk about integrating payments and members areas and things like that... They are way more tricky than most of the club sites you see and to do it well will cost you a lot more (or take a volunteer a lot more time)
Feb 29, 2016 8:37 PM # 
Pink Socks:
Here are some pretty US-based orienteering websites that I've noticed recently.

CascadeOC is about a month away from a brand new custom-built website (which would be our third major version). We also have a separate custom-built registration and volunteer signup site that manages: event and series registrations, day-of-event volunteer shirts and credits (which can be used for future registrations), annual memberships, annual waivers, and setup stuff for event directors (participant limits, price variations, etc). It's also plugged in with PayPal.
Feb 29, 2016 9:09 PM # 
For an easy-to-maintain site without PayPal we are using whyjustrun at

And I really like it. Multiple people can edit content, there is integration with Facebook, and a good mobile version. All pretty much at zero cost.
Feb 29, 2016 9:44 PM # 
I have found that QOC usses Wildapricot under the hood -

Is someone from there willing to comment on it?

To be clear - it does not seem like a useful thing to do a web site and leave out portions of club management. So to have one place for everything but payment or membership or email-lists or private content or registrations is what I'm trying to avoid.

Wildapricot looks like $70/m, and so what's a budget for making a custom web site Cascade?-)

And - we are quite aware of how many clubs have an eager volunteer that sets up something, and then isn't there 5 years later... A good solution shouldn't have to depend on _Phred_ to maintain it forever.

(and I appreciate everything so far;-)
Feb 29, 2016 11:01 PM # 
We (QOC) have only just transitioned from a single-user Access database to the cloud-based Wild Apricot membership system. So far, so good, on the whole. In addition to full browser access, there's an app allowing event directors to check member status and contact info (if they want to), and it should allow mobile membership payments before too long. We use PayPal with it, but they support just about every payment processor. Although we don't currently do this, you can build your own website within Wild Apricot with full linking to the associated membership database, and, you can also do event registration.

For events requiring pre-registration, we use either EventReg or custom forms on WuFoo. WuFoo has full conditional logic support, but neither EventReg nor WuFoo can check QOC member status in real-time (i.e. dynamically) as someone registers for an event. There are ways to do this non-dynamically in WuFoo but it hasn't been worth the trouble to set up.

As for CMSs, QOC's main website is in Drupal 6, but we also have some ancillary sites in either Joomla or Google (Sites), used primarily for national meets. Like the OUSA site itself, the QOC site is facing the inevitable upgrade to either Drupal 7 or more likely 8, or, a new platform all together.
Mar 2, 2016 9:07 PM # 
While there are technical requirements to consider, I recommend starting from the point of User Experience design and asking these questions:

1. Who are you designing for?
2. What do these people want to accomplish?
3. What frustrations do these people currently encounter?

There is likely more than one 'user group', but it is important to identify who they are and what their goals and frustrations are. And I don't recommend guessing. Actually go out and talk to people!

In preparation for designing the new COC site (to be launched this month), I conducted interviews with a variety of users to see how they currently interacted with the website, and pinpoint their goals and frustrations. Don't think that you can guess what newcomers need, because you are not a newcomer. Instead, go talk to a newcomer.

Then, translate these goals and frustrations into design decisions. For COC, it was an overhaul of the information architecture, and a balance of more explanations for newcomers without slowing veterans down from accessing what they want very quickly.


As for technical stuff. I built COC's new site (to be launched this month) from scratch for Wordpress (I built a custom theme).

The registration site, which I am not touching, was built by the very awesome Peter Golde.


After the launch, I'll do a write-up of the process I went through and design decisions I made, and will share it on AP.
Mar 3, 2016 5:48 AM # 
+1 on asking users. As a software developer for 35 years, sometimes what the user wants isn't what you would have anticipated.
Mar 3, 2016 2:52 PM # 
Very true. But also sometimes "what the user [says he] wants" isn't what's going to make his experience better. I do like the idea of asking about current user experience frustrations. It seems that an awful lof ot web designers are working with Bosco's first two questions but not spending significant time on the 3rd.
Mar 3, 2016 7:08 PM # 
Yes, asking about any frustrations with the existing web site or software is a very good place to start.
Mar 3, 2016 11:14 PM # 
Talking to users is an art in itself!

1. Don't contaminate their feedback. No giving explanations, or clues, or exposing biases, etc.
2. Don't let them play designer. Keep them focused on sharing their experience with you, not on saying "how they would design it."
Mar 4, 2016 4:05 AM # 
@Run_Bosco, could you post a link here when your new site is up?
Mar 4, 2016 1:57 PM # 
Another way to think of it, consistent with Run_Bosco's comment: Let the users tell you what they're trying to accomplish, independent of any computer system. (Sometimes the best solution to a problem is not automated - although in this case it is!) "I want to register my family for an event, letting the organizers know our different names, ages and SI numbers and I also want to pay for it." The organizer has different user needs, e.g.: "I want to be able to contact all registered racers."
Mar 4, 2016 4:01 PM # 
@barb: yes, of course!

& Bash is spot-on.
Mar 4, 2016 7:24 PM # 
To expand on what Bash said (which is a widely used software development methodology, and in my experience a good one), identify your stakeholders (those with some interest in the system):

- participants
- organizers
- club
- web site admin
- others?

And for each of them, write all the one-sentence stories you can about what they want to achieve, with who, what and why. Then prioritize these in consult. Design the web site to achieve these objectives one at a time in priority order (even if it looks like there's s shortcut to do several overlapping objectives at once), and test fully before proceeding to the next objective (including making sure that you haven't broken anything done earlier). The time saved by this clarity and sure-footedness can exceed any gained by efficiencies of implementing multiple objectives at once. And, the web site can be reviewed as it's created, getting useful feedback before going too far down one path.

Apologies for drifting into software development techniques, but these principles might be useful to some developing such web sites. (And web sites are just software, using a mix of declarative and procedural languages.)
Mar 4, 2016 7:46 PM # 
BAOC's website is based on a wiki framework. Like Wikipedia, it is easy for authroized users to change. While we have a couple of people who manage the site overall, if an event director or course setter wants to make changes to their event page, they can do this themselves. It's not the flashiest user interface, but the information is less likely to get stale.

For advance registration, we use OUSA's site.

I endorse JimBaker and Bash's approach to web design. That's how most software development is done these days. One way to keep track of these "stories" is with a tool called a Kanban board. Conceptually, it's just a white board with post-it notes in various columns (pending, design, coding, testing, done.) There are various online tools to support this.
Mar 5, 2016 3:02 AM # 
Ack! Agile is creeping into too many parts of my life!
Mar 5, 2016 8:20 PM # 
Now what's the agile way to find a control? (Or is my downfall excessive agility in this? ;-)
Mar 5, 2016 8:40 PM # 
and so the hijacking begins...
Mar 5, 2016 9:38 PM # 
Does it drive anyone else crazy that all these websites have a schedule of events that is not coordinated with other clubs (eg: a national calendar would / should be so easy to accomodate), and that all of this is duplicated for all the clubs?

I would say a major objective should be to leverage all the talent that is being used on creating a universal system that would serve more clubs. When I think of what WhyJustRun gives so many clubs for just about zero cost... (thanks Russell / Thomas!!)
Mar 7, 2016 3:09 AM # 

Does it drive anyone else crazy that all these websites have a schedule of events that is not coordinated with other clubs (eg: a national calendar would / should be so easy to accomodate), and that all of this is duplicated for all the clubs?

No, every club is destined to develop or deploy its own CMS, and not look at what has been successful in the trail running community and other similar activities. And the putative leadership will no doubt spearhead this initiative, cause it costs so much, and it would be out of scope to articulate a unifying vision on this matter, cause metrics don't matter (and this isn't even one of the metrics anyway, and if it were, it would be discarded by the intelligentsia when not met). We are the world's smartest athletes after all (or so the non-mobile friendly, non-SEO friendly website says at least).

This could be fixed in 6 months for 20K if I did it, for all clubs, for the entire federation. Prolly a quarter of that in time and price if someone smart and full time did it. Anyone have Mr. Godot on speed dial :)

This discussion thread is closed.