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Discussion: A website template for O' clubs

in: Orienteering; General

Nov 16, 2016 6:08 PM # 
Run_Bosco:
Do you like the http://cascadeoc.org/ website?

Would that kind of site work for your club?

I built the site as a custom Wordpress theme, and with some more work, it could be a theme that other clubs download and (slightly) customize.

For this to become a reality, I would propose that:
1. I work on the project as a UX (User Experience) Designer, in conjunction with
2. A developer, who builds and maintains the template

Thoughts?
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Nov 16, 2016 6:10 PM # 
Run_Bosco:
I know that Canada has a template that all their clubs use. Using that is certainly an option as well, and has the advantage that it's already been built. However, in my, uh, biased opinion... I think the Cascade site is better.
Nov 16, 2016 6:36 PM # 
PGoodwin:
I suggest that you make a proposal to the leadership of OUSA. There is money from the 50th Anniversary Fund for just this purpose. If it is going to widely used, the people helping clubs get their versions up and running will spend time doing it. They should be compensated.
Nov 16, 2016 7:49 PM # 
jtorranc:
How slight would the ability to customize be? Just looking at the home page, there are things I would change in the layout if I were in charge of implementing it for a club, for instance having at least the next scheduled event visible as soon as the home page is opened. I'd also want to have more than one photograph to represent orienteering. I haven't looked into how much flexibility the whyjustrun.ca template (which I don't believe anything like all Canadian clubs use but I haven't conducted a census) provides but it would certainly be nice, if one template is going to be widely used, if it isn't too tight a straitjacket for anyone who doesn't have the ability to build the club web site of their dreams themselves.
Nov 16, 2016 8:23 PM # 
bgr:
In 1997 I sent an email to the president of USOF suggesting that USOF find someone to build a template for clubs to use. It's funny to me that nearly 20 years late(r) it might actually happen.

If Canada already has one, I would suggest not reinventing the wheel....
Nov 16, 2016 8:49 PM # 
sherpes:
Love the tag lines in the volunteer roles

This role is great for learning people’s names!
Be a part of the start line energy!
Save someone from a bad day.
Help our finish crew focus on processing results!
Make newcomers feel welcome.
A great way to do some more orienteering!
Provide another perspective and contribute to the creative course designing process!
Nov 16, 2016 9:01 PM # 
JimBaker:
A nicely rendered and nicely organized site is important. However, there seem to be other things in the whyjustrun template, like common data storage and APIs, which make it easy to add functionality that all sites may benefit from, like splits analysis or such, without coding that in to every site individually. An attractive, easy to use, appealing to beginners template with a good template also for data storage and APIs is worthwhile. Maybe there could be collaboration to make that happen.

(For instance, I have considered creating an RMOC app to ease pre-registration, give offline directions, and also have some organization features, but if I ever do write this, it would be a lot of work to rewrite it for every club's different way of storing its list of events and event details, list of members, registration data, and so forth. But if, like whyjustrun, there's just one way for several clubs, then the app could easily be adapted to all. The same for adding functionality like routegadget to all sites, I suspect.)
Nov 16, 2016 9:03 PM # 
st:
Interested in an working wordpress theme for orienteering clubs. We have in Potsdam/Germany (www.olvpotsdam.de) some different requirements, so the main question is: how customisable the theme is ...
Nov 22, 2016 2:33 AM # 
smittyo:
Our club has twice built our website based on work that members of other clubs started and then provided to us as a template. I believe in both cases we paid the person to customize it for our club. In both situations we have run into difficulty over time because the person who built the site no longer supports it. We can update content and make some minor tweaks, but constant design improvements just don't happen.

Definitely interested in a website template or service, but only if it's being supported by a long-term organization such as USOF or COF or a third-party provider, where we feel confident that the underlying structure of our website will have continued maintenance and design improvements.
Nov 22, 2016 12:25 PM # 
Platterpus:
The Cascade O site is great and that would probably fit OLOU's needs well if it were easy to manage. Although the whyjustrun.ca is set up and ready to go, it really looks cluttered to me. Easy of use is important but also something that is easy to read if you are new to the sport. Run_Bosco, please let me know if and how we can get this working for OLOU.ORG if you are willing. Our site is simple, not too flexible and along with the webmaster is no longer wanting to work with it we are due for an update. I will be out in Seattle for your meet on Feb 4 (Point Defiance Park) also and can talk to you then if you will be at that meet.
Nov 22, 2016 12:30 PM # 
acjospe:
The OUSA Communications Task Force is working on this issue of developing something simple, flexible, easily customizable by non web-heads, and easy to use. Unfortunately, like all good things, this cannot happen overnight.

Some of the money raised in the Anniversary Fund will go toward this endeavor, so if you haven't yet donated, and you think this is a worthwhile cause, go ahead and do so now - http://www.us.orienteering.org/support
Nov 22, 2016 12:55 PM # 
igor_:
@Platterpus: what's cluttered about this: https://smoc-runs.com/
Nov 22, 2016 1:02 PM # 
ccsteve:
ROC has gone to http://www.wildapricot.com/

http://roc.us.orienteering.org/

Not because of the site's web hosting capabilities (but the web site is there), but because of the all-inclusive nature of it.

It's a membership site, so every club member is in, and when their membership is up, the site will facilitate renewals directly.

We can contact all members and groups of members in broadcast like capabilities, but it does not handle mailing list style communication. (member to list) And it does not have email accounts.

It handles pre-registration and online payment for events. It also has an ability to take donations and we have used this to offer permanent maps as a donation-spiff. (payment at the event is still possible)

Because members have accounts, we can offer member-only content on the web site.

And perhaps most importantly - we don't "run" the software. Sure, we're responsible for content, but there's help available, and we don't have to worry about finding the person who set it up. They're in the business of running this environment and we're paying for it.

And about paying - we figured that with what we would likely spend to get a quality website in a one-year development process, we're paying monthly fees for at least three years - where we'd probably need to re-do a website anyway.

There is no long-term commitment, and we're "in" for a year, but if we want to stop, we can.

So - we're always looking to make changes in the content and organization to improve things, but consider other aspects. How many services do you really use to run your club?
Nov 22, 2016 2:12 PM # 
Platterpus:
That looks like a good option as well. I noticed the links to different events using different methods. (Paypal, Ultrasignup) They don't have complete online registration for events? We have used the OUSA registration site but last time I tried (about a year ago) it was not very flexible in the type of meet that is run. Thanks for posting that.
Nov 22, 2016 3:39 PM # 
ccsteve:
It's worth noting that there are three different sorts of signups.
Regular club events
Special events
National meets

We're using the built in registration for regular events.

We host an annual trail run - http://roc.us.orienteering.org/mtr - met the cap of 350 participants this year for a 10/20/30/50 km event. This event needs to work for runner types, and has it's own registration site. [But runners do things like - pay for their registration when they complete it online, so it's good;-]

And National meets are way more complex to use a rather generic signup for, so we will probably continue to use the EventReg environment for that.

Nothing is mandated, so we retain flexibility.
Nov 25, 2016 11:58 PM # 
fossil:
Steve, one thing I couldn't find when I signed us up for the last ROC meet was a way to pay for multiple family members with one payment. Being in a hurry I gave up and payed each with separate payments. This seemed odd since the site does otherwise have a concept of family memberships, so maybe I just missed it. It also took me some extra effort to figure out how to register multiple family members for a meet but eventually I figured that out.
Jan 23, 2017 11:35 AM # 
lexa:
I desire share wordpress settings for orienteering website http://rogain.by/?lang=en
1) in a front page several lines of news, articles or other type of content
2) events page for future and last events
3) for every single event you should create special category. All articles including in event category will be attached to the single event.
4) Imported data from googleCalendar and map archive DOMA
5) You can create own content like pages and articles, assign to it categories and navigate to them by breadcrumbs

You can change theme colors and composition by editing css and html. But it needed just only one time.
Jan 23, 2017 10:57 PM # 
MEngestrom:
FYI, South Florida Orienteering (SFLO) just published its new website using Wix to create it:
http://www.sflorienteering.org
Mar 25, 2017 9:46 PM # 
pwestover:
I'm Philip from the Minnesota Orienteering Club (MNOC). I just went through the exercise of revamping our club’s website about 6 months ago (www.mnoc.org), so I’d like to share some of my experiences.

First off, I knew there were a couple of main features I wanted in our new site:
-- Flexibility in design
-- Optimized for mobile/smart-phones
-- Needed an easy/clean way to display 20+ events/year
-- Needed an easy way to display results and import them from our OR timing software
-- Needed to handle payment processing (for events, memberships, maps, merchandise, etc)
-- Bonus if it managed memberships
-- And most important, the back-end needed to be easy enough to use so that our primary contributors (race directors, timing manager, marketing manager) could easily go in and make updates themselves.

So I started off my journey by researching and doing free-trials with all the popular CMS's (Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, Wix, Weebly, Squarespace), along with a two 'membership' systems (WildApricot, NEON). All had their pros/cons, but in the end, Wix was the obvious choice for us. Unlike other CMS's which require web development expertise in order to customize the design, Wix has an outstanding drag-n-drop system that gives you complete flexibility on how you want your website to look. I'd highly recommend it. And for anyone interested, it also has a one-click "site copy" feature, so if any other orienteering clubs wanted to start off with our template, I’d gladly create a copy for anyone interested.

Our payment processing and membership had to be done outside of Wix, though. WildApricot had a really nice system, but they didn't have the flexibility to create the website how we wanted it. So in the end, we went with a local company (ZapEvent). EventBrite also had a decent setup, and of course Active.com is one of the larger players in that space. EventReg was also an option, but at the time, they weren't setup to handle 'local' meets well. Hopefully we can use them in the future though [as their pricing was the best].
Mar 26, 2017 1:00 AM # 
GuyO:
Is there a distinct mobile version?

I ask because, at least on my phone, the results for each course are displayed on separate pages or windows, which requires a lot of extra clicks to view all results. Most event results pages list all the courses in sequence on a single page. That way, one can easily scroll through all of them.

Both OE and Or generate code for that type of display, so one would expect that splitting up the courses would be more work...
Mar 26, 2017 9:08 PM # 
pwestover:
@GuyO -- great question. We decided to use an embedded Google form because our members prefer the courses to be separated on different tabs. Though, as you pointed out, you could simply use the standard OE/Or html code and copy/paste that into the page... and in my research, that's how most clubs do it. Honestly, I'd prefer a hybrid between the two, but such a plugin/widget didn't exist on any of the CMS's that I trialed.
Mar 27, 2017 12:20 AM # 
GuyO:
@pwestover: Thank you for the informative response!

I'm mystified, though, as to why MNOC members would prefer separating courses -- especially since the previous site's results posts were single-page (and I liked them... ;-) ).

Is it really necessary to change an entire website? Cant some elements be kept?
Mar 27, 2017 12:28 AM # 
Pink Socks:
our members prefer the courses to be separated on different tabs

Kudos for doing the research to find out what the main users of your site prefer, despite others online being mystified by those preferences. #uxdesign
Mar 30, 2017 5:53 PM # 
pwestover:
Thanks for the input. Even though that's how we do it today, it doesn't mean it's set in stone. It's always good to continuously hear feedback from our users.

The #1 reason we went with a completely new website is that we needed the ability for non-technical staff to go in by themselves and edit the site. Everyone from race directors to timers to marketing needed the ability to make frequent changes. Our old site was previously managed by an in-house developer, which just wasn't feasible if we wanted to grow the club and be nimble. Additionally, the old site's UX was very poor on mobile (which was 90% of our traffic), so we decided to start with a clean slate and utilize the latest/greatest tools available to us.
Mar 30, 2017 8:32 PM # 
gordhun:
I read this proposal with enthusiasm until l came to the estimated on-going cost. Was it $600/year. That doesn't work for a small club with effectively a 5 month season. Hosting costs need not be so high.
Jun 12, 2017 7:28 PM # 
Joe:
any new news here? our clubs server is history so we need to come up with a new website soon.
Jun 13, 2017 10:52 AM # 
BorisGr:
Yup, we'll be in touch.
Jun 14, 2017 11:18 PM # 
iansmith:
@gordun - I'm not sure where you're getting this $600/year figure, but thanks for bringing it to our attention. I'm part of the OUSA group working on the website template for clubs with Boris, Phil Westover, Rebecca Jensen, and Cristina Luis. Our current plan (and funding from OUSA) is for a basic club template that would be attractive to newcomers, easy to manage, and accessible for regular users. Funding questions - both from OUSA and regular clubs - are very important for determining the scope of the project. Going forward, we are thinking about integration with other services and additional development, e.g. registration with Eventreg or Eventor, volunteer management, and so on. We definitely haven't set any participation costs. Web hosting naturally costs money, but managing costs to keep the template accessible to small clubs is a priority for us. After all, the intended users are clubs who haven't already invested a lot of money building websites of their own.
Jun 15, 2017 12:44 PM # 
MIclimber:
Is this something that will be ready by 2018?
Jun 18, 2017 4:14 AM # 
Platterpus:
OLOU is making plans for a new website so anxiously waiting for word on this. Not sure how hard it would be to template something like what Rebecca did for COC but we have a number of volunteers in OLOU who are willing to volunteer to put in the hours to make it happen.

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