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NWFlyer

New USPA Web Site

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www.uspa.org

Anyone else checked it out? Sounds like it went live late last week. I was involved in the beta testing, and having chatted with the staff at HQ during the process, I know they put a lot of work into getting the new site up and running.

Yes, it was a long time coming, but I do think it's a big improvement over the old site. I work in IT (though I'm not a hard-core techie), and just looking at the design it appears to be the type of site design that sets the staff up for a much easier time of updating and maintaining the site. I think it's a good step in the right direction.

Whatever your opinion, send some feedback to Communications@uspa.org.
"There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you damn well please. And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the consequences." -P.J. O'Rourke

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Are you sure? Header on the pages came back as:

Quote

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
Date: Tue, 05 Aug 2008 02:55:41 GMT
Server: Microsoft-IIS/6.0
X-Powered-By: ASP.NET
X-AspNet-Version: 2.0.50727




It looks like they have moved to DotNetNuke for the Content Management System. This will really allow the staff to update the pages with out having to know anything about the nuts and bolts of website design. This should allow a much faster update and will allow anyone one staff to be able to make changes instead of just the IT geek. Should work out very nice in the future.
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Yesterday is history
And tomorrow is a mystery

Parachutemanuals.com

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Ack! My apologies... I hit an external link on the page that generated an apache error with that version info. Maybe I should have actually paid attention to the domain? :$ B|

-syn
They who can give up essential liberty to obtain
a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty
nor safety. - Benjamin Franklin

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Although I tend to have a little trouble with those rolling dropdown menus, this site not only looks better than the last one, but it is much more functional. It's MUCH easier to locate things. Hats off to USPA for this improvement . . . the last one didn't do much.
Arrive Safely

John

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Thanks everyone for checking it out! We liked the old site, but it was time for a change. Kudos to Shonda Smith for building a website that did so well for 5 years - that's at least 103 in internet years.;)

This new one is built with dotnetnuke, which besides being awesomely FREE, is easy for staff to maintain. That said, it does have some inherent issues that wouldn't exist if we had built it from scratch. Things like the unfriendly URLs, which we have planned to look into and maybe change, and the download times. We'll be tweaking all that stuff constantly, so it's never too late to send feedback or suggestions to communications@uspa.org, like Krisanne said (ps - thanks for help beta testing!).

So, about those dropdown menus . . . There are pros and cons for both sides of that argument, but do you all not like the animation or the fact that they exist at all? We thought the left hand nav and breadcrumbs would give people options if they didn't want to use the dropdowns, but let us know if that's not a good solution for you.

~Lara

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Thanks everyone for checking it out! We liked the old site, but it was time for a change. Kudos to Shonda Smith for building a website that did so well for 5 years - that's at least 103 in internet years.;)

This new one is built with dotnetnuke, which besides being awesomely FREE, is easy for staff to maintain. That said, it does have some inherent issues that wouldn't exist if we had built it from scratch. Things like the unfriendly URLs, which we have planned to look into and maybe change, and the download times. We'll be tweaking all that stuff constantly, so it's never too late to send feedback or suggestions to communications@uspa.org, like Krisanne said (ps - thanks for help beta testing!).

So, about those dropdown menus . . . There are pros and cons for both sides of that argument, but do you all not like the animation or the fact that they exist at all? We thought the left hand nav and breadcrumbs would give people options if they didn't want to use the dropdowns, but let us know if that's not a good solution for you.

~Lara



Can't speak for everyone else, but the dropdowns work well for me. I think it's a good usability/visual design tradeoff, since, like you mentioned, you allow the top menu to be clickable, and the follow-up pages have left menus.

Otherwise, trying to put all those options on the main page would be way too cluttered...and not putting them on there would decrease the usability (taking me more clicks to get to where I want to go. More clicks = baaaaaad).

For me - and I use a multitude of browsers, many of which often have trouble with those sorts of dropdowns - the menu is great like it is. I haven't run into probs yet, and even if I did, I could just click through to the next page and go from the sidebar.

Good work, y'all. LOVE the new site. It looks great, and (even more importantly) I think it's pretty darn usable.
Signatures are the new black.

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The new site may look more appealing but it has a few drawbacks.

All the old links are dead now. That essentially makes the search engines start from scratch.
Any of the old links to the USPA site from this site are no longer valid.
Ranking of the USPA site will go down in the immediate future as the cached urls/pages get crawled again and return a 404, page not found.
FMI: see Cool URIs don't change
The USPA site is essentially 'starting over' in ranking in the search engines.
test search

The menus: well go look at AskTog.com and Useit.com for articles on that.

Content has changed. The news archives are missing a bunch of articles.

There still is no anti-email crawler devices added to pages that have email addys listed.

But there are advantages to 'canned' web designer thingys.

.
.
Make It Happen
Parachute History
DiveMaker

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Hi Jan! All good and true points, but hopefully SEO will be improved in the long run. And, like I said, there are points for and against the drop-downs - in the end, we went with the combination drop-down and text links like I explained before.

We're still working on bringing all the content over (archives, Parachutist back content, stolen gear, accident reports), but thought we got all the immediately relevant stuff. Let us know if there's something that should absolutely be up right away, though.

About the e-mails though - there should be a cloaking function on all member e-mail addresses (like S&TA listings, judges, course directors, etc.). Right now it's done through javascript, and at the moment, if you have js disabled, nothing at all shows up where the e-mail address should be. Not ideal, I know, but better than nothing. For that reason though, all uspa staff and bod e-mail addresses were left uncloaked, so that 100% of people (and unfortunately spammers) can view them all the time.

If anyone finds a page that's left uncloaked, please do let us know! (You have to check out the source, as hideous as it is, to know if it's cloaked or not though.) And, if anyone has a bulletproof solution that works for everyone, please let us know that, too.

~Lara
www.uspa.org

Read the USPA blog!

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The site looks great. As for the drop down menus, they save too much space and open up the rest of the page too much to get rid of them. They are a plus in my book. Also, you are on a system that can allow for "brushing-up" so in the future the site will only get better.

I like it a lot and think you guys did a great job!!!

As far as search engine stuff, just have an xml site map that you can submit to Google that will assist their crawlers and then after about 3 months things will start panning out again. This was too much of a good improvement to worry about some of these details. Sometimes an huge overhaul is needed.
Ben Lee
www.CollegeSkydiving.com

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Nope, You may remember the thread recently about the new Tennessee State Law that makes it illegal for sLyride to advertise without clearly posting their Physical Location on their websites. Well, I'm the guy that worked with the Senator to get that law made and passed. So that being said, Not only am I "anti Skyride", I am "MR Anti-Skyride"!

I know, I know, 2 million comedians out of work and I'm trying to be 2 million and 1. Yea, yea, I know....
Refuse to Lose!!!
Failure is NOT an option!
1800skyrideripoff.com
Nashvilleskydiving.org

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Any idea when the 2007 TSR 150-way will get posted to the new website? It was on the old website.



Hi Jim! Sorry about that, I thought we got everything moved over, but we missed that TSR. It's up now - http://www.uspa.org/tabid/249/Default.aspx?by=TX. I'll do another triple check, but let us know if we've missed anything else.

We're going to make those records pages a little more user friendly, too. Any requests or suggestions for improvement?
www.uspa.org

Read the USPA blog!

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You fixed the primary sorting and that helps a lot. Now if you could do a secondary sort by state that would clench the deal!

What is still confusing however is that the page that opens after you select events in the dropdown menu does not contain all the events. Eg., the TSR does not show up until you click on "All" next to the dropdown box.

This may imply to some that the particular event they are interested in is not yet posted.

Thanks for asking.

Blue skies,

Jim

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Hm, now I'm confused. Do you mean on this page - http://www.uspa.org/MemberCenter/RecordsAwards/ExistingRecords/State/tabid/145/Default.aspx? All the records should show up right when you first load that page.

Feel free to call or e-mail me, too - (540) 604-9740, lkjeldsen@uspa.org - might be quicker than going back and forth here :)
~Lara
www.uspa.org

Read the USPA blog!

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Just a quick thought I just had. Would it be possible to set up blog-like pages on the website that RDs could use to communicate with their constituents. For example, they could let us know what DZs they'll be coming out to visit soon, tell us what they think about certain issues, or provide us with updates about what they've accomplished for us. Maybe there could even be a comments section where people from that region could leave messages for their RD or discuss the post that the RD has just made. I guess the real question that needs to be answered before anything like this could start is, would any of the RDs be interested in taking advantage of a system like that?

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Just a quick thought I just had. Would it be possible to set up blog-like pages on the website that RDs could use to communicate with their constituents. For example, they could let us know what DZs they'll be coming out to visit soon, tell us what they think about certain issues, or provide us with updates about what they've accomplished for us. Maybe there could even be a comments section where people from that region could leave messages for their RD or discuss the post that the RD has just made. I guess the real question that needs to be answered before anything like this could start is, would any of the RDs be interested in taking advantage of a system like that?



With the new web site, virtually anything is possible. But your last question probably needs to be answered first. There is at least one regional director that sends email news regularly. And of course, all have their contact info, including email addy listed on the web site and in Parachutist.

-Ed Scott, Executive Director
www.uspa.org

Read the USPA blog!

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